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"No Napoleon After 1805?" Topic

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Leadjunky23 Feb 2021 6:51 a.m. PST

Would Europe have enjoyed utopian peace or would the wars of unification just started sooner? What wargaming possibilities might such an alternate history create?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 6:54 a.m. PST

Well, it depends what he's replaced by, doesn't it?

Leadjunky23 Feb 2021 8:29 a.m. PST

Sure. Would the victor restore a monarchy? Assuming he is crushed in 1805-6 and France is weakened considerably, what might follow for Austria's holdings in Italy and Central Europe and what likely power struggles/ rebellions might arise?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 10:55 a.m. PST

Assuming a reinstatement by the Ancien Regime, there may still have been a romantic revolutionary fervour remaining. Italy's path to the Resorgimento might actually be quickened by the fall of Napoleon with Radetsky having to 'save' northern Italy a decade earlier. In Germany, without a Confederation of the Rhine and the 'War of Liberation', German nationalism might not have raised its head in 1848 and might have had to wait for Bismarck. And Poland? No rebellion in 1830 as there would not have been a Poland at all. The partitions would probably have stood as there would not have been a Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Just some quick thoughts.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 4:37 p.m. PST

Tell me who replaces Bonaparte and how, and then we can discuss follow-on events intelligently.

But speaking very generally, I'd expect fewer wars, one-off wars--revolutions of succession fights--and possibly no unification wars. French nationalism did a lot to bring about the German and Italian nationalism which leads to the wars of national unification, and absent Napoleon it's hard to imagine the French reaching their 1807-1812 apogee.

Hard for me to imagine utopian peace under any circumstances. Cabinet wars, perhaps.

Bill N24 Feb 2021 6:28 a.m. PST

The instability generated by the territorial changes that arose from the French Revolution, the reorganization in Germany and the treaty following Austerlitz would almost certainly brought about another round of fighting soon enough. However if the right person took power in France after Napoleon I don't see France playing a role in instigating the next round.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2021 8:48 a.m. PST

The trouble is, given France was the world's pre-eminent military superpower of the day, the only type of person likely to take over was someone who wanted and intended to use that power. You weren't going to get someone of peaceful intent, unless you restored the Bourbons.

If France loses in 1805 the Royal Navy stands down, the Holy Roman Empire still exists and the Confederation of Rhine Puppet States doesn't. Aside from knowing who replaces di Buonaparte, we also need to know how that came about. Having observed the weakness of Austria in 1796-1800, Prussia or Russia might have had a go at snaffling choice bits of Poland, but if Napoleonic defeat in 1805 was the result of Austrian military prowess, then this looks a lot less likely.

Without France to occupy these three's attention, I think the next casus belli would be the struggle to decide whether Germany got unified under Austrian or Prussian hegemony (with Russia pitching in on the side of 'neither'), which later in the century is what did happen. For the sake of the 20th century we'd have to hope the Prussians lost.

Trajanus24 Feb 2021 9:45 a.m. PST

unless you restored the Bourbons

Yeah they tried that and look how well it turned out!

Oh and before anyone asks, that's not a Bonapartist statement!

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2021 9:52 a.m. PST

It lasted from 1814 to 1848 (with a short interval of ~100 days), so about two and half times longer than Napoleonic rule. Not bad.

Bill N24 Feb 2021 1:29 p.m. PST

1815-1830 under two kings. Then Louis Philippe got a shot at the throne for 18 years.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2021 1:46 p.m. PST

A Bourbon restoration looked feasible. There was talk at the time of General Bonaparte taking the role of General Monk in Britain. Whether best for France or Europe is not a miniature wargaming question. But any number of things might have happened to the General/First Consul/Consul/Emperor between Marengo and Ulm, and the circumstances of his absence and the foreign policy and competence of any other French government make a huge difference in the campaign game possibilities.

Trajanus24 Feb 2021 3:22 p.m. PST

It lasted from 1814 to 1848 (with a short interval of ~100 days), so about two and half times longer than Napoleonic rule. Not bad.

I was talking about Charles X not how long they hung around for!

nsolomon9924 Feb 2021 7:55 p.m. PST


Maybe? Would France accept him? Better than Talleyrand. He went on to lead Sweden ….. ?!

Leadjunky24 Feb 2021 7:58 p.m. PST

So 1866 forty years sooner is not too likely. Might make for some interesting war games though.

dibble25 Feb 2021 7:08 a.m. PST

Would the war of 1812 still kick off? How would all that trade lost affect the USA?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2021 12:47 p.m. PST

The War of 1812 was an attempted landgrab on the assumption that Russia would be invaded successfully. No invasion, no War of 1812.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2021 1:11 p.m. PST

The War of 1812 was an attempted landgrab on the assumption that Russia would be invaded successfully. No invasion, no War of 1812.

I do hope that this comment is in result of the OP and not something assumed to be factual.

If there were no Orders-in-Council, there would have been no maritime issues between the US and Great Britain, and then no War of 1812.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2021 3:39 p.m. PST

Don't forget the press gangs, Brechtel and 4th. Seven thousand US sailors out of a US population of seven million press-ganged, or sitting in British prisons for refusing to serve in the Royal Navy.

Kidnap 300,000 US citizens today, and I bet even yet you could stir the country out of its torpor for a bit.

ConnaughtRanger26 Feb 2021 1:46 a.m. PST

The Napoleonic Message Boards "Six Degrees of Separation" made flesh. Doesn't matter where we start, we end up in the same place.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 4:12 a.m. PST

The number of US seamen taken from US ships by the Royal Navy numbered nearly 10,000 by the count of the US State Department, not 7,000.

And the forced impressment of US sailors was a maritime issue.

Nine pound round26 Feb 2021 11:50 a.m. PST

And a legitimate casus belli.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 6:24 p.m. PST

I will concede that impressment of sailors can be a "maritime issue." But if you think not having the Orders in Council or the Berlin and Milan Decrees would have kept the RN from grabbing American sailors you have a kinder view of Britain in the Napoleonic Wars than I do. Such is not normally the case.

Nine pound round27 Feb 2021 1:05 p.m. PST

Had the shoe been on the other foot….well, you can all read Palmerston's Don Pacifico speech for yourselves.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2021 3:35 p.m. PST

The impressment of American sailors was one of the maritime issues.

For an excellent viewpoint of the causes of the War of 1812 see Don't Give up the Ship by Donald Hickey:


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