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|French Trafalgar, British Waterloo|
|Nations and Geopolitics|
|People, Culture and Other|
The End of the Napoleonic Wars (1805-1812)
The virtually complete destruction of the British Fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, after the fateful shot that killed Admiral Nelson, forced the British to retreat, opening the way for the French to invade England.
However, Napoleon, not wishing to invade and conquer the "island of shopkeepers", instead offered an olive branch, accepting peace in return for trading privileges for both sides. Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger accepted, and the Peace of Copenhagen was signed.The French then turned on the Austrians and Russians, and smashed both armies in the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2. Austria sued for peace, and was forced to sign the Treaty of Zürich, which made the Hapsburgs renounce to all their claims on Italy.
By 1806, as Western Europe was under the control of the French, Britain was worried about American expansionism into Canada, Austria was licking her wounds from the war, Russia was weakened and Prussia was sitting on her hands, Napoleon decided to begin reorganizing the Empire. In February, the Italian Peninsula was unified for the first time since the end of the Roman Empire, forming the Kingdom of Italy under the rule of Joseph Napoleon, who assumed the title of "Premier Regent" so as to not anger the locals. In March, the Kingdom of Holland, made up of current day European lands and the Dutch East Indies minus the islands of Sumatra and Java (which were "given" to the French Empire) was formed. Although some people in these countries were originally upset that Napoleon didn't grant them their long sought after independence, the majority was content to live with the security the Empire afforded, and the economy boost provided by the money the French poured into the smaller countries. This dual show of strength and generosity, though quietly resented, was appreciated in making sure the countries could develop in safety and prosperity.
German Crisis and War
When Napoleon made his move to form the Confederation of the Rhine in June of 1806, Prussia declared war, and very soon the Prussian army moved in to capture the cities of Munich, Leipzig and Hanover. King Fredrick Wilhelm III knew that, by unifying the many tiny principalities and duchies into one large powerful state under French control, the Confederation could easily take away the leading position Prussia had among the Germanic states. In the minds of the Prussian leaders, this was unacceptable, so they decided to strangle the child in the crib and destroy the state before it managed to consolidate itself.However, the war did not go as planned. At the Battle of Augsburg, on July 17, the French were able to stop and rout the forces led by King Fredrick William III. This rout continued straight to Berlin, where Prussia was forced to accept the creation of the Confederation, and the loss of land to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. After this defeat, Fredrick William was forced by the reformers Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein, Karl August von Hardenberg, Gerhard von Scharnhorst, August Neidhardt von Gneisenau and Hermann von Boyen to turn Prussia into a constitutional monarchy, abandoning the army's outdated system that had been unchanged since the reign of Frederick the Great, and agree to form a Reichstag. These efforts led to a backlash by the conservative elements in the Prussian Army in 1811, but the people of Berlin rose up, and units loyal to the liberal reformers suppressed the coup. The conservative and reactionary elements in the army were stripped of their titles, tried, and either imprisoned, exiled or executed.
Now, with only Russia left from the list of enemies, Napoleon planned to send a massive force to knock out Czar Alexander I. However most of the Marshal's of France, lead by Marshal Michel Ney, the Emperor's most trusted general, convinced Napoleon that, due to the size of Russia and its massive population, it would difficult if not impossible to conquer the nation. Napoleon reluctantly agreed, and decided instead to try to negotiate with Russia. Therefore, the Treaty of Cracow was signed, ending the war between Russia and the French Empire in 1807.
Dominance of France on the Continent
With her enemies completely destroyed or kept in peace, Napoleon decided it was time to start strengthening the Empire: the expansion of industrialization, mercantile expeditions and the overseas colonies were to become the main goals of said strengthening. The Emperor's primary goal was to make France as strong or stronger than Britain, which, since they had not been invaded by Napoleon, was still strong enough to fight the French Empire, even if it didn't have the political willpower at this time.First, Napoleon created the First Imperial Plan in 1808: over the next six years, money would be provided to help industries and businesses to start and grow; roads, harbors and schools would be built, and a fleet of powerful ships was to be built as well. The massive Grande Armée was slowly disbanded, and the industrial expansion had the main motive of helping the returning soldiers find a job, and, if they could not find jobs in their home towns, the soldiers would be sponsored by the Empire until they could (this would be considered the advent of French Socialism).
The other parts of the French Empire, such as Italy and the Confederation of the Rhine also benefited from the First Imperial Plan, though more as suppliers to France than developing their own national economies. For example, a young aspiring steel maker called Friedrich Krupp was helped by the French to establish his foundry in Essen in 1810. However, most of his steel was sold to the French, mainly for guns, steam engines and other industrial equipment Similar stories of entrepreneurs being supported with French gold was widespread. This serves to increase reliance on France, while giving the people the feeling of security under the "French Umbrella", as well as prosperity. Several groups in the various nations met in secret to fight for their true freedom, but they were not very popular, and most meetings were broken up by the army and Napoleon's Secret Police.
Russia, after signing the Treaty of Cracow and a brief and successful war against Sweden, and thanks to influence of the French Revolution and the fear of later invasions, undertook sweeping reforms: the serfs were freed (1809), the navy was expanded (1810) and factories and industries were built through Russia, thanks to the "Alexander Program", which had been approved and supported by the Czar. However, although it was successful in expanding Russia's industrial capacity and reducing the major dependence on the land, Russian nobles still considered the millions of impoverished workers who were no longer bound to them their inferiors, and tensions between the rich and the poor grew, though neither side was willing to light the spark. The expansion of the navy, modernization of the army, and starting an alliance with France allowed Russia to be secure on the international stage, using its influence to start expanding in Central Asia.
The British, though they had not been invaded, were very war weary, and calls to disband the army and lay up parts of the navy resounded through the United Kingdom. Spencer Perceval, the British Prime Minister, decided to make half steps, thinking of the danger that America posed to Canada. The Royal Navy used this time to try to rebuild ships that would replace those lost at Trafalgar: there were still many available ships, but unfortunately most of them were not the powerful Ship of the Lines. According to some estimations, the new ships would be ready by 1812, and their construction would help boost the economy, although these ships were just considered stop-gap vessels (due to their low quality, owed to the hurried construction) and most ended up on colonial duty, replacing the bigger ships that were stationed overseas. Slave trade was done away with in Britain with the approval of the People Trade Act of 1812, whereas British ships and merchants were forbidden to "... transport person's with the intention to sell them into bondage ..." Although not fully banning the practice of slavery, it was seen as an enormous leap toward the goal. Other nations also soon followed suit, banning slave trade.
Austria, in contrast, expanded its economy, and was able to recover from the losses quickly. Soon, many new factories in Bohemia, Austria and Hungary inspired a rapid growth of the economy. Francis I, the Hapsburg Emperor, granted more freedom to his people, and in general, the entire country prospered. This was accelerated thanks to the signing of trade agreements, and eventually an alliance, with France. However, tensions between the different ethnic groups in the minority German-dominated Empire were starting to fester, and suppressed by the police and army.
In Prussia, the Reforms of 1808 were finally pushed through, and the first Riechstag was elected in 1809, dominated by younger, liberal members. Unfotunately, the majority of the plans that would have increased the rights of the ordinary people, as well as eroding the power of the Junker ruling class, were successfully blocked by conservative members of the Reichstag. However, all sides worked together to pass the majority of the military reforms, as the threat of France was still looming large. Prussia built its first fleet in the Baltic after the expansion of Russia's navy, with help from laid-off British naval engineers. However, these "wooden buckets with bronze cannons", as the head of the Army called them, were of little use besides hoisting the flag and establishing a presence in the Baltic.
In 1808, the United States elected James Madison of the Democratic-Republican party as President, and he immediately set into motion plans to expand the nation westward. Since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, many American families had moved west and were settling in the area. However, Indians quickly retaliated, ambushing several towns and killing dozens. In 1810, settlers, scared of the attacks, asked Washington D.C. for assistance. Madison agreed to support a militia to fight the Indians, but the attacks only increased.
The British, seeing an attempt to prevent American expansion, funneled supplies and weapons through Canada to the Indians, who gladly used them to fight the Americans. These plans backfired when, in a raid in 1811, American Militiamen stumbled across a convoy of Indians carrying British-made weapons. Congress, dominated by the War Hawks, were furious, and demanded President Madison to do something about it. Madison hoped to resolve the dispute through diplomacy, and although various notes between the President and the Governor of Canada resulted in the end of the weapons trade with the Indians, the War Hawks still cried for war.
In June of 1812, as news of the attacks and massacres of the settlers in the Louisiana Territory flooded east, Congress demanded the President to declare war on the British, and take over Canada as punishment. Madison tried to delay this as much as possible, but, on July 14, 1812, President James Madison stood in front of Congress and announced that the state militias were being called up, and that the continuous attacks on the settlers constituted an act of war, so now a state of war existed between the United States and the British Empire.
The First American War (1812-1815)
American forces were assembled to march on York by August. As the American's marched into York, the Governor and the militia evacuated and retreated to Montreal. As soon as England found out, an army of 25,000 veterans of the Napoleonic Wars were assembled and were sent to Canada.
Meanwhile, American forces suffered greatly during the winter. Harsh weather and insufficient supplies lead to the death of many of the occupying soldiers. Canadian militia's, made up of American Loyalists who immigrated after the Revolutionary War, French-Canadian settlers who feared losing their lands to American settlers and Native warriors fighting from Britain, all helped raid and attack the American outposts.
When the spring of 1813 arrived, American forces attacked Fort Dearborne (now Detroit) and Montreal. Fort Dearborn fell to the Americans, but at the Battle of Sherbroke, British veterans that just arrived off the boats destroyed an unorganized American force, comprised mostly of untrained militia from New York and Pennsylvania. Soon, British forces were advancing through up-state New York, and their was panic in New York City and Philadelphia that the cities would be captured.
The British implemented a blockade of major harbors in the North-east, such as Boston. Although some isolated victories by single ships boosted American morale, the entire national economy was suffering due to the effects of the blockade. As goods sat warehoused to prevent the products from being sunk, the manufacturers and businessmen of New England grumbled at the course of the war.
President Madison, who was re-elected in the glow after the occupation of York, was now severely criticized for the way he was handling the war. Madison sacked his Secretary of War, William Eustis and placed James Monroe in charge, and the plan for the New American army, with conscription on a basis for a "national need" was introduced, and thousands were drafted and quickly trained. These new forces managed to slow down, and eventually cease the British march in New York, but every effort to dislodge them failed.
British Counter Attacks
A young officer who joined the new American Army, Andrew Jackson, held back the British from Albany in late 1814, and was soon able to slowly push them back. The war was re branded as a crusade to free the Canadians from the tyranny of British oppression. Support grows, but opposition from the Eastern merchants, whose entire livelihoods had been crushed by the British blockade, still rises.American fortunes continue to plummet, as Indian raids into Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio results in a mounting death toll, and the forcing of many families back east. As these refuges stumble back east, they are left to fend for themselves, were poverty and starvation ensue. With the economy in shambles, and the British finally capturing Northern Maine, Vermont and New York, calls to end the war at what ever cost drowns out the War Hawks in Congress, who still delude themselves in thinking they can defeat the British, though many are silenced by the attack on Fort McHenry. The attack was forever remembered in the fiery call to action that was to become the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, written by bystander Francis Scott Key.
The final straw was the naval landing in Washington, D.C. in June, 1814, and the subsequent destruction of the White House and the partially completed Capitol Buildings. Although President Madison escaped with many treasures of the White House, including the painting of George Washington, American's opposition to the war reached a fever pitch, and it was finally agreed to end the war, and ask for terms.
The Treaty of Liverpool
The British, having won the war with the minimum of casualties, decided to prevent the US from expanding westward to the Pacific, and, therefore, confining them to the Atlantic Coast. In the Treaty of Liverpool, the US was forced to accept that the land west of 102 degrees West is to be given to Great Britain, and all land land east of the "Wellington Line" is as far as the US is legally allowed to expand to, on the penalty of war. Although the United Sates Senate was going to refuse the treaty, the British delegation, led by the Duke of Wellington, said that the war would resume if the Senate did not agree to the Treaty. This land would become part of the Indian Confederacy, created to give the native tribes who supported Britain a safe place, while protecting British interests. Faced with these odds, the Senators relented, and the Treaty was signed on February 15, 1815, the First America's War ended. In later years, American settlers would continuously flaunt the line anyway, due to less than impressive British presence, forcing the natives to either fight and be massacred or slaughtered, or push farther north to true British lands of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Era of Peace (1814-1829)
With the French Empire under Napoleon dominate in Europe, and the US humbled by Great Britain, the Era of Peace is finally established. Napoleon's Imperial Plan is having the desired effects, with the French economy booming, and its industrial power is rapidly increasing. 1814, the Second Imperial Plan is initiated, this time with more support to the French Empire's "associate states." Industry in the Rhineland expands, Italy's economy is rapidly modernized and improved, and new farming methods and factories in both The Grand Duchy of Warsaw (renamed the Kingdom of Poland) and in the Spanish Kingdom increases support for Napoleon and his Empire on the Continent.
The United States, hoping to re-establish their power in North America after their defeat in the First America's war, looks to France as their model. The "American Plan" is initiated in 1816, as President Madison leaves office. James Monroe, the Democratic-Republican nominee, is majorly defeated in the election, and Federalist Rufus King is elected. King, taking the example of French centralization, begins the process of rebuilding the United States that the American Plan has only started to begin.
First, trade agreements with France allow industrial products to be imported in exchange for agricultural products, such as wheat and cotton, are formed with the French Empire. Engineers from France travel across the Atlantic, and help design and roads, mines, harbors and factories, which all help to industrialize America.
France then sent various army officers to help the Department of War reorganize the army, and admirals from Spain help with the designing of new ships for the navy. The United States' Merchant Marine rapidly expands, with the vast majority of the ship being built in America, at Boston and Norfolk, with smaller centers in New Jersey and Georgia.
President King, following the advice of war hero Andrew Jackson, creates a permanent army, made up of volunteers and highly trained officers to complement the civilian militias, which are renamed the American Guards. The first forts are established in the remaining Louisiana Purchase, protecting the settlers from Indian raids. The settlers who fled from their homesteads in 1813 return, and are able to rebuild all that had been destroyed.
In 1819, President Rufus King was the first sitting president to travel to a foreign country, sailing to France on the USS Massachusetts, a new "super frigate" just built. While in France, the President was able to meet with Emperor Napoleon, and the basis for the Franco-American Alliance was formed, but not made official. Napoleon latter confided that "...America will be on of our strongest allies in the future, so we must help them develop now."
Europe's Breathing Spell
With war having raged across the continent since the French Revolution, Europe was virtually quiet during the Era of Peace, rebuilding the war torn areas. With French products flooding the market, and the Second Imperial Plan initiated in 1814, the British were slowly being excluded out of Europe, and soon the pound began to lose its value, causing a panic and recession in England, which barely affects the continent. France began to look across the world to expand her colonial empire. The first target of Napoleon's colonial ambitions was northern Africa, and in 1818, a French fleet anchored of Algiers, and the sultan agreed to become a French protectorate, in return for opening its markets to the French and the Empire's products.
After Algeria, France began expanding along the South Atlantic coast of Africa, annexing Mauritania in 1820, the area around the Volta River in 1822 and the Guinea's in 1823. Madagascar was first settled by French settlers in 1819, and became a colony in 1822. Indochina was reached in 1823, and was made a French protectorate in 1825.
In 1819, Sweden and Prussia, both weaker powers after their defeats by Russia and France respectively, formed the Stockholm Pact, to protect each other from future threats. Great Britain also joined the Pact in 1822, giving the allies enormous naval power to go with Sweden's riches and Prussia's army. Great Britain was able to ship products to both countries, helping to improve the economy.
In 1820, Russia, with the help of the French, built a fleet in St Petersburg to strengthen their position in the Baltic, as the Stockholm Pact appeared to be directed against Russia. Russian modernization was increased, and the improved farming methods introduced nearly doubled the amount of food produced in the Ukraine. Factories began turning out valuable products, and forges in the Baltic States and in Finland soon supplied all the cannon and guns required by the Czar's army. In 1825, Czar Alexander I passed away, and Nicholas I was crowned in St. Petersburg. But his focus was more on the Black Sea than his predecessors, strengthening the Black Sea Fleet quietly in Sevastopol. He also expanded Russia's influence in Alyseka, spreading deeper into unclaimed Northern Territory.
Austria, in the mean time, focused on the economy, and implemented some of the reforms that Napoleon had introduced in France, such as equipment for the farms in Hungary. The army, however, was downsized, reduced to a small defense force, and Hungary was to be vigorously Germanized. Plans for militia's were proposed but rejected continuously, as Emperor Francis I did not wish to antagonize the French or the Russians. In 1824, Hungarian Noblemen petitioned the Emperor with a plan to make Hungary a full fledged part of the Empire, but the Emperor dismissed them. This was the beginning of the Hungarian Revolt, where the Hungarian Noblemen, lead by Count István Széchenyi formed their own state composed of OTL Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Transylvania and Croatia. The Emperor's hope to not antagonize Napoleon was now his undoing, for with only a small army to fight the Hungarian Revolt, he has virtually sounded the death knell of the Hapsburg monarchy as he knew it. After the noblemen lead by Széchenyi marched on Vienna and captured the Emperor, and Francis I was forced to sign the Unitarian Dictate, which gave Hungary equal status to Austria in the governing of the Empire, now renamed the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Count Széchenyi became the first Prime Minister of the new union, and immediately began a program to give the other minority's equal right s in the empire, such as the Czechs, Slovakians and the Croatians.
The Growth and expansion of the British Empire
English power having been tested by the Americans, sought to expand and preserve her current power. In North America, the creation of the Indian Confederacy was seen was a near failure, as despite the threat of reprisals and fighting, American settlers continued to pour into the land west of the Wellington Line. It was decided that the British would require the settlers to move to certain areas, though few followed these rules. Native American's continuously moved west and northwards, toward securely British territory, as the settlers brought enough firepower with them to destroy anything in their path.
South Africa, including OTL Angola is established as a British Colony, as is the area around Kenya. Australia is increasingly settled, with Tasmania and New South Wales being declared Crown Colonies. New Zealand is also made a colony, and unified with the overall British government of Australia. Meanwhile, Britain reaches out for allies in Europe, and is able to make defense pacts with Prussia and Sweden, and inroads into Russia. The first railroads, stretching from Liverpool to Manchester and the nearby coal fields, are completed. After the death of King George III in 1820, the Prince of Wales is crowned King George IV, and immediately begins working with Parliament to improve England's economy and foreign policy.
Rumbles in the New World
In 1820, the first colony in Western Canada is established with land given to Lord Selkirk, who sends several dozen Scottish families to settle in the area, and the colony Assiniboia is established, with its capital at Fort Garry, a Hudson's Bay company trading post. The population rises quickly as settlers from Germany and Scandinavia arrive in 1824.
After President Rufus King is reelected in 1820, the process of increasing America's power is hastened. The first railroads outside of England, connecting Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York are established. The establishment of Assinibona is appreciated as a threat to American interests East of the Wellington Line. The Dakota Territory is created in 1823, and the march west continues, but British outposts do their best to keep the Americans out of their territory, realizing that they could demand to be reunited with the US in the future. Tensions between the two powers increases.
However, the Federalist Party didn't live much longer after King left office, mostly due to his complete turnaround on key platforms, such as opposition to France and support for Britain that he campaigned on in his two elections, and the majority of the Federalists opposed, but due to American defeat in the First Anglo-American War, he was still very popular. The Democrat-Republican Party won the next election in 1824 under the banner of Andrew Jackson, and was reelected in 1828, and continued the foreign policy of Rufus King, but worked to make the Federal Government weaker and the state governments stronger, plus destroying the national banks. This policy was continued under his successor, his Vice-President John C. Calhoun, elected in 1832.
In South America, the Spanish colonies are constantly held under by their European governors, and soon revolts and Guerrilla warfare erupt when a petition asking for greater self government by the Criollo class of colonial born Spaniards is refused. The Great Latin America Insurrection, lead by Simon Bolivar in the north and José de San Martín in the south, erupts in 1822, and many of the oppressed peoples joined the revolt, nearly overwhelming the Peninsulars, the Spaniards born in Spain who were sent to oversea the colonial outposts. Guerrilla warfare and open revolt decimate the country side, as scorched Earth policies by the Spanish soldiers results in a massive famine that kills thousands, increasing support for the Revolutionaries, nicknamed "bolivarianos." Pressure from France (who did not wish to continue seeing a strong Spanish Empire) and America (who wanted to do the same, as well as give the people their freedom) soon forced the Spanish to the negotiating table with the leaders of the Insurrection in 1826, and the Agreement of Bogotá results in the Declaration of Independence for the creation many new states, such as the Central American Republic (OTL Colombia and Panama) in 1827, Peru, Argentina and Chile in 1828, Venezuela and Bolivia in 1829. Brazil becomes independent in 1831, established as the Brazilian Empire, with the blessing of the Portuguese Crown. Mexico is declared free from Spanish Rule in 1832, and the Confederation of the Caribbean, which also included Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico and other islands is announced in 1833, joined together into a loose confederation of islands with a weak central government in charge of the military and foreign relations, while the various Islands still had major power, though from the beginning, tensions threatened to tear the confederation apart. Spain, nevertheless, had been driven from the America's within a decade, and remained bitter over the loss of their colonies, and began to move to the British and Prussian camp.
In June of 1827, the first European fleet since 1639 arrived off the coast of Japan, under the flag of French Admiral Ganteaume, the hero of Trafalgar. The Shogunate, who have virtually ruled Japan since 1185, immediately established relations with the French Empire, as the French fleet had modern muskets and cannons, while Japan only had the primitive weapons from the Portuguese from the 15th century. In 1828, the first French ambassadorial delegation arrived at the court of the Emperor, and the first European Embassy in Asia was established. The next year, Britain arrived, and trade agreements were signed with France.
The Emperor Ninkō, however, did little to change the status quo, and it was only after his son, Emperor Kōmei assumed the throne in 1846 was the old Samurai order seriously threatened. The shogunate did little to modernize themselves in the time, still believing that they could control the Emperor and the Europeans as they always had.
Although China had always had some contact with the West since Marco Polo, the Chinese refused to believe that the European powers were better than themselves, so had refused to modernize themselves along European lines. Although trade with the west had been large, the problem was that Chinese merchants would only accept silver for commodities such as tea, silk and ceramics, which seriously depleted the European stocks of the precious metals. Even after news of the French fleet arriving in Japan in 1827 did little to change the theory that they were superior to the Western "Barbarians." The French looked at China as a serious threat to their goals from opening Asia to Europe, and it was believed they could only do so by demonstrating their weapons to the Chines, but the Qing Emperors in Peking refused to allow the Europeans to do so. France, however, had other problems to worry about closer to home.
Road to the Prussian Expansion War (1829-1830)
The Irish Sea Incident in September 1829, sparked a maelstrom in Europe that did little to ease the tensions between the major powers.
When the French merchant ship Orleans was sighted by the British Frigate Chaser approaching the coast of Eastern Ireland on the stormy night of September 7, the captain immediately tried to hail the vessel, as it was approaching the rocky shoreline where the currents and waves could easily destroy a ship. However, the French vessel refused to respond. After a second try, again with no response, the Chaser went to action stations and prepared to stop the ship and investigate. It took the better part of eight hours, but the Orleans was finally halted, and a squad of Marines went over to search the ship. It only took a some time, but it was found that rifles, gunpowder and other ammunition stored in the holds. The ship was ordered to sail to a British port, but the Captain refused. The Chaser finally had to tow the ship to Bristol, but while under way, the ropes snapped, while the crew on the chaser believed that they were cut, so the British frigate turned to fire on the Orleans, which seriously damaged the hull, but the suspected ship finally was able to escape, and arrived in Brest.
Soon after the ship was found to have been shot at, the French protested, saying that the Orleans was on a run from Brest to Queenstown (OTL Cobh), carrying grain and manufactured products. The British countered, claiming that the ship was smuggling arms to Ireland, and that the French were trying to support a revolt of Irish freedom seekers, which Paris flatly denied. Tensions continued to increase when the British found another shipment of weapons stored in Dublin at a suspected Irish "revolutionaries" home in October.
In December, an explosion at a coal mine in the Confederation of the Rhine; 57 were killed and 17 others wounded. It was interpreted as a Prussian ploy by the French, although later investigation realized that in reality it was when a kerosene lamp was knocked over, igniting the coal dust and causing the mine to collapse, but it was covered up by the Rhineland authorities.
The Death of Napoleon I
On January 14, 1830, the Conqueror of Europe, Emperor Napoleon I, suffered a fatal heart attack, and although much was tried, he could not be saved. A state funeral in Paris, where he was buried under the magnificent Ecole Militare, was attended by dignitaries from across the world, including former US President Rufus King and the Ambassador from Russia, but not by the British Ambassador.
On February 17, the heir-apparent, Napoleon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte, the Prince of Normandy (The title Napoleon I gave to his infant son in 1811) was crowned in Paris as Emperor Napoleon II. Although only just 19 years old, Napoleon II immediately asked Marshal Ney to become his adviser, and, on advice from Ney, reintroduced conscription to the threat that Great Britain and Prussia posed to the French Empire in June.
In one of his last acts before he died in 1830, King George IV signs the Military Act in July, which states that all able bodied men between the ages of 18 to 45 is eligible for military service, to be decided by draft. Volunteers are still encouraged, as they would get the choice to either serve in the army or navy, while draftee's would be trained to serve in the army.
Prussia began the mobilization of her army in September by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm III, but the campaign season was quickly drawing to a close, so the order is reascended in November, but the Swedish Fleet and the Prussian Coastal Defense Force is still on standby throughout the winter.
Escalating MovesThe winter of 1830 was a very nervous time in Europe as the major powers try to position themselves to be able defend themselves and their allies. Russia, since not formerly allied with any powers, and realizing that the other powers are concerned for themselves, plans on a move to weaken the Ottoman Empire in Europe. After signing an agreement with Austria-Hungary to not intervene in February, Czar Nicholas I felt that the time to move into Moldavia and Romania was soon, as the other major powers were still trying to out maneuver each other. The Ottoman Empire had been pursuing reforms since 1806, under the rule of Selim III, but opposition from such reactionary elements as the elite Janissary Guards resulted in an assassination attempt, but he survived and was able to defeat the groups in the Turkish Civil War from 1807 to 1823, after which the empire had been nearly destroyed from the inside, and Selim realized that he was to weak to defend against the European Powers, so he sought allies with one group or the other. Negotiations with Napoleon in 1824 resulted in little, but later talks with Britain and Prussia were more successful. Royal Navy Admirals traveled to Constantinople to help reform the Navy, and Prussian Generals helped modernize the army, but the reforms begun in 1826 had done little by the time Russia began threatening the Ottoman Empire in 1830. But the Prussian officers in the court of Selim believed that if Russia does attack, the Turkish army could try to hold back the invaders until more troops could be trained to fight, and surrender space for time.
The Black Sea War (1830-1831)Russia finally declared war in March, and although massive artillery bombardments preceded the main attack in Jassy, but to the surprise of the Russian attackers, few casualties were inflicted, and in the Battle of Jassy, the Ottomans were able to hold off the Russian for two months, inflicting 105,000 casualties in an army of 170,000, while the defenders suffered only 27,000 in an army of 75,000. At the same time, Russian forces were pinned down in the Battle of Galatz for three months, suffering over 70,000 casualties in an army of 150,000, with the Ottomans suffering far less. However, both positions were forced to retreat when new armies arrived in May, but in June, at the Battle of the River Sereth, the Russian army again suffered huge casualties, while the Ottomans had much less. However, the Russian army still continued to advance, as Czar Nicholas I threw more and more troops into battle, and the Turkish forces were slowly being pushed back. This became the story of the war; the Russians suffered enormous casualties, while Turkey had far fewer, but the Czar's armies still advanced.
But Russian morale was falling, even as the troops pushed forward. Small raids by Ottoman soldiers drastically reduced the amount of supplies reaching the front, and starvation soon set in. Ottoman resolve still remained strong, as it was seen as an unjust war against the Imperialist Russians, who would eventually be driven from the empire. Even the ethnic groups in the empire supported the Sultan, as Selim promised more rights to those who would help fight the "... Russian aggressors ..."
At the Naval Battle of Constanta in July, the vastly superior Russian fleet of 19 engaged the smaller, and older Ottoman fleet of 15. But with the help of Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who commanded the fleet that landed at Washington, D.C. in the First America's War, the Ottoman forces were able to outmaneuver the bigger Russian ships, sinking three and capturing two others, for the loss of only 500 men and two ships seriously damaged. The Russian's were humiliated, and Czar Nicholas ordered the fleet to return to Sevastopol, and the forced retirement of the Admiral in charge, Pavel Chichagov, who had served in the First Great European War.
In August, Russian forces had finally slogged their way to the outskirts of Ploesti, but he three armies that had arrived took on 134,000 losses in the combined total of 394,000, while the defenders had 198,000 on the outskirts.
But, at the Battle of Ploesti, Field Marshall Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sacken used a tactic to outflank the enemy, and within three days, the Russians had captured Ploesti, routing the Ottoman forces. However, the Field Marshall was killed, but the stage for Russian victory had been set.
By November, Bucharest had fallen and the Russian armies were poised on the Danube. At this point, the Sultan realized that a lightning strike could reach Constantinople, and it was decided to sue for peace.
At the Treaty of Odessa in January 1831, The Ottoman Empire was forced to surrender The majority of Romania and Moldavia to Russia, which stripped away a large percentage of territory from Turkey. This, along with the calls of Pan-Slavism that Russia had fostered, resulted in the fall of Selim III from power in 1831, and his successor, Mahmud II withdrew from European conflicts to try to reform the Empire faster than his predecessor.
Outbreak of War (1831)
The Black Sea War had not been completely unnoticed, and Emperor Napoleon II had planned on sending an expeditionary force to help Russia before the Battle of Ploesti, as did Great Britain in support of the Ottomans after, but both plans were not implemented, so as to not antagonize the other. But it did not matter.
In March, Spain entered the North Sea Pact with England, Prussia and Sweden, in fear of the power that the French Empire posed. At the same time, the reformed Austria-Hungarian Empire allied with France, in fears of what Prussia could do.
After Napoleon II consulted with Marshal Ney, it is decided that it would be better to let the North Sea Pact declare war first, and maintain defensive positions on the Border with Spain and in the Confederation of the Rhine. At the same time, Prussia was planning on a lightning thrust through the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, after which the majority of the forces could be redirected to the Confederation. Great Britain agreed, and therefore, on April 14, 1831, Prussia declared war on the Grand Duchy. France then declared war on Prussia, followed suit by Austria-Hungary, Sweden and Italy, on April 22, and Britain and Spain on the French Empire and allies on April 27. The war has begun.