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The Prussian Aggression War (1831-1832), also known originally as the Second Great European War, and the War of 1831, was a conflict fought between Prussia, United Kingdom, and Sweden, allied by the North Sea Pact against the members of the French Empire, and various "associates" to the empire, including Italy, the Confederation of the Rhine, Poland and the Netherlands, as well as Austria-Hungary and Russia. The war gained its regular name as it has been determined that Prussia started the war with Operation Westschlag against Poland and the later invasion of Austria-Hungary. The war ended with the defeat of the North Sea Pact, as well as large territorial gains made by France and her allies.
Cause of the War
The causes that lead to the Prussian Aggression War stretched back to the end of the First Great European War, and the humiliation of Prussia in the Rhineland Conflict, where Napoleon I of France was able to easily destroy the Prussian army in about two months. Prussia, after reforming the nation under Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein and Karl August von Hardenberg, formed an alliance with Great Britain and Sweden, known as the North Sea Pact.
France, worried about the increasing Prussian power, formed a literal ring around the small German state, creating a alliance with the associates of the empire, so called as they were created after the war by Napoleon to be loyal puppets to France.
The increasing tensions of the period was drawn to a head in the Irish Sea Incident in September of 1829, where a Royal Navy frigate stopped a French merchant ship in a heavy storm approaching dangerous waters near Ireland, only to later find out that the ship was smuggling weapons to Irish revolutionaries. The firestorm from the incident nearly lead to war that year, but various nations held off due to lateness of the campaigning season.
Emperor Napoleon I died in January of 1830, and the new, inexperienced Napoleon II brought Marshal Michel Ney, the hero of the First Great European War, in to be his adviser. The two worked together to increase French power quickly, including re-introducing conscription. Prussia and Britain also introduced a draft, hoping to establish superiority over the French.
The Black Sea War and the Outbreak of the General European Conflict
However, the Russian attack on the Ottoman Empire in March stunned Europe, as Russia had taken advantage of the tensions to try to defeat along time enemy, and after a long, hard slogging match, managed to decisively defeat the Turks in the Black Sea War.
Both sides knew that war was unavoidable, but Michel Ney convinced the young Emperor of the French to remain on the defensive, and let the North Sea Pact make the first move, which they did on April 14, 1831, when Prussia declared war on the Grand duchy of Poland. The other nations of Europe fell into the war, so that by the end of the week, the entire continent was ablaze.
Forces lead by General Hermann von Boyen, one of the reformers of the Prussian Army after the defeat during the War of Shame, marched across The Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and in the Battle of Poznan on April 27, routed the combined Polish-French Army, which left the way to Warsaw open, and was occupied on May 12. Napoleon II demanded that action be taken to try to divert Prussian attention, but Marshal Micheal Ney said the time wasn't right.
Austria-Hungary launched an invasion into Prussia from the south, but was halted at the Battle of Wroclaw, and were not able to push forward, but under orders of Emperor Francis I, did not retreat. Prussian cavalry units attacked the supply routes, which resulted in the starvation of the army throughout May and to July, when a relief force arrived.
The British Royal Navy began a blockade of France, but France's newer fleet of well-built ships were able to puncture the blockade time and time again, and went to raid the British Merchant fleet at sea, which meant that the British eventually had to impose rationing as food supplies from Canada and the Empire were reduced to dangerous levels within the first few months of the war. The French Navy, on the other hand, was able to blockade the Spanish fleet in Cadiz and Barcelona, after Spain became more pro-British, and help land an expeditionary force in Jamaica, and annexed the island in August.
The Prussian Army, flush with success after crushing the "Polish problem," next turned toward the Confederation of the Rhine, and the massive French armies arrayed along the imposing border fortresses built in the 1820's. The French Generals believed that if they could stay on the defensive, and use the superior French artillery, the Prussian armies would be virtually destroyed. The Prussian plan was to try to outflank the French positions by driving through the weaker Austro-Hungarian Army, and when some forces would have to be diverted, the Prussians would use the opportunity to drive in the Confederation of the Rhine, annexing much of its territory. The overall plan was not to destroy the French Empire, just to bloody it into giving up land. The war was only going to last three months in the west, the Prussian General Staff claimed.
Operation Westschlag (West Strike) was put into effect on July 25, and within the first few days, the Prussian army had drove deep into Moravia and Bohemia, capturing Prague on August 1, and having reached Austria proper on August 17. The Battle of Salzburg was an overwhelming Prussian victory, with the entire Austrian Army routed.
Napoleon II, seeing his ally in trouble, ordered four corps be diverted to Austria-Hungary from the Confederation of the Rhine, but Marshal Ney, Commander of the French Armies, sensed a trap, so only two, one from the North and one stationed on the Spanish border were sent. Italian reinforcements were sent to Vienna, and in the Battle of Tirol, the timely arrival of the Italian army prevented the Prussian's from breaking out. Further reinforcements from France drove the Prussian army out of Austria, and furthermore out of Bohemia and Moravia.
The "September Ceasefire"
A sense of uneasy calm then descended on Europe, as the Prussian army retreated to regroup, and the French and Austrian forces prepared defensive lines in Bohemia and Switzerland, the so called "September Ceasefire." The only major actions were on the high seas, when the French Imperial Navy engaged Royal Navy in the Battle of the English Channel. Although the battle was indecisive, and had no implications in the war, a major hero on either side emerged. Lieutenant Charles Dickens, commander of the frigate HMS Challenger, who managed to hold off three French ships of the line in the latter part of the battle, allowing the majority of the British Fleet to escape; and Captain, the Duke Ferdinand Phillipe of Orleans, who bravely lead his own men in capturing the HMS Liberator, a major warship, when his command, the MIF Marshal was sunk. Both would return to their homelands as the victors of the battle, while the admirals were publicly sacked for not destroying the other fleet.
The next major stage of the war took place in the south, with Italy and France sending a naval force to knock out Egypt, and the Suez Canal (partially completed by a joint English-Ottoman team), which Marshal Ney had claimed was to be "keystone" in any future empire. If Egypt was cut off, then England's link to India was effectively severed, as the trip around the Cape of Good Hope would have been to expensive for trade, and the shipping of men and material would have been too uneconomical, and France will have a spring board into the Middle East and Eastern Africa. Napoleon II gave his approval, and the Mediterranean Fleet was dispatched in October.
In Berlin, the demands of Kaiser Frederich William III for the defeat of France in the West was met with a simple "can't do it yet." The Kaiser immediately sacked General Hermann von Boyen, placing him on occupation duty in Poland, and installed himself as the new Commander in Chief. However, he wasn't the great warrior he imagined himself, and a French supported resurrection in occupied Poland required him to send troops from the west back to the East, where Russia was planning to ally with France for Prussian and Swedish territory.
French Counterattack and The End of The War
Marshel Ney finally decided to begin a offensive to push back the Prussian's, now dangerously weakened. It was planned to begin in Early November, and hopefully the war could be concluded by the end of the year.
On November 7, a massive artillery bombardment around Hanover completely disorganized the Prussian forces there, and forced them to retreat. A second attack was opened on November 17 with Austria-Hungary and Italian troops launching an attack on the Prussian Army in Bohemia and Moravia. Although the fighting was fierce, the Prussian forces were forced to withdraw.
Kaiser Fredrich William was stunned at the sudden onslaught, but prepared to defend Prussia, recalling Hermann von Boyen to the West, who was able to stall the French Armies in the Battle of Dresden, but it was too much.
On December 15, Russia launched an attack on Prussia and Sweden, overwhelming the defenders with the veterans of the Black Sea War. Czar Nicholas I lead his forces into Koenigsberg, annexing the city and the surrounding area, while Field Marshall Peter Khristianovich Wittgenstein marched into Northern Sweden. A naval battle in the Northern Baltic proved the strength of the newer Russian Navy, overwhelming the combined Swedish and Prussian forces. Charles XIV John, the Swedish King, immediately sued for peace.
Britain, facing starvation at home, and the defeat of the British forces defending the Suez Canal, also sued for peace. France was fairly generous with her opponent across the English Channel, taking Cyprus and Jamaica, and returning the Suez Canal, and paid an indemnity of two million francs.
It wasn't until January 7, with French, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops approaching Potsdam, the Hohenzollern seat of power, that Prussia finally surrendered to the approaching forces.
In the Treaty of Vienna, Prussia was forced to surrender the small North Sea Coast that she owned, around the city of Kiel, to the Confederation of the Rhine. Also, the area north of Krakow of the Confederation of the Rhine was ceded to Austria-Hungary. Poland was re-established, with additional land from Prussia. Russia gained Koenigsberg, as well a part of Northern Sweden.
Although a relatively brief war due to the overstretching of the North Sea Pact, the war became known as the Prussian Aggression War due to the attempts by Prussia to take over much territory in its quest to secure its borders against French and Russian dominance. The War was a huge propaganda victory for the Marseilles Pact, who was able to use the image of the "Blood thirsty Prussian" to urge for a stronger army. After the First Global War, it was renamed the Second Great European War and the War of 1831, the use of both which became accepted for decades. By the time of the Third Global War, however, the Prussian Aggression War once again became accepted again, due to the constant attempts by Prussia and its successor Germany to expand its borders at the expense of its neighbors. The French press, under the control of Sorelist censorship, even calls the Second Global War the German Expansion War to show the similarities between the two.