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In this timeline, the revolutions of 1848 result in more concrete resolutions. As a result this universe results in a different, though similar version of our own.
The world is similar to our own, with a few minor changes. Due to the liberal revolutions bringing unification to both Germany and Italy, neither of these countries experiences the rise of Fascism or Nazism. Communism also does not become a threat, with the Bolsheviks being crushed before they could effectively spread it internationally. The world is more liberal in character, politically but socially and technologically there are few differences. With communism being replaced as a threat, anarchism and socialism instead become the main left-wing ideologies. Fascism, despite not arising in Italy is much more prevalent, and like communism in our timeline does survive the Second World War. The Cold War is between the Western Powers (Austria, Germany, Italy, UK, and the USA) and their allies and protectorates and the Eastern Powers (Japan and Russia) and their allies and protectorates. The Cold War is less ideological and more about imperial expansion and economic domination. Also, due to the lack of communist revolutions, monarchies are still the prevalent form of government and all (European at least) are constitutional. Socially, the world has seen more reform and there is greater prosperity. Women and other minorities begin to experience emancipation from the forties onwards, and by the 1960’s the world is freer. Nationalism is common, but the world’s powers still retain overseas empires, in the form of commonwealths ruled by the monarch of the colonial power, but retaining a large degree of autonomy. Dictatorships are still common, but democracies are the main form of government in most of the world. The League of Nations still exist with the USA as a key member. The European Union is an very unlikely possibility due to the lack of interest in economic or political integration for Europes states.
Ferdinand I of Austria soon abdicated and was succeeded by his reactionary nephew Francis Joseph I, who organised the Austrian military and attacked the Hungarian revolutionaries. However the Hungarians drove back the Austrian forces and wreaked havoc on them. The collapse of Austrian power in the face of the revolutionaries, prompted the Frankfurt parliament to offer the crown to Frederick William IV of Prussia, who after a week of indecisiveness was pushed into accepting it by the Prussian elites who saw a chance to rapidly expand Prussia’s power internationally. Following this the Empire of Germany was proclaimed and was internationally recognised by the United Kingdom and France, as well as the newly established Italy.Italy had been formed in the aftermath of a dramatic victory over the Austrians at Custoza. The Austrians had lost significant numbers of their troops following the Hungarian parliament's withdrawal of Hungarian troops from the Imperial armies (they did two weeks earlier than in our timeline.) The Sardinian forces under Charles Albert, King of Sardinia scored a major victory and followed it up in 1849 by defeating the Austrians again at Novara. The Sardinians and their allies declared the Kingdom of Italy. Austria and the Italians signed a peace treaty in which the territories occupied by the Italians (most of Lombardy including Milan) were to be ceded to the new state. In the new Empire of Germany however, tensions were felt. The new state was dragged into war almost immediately as the Danes, seeking to gain German held territories exploited the revolutionary situation and invaded. Prussia, who had been seeking to resolve the Schleswig-Holstein question in their favour immediately declared war and mobilised the forces of the new empire to their side. However the new Germany’s military while large on manpower was not well trained and had poor quality equipment. The fact that the constituent states of the empire refused to dissolve their armies in favour of an imperial one hurt the Prussian cause. The war was also not the only problem. The governments were unstable and empire went through six in just two years. However a constitution was drawn up and approved by the Prussians which solved some of the turmoil facing the country. In the Habsburg dominions, meanwhile the Hungarian forces defeated the Austrians convincingly in the battles they faced them in. However the Austrians had the support of a large number of the empires various nationalities. Despite this, the Hungarians defeated the various Austrian attempts to crush them and out of desperation Francis Joseph asked the “Gendarme of Europe” Tsar Nicholas I of Russia for help. The Russians sent a small force into Transylvania but were beaten back with most of their men killed or captured. Angered by this Nicholas I redoubled his efforts and a large thirty thousand strong Russian force descended on Hungary. Hungarian appeals to the other nations fell on deaf ears (Italy were keen not to be dragged into a larger European War and the Germans were very wary of angering the Russians) the Hungarian forces surrendered at Világos and the Austrians reoccupied the state and enacted a brutal period of repression.
With the constitution finalised, new elections were held with the Conservatives and Liberals winning the majority; the Prussian Conservative Otto Theodor von Manteuffel was appointed Imperial Chancellor and set about trying to resolve the war with Denmark in Germany’s favour. The war which had begun with German victories had drifted into stalemate and the German Army was split on what to do next. Eventually it was decided to settle for peace and in 1851 a peace conference was called. The Germans who were severely isolated were humiliated at the Treaty of London (1851) which forced them to accept the status quo with both duchies remaining in Danish hands. The German military following this was completely reformed with each state of the empire having their individual armies dissolved and merged into the newly formed Imperial Army (Reichsheer). This defeat made the Germans wary of pursuing an aggressive foreign policy for fear of being humiliated by the Great Powers again. This fear combined with the military reforms kept Germany out of conflicts during the 1850’s and it wasn’t until 1864 that Germany participated in an European war again.
In France meanwhile, the Bonapartist president Louis-Napoleon had seized power in a coup and declared himself emperor Napoleon III. The Empire of France would prove to be a major player in European affairs, and was closely involved in Italy. In Austria, shockwaves were sent through the nation when Emperor Francis Joseph I was assassinated by Hungarian nationalist János Libényi. Francis Joseph was succeeded by his liberal brother Maximilian who ended the period of repression and began an era of reform starting with the establishment of a parliamentary democracy. Maximilian also split the empire into three constituent regions which he would rule in personal union; Austria (Austria, Bohemia, Moravia and Trentino), Croatia (Carniola, Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia) and Hungary (Bukovina, Galicia, Hungary, Slovakia and Transylvania.) These would all have elected parliaments and state governments but were responsible to the emperor and the central imperial government. Another conservative bulwark, Russia also entered an period of reform.