Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Maximilian Joseph Story

One of my history essays.....on the idea of Bavaria today being part of Austria.....IF things had gone differently.

A decade before the French Revolution, and the substantiate arrival of Napoleon as a game-changer in European politics.....there was the brief and non-dramatic War of Bavarian Succession.  I's not a catchy name for a war and not one that you'd ever hear much about.

It's a brief war that has mostly to do with the fact that there is no legit ruler to replace some old chap who has died and left the poor kingdom of Bavaria without proper leadership (something that a Brit would say after a fine evening of pub activity).

Toward the very last few days of 1777....Maximilian Joseph would pass on (smallpox would kill the guy).  Sadly, he'd been the Duke of Bavaria for thirty-two years and have no children to lead the empire.

A cousin existed who could have claimed the kingdom (Charles IV).....but he also had no children.

From Charles IV, there was this one other cousin (cousin of a cousin of a cousin thought process) who was the Duke of Zweibrucken.....who might have figured into this whole emergency problem.

But across the the south.....was Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, from the House of Hapsburg (Austria).  He looked upon this moment as a chance to add a German-speaking state onto the family influence in Europe.

The problem with this idea by Joseph?  The Empress herself (Maria Theresa) didn't agree with the idea of a war being fought over this issue).

The driving force of this mess ended up being Prussian alliance which would allow Bavaria to stay as it was.  Added to this....Catherine the Great promised to aid Prussia with fifty thousand Russian troops if necessary.

So for roughly nine months....a marginal war of sorts is staged between Prussia and the Hapsburg Empire.  There are no remarkable battles.  The 20,000 from the two forces who died?  Historians mostly record the bulk as having died from starvation and disease....not battles or such.

All of this would close out on 13 May 1798 with the Treaty of Teschen.

When historians talk about wars without battle.....this is usually referred to as the last of such events (Cabinet Wars is a popular term)....where you'd pretend to stage a war.....mostly to get people to a table to talk on a problem and reach an agreement.

 If Russia had not sided with Prussia?  If Prussia had chosen to stay neutral?  Well....Bavaria would have become a part of Austria.  History would be a bit different today.

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