In an alternate scenario I am building, The French revolution never happens and thus Napoleon does not come to power. Without Napoleon, the Napoleonic Wars never occur and the HRE remains intact. The problem is that I want the Confederation of the Rhine to exist and am having trouble justifying it.

Without the Napoleonic wars occurring, what is the smallest thing I can change in history to create the Confederation of the Rhine? The only rules are that the change must be realistic, no magic negotiations, no super weapon, none of that garbage and that the Rhine must form by the 1870's.


Look to the Seven Years' War

Forget the French Revolution and look to the war that caused it. In a big Britain/Prussia vs France/Austria/Russia pile-up, the Imperial Diet of the HRE voted to join Austria's side, and the German states reluctantly followed the decision (or in the case of Hanover, joined Prussia's side).

But the Empire was already weak at that time. There are two distinct possibilities:

  • The Imperial Diet no longer exists - the Empire has already dissolved, or dissolves during this argument. The states of the Rhine band together to avoid becoming pawns or war prizes for the Great Powers.
  • The Imperial Diet votes to kick Austria to the curb and do its own thing. What remains of the HRE becomes your Confederation in all but name.
  1. keep the vehmic court system stronger --> more power to the court of Cologne, without changed borders.
  2. strengthen the different Wittelsbach families, mostly by having the palatine counts strengthened, and then let Philip William inherit Bavaria. The personal union only lasts for a generation, but unifies the palatine and bavarian branches of Wittelsbach.
  3. have the Austrians react poorly to Philip William's marriage to Louis XIV sister. In order to survive the Wittelsbach cartel ingratiate themselves to the french even more (since the alternative would be an open alliance with the protestants).
  4. collect power further under Clemens August Wittelsbach, with the integration of ecclesiastical Cologne (strengthened by vehmic powers, leading to dominance of the secular north), Munster, Osnabruck and so on. The smaller states are either clustered around Baden/Wittelsbach or faced with the unpalatable choices of Habsburg overlordship or protestant d:o.
  5. now you have a western-aligned west-germany under Wittelsbach dominance. The date is ca 1750, leadership probably under Carl Albrecht Wittelsbach. Faced with the seven years war, this ought to be power enough to force the chambers of kings and princes on the rest of these lands.

A consequence of this early centralisation of west-german power, is that Preussia will be severely weakened. It will probably be contained east of the Weser.

Your only real changes here, are a constitutional tradition-shift towards accommodating northern traditionalism and a manipulation of existing events to favour the Wittelsbach slightly more.

  • $\begingroup$ My point of divergance is during the french revolution, way past the 1750's $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Dec 26 '16 at 8:59

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