Austria enters the Crimean War on the Russian side

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,039
SoCal
#1
What if Austria would have entered the Crimean War on the Russian side like Tsar Nicholas I wanted and expected?

For the record, I am thinking of Austria launching an attack against the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans in order to liberate this region from Ottoman rule and bring the glories of Austrian civilization over there.

How would the war have unfolded afterwards?
 
Apr 2017
1,180
U.S.A.
#2
I'm not overly familiar with the politics of every European state at the time but generally Austria was wary of Russia. Russian expansion into the Balkans was a threat to Austria, they would begin to encircle them. The various orthodox Christians under Austrian rule may look to Russia for support in a revolt of their own.

That said, if for some reason Austria did declare war on the allies in support of Russia, they would have much to lose and little to gain. This could lead to France (and Sardinia) declaring war on Austria, leading to a war in Italy. Prussia may see this as a good chance to take Austrian territory and declare war. Even if the other powers didn't take action against Austria, they wouldn't get much. Serbia was already autonomous, so they couldn't take that (not without strong Russian objection). Russia obviously was going to take Wallachia-Moldava. This just leaves Bosnia for Austria to take (which Russia might object to), which they occupied in real life during this war (but didn't annex till 1908). So by siding with Russia they gain nothing more than they had in the normal time line and risk war with France and/or Prussia. This could however, lead to a longer alliance with Russia but it was doomed by geography in the long term (Russia would want to expand into Austrian territory).
 
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Apr 2017
1,180
U.S.A.
#3
Oh I mistakenly said Austria occupied Bosnia during this war, I meant later during the Russo-Turk war of 1878. So potentially they could gain the territory earlier, although it was poor, undeveloped and inhabited by hostile people. Russia may be willing to let them have it in exchange for their support during the war, so that may eliminate the cause of WW1 (but there's plenty of other potential causes).
 
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Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,585
Eastern PA
#5
One of the principal reasons behind the Crimean war was a dispute over the rights of Catholic pilgrims vs Orthodox pilgrims in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land. (Britain was playing geopolitics containing Russian expansion.) Austria could not ally with Russia with that parameter as a primary casus belli.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,039
SoCal
#6
One of the principal reasons behind the Crimean war was a dispute over the rights of Catholic pilgrims vs Orthodox pilgrims in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land. (Britain was playing geopolitics containing Russian expansion.) Austria could not ally with Russia with that parameter as a primary casus belli.
Were Catholic pilgrims treated better than Orthodox pilgrims?
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,585
Eastern PA
#7
No. The Ottomans were not even involved, other than failing to maintain order within their domain. It started with a dispute between French Catholic priests and Russian Orthodox priests regarding control of Christian Holy Sites. The dispute evolved to a riot where a number of Orthodox clerics were killed, and Russia blamed the Ottomans for ....... reasons. The Russians made demands and the Ottomans refused them. Consequently, the Russians attacked and enjoyed significant success.

Britain and France involvement is attributed to two reasons;. the desire to maintain the balance of power in Europe but primarily to keep the Russians from gaining control of the Dardanelles, which is a corollary of the first reason.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,039
SoCal
#8
No. The Ottomans were not even involved, other than failing to maintain order within their domain. It started with a dispute between French Catholic priests and Russian Orthodox priests regarding control of Christian Holy Sites. The dispute evolved to a riot where a number of Orthodox clerics were killed, and Russia blamed the Ottomans for ....... reasons. The Russians made demands and the Ottomans refused them. Consequently, the Russians attacked and enjoyed significant success.

Britain and France involvement is attributed to two reasons;. the desire to maintain the balance of power in Europe but primarily to keep the Russians from gaining control of the Dardanelles, which is a corollary of the first reason.
Thanks for this information.

Anyway, Austrian entry into the war on the Russian side should be viewed in terms of it being payback for Russia helping Austria crush a Hungarian rebellion back in 1848-1849. The smart move on Russia's part would have been to support the Hungarians, but alas, the Russians chose to preserve the territorial integrity of a fellow conservative absolute monarchy instead.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,039
SoCal
#9
Probabily the war between France and Sardinia against Austria would have started in 1853 instead of 1859, but plus there would have been UK support also.
Was Piedmont-Sardinia actually interested in Italian unification back in 1853, though?

I'm not overly familiar with the politics of every European state at the time but generally Austria was wary of Russia. Russian expansion into the Balkans was a threat to Austria, they would begin to encircle them. The various orthodox Christians under Austrian rule may look to Russia for support in a revolt of their own.

That said, if for some reason Austria did declare war on the allies in support of Russia, they would have much to lose and little to gain. This could lead to France (and Sardinia) declaring war on Austria, leading to a war in Italy. Prussia may see this as a good chance to take Austrian territory and declare war. Even if the other powers didn't take action against Austria, they wouldn't get much. Serbia was already autonomous, so they couldn't take that (not without strong Russian objection). Russia obviously was going to take Wallachia-Moldava. This just leaves Bosnia for Austria to take (which Russia might object to), which they occupied in real life during this war (but didn't annex till 1908). So by siding with Russia they gain nothing more than they had in the normal time line and risk war with France and/or Prussia. This could however, lead to a longer alliance with Russia but it was doomed by geography in the long term (Russia would want to expand into Austrian territory).
Was Piedmont-Sardinia actually interested in Italian unification back then, though?

Also, I was under the impression that Prussia didn't want any Austrian territory and wasn't actually interested in German unification until after Bismarck came to power there.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,585
Eastern PA
#10
Anyway, Austrian entry into the war on the Russian side should be viewed in terms of it being payback for Russia helping Austria crush a Hungarian rebellion back in 1848-1849. The smart move on Russia's part would have been to support the Hungarians, but alas, the Russians chose to preserve the territorial integrity of a fellow conservative absolute monarchy instead.
Austria was 91% Catholic in 1910 (closest I could find). That demographic is sufficient justification for withholding support for Russia in the nominally sectarian conflict.
 
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