France's population grows much more rapidly in the 19th century

Futurist

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May 2014
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What if France's population would have grown much more rapidly in the 19th century? In real life, France's population grew at an extremely slow pace in the 19th century even though few people emigrated; meanwhile, Germany and Britain experienced much more rapid population growth during this time in spite of the fact that a much larger percentage of their population emigrated.

What if France's population would have grown much more rapidly in the 19th century to the point that France would have maintained its status as the second most populous country in Europe behind Russia? What effects would this have had on France, on the rest of Europe, and on the rest of the world?
 
Oct 2015
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Here's what wikipedia says:

If the population of France had grown between 1815 and 2000 at the same rate as that of Germany during the same time period, France's population would have been 110 million in 2000; Germany grew at a much faster rate despite its very substantial emigration to the Americas, and its larger military and civilian losses during the World Wars than France. If France's population had grown at the same rate as that of England and Wales (which was also siphoned off by emigration to the Americas, Australia and New Zealand), France's population could have been as much as 150 million in 2000.

Anyway considering that France has historically had the largest population in Europe from the Middle Ages on, and its military hegemony over Europe from the latter half of the 1600s to the Napoleonic period stemmed from this fact, if this trend had continued, further amplified by the industrial revolution, France's military dominance would have continued through the 19th century regardless of German unification. Its also possible that France would have continued to be regarded by Britain as its greatest threat rather than Germany. Considering that France continued to be militarily formidable even after its demographic collapse in otl, I mean it played a prominent role in the second war for Italian unification, the Crimean War, French intervention in Spain, North African Conquest etc. In this timeline with no demographic collapse I can see France dealing the Prussians a crushing defeat in the F-P War. that would mean German unification is stillborn and France probably would have done anything it could from that point on to keep Germany fragmented with Bavaria probably being its closest German ally. Of course if Nap III had called for total occupation of Prussia and attempts to dismember it, realizing its potential threat in the future, that might have dragged the Brits into war. Britain probably would not have sent troops to the continent. However if they did, considering how the French operations in Crimea did better than the Brits in our timeline, the British army on its own would have likely been mangled by the French in their first engagement. That's why I don't see the Brits sending troops. But definitely a blockade is the likely recourse.

The Entente Cordiale probably doesn't happen. Something resembling World War 1 might still have happened but probably between Britain and France and their respective allies. Probably something like this, Prussia-GB, Austro-Hungarian vs France, Bavaria, Russia.
 
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Futurist

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Do you see France permanently keeping Algeria and perhaps other parts of French North Africa in this scenario?
 
Oct 2015
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Do you see France permanently keeping Algeria and perhaps other parts of French North Africa in this scenario?
Probably not because like Vietnam for the US, the Algerian War was just too unpopular in France. Besides, decolonization was inevitable anyway you look at it.
 
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Futurist

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Probably not because like Vietnam for the US, the Algerian War was just too unpopular in France. Besides, decolonization was inevitable anyway you look at it.
I meant having France have a much larger demographic presence in Algeria as a result of much more French settlement in Algeria due to France's much larger population in this scenario, though.

Obviously in real life France's rule in Algeria was probably bound to eventually end for demographic reasons. Algeria's population was rapidly growing and France would have probably been unwilling to give Algerians a share of political power relative to their numbers. If, on the other hand, there would have overall continued to be much more French people than Algerians, and if the percentage of pieds-noirs in Algeria would have been, say, 30+% instead of 10%, then France's hold on Algeria might have been more secure--even in the long(er)-run.
 
Oct 2015
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I meant having France have a much larger demographic presence in Algeria as a result of much more French settlement in Algeria due to France's much larger population in this scenario, though.

Obviously in real life France's rule in Algeria was probably bound to eventually end for demographic reasons. Algeria's population was rapidly growing and France would have probably been unwilling to give Algerians a share of political power relative to their numbers. If, on the other hand, there would have overall continued to be much more French people than Algerians, and if the percentage of pieds-noirs in Algeria would have been, say, 30+% instead of 10%, then France's hold on Algeria might have been more secure--even in the long(er)-run.
In our timeline France won the Algerian War because the Algerian national liberation army was defeated. France actually had a solid victory in Algeria. Militarily Algeria was won, but lost politically. Politically France lacked the will to hold on to Algeria despite its victory. Would it really have been all that secure? Even with a 30% pieds noirs population, they would have been heavily concentrated in the coast, not inland where the vast majority of the Arab population wants them out. How long could the French tolerate terrorism literally in their own backyard? Terrorism would likely not have been centered in Algeria alone but in mainland France as well.
 
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Chlodio

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Aug 2016
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I don't know about the Franco-Prussian War, but if WW1 and 2 had set up exactly the same except for France having a larger population, they would have come up with better strategies than Plan 17 and the Maginot Line.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
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In our timeline France won the Algerian War because the Algerian national liberation army was defeated. France actually had a solid victory in Algeria. Militarily Algeria was won, but lost politically. Politically France lacked the will to hold on to Algeria despite its victory. Would it really have been all that secure? Even with a 30% pieds noirs population, they would have been heavily concentrated in the coast, not inland where the vast majority of the Arab population wants them out. How long could the French tolerate terrorism literally in their own backyard? Terrorism would likely not have been centered in Algeria alone but in mainland France as well.
Those are some good points, but please keep in mind that France could do what Spain did in regards to Morocco--as in, withdraw from most of Algeria while keeping a couple of cities in French hands and building huge walls around them in order to prevent Algerian infiltrators from getting into these cities.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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SoCal
I don't know about the Franco-Prussian War, but if WW1 and 2 had set up exactly the same except for France having a larger population, they would have come up with better strategies than Plan 17 and the Maginot Line.
Like what?
 
Oct 2015
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Those are some good points, but please keep in mind that France could do what Spain did in regards to Morocco--as in, withdraw from most of Algeria while keeping a couple of cities in French hands and building huge walls around them in order to prevent Algerian infiltrators from getting into these cities.
Walled French cities in Algeria came to my mind too. But walls signify the fact that you are in fact not secure and that your occupation is opposed by 90% of the population. Don't get me wrong, France would have stayed in Algeria longer if no French demogrpahic collapse but de colonization was inevitable imo at least.