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The Lombard Crisis - (1852 A.D) by machinekng The Lombard Crisis - (1852 A.D) by machinekng
Sequel to the Five Lombardies


With the Springtime of Nations over, and the revolutions in the eastern Austrian Empire crushed, Hapsburg attention once again returned to the Italian peninsula. The 1848 revolutions ran long there. While the Duke of Tuscany's support of Charles Albert's war with the Austrians, along with a spate of liberal reforms, had quieted his subjects in 1848 and 1849, the new republics to the north served as a beacon for liberal radicals, and rebellion flared up again in 1850. The Duke was forced to flee his country, begging the Austrians for soldiers. The Austrians already had forces in Rome, to help disperse the upstart Roman Republic, and were able to quell the Tuscan rebellion by the end of 1851. With revolts crushed across Italy, it was time to deal with the Lombards.

The Five Lombardies had a rocky start. Without formal trade ties and the need for emergency relief, inflation and scarcity ran bloomed. While the provisional government was able to enforce some price controls to attempt to keep the poor afloat, shortages and black markets dominated. Social banditry began to emerge, with mobs targeting the rich burghers of the Confederation's major cities. The political scene was wrack with strife. The delegate election to the provisional government had produced a slim "radical" majority. These radicals were republicans, and had qualms with unifying under the crown of Charles Albert or electing their own constitutional monarch. The remainder of the assembly, the moderates, had no such qualms, and saw a constitutional monarchy as the only way to earn peace and legitimacy in the eyes of their neighbors.

In 1852, diplomats from Sardinia-Piedmont, Tuscany, and the Lombardies were invited by Austria to a conference in Naples to resolve the "Lombard Crisis." The peace of 1849 was not satisfactory, and the status of the Lombard state would need to be renegotiated if the Austrians were to restrain from further intervention.

Through the conference, four major peace plans emerged.

The Ferdinand Plan: The official plan of the Austrian Empire, the Ferdinand Plan would maintain much of the 1849 status quo. The Lombardies would be forced to accept the monarchs they had driven into exile, and the state would be reorganized as a monarchical federation, with the head of state of the federation rotating between the four dukes. Pontremoli and some compensatory territory would be returned to Tuscany. Finally, the Austrian Empire would be able to occupy parts of eastern Veneto for twenty-five years. This plan would save Austrian face in light of the Peace of 1849. The plan made allowances for liberal constitutions, to help appease the Lombard liberals. However, the Lombard radicals feared that this plan would lay the groundwork for Austrian re-annexation of the region. The Sardinians were also opposed, as the new federation would be a wrench in Charles Albert's plans to unify the peninsula.

Radetzky Plan: The unofficial plan of the Austrian Empire. Drafted by the resentful Field Marshal Radetzky and covertly circulated, the Radetzky plan would seek to split the Lombardies between Sardinia and Austria. Austria would re-annex Veneto, while Parma, Modena, and Lombardy west of the Adda river would be given to Sardinia. Pontremoli would be restored to Tuscany. The remaining Lombard territory would become the Duchy of Lombardy. While the Austrians would reinstall their ducal candidate, the duchy would be a co-dominion of Sardinia and Austria, with both countries responsible for its security. This situation would force a long-term peace, assuming that the co-dominion could be stable. While some in Sardinia were partial to the plan, seeing it as way to recoup gains that were forfeited in the Peace of 1849, the plan was criticized by many Austrian leaders, for sacrificing too much. In addition, discarding the Ferdinand plan in favor of Radetzky's proposal would be a sheer embarrassment to the Emperor, making it a difficult sell.

The Sardinian Plan: The primary proposal of Charles Albert, the Sardinian plan would establish Lombardy as Kingdom, and dual monarchy between Lombardy and Sardinia-Piedmont. The new dual monarchy would be fairly decentralized. Sardinia-Piedmont would abstain from conscription in the new Kingdom, and would allow for the Lombards to hold a constituent assembly to determine the internal structure of the Kingdom. However, trade and movement into the Kingdom would still be controlled by Sardinia-Piedmont. In addition to the restoration of Pontremoli to Tuscany, parts of Lombardy and Veneto would be ceded to Austria. While the Austrians preferred this proposal over a republican neighbor or the direct annexation by Sardinia, for many it was unacceptable. It would allow for the Sardinians to centralize at a later date and continue their reunification campaign. The compensation offered to Austria seemed insignificant in return.

Radical Plan: While the Lombard moderates would be content with either the Ferdinand or Sardinian plans, the Lombard radicals decided to propose their own vision for Italy. This plan was hardly a peace plan, but rather a rallying cry for Italian independence. The plan would establish the Italian Union, a federation of both monarchical and republican states. Charles Albert would be the head of state of the states of Savoy, Piedmont, Genoa and Sardinia, and the States of Upper Lombardy, Lower Lombardy and Veneto would be allowed to elect republican heads of state. Charles Albert would also be the head of state of the Union, albeit with few executive powers. Both the Sardinians and Austrians were insulted by this plan, knowing that it would quickly lead to war.
LoreC10 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2017
this alternate history project is interesting ^^
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