thermidor

historical geopolitical simulation

The congress will encompass a simulation of international relations of the mid-XIX century, to be more precise, the period between 1852 and 1871, as well as accompanying lectures on various aspects of the international system and practice of diplomatic representation of the time. The congress will encompass between 30 to 50 participants who will find themselves at the head of 23 European states.

Simulation - Europe 1852.


After a continent-wide crisis caused by the Revolution of 1848, political regimes in the largest European countries have stabilized. In France, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, following in the footsteps of his famed uncle has been crowned Emperor under the name Napoleon III. After quelling the Hungarian revolt with significant help of the Russian army and Croat and Serbian national movements, Austria is being ruled by Emperor Franz Joseph, in front of whom lie important decisions, on which depend not only the future, but the very foundation of his empire. For more than 15 years, Britain has been ruled by Queen Victoria, and this country is experiencing its golden age. Russia faces difficulties with maintaining its power in Poland, which is prone to uprisings, while striving to push back the weakened Ottoman Empire and secure access to warm seas, even aiming at Constantinople itself. In Prussia, the King has been forced to adopt a constitution, and the state, which still aspires to the leading position among German countries, is riddled with contradictions between the conservative and mainly agricultural East and the industrialized West through which spread democratic ideals. In Piedmont, the liberal politician Cavour has been elected Prime minister, who has plans that could completely change the map of the Apennine peninsula. The Balkan nations strive to occupy a better position on the map of Europe and to make their national projects a reality, thus coming in confrontation with one another as well as the great powers of the region. In Scandinavia, Denmark has emerged victorious from the War for Schleswig-Holstein, but is aware of its weaknesses against Prussia and Austria, as well as its imperative to strengthen its position in order to preserve these newly-conquered territories, while Norway, in personal union with Sweden, strives towards increasing independence. The continuing development of industry and technology opens a never-ending struggle for resources as well as new markets, which further encourages competition among countries in the fight for supremacy. In such an atmosphere, is it clear that Europe is about to face new exciting developments in international relations, and that states need able, visionary statesmen, who will lead their nations to the road of fame and prosperity like never before.





Will Napoleon III return France to the dominant position in Europe where it was during the time of his dynasty’s founder? Will Austria keep its holdings on the Apennine peninsula, will it succeed in uniting all German countries around it, or will it turn towards expanding to the South and East? Will Prussian chancellor Bismarck have Prussia be included among the greatest powers in Europe? Will Germany unite, and if so, will it unite democratically or through Blood and Iron? Will the Sick Man upon the Bosporus get better, or will Russia take up the leading role at the southeast of the continent? Will the Balkan states gain their independence and divide territories among themselves? Can the prime minister of the Piedmont government Cavour succeed in his intentions to make Italy a single nation, or are the Bourbon regime in Naples and the Papal state in Rome powerful enough to resist him? Will Britain still retain naval supremacy? Will Poland remain partitioned between centuries-old enemies or will it return to the map of Europe again as an independent state? What place in this new order awaits Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian countries?
In the mid XIX century, Europe was a place of diversity among a large number of European countries. The antagonisms of conservative and liberal regimes of dynastic states which represented a relic of tradition and nation-states, emerging and growing, are typical of this period. By participating in the “Thermidor” Congress you get a possibility, through choosing one of the 23 most significant countries of the era, to rewrite its history and have it, under your leadership, brought to fame and greatness, or, in case of failure, disaster and loss of independence.

THE GREAT POWERS

The Great Powers are represented by a three-person leadership comprised of a Chief of State – also the Chief of Diplomacy, then a Minister of the Military and lastly a Minister of the Economy. This distribution of power enables a greater specialization of functions of state administration in order to respond to the needs of being engaged all across Europe and to comprehensively work on the realisation of grandiose foreign policy goals. The Great Powers hold decisive influence on the international scene, shifting borders by mutual accord, or on the other hand, in case of conflict, provoking wars on a continental scale. To such a role contributes the fact that in the XIX century only they held the right to decide on matters discussed on grand international congresses. The decision-making process is not the same among all Great Powers. Decision-making takes into account mutual agreements among the leadership, as well as the form of government: in absolute monarchies the final say lies with the Chief of State – the monarch, while in countries with a parliamentary or republican system in event of disagreement, a simple two-to-one majority is needed to reach a decision. In constitutional monarchies, on the other hand, while the Chief of State has supremacy, their decisions can in certain cases be suspended by the will of the other delegation members. The Great Powers in the “Europe 1852” simulation are:

The Russian Empire
-The French Empire
-The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
-The Ottoman Empire
-The Austrian Empire
-The Kingdom of Prussia

THE MIDDLE POWERS


The Middle powers are represented by a two-person leadership, comprised of a Chief of State and Minister of the Military. They are regional powers, who frequently have a key role in solving matters pertaining to their region of influence, but their leaderships and peoples are often dissatisfied with their role and aspire to increasing their influence to the rank of continental, and even world power. Their foreign policy goals can vary from attaining the status of a Great Power, which they can attain on their own – increasing their military and economic might, territories, and influence – or, in some cases, by successfully completing a unification process, in order to ensure the status quo. The Middle Powers in the “Europe 1852” simulation are:
-The Kingdom of Spain
-The Kingdom of Portugal
-The Kingdom of Sardinia
-The Kingdom of Two Sicilies
-The Kingdom of Sweden
-The Kingdom of Denmark

THE MINOR POWERS


The Minor Powers are led by one participant each. In front of them lies the task of combining their negotiation skills, military prowess and economic insight in order to realise their national goals and bring their state to an aspired position on the map of Europe. Pursuant to that goal, they will, in accordance to their aspirations or the international situation, choose to be politically associated with certain Great Powers, to balance between the interests of several Great powers, or create a bloc with other small countries in an effort to expand their international significance. Smaller countries will often be a part of great national unification projects, where their leaders will find themselves facing a choice of trying to preserve their independence or take a chance at increasing their international significance directly by being incorporated into larger entities.
The Little Powers in the “Europe 1852” simulation are:
-The Papal State
-The Kingdom of Bavaria
-The Kingdom of Saxony
-The Kingdom of Hannover
-The Kingdom of Greece
-The Kingdom of Serbia (autonomous within the Ottoman Empire)
-The Kingdom of Wallachia (autonomous within the Ottoman Empire)
-he Kingdom of Moldavia (autonomous within the Ottoman Empire)
-The Kingdom of Belgium
-The Kingdom of the Netherlands
-The Kingdom of Norway (in personal union with Norway)

NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENTS


In the XIX century, many nations did not achieve statehood, but because of their importance, size, or position, constituted an important factor of international politics. The best example of this was Poland, which, although divided between the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Austria, had a well-organized and influential national movement that at every major international crisis has tried achieving independence using diplomatic and economic means. Constant threats of mass uprisings and revolutions during the long XIX century meant that the Polish influence on the international situation was always taken seriously, even though the country did not exist on the political map of Europe. Therefore, the leader of the Polish liberation movement at the “Thermidor” Congress will find themselves in an extremely complex decision.

CONFEDERATIONS, FEDERATIONS AND PERSONAL UNIONS


As national unification was the ideal of many nations throughout the XIX century, our Heads of State have the ability to join together in a new confederation, federal or unitary state. In doing so, they are free to form relationships between parts of the new state, delegate government authority, as well as the decision-making process in accordance to their goals and balance of power and interest in the moment of unification. In the year 1852, there is only one such confederation, The German Confederacy. In the constraints of our simulation, it consists of Austria (which also serves as its Presiding member), Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Hannover. Each of these countries has a single vote in the confederacy, with an additional vote being delegated to the Danish monarch, on the basis of their authority over the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein. An example of a personal union are Norway and Sweden. The monarch of Sweden was, at the same time, the monarch of Norway, while the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the foreign policy of both kingdoms.