French Revolutionary Wars

French Revolutionary
Conflict from within and without
Context of the Wars-Changing
• Austria, England and France had been , traditionally the three
great powers of Europe. Interests had alligned the first two
against the third. Austria had come into conflict with France over
the Netherlands. England feared France on the sea. Rivalry of
power and commerce dictated the relationship. Spain was allied
with France since the prince belonged to the House of Bourbon.
France had other allies, Poland, Sweden, Prussia and Naples.
Switzerland, and Piedmont, varied their alliances, according to
• The rise in the north of two powers, Russia and Prussia, made
more assertive through, Catherine the Great and Frederick the
Great, changed the ancient alliances. Alliances were reformed
with England, Russia, Holland, Austria and Prussia signed
• This left the powers free to turn their attention to the French
Revolution, with France now considered the common foe
The First Coalition
Monarchy; George 111
Frederick William 11
Allied with Russia
Allied with Austria
Austria &Holy
Roman Empire;
Monarchy; Leopold 11,
brother of Marie
Antoinette, followed by
Joseph 11
Emigres seek support
Padua Circular
• Even after the aborted flight of the royal family in June 1791,
Emperor Leopold von Habsburg of Austria, brother of Marie
Antoinette, continued his efforts to organize a coalition of French
émigré nobles and other European powers that would invade
France and put an end to the Revolution. In this letter, written
shortly after the forced return of Louis and Marie Antoinette to
Paris (which Leopold considered their "arrest"), he proposes an
alliance of Austria, Prussia, Britain, Spain, Russia, and other
forces against the French Revolution and sets forth the
principles for which this alliance would fight—most notably, the
restoration of Louis to his full pre–1789 powers.
Declaration of Pillnitz
August 1791
In response to the "Padua Circular," King Louis’s brother, the Count of
Artois, a leader of the émigré nobles, expressed his support for Emperor
Leopold II of Austria. Leopold, in conjunction with Prussian King
Frederick–William III, then issued this "Declaration of Pillnitz"; the
"resolution to act quickly" was perceived as a declaration of war on
France for the purpose of ending the Revolution, even though neither
Austria nor Prussia was displeased by French weakness
“Their Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Prussia, having
heard the wishes and representations of Monsieur, the Count of
Artois, jointly declare that they view the situation in which the
King of France currently finds himself as a subject of common
interest for all of Europe's sovereigns. They hope that this interest
can not fail to be recognized by the powers from whom assistance
is being requested. Consequently, jointly with their respective
Majesties, they will use the most efficient means in relation to
their strengths to place the King of France in a position to be
totally free to consolidate the bases of a monarchical government
that shall be as amenable to the rights of sovereigns as it is to the
well-being of the French nation. In this case then, their said
Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Prussia are resolved to act
quickly, in mutual agreement, and with the forces necessary to
achieve the proposed and common goal. Meanwhile, they shall
issue their troops the necessary orders to prepare them for
Internal faction in the French
Some groups in France
already favoured war. The
Girondins , the leading
section in the Legislative
Assembly, felt that war would
make the Revolution a
patriotic cause.( Robespierre
voted against the war
The Royalists saw an
opportunity for counter
When Austria ignored a
french demand to expel the
emigres, France declared war
on April 20 1792
Brunswick Manifesto
• Read the document and analyze the
content as well as the tone.
• What reaction do you think this would
have produced amongst the various
Action and Reaction
• The Brunswick threat
prompted a Jacobin
uprising in Paris. Early
in August, the Assembly
yielded, suspended the
monarchy and decreed
a new government, the
National Convention
Duke of Brunswick vs Dumouriez
Linear Formations and Artillery
Fire-a battle of attrition
Describe the style and tactics of warfare from this source
Battle of Varoux
The 18th century saw the addition of bayonets to the muskets ,
making armies more efficient in attack. The close range sword
combat was being replaced by the more effective long range artillery
"From this place and from this day forth
commences a new era in the world's
Johann W. Goethe,
on the Battle of Valmy
Why do you think Goethe made this
“All hopes of crushing the Revolutionary armies,
and of the promenade to Paris, had now vanished,
though Brunswick lingered long in the Argonne,
till distress and sickness wasted away his once
splendid force, and finally but a mere wreck of it
re crossed the frontier. France, meanwhile, felt
that she possessed a giant's strength, and like a
giant did she use it. Before the close of that year
all Belgium obeyed the National Convention at
Paris, and the kings of Europe, after the lapse of
eighteen centuries, trembled once more before a
conquering military republic. “
Edward Shephard Creasy
“And yet the abortive battle would have far-reaching implications,
for in prevailing against the vaunted might of the Austro-Prussian
army the French experienced the first stirrings of an intense
national pride that would eventually carry them to victory
after victory and ultimately change the nature of warfare.
No longer undertaken on behalf of ruling elites, in time to come
wars would be waged by increasingly massive
armies (largely on the French model) expressive of the will of
whole societies. Above all, perhaps, the style of warfare in which
commanders such as Brunswick sought to outmaneuver their
opponents in lieu of actually defeating them by force of arms
would become a thing of the past. Inspired by the same powerful
forces that had given rise to the Revolution, the French would soon
set a new standard for offensive warfare in which the spirit of the
attack, would dominate.”
September Massacres
External threat; Internal revolt
Read the London Times Article on the massacres
and rewrite it from a French viewpoint
The King’s response
• NOV 9 1791 Assembly orders all emigres to return
on pain of death
• King vetoes Assembly ruling
• Nov 29 Decree of Assembly against priests
refusing to swear oaths to the state
• King Vetoes Assembly
• April 20 1792 War of the First Coalition
• August 10 Storming of the Tuileries. King and
family imprisoned
• September 20 French defeat Prussians at Valmy
• September 21 Convention votes unanimously to
abolish monarchy
• Why did Louis have to die?????
Execution of Louis XV1
Why had Louis’s execution become necessary?
Phases of the French Revolution