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revolutionary france and europe.docx

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Department
History
Course
HISC26H3
Professor
Dimitrias
Semester
Summer

Description
the main causes of constant war between revolutionary france and European powers. (why were they always at war?) 1) ideology 2)commitment of countries 3) polish partition 4) french war strategy The root of the French revolution which also became the cause and slogan of French Revolutionary wars was the ideology behind it. The ideology of freedom and a nation run by people for the people and elected by the people as opposed to a dominant monarchical government system, was the key factor of the French revolution. Not only was this idea of anti- monarchy powerful enough to bring about the revolution in France but furthermore it brought about zeal, contributed to the numbers and it was what fueled the French army against the European coalition forces. McKay and Scott discuss the differences in reasons to what fueled the ongoing war of Revolutionary France against Europe by giving differences between the Prussian and Revolutionary French army. In the early 1790s, Prussia went to war with France as a police action, so it could restore order back to France by enforcing the previous system of a Monarchy. On the other hand, for France, the war was one of people against kings and this ideology was so salient that they wanted to spread this idea throughout Europe. The French revolutionaries even went forward to conquering the Austrian Netherlands thinking that that they would be assisted in their war against Austria by the subject peoples of the Hapsburgs. However, as McKAy and Scott point out, this ideology of people against a monarchical system was limited to France alone and the Austrians were still bounded to the traditions of the eighteenth century. (pg 280 text book). Furthermore it is the revolutionary ideology that turned the campaigns of 1793-95 into a heroic period whereby the French Revolutionary leaders called upon the patriotism of the French civilians for their country and with this ideology, not only did the numbers of the French Revolutionary army increased to an enormous size but now France had an army that was fueled with an ideology from which it acquired its own momentum and thus resulting to the first example of a modern ‘total war’. (page 287 of text book) 1 )the ideology caused the war and it fueled it and even though they may have not been the best trained army, what contributed to their numbers and zeal was the ideology. to the extent that they wanted to spread this idea to other countries. 1) The ideology cooked up in france was a threat (a concern to the states) 2) BREAKING PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS/CONQUERING LANDS>France taking up territory and therefore breaking previous treaties? For prussia, the war was essentially a police action to restore order in France. For France it was the war of peoples against kings which brissot had been preaching ever since October 1791. In this war, the French believed that they would be assisted in their war against Austria by the subject peoples of the Hapsburgs. However this was an ideological war for france, for Austria it was a different story. Their wa was firmly in the tradition of eighteenth century. (pg 280) The campaigns of 1793-95 were the heroic perid of the French revolutionary armies, when their immense numerical superiority and their patronism carried almost all before them..(pg 287) Revolutionary france provided the first example of modern ‘total war’. The enlarged military establishment, prove easier to create than to control, and in this way war came to aquire its own momentum (pg 287) 2) -the coalitions formed against the french revolution kept on crumbling since all the partners had different interests. they did not focus on one goal and were not fighting for one goal and therefore this reduced their their strength and left some wavering or breaking away from the coalition. the lack of focus prevented them to fight as one together, as one army DIFFERENT INTERESTS & PRIORITIES. The European states having interest somewhere else and not wishing to spend on fighting revolutionary france, their reason of fighting france was not united. The decisive factor leading to war was the death of the emperor on 1 March 1792. Leopold II had always resisted the arguments of the émigré’s of Fredrick William II and of the German princes for a war against France. His death completely altered the situation: his successor Francis II, was a ruler of a very different stamp. Intimidation as a preclude to war. This change in Hapsburg policy created anxieties for the French revolution and so Domouriez, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution advocated for aggressive war against the Hapsburgs. On April 20 1792, France declared war on Austria.(279 pg) Prussia declared war on may 21st 1792 by Frederick William II who was more intent on revising the course of events in France, and more anxious for ,military glory. (pg 280) The wars that succeeded were the first wars fought by the French revolution movement and they were successful wars. The French won both wars, they defeated the Prussian army at Valmy and the Austrian Army at Jemappes. This led france in possession of the town of Mainz which controlled the passage to the Rhine and they took control over most of the Austrian Netherlands. (pg 281) Austria and Prussia had been disheartened by their initial defeats and the Prussian king was soon distracted by the polish problem over most of the Austrian Netherlands. (pg 281) The First Coalition was consequently never more than a heterogeneous political partnership of states, who though they recognized the need to defeat the revolutionaries, were more concerned with the pursuit of their individual and usually territorial objectives at the expense of France or in eastern europe. The system of partition which had dominated diplomacy exerted an importance of somewhat intermittent influence on this conflict. Prussia for example simply could not support two separate armies and was soon forced to choose between Poland and te war against france. Russia’s membership to the first coalition was minimal, Catherine was preoccupied with the ootoman empire and the polish segregation. The problem of Poland ultimately did much to undermine the first coalition. Above all the second partition destroyed the good relations between Austria and Prussia and the resulting effort weakened their military effort against france. Prussia and Russia were preoccupied with securing their gains from Poland. (pg 284) The defeat of the revolution would be a relatively easy matter especially coz thereis a still internal state of chaos in france. (PAGE 284) the lack of co-ordinated military planning and regular political consultation between allies. As a result there was never an effective strategy. The armies of the coalition disintergrated at the first signs of serious French resistance in the autmn. (pg 285) In June 1793, George III remarked, ‘Now is the hour to humble France, for nothing but her being disabled from disturbing other countries whatever government may be established there will keep her quiet.’12 However, far from supporting a concentration on operationsin France itself in the early stages of the war, the policy advocated by those who stressed the cause of counter- revolution, George urged both a focus elsewhere and the need to avoid spreading efforts too widely,which further ensured a lack of interest in operations in France.( British Strategy and the Struggle with France 1793–1815 ) As a reminder of the variety of factors that played a role in the strategic learning curve, George, like his ministers, became more dissatisfied with the allies from 1794,16 and this affected the debate over where best to deploy forces. The collapse of the allied position on the Continent in 1795, with military defeat exacerbated by what was seen as Prussia’s disgraceful abandonment of the struggle (Spain did likewise), left George, nevertheless, both resolute and also convinced that peace negotiations would be foolish as likely to save the French political system. .( British Strategy and the Struggle with France 1793–1815 ) The ministry’s willingness, both in 1796 and in 1797, to negotiate with France could have led to an end to the war, with all the implications for the contemporary and subsequent judgement of strategic tasking that this would have entailed, but the negotiations failed. Initially confident that Napoleon, who had seized power in 1799 in a ‘shameless revolution’ could not ‘hold long’,19 George III was against peace while ‘French principles’ continued and until there was a stable government on which reliance could be placed,20 criticised the proposal for a naval armistice and distrusted ‘the Corsican tyrant’, believing that negotiations with him wo
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