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Lecture 20

HIS103Y Lecture 20 November 28th. The French Revolutionary Wars: Part II

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

HIS103Y Lecture 20 November 28 . th The French Revolutionary Wars: Part II • Allies only had vague ideological goal of restoring monarchy, didn’t really have a coherent strategy and were not unified • Furthermore Austria was occupied with Partition of Poland • Catherine I harassed French fleets in Baltic but didn’t participate further when they realized they would get no subsides from Britain • Prussia was occupied by the partition of Poland as well • Pitt on the Survival of France in 1793 summer ‘If we distress the enemy on more sides as one while their internal destruction continues then it seems hardly possible that they can long oppose any effective resistance.’ Pitt underestimates the French resilience and resolve • Levee en Masse – proclaimed by Republican convention in August 1793 universal conscription of the French population. This resulted in an army of 1,790,000 strong and 790,000 were equipped for battle at any time • Committee of Public Safety invents the Terror to quell the Federalist and Vendee rebellion • This act allowed the Republic to focus on the external enemies • Lazare Carnot, member of the Committee of Public Safety, survived the Terror and the reaction to it set up factories and workshops to equip the army • Each battalion was blended with two volunteer battalions into a demy-brigade o The volunteers learned from the veteran soldiers on the run as well the volunteers also helped to raise the moral of the veteran troops • Also new strategy developed of supplying French army - they lived off the enemy territory • Napoleon, ‘War nourishes the war.’ • New style of warfare - Carnot realized couldn’t fight traditionally because no training or drilling they had to ‘act offensively and on mass and pursue the enemy until he is utterly destroyed.’ • Carnot new way of using his revolutionary army was to throw massive waves of human bodies at the enemy in column formations so the enemy is over whelmed by numerical superiority rather then military skill. This made warfare much more bloodier then before • Between 1790-1820 continental Europe experiences more battles then all the other pervious wars fought over the last three centuries • At the battle of Hondschoote French defeated Great Britain to retain Dunkirk • At the battle of Wattignies French fought against Austrian and attacked them from four sides as well as the help of a very experienced artillery brigade lead by Napoleon and thus recaptured Toulon in December 1793 • The rest of the Austrian force was driven out of French territory at the battle of Fleurus in June 1794 • French moved into the Low Coun
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