France 1789-1792 France 1795-1799
Foreign Policy
France 1792-1795
Intellectual Life
French Revolution
Impact on Habsb. Netherlands

The National Convention 1792-1795 : Foreign Policy

A.) The Terror

The WAR OF THE FIRST COALITION had been started by a decision by the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, taken on April 20th 1792, to take military action against the emigres and the despots from whom they drew their support, i.e. Prussia, Austria etc. An Austro-Prussian contingent under the command of the DUKE OF BRUNSWICK invaded France, slowly marching on Paris; many French officers (mostly noblemen) deserted their ranks and surrendered to (even joined the) invading army.
The publication of the MANIFESTO OF THE DUKE OF BRUNSWICK in the name of King Louis XVI. caused his arrest and deposition (Sept. 21st 1792), in the wake of which the REPUBLIC was proclaimed. The NATIONAL CONVENTION thus found herself with a war at hand from the start. The invading Austro-Prussian forces were halted and turned back in the CANONADE OF VALMY (Sept. 1792). Revolutionary forces (largely expanded by regiments of volunteers and then by the LEVEE EN MASSE) soon temporarily occupied the AUSTRIAN NETHERLANDS, the Rhineland and SAVOY. In places such as MAINZ and BRUSSELS, the revolutionar troops were welcomed as liberators, TREES OF LIBERTY were planted, a Jacobin Club founded in Mainz.

In the War of the First Coalition, French revolutionary forces faced Austrian, Prussian, Spanish, British, Savoyard and Neapolitan forces, which in France herself were supported by the Royalists (who, for instance, handed over the fortresses of the port of Toulon to an Anglo-Spanish- Neapolitan expedition. Young officer NAPOLEON BONAPARTE expelled them after a three month long siege in 1793. The French revolutionary side was supported by foreign reformist emigres, such as the Dutch PATRIOTS which had fled the Netherlands for Paris in 1787.

After a temporary setback, French troops reoccupied the Austrian Netherlands in 1794, the Dutch Republic in January 1795, where the BATAVIAN REPUBLIC was established. In 1795, the PEACE OF BASEL was signed, ending the war; France annexed the Austrian Netherlands, Germany to the west of the Rhine, Savoy. France annexed Savoy in 1792, NICE in 1793, the Austrian Netherlands and the Rhineland in 1795.

Links from the French Revolution Homepage
Timetable : France during the French Revolution and under Napoleon Bonaparte. An annotated Chronology of Civil and Military Events, by Richard Orsinger, 1997
Timeline French Foreign Policy : Fr. Revolution, 1789-1799, from France Diplomatie
DOCUMENTS The Levee en Masse, from Modern History Sourcebook
VIDEOS La Marseillaise, 1937, b/w, in French with English subtitles.
REFERENCE William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution, 1989, 466 pp.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz