France 1792-1795
Foreign Policy
France 1799-1804
Foreign Policy
France 1795-1799
Intellectual Life

France :
The Directory, 1795-1799 : Foreign Policy

In 1795, France annexed BELGIUM and the RHINELAND; the Dutch Republic was conquered and transformed into the BATAVIAN REPUBLIC. Prussia signed the PEACE OF BASEL and left the anti-French coalition; so did SPAIN, which, irritated by British manoeuvres in the Caribbean, entered into an alliance with France that was to last until 1808.
In 1796, Savoy-Piemont left the coalition against France; only England and Austria were left. The war concentrated on southern Germany, Switzerland and Northern Italy. Napoleon, placed in command of the Italian army, crossed the Alps, surprised and defeated the Austrians. In the PEACE OF CAMPO FORMIO, Austria ceded her rights to the Austrian Netherlands and Milan; in return Napoleon acknowledged an Austrian annexion of the Republic of Venice. Austria recognized the French satellite republics (LIGURIAN, CISALPINE, HELVETIAN, BATAVIAN R. etc). In 1798, France annexed GENEVA.

Now Napoleon was sent with an army to EGYPT, taking MALTA on the way (1798). The idea was to proceed on from Egypt to INDIA to harm the British there (Sultan Tippoo of Mysore had requested French aid against the British). On the side of Paul Barras, the figure dominating the DIRECTORATE, it was also a matter of getting dangerously ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte out of the way.
Lord Nelson's fleet destroyed the French fleet off ABOUKIR in Egypt. Napoleon's victory over a Mameluk force was worthless; without communication with France secured, proceeding further on to India was out of the question.

In the meantime, Russia had joined the alliance; Russian naval forces had liberated the IONIAN ISLANDS (1799, except Corfu), had landed a Russian army in Northern Italy, which, commanded by SUVOROV, won victories over French forces in Italy.
Meanwhile, Napoleon Bonaparte left his army behind in Egypt and returned to France (against orders), where he toppled the Directorate and replaced it by the Consulate.

While the British supported the Royalists in the VENDEE (until 1796) and the Flemish rebels ( FLEMISH PEASANTS' WAR, 1798), the French Republic in return supported the IRISH REBELLION against British rule in 1798.

Timetable : France during the French Revolution and under Napoleon Bonaparte. An annotated Chronology of Civil and Military Events, by Richard Orsinger, 1997
Article on Alexander Suvorov, from The History Net
History of Geneva, from
Timeline French Foreign Policy : Fr. Revolution, 1789-1799, from France Diplomatie
DOCUMENTS List of Presidents of the Executive Directory, Nov. 1795 - Dec. 1799, from World Statesmen : France by Ben Cahoon, scroll down
French coins from 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799
Treaty of Campo Formio, Oct. 27th 1797, from Napoleon Series, in English; from, in French
Preliminaires de paix de Leoben, from (Apr. 17th 1797)
TEXTES sur Geneve, la Revolution et l'annexion a la France, from cliotexte
Medals Pre-Consulate, from Blackwatch
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

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