France Declares War on Austria - History

France Declares War on Austria - History

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European nations feared the spread of revolutionary fervor from France and were highly critical of the new government in France threatening to intervene to restore the power of King. A number of other issues divided Austria and France, and both sides seemed to want war. On April 20, 1792 France declared war on Austria. That began the War of the First Coalition. The French suffered initial defeats in the field.

Campaign of 1792

For his invasion of France, Brunswick had only 29,000 Austrians and 42,000 Prussians available, together with 4,000–5,000 émigrés. Some 25,000 Austrians remained on guard in Belgium and 16,000 were tasked with defense of the Rhine. Small though these numbers may seem for the repulse of the French attack on Belgium and Brunswick’s march on Paris, the condition of the numerically superior French forces, not to mention the disorder in France, offered substantial hope of success to the allies. The regular French army was understrength and with 82,000 men (including garrisons) would find it difficult to sustain prolonged hostilities. Morale and efficiency too had suffered grievously from the emigration of more than half the officer corps. The defections to follow and the deepening divisions of the nation as the Revolution went on were to aggravate distrust, uncertainty, and indiscipline. The separately brigaded volunteer battalions—enrolled after July 11, 1792, to fight for one campaign—were better paid and, electing their own officers, had enthusiasm for the cause. However, they lacked training, equipment, arms, and discipline, and their presence provided a further solvent of the morale of the regulars, whom they frequently abandoned under fire. The reverses of the allies in 1792 were due primarily to the inadequacy of their own strategy and second to the efforts of the old army that the Revolution had inherited from the ancien régime.

One reason why Austria, with an estimated total of 223,000 men under arms, and Prussia, with 131,000, withheld so much of their strength from Brunswick’s invasion force was their mistrust both of one another and of Russia with regard to Poland. The Russians began their invasion of Poland on May 19, 1792, and had occupied most of the country by the end of July. Only then did Brunswick’s army set out from Koblenz. Even so, it suffered from divided counsel: Brunswick urged an overhesitant strategy envisaging a systematic advance with the reduction of the fortresses on the Meuse and reserving a march on Paris for the following spring, while the king of Prussia and Hohenlohe (Friedrich Wilhelm von Hohenlohe-Kirchberg) thought in terms of a military promenade to carry them to Paris by the late summer.

The allied army crossed the French frontier on August 19, took Longwy (August 23) and Verdun (September 2), crossed the Meuse and reached the Argonne plateau on September 8. Its right, under Charles de Croix, count von Clerfayt, then was supposed to watch the French Army of Sedan its left rested on the Verdun-Châlons road a few miles east of Valmy. The Army of Sedan, however, which had been falling back from the frontier before Dumouriez took command on August 28, now marched boldly southward across Clerfayt’s front (September 1–3), escaped a turning movement by Clerfayt (September 13), and reached Sainte-Menehould, east of Valmy. There Dumouriez’s 3,000 men were joined by Pierre de Ruel, the marquis de Beurnonville, with 12,000 men from the north. While Dumouriez kept guard against the allied centre’s attempt to encircle the French by a southwesterly movement, François-Christophe Kellermann, duke de Valmy, arrived with 18,000 men from the French Army of Metz and took up a position facing westward against the allied left.

The decisive Battle of Valmy on September 20 was little more than a prolonged and heavy cannonade in which 40,000 rounds were fired. When the Prussian infantry advanced, the French held firm. Seeing his columns hesitate, Brunswick ordered the retreat. At Valmy 34,000 Prussians had faced 52,000 French, of whom 36,000 were engaged. Total casualties were fewer than 500. The unexpectedness of the reverse, due largely to the staunchness of Dumouriez’s regular troops and to his artillery, increased its great moral effect. Militarily it was a victory for the Revolution in that it gave the French a substantial breathing space. The wastage of effectives in Brunswick’s army (particularly from dysentery), leaving him only 17,000 fit for campaign, obliged him to retire from the theatre of war and to accept Dumouriez’s offer, sanctioned by Paris, to negotiate a suspension of hostilities.

Brunswick’s retreat to the Meuse allowed Dumouriez to turn his attention to the northern frontier. Having been held up in an advance on Lille, the Austrian Army of the Netherlands had withdrawn toward Mons early in October. On November 6, in the battle of Jemappes, Dumouriez’s heavily superior numbers brought him success in an assault en masse—the most practicable formation for his inexperienced and ill-trained troops—delivered frontally without preliminary maneuver. The battle was typical of the early Revolutionary victories where sheer weight of numbers and élan supplied the want of training, discipline, and organization. Overrunning Belgium, the French advanced into Germany and took Aachen.

Meanwhile, in September and October, the French army on the Rhine, under Adam Philippe de Custine, was winning successes. It advanced northward across the Palatinate, taking Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, before turning eastward and seizing Frankfurt, which it held till December 2. In September Sardinian resistance collapsed before Anne-Pierre de Montesquiou-Fézensac in Savoy and Jacques d’Anselme in the county of Nice.


The Piedmontese, following their defeat by Austria in the First Italian War of Independence, recognised their need for allies. That led Prime Minister Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour to attempt to establish relations with other European powers, partially through Piedmont's participation in the Crimean War. In the peace conference at Paris after the Crimean War, Cavour attempted to bring attention to efforts for Italian unification. He found Britain and France to be sympathetic but refusing to go against Austrian wishes, as any movement towards Italian independence would threaten Austria's territory of Lombardy–Venetia. Private talks between Napoleon III and Cavour after the conference identified Napoleon as the most likely candidate to aid Italy although he was still uncommitted.

On 14 January 1858, Felice Orsini, an Italian, led an attempt on Napoleon III's life. The assassination attempt brought widespread sympathy for the Italian unity and had a profound effect on Napoleon III himself, who now was determined to help Piedmont against Austria to defuse the wider revolutionary activities, which governments in Italy might later allow to happen. After a covert meeting at Plombières on 21 July 1858, Napoleon III and Cavour on 28 January 1859 signed a secret treaty of alliance against Austria.

France would help Sardinia-Piedmont, if attacked, to fight against Austria if Sardinia-Piedmont gave Nice and Savoy to France in return. The secret alliance served both countries by helping with the Sardinian-Piedmontese plan of unification of the Italian Peninsula under the House of Savoy. It also weakened Austria, a fiery adversary of Napoleon III's French Second Empire.

Cavour, being unable to get French help unless the Austrians attacked first, provoked Vienna by a series of military maneuvers close to the border. Sardinia mobilised its army on 9 March 1859. Austria mobilised on 9 April 1859 and issued an ultimatum on 23 April demanding the complete demobilisation of the Sardinian Army. When it was not heeded, Austria started a war against Sardinia on 26 April.

The first French troops entered Piedmont on 25 April, and France declared war on Austria on 3 May. [4]

The French Army for the Italian campaign had 170,000 soldiers, 2,000 horsemen and 312 guns, half of the whole French army. The army, under the command of Napoleon III, divided into five corps: the I Corps, led by Achille Baraguey d'Hilliers the II Corps, led by Patrice de MacMahon the III Corps, led by François Certain de Canrobert, the IV Corps led by Adolphe Niel, and the V Corps, led by prince Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte. The Imperial Guard was commanded by Auguste Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angély.

Napoleon III participated in the war and showed up on the battlefield in the belief that it would motivate the French people during the war. That would prove successful.

The Sardinian Army had about 70,000 soldiers, 4,000 horsemen and 90 guns. It was divided into five divisions, led by Castelbrugo, Manfredo Fanti, Giovanni Durando, Enrico Cialdini and Domenico Cucchiari. Two volunteer formations, the Cacciatori delle Alpi and the Cacciatori degli Appennini, were also present. It was led by Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, supported by Alfonso Ferrero la Marmora.

The Austrian Army fielded more men with 220,000 soldiers, 824 guns and 22,000 horsemen. It was led by Field Marshal Ferenc Graf Gyulay.

The newly-formed United Principalities also supported the Franco-Italian alliance. Its ruler, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, was gifted by Napoleon III with 10,000 rifles and ammunition. Napoleon III, with his unwavering and very genuine sympathy, also sent a military mission to Bucharest. Encouraged, Cuza formed a new military camp at Ploiești. As a result, Austria had to keep 30,000 troops in Transylvania, which could ill be spared from Italy. [5]

The French Army, under Marshal François Certain Canrobert, moved into Piedmont in the first massive military use of railways. The Austrian forces counted on a swift victory over the weaker Sardinian Army before French forces could arrive in Piedmont. However, Count Gyulai, the commander of the Austrian troops in Lombardy, was very cautious and marched around the Ticino River in no specific direction until he crossed it to begin the offensive. Unfortunately for him, very heavy rains began to fall, which allowed the Piedmontese to flood the rice fields in front of his advance and slowed his army's march to a crawl.

The Austrians, under Gyulai, captured Novara on 30 April and Vercelli on 2 May and advanced on Turin from 7 May onward. The Franco-Sardinian move to strengthen the Alessandria and Po River bridges around Casale Monferrato forced the Austrians to halt their advance on 9 May and to fall back on 10 May. Napoleon III left Paris on 10 May, landed at Genoa on 12 May and arrived in Alessandria on 14 May. He took the command of the operations of the war, whose first major clash was at Montebello on 20 May, a battle between an Austrian Corps under Stadion and a single division of the French I Corps, under Forey. Although the Austrian contingent was three times as large, the French were victorious, which made Gyulai still more cautious. In early June, Gyulai had advanced to the rail centre of Magenta and left his army spread out. Napoleon III attacked Ticino head on with part of his force and sent many other troops to the north to flank the Austrians. The plan worked and caused Gyulai to retreat east to the quadrilateral fortresses in Lombardy, where he was relieved of his post as commander.

Replacing Gyulai was Emperor [[Franz Josef I], who planned to defend the well-fortified Austrian territory behind the Mincio River. The Piedmontese-French army had taken Milan and slowly marched further east to finish off Austria in the war before Prussia could get involved. The Austrians found out that the French had halted at Brescia and decided that they should counterattack along the river Chiese. The two armies met accidentally around Solferino, which precipitated a confused series of battles.

A French corps held off three Austrian corps all day at Medole and kept them from joining the larger battle around Solferino, where, after a day-long battle, the French broke through. Ludwig von Benedek with the Austrian VIII Corps was separated from the main force and defended Pozzolengo against the Piedmontese part of the opposing army. It was successful, but the entire Austrian army retreated after the breakthrough at Solferino and withdrew back into the Quadrilateral. [6]

Meanwhile, in the north of Lombardy, the Italian volunteers of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Hunters of the Alps defeated the Austrians at Varese and Como, and the Piedmontese-French Navy landed 3,000 soldiers and conquered the islands of Losinj (Lussino) and Cres (Cherso), in Dalmatia. [7]

Napoleon III signed the Villafranca Armistice with Austria in Villafranca for a combination of reasons. He was not the conqueror that his uncle had been and could not stomach the sight of war. The Austrians had retreated to the Quadrilateral, which would be very costly to overrun. His absence in France had made them vulnerable to attack. His actions in Italy were being criticised in France. He did not want Cavour and Piedmont to gain too much power, mostly at the expense of his men. He feared involvement by the German states. Most of Lombardy, with its capital, Milan, except only the Austrian fortresses of Mantua and Legnago and the surrounding territory, was transferred from Austria to France, which would immediately cede the territories to Sardinia. The rulers of Central Italy, who had been expelled by revolution shortly after the beginning of the war, were to be restored.

The agreement, made by Napoleon behind the backs of his Sardinian allies, led to great outrage in Sardinia-Piedmont, and Cavour resigned in protest. However, the terms of Villafranca were never to come into effect. Although they were reaffirmed by the final Treaty of Zürich in November, the agreement had become a dead letter. The Central Italian states were occupied by the Piedmontese, who showed no willingness to restore the previous rulers, and the French showed no willingness to force them to abide by the terms of the treaty.

The Austrians were left to look on in frustration at the French failure to carry out the terms of the treaty. Austria had emerged triumphantly after the suppression of liberal movements in 1849, but its status as a great power on the European scene was now seriously challenged and its influence in Italy severely weakened.

The next year, with French and British approval, the Central Italian states (Duchy of Parma, Duchy of Modena, Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States) were annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, and France would take its deferred rewards of Savoy and Nice. The last move was vehemently opposed by Italian national hero Garibaldi, a native of Nice, and directly led to Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily, which would complete the preliminary Unification of Italy. [8]

During the war, Prussia had also mobilised 132,000 men in 1859 but never joined the fighting. The weaknesses laid bare during the mobilisation caused the Prussian Army to initiate military reforms, [9] which were the base for its superiority and rapid victories against Austria 1866 and France 1870 to 1871, which led to a united Germany under Prussian dominance. [10]

What were the Causes of War between France and Austria

There was a constant struggle between Austria and France before the advent of revolution, while the royal families of the two countries were hand and glove with one another.

Austria had to wage a war against France when the Paris mob imprisoned the king. At the same time several emigres of France settled in Austria and Prussia.

These emigres also incited the authorities of Austria and Prussia to invade France. Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI’s correspondence with Austria added fuel to the fire and made war inevitable.

The following causes can be held responsible for the outbreak of war between France and Austria.

Irresponsibility of the King and Queen

The king Louis XVI and his royal spouse Marie Antoinette continued to make correspondence with Austria to crush the revolution.

The king also made efforts to flee to Austria. It annoyed the French people and they began to hate the royal couple and they tended to punish the king by the horrors of war.

Leopold’s Viewpoint

Leopold II, the ruler of Austria, was greatly terrified and wanted to save his country from the currents of revolution which were flowing through the entire European countries. He waged a war against France in order to crush the revolutionary ferment there.

Role of Emigres

With the outbreak of revolution several nobles and priests emigrated to Austria and Prussia, and they incited the governments of these countries to crush the tidal wave of revolution. H. A. L. Fisher also opines that

“The Emigres played an important role in bringing about the war between the Revolutionary France and the rest of Europe.”

The Declaration of Pilnitz

The Declaration of Pilnitz made by the kings of Austria and Prussia that if any harm was caused to the king of France, they would blow up the entire France, terrified the people of France and they began to think in terms of war against these countries.

Tendency of French People

Lord Acton has opined that the “French public were trying to jump headlong into war, donning red caps and exhibiting spears in hand.” C.D. Hazen has also pointed out towards the viewpoint of the people of France who were fully prepared to wage a war against Austria:

“The French were greatly eager for a war against Austria because they felt that Austria was obstructing the progress of the cause of equality, liberty and fraternity.”

September: Major Battles and Retrenchment

The month of September saw some of the first major battles of the war, such as the First Battle of the Marne, as well as further invasions, and what may have been the digging of the first trench.

September 4–10

First Battle of the Marne halts German invasion of France. The German plan has failed and the war will last years.

September 7–14

First Battle of the Masurian Lakes - Germany beats Russia again.

September 9–14

The Great Retreat (1, WF), where German troops retreat back to the river Aisne the German commander, Moltke, replaced by Falkenhayn.

September 2–October 24

First Battle of Aisne followed by the 'Race to the Sea', where Allied and German troops continually outflank each other to the north-west until they reach the North Sea coastline. (WF)

September 15

Cited, probably legendarily, as the day trenches are first dug on the Western Front.

Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars

Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1793�). Following its defeat of the Prussians at Valmy in September 1792, revolutionary France announced its expansion to its ‘natural frontiers’ and war against the states of the ancien régime. In response Britain sent an army under the duke of York to Flanders in 1793, joining the Dutch and Austrians in the ‘War of the First Coalition’. After an inept campaign the defeated Dutch made peace and the remnants of York's army were evacuated in March 1795. Expeditions against French colonies in the West Indies 1793𠄶 met with mixed success, although in 1795 the British seized Cape Town and Ceylon from their former Dutch allies. Naval victories over the French in 1794 (‘the Glorious First of June’), the Spanish at Cape St Vincent in February 1797, and the Dutch at Camperdown in October 1797 confirmed Britain's mastery of the seas.

The British government responded to radicalism and possible revolt at home with repression, suspending habeas corpus in 1794. A French-backed rebellion in Ireland 1797𠄸 was also violently suppressed, as were naval mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in 1797. The cost of the war, including the creation of an army of 220,000 and 80,000 militia, forced Britain off the gold standard in 1797. A programme of barracks-building was started in 1798 deliberately to isolate soldiers from radicalism.

In 1795 Prussia and Spain made peace with France, and in 1796 Spain re-entered the war on the French side. The defeat of Austria, which made peace by the treaty of Campo Formio in October 1797, ended the first coalition. This was followed by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in 1798, intended to support Britain's enemies in India, which came to nothing with the destruction of the French fleet at the Nile in August 1798, the defeat of Tipu of Mysore by an Anglo-Indian army under Arthur Wellesley (Wellington) in May 1799, and the elimination of the French in Egypt by Abercromby at Alexandria in March 1801.

Britain formed the ‘second coalition’, including Austria, Russia, Portugal, Naples, and Ottoman Turkey, in autumn 1798, but a renewed expedition to the Netherlands under York in 1799 again achieved little. Austria was defeated by Napoleon at Marengo in June 1800, and made peace by the treaty of Lunéville in February 1801. Russia also made peace, joining with Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia to form the League of Armed Neutrality in 1800. This collapsed after the assassination of Tsar Paul and the destruction of the Danish fleet by the British at Copenhagen in April 1801.

The treaty of Amiens in March 1802 between Britain and France ended the ‘War of the Second Coalition’. But continued French expansion in southern Europe, together with support for Britain's enemies in India, brought a renewed declaration of war from Britain by May 1803, followed by another abortive French-backed rebellion in Ireland in July. The Indian threat was ended by Wellesley's defeat of the Mahratta Confederacy at Assaye in September 1803, leading to a negotiated peace in India by 1806.

On 2 December 1804 Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor of the French, leading to British treaties with Russia, Austria, and Sweden in the ‘War of the Third Coalition’. Despite the failure of Napoleon's plans to invade Britain and the destruction of his fleet by Nelson at Trafalgar in October 1805, he drove Austria out of the war with victories at Ulm and at Austerlitz, leading to the treaty of Pressburg in December. This was followed by Napoleon's humiliating defeat of Prussia at Jena in October 1806. Russia was also defeated at Eylau and Friedland, and accepted the treaty of Tilsit of July 1807, leaving France dominant in central Europe.

Against Britain, his remaining enemy, Napoleon resorted to economic warfare (‘the Continental System’), one by-product of which was the Anglo-American War of 1812�. Unsuccessful British expeditions were mounted against Buenos Aires 1806𠄷, Naples 1806 (despite the victory at Maida), and Walcheren island in the Netherlands 1809�. A French campaign against Portugal, begun in November 1807, was complicated by a Spanish revolt in May 1808, followed by the arrival of a British army under Wellesley in August (the start of the ‘Peninsular War’). The convention of Cintra (also in August) allowed the French to withdraw, and a failed offensive under Sir John Moore in October led to retreat and evacuation through Corunna in January 1809 after Moore's death. In April Wellesley returned to the Peninsula, which became the main British theatre of the war, with victories over the French at Talavera in July 1809 (for which he was made Viscount Wellington), Fuentes de Onoro in May 1811, Badajoz and Salamanca in April and July 1812, and Vitoria in June 1813.

In June 1812 Napoleon attacked Russia, reaching Moscow. Thereafter his army disintegrated through supply problems, disease, Russian attacks, and finally winter. Austria and Prussia rose in revolt, and at Leipzig (‘the battle of the Nations’) in October 1813 Napoleon was again defeated by a combined Russian-Austrian-Prussian force. In February 1814 Wellington crossed into France from Spain, by March the Prussians had reached Paris, and on 20 April Napoleon abdicated, being exiled to Elba.

The final flourish of the Napoleonic wars was the ‘Hundred Days’, Napoleon's escape from Elba on 1 March 1815 and return to power in France, culminating in his decisive defeat by a coalition army under Wellington at Waterloo on 18 June 1815, and his exile to St Helena.

Barnett, C. , Bonaparte (New York, 1978)
Chandler, D. , The Campaigns of Napoleon (1966)
Duffy, M. , Soldiers, Sugar and Sea Power (Oxford, 1987)
Hall, C. D. , British Strategy in the Napoleonic Wars 1803� (Manchester, 1992)
Pimlott, J. , The Guinness History of the British Army (1994).

The Start of the French Revolutionary Wars

By 1791 the French Revolution had transformed France and worked to tear down the powers of the old, nationally absolutist, regime. King Louis XVI was reduced to a form of house arrest. Part of his court hoped that a foreign, royalist army would march into France and restore the king, who had asked for help from abroad. But for many months the other states of Europe refused to help. Austria, Prussia, Russia and the Ottoman Empires had been involved in a series of power struggles in Eastern Europe and had been less worried about the French king than their own jostling for positions until Poland, stuck in the middle, followed France by declaring a new constitution. Austria now tried to form an alliance that would threaten France into submission and stops the eastern rivals from fighting. France and the revolution had thus been sheltered while it progressed but became a useful distraction with land which could be taken.

On August 2nd, 1791 the King of Prussia and the Holy Roman Emperor seemed to declare an interest in war when they issued the Declaration of Pillnitz. However, Pillnitz was designed to frighten the French revolutionaries and support the French who supported the king, not start a war. Indeed, the text of the declaration was worded to make war, in theory, impossible. But the emigres, agitating for war, and the revolutionaries, who were both paranoid, took it the wrong way. An official Austro-Prussian alliance was only concluded in February 1792. The other Great Powers were now looking at French hungrily, but this did not automatically mean war. However the emigres — people who had fled France — were promising to return with foreign armies to restore the king, and while Austria turned them down, German princes humored them, upsetting the French and provoking a call for action.

There were forces in France (the Girondins or Brissotins) who wanted to take pre-emptive action, hoping that war would enable them to oust the king and declare a republic: the king’s failure to surrender to constitutional monarchy left the door open for him to be replaced. Some monarchists supported the call for war in the hope foreign armies would march in and restore their king. (One opponent of the war was called Robespierre.) On April 20th France’s National Assembly declared war on Austria after the Emperor helpfully tried another careful threat. The result was Europe reacting and the formation of the First Coalition, which was first between Austria and Prussia but was then joined by Britain and Spain. It would take seven coalitions to permanently end the wars now started. The First Coalition was aimed less at ending the revolution and more on gaining territory, and the French less as exporting revolution than getting a republic.

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    Armando Diaz, Italian marshal and minister of War (1922-24), born in Naples, Kingdom of Italy (d. 1928) George August Alexander Alting von Geusau, Dutch Minister of War (1918-20), born in Arnhem, Netherlands (d. 1937) Lindley M. Garrison, American lawyer and 46th U.S. Secretary of War (1913-16), born in Camden, New Jersey (d. 1932) Henry L. Stimson, American statesman (46th United States Secretary of State), born in NYC, New York (d. 1950) Sadao Araki, Japanese general, Minister of War (1931-34), born in Tokyo, Japan (d. 1966) Patrick J. Hurley, United States Secretary of War (d. 1963) Gervais Raoul Lufbery, French-American World War I fighter pilot and flying ace, born in Chamalières, France (d. 1918) Willis Augustus Lee, American World War II admiral (Guadalcanal) and sport shooter (5 Olympic golds 1920), born in Natlee, Kentucky (d. 1945) Isaac Rosenberg, English war poet (Poems from the Trenches) and artist, born in Bristol, England (d. 1918) Oswald Boelcke, German World War I pilot (d. 1916) Buck Jones [Charles F Gebhart], American Western actor (Just Pals, Forbidden Trails, War Horse), born in Vincennes, Indiana (d. 1942) Theo Osterkamp, World War I and World War II German fighter pilot, born in Düren, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1975) Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Austrian chancellor (1930s)/war criminal Alfred Edwin McKay, Canadian World War One flying ace (d. 1917) Albert Jacka, Australian soldier, first Australian World War I Victoria Cross winner (d. 1932) Wilfred Owen, English soldier & anti-war poet (Anthem for Doomed Youth, Futility), born in Oswestry, Shropshire, England (d. 1918) Draža Mihailović, Serbian WWII hero and war criminal, born in Ivanjica, Serbia (d. 1946) King Vidor, American film director (War & Peace, Stella Dallas), born in Galveston, Texas (d. 1982) Ernst Friedrich, Breslau Germany, pacifist (War Against War!) John Jay McCloy, US lawyer and banker (Secretary of War 1941-45, chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank) Karl Allmenröder, German World War I flying Ace, born in Wald, Rhine Province, Germany (d. 1917) Henry Allingham, British supercentenarian and World War I veteran, born in Clapton, London (d. 2009) Douglas Campbell, American aviator and World War I flying ace, born in San Francisco, California (d. 1990) Erich Loewenhardt, German flying ace of World War I, born in Province of Silesia, Poland (d. 1918) Werner Voss, German World War I flying ace, born in Krefeld, Germany (d. 1917) Frank Luke, American World War I pilot (d. 1918) Justin Tuveri, Italian veteran of the First World War (d. 2007)

Pieter Menten

1899-05-26 Pieter Menten, Dutch war criminal, born in Rotterfam, Netherlands (d. 1987)

Why did France declare War on Austria in 1792 Essay

In April 1792, the French Legislative Assembly declared war against the King of Hungary and Bohemia, for plotting aggression. They declared war in the name of the French nation in defence of liberty it began the first ‘War of the People’s’ in the Modern world. Only 7 deputies voted against the war, which was thought by the majority to be in France’s best interests. The conflict lasted nine years and France lost 1.4 million inhabitants, and dramatically altered the trajectory of the revolution.

There are many contributing factors to the war, which altered the revolution in some form. Perhaps the strongest supporter of a potential war with Austria was the King, Louis XVI.

From 7th October 1789, the Royal Family was forced to reside in the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Both the Royal Family and the National Assembly were at the political epicentre of France they were under scrutiny and intimidation. The King disliked being only a Constitutional Monarch, he would not comply with the demands of the Assembly and did not fully accept the Constitution or the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Therefore he was viewed as holding back the revolution from progressing. Louis planned to escape with his family to Montmedy, near the French Austrian Frontier, here the army was under control by a Royalist sympathiser, and Louis hoped that he could negotiate with the Assembly from a position of military power. However, on route to their escape, they were caught at Varennes and taken back to Paris. This failed escape marked the inevitable downfall of the Monarchy and the divisions of Royalists and supporters of the Revolution, which ignited the war against Austria and were the main fought over factors.

The people saw Louis attempted escape as treacherous. Many radicals supported a petition to remove the King from power as they felt they could no longer trust him. He had turned away from his people and more importantly from the revolution. This confirmed the fears that the King was holding the revolution back and may even be plotting against it. The war against Austria was also a war against the Monarchy itself the Monarchy which had been long despised by the third estate. The new leaders of France wanted a new system, After the Flight to Varennes, a Republic gained popular support. And, to get this a war might have to be necessary.

Brissot was one of the first to support a Republic. He argued for the abolition of the Monarchy and the trial of Louis XVI. He saw that the King did not accept the Constitution and that the Court and European Powers were plotting against the Revolution. Brissot believed that a war would arouse enthusiasm for the Revolution and show the permanence and stability of the new regime. He believed that war was necessary to carry the Revolution to the rest of Europe and he furiously attacked the legitimacy of the European monarchs. In the Legislative Assembly his great influence on the conduct of foreign affairs contributed to the declaration of war on Austria in 1792, in spite of strong opposition from Robespierre and his allies. He claimed that a war would expose traitors to the revolution, the King and other counter-revolutionaries would be exposed and compelled to suffer for treason.

The desire for war resulted in the merge of deputies from the South west, and a group of deputies led by Brissot. They became known as the Girondins. There were about 130 Girondins in the Assembly, to obtain a majority they needed the support of Lafayette and his followers. Within the Assembly, the Girondins were keen to use war to unite France in defence of the nation. Brissot began a campaign for war in October 1791. War would unite all the French people under one banner, the Legislative Assembly believed that this banner would enable France with united strength to defend itself. In March 1792, Louis dismissed his Feuillant Ministers and appointed a more radical government, including some Girondin Ministers. These new ministers obeyed the Assembly, now, a month before the declaration both the government and the assembly wanted a war.

France became involved in war due to the attitudes of both sides. The royal court was convinced that in the case of success, the war would strengthen the king’s position, while in the case of defeat, it would allow his foreign royalist allies to re-establish him as absolute monarch. The European Monarchs hated and feared the Revolution, interrelation of European Royal Families remained close and they supported eachother. The ‘Declaration of Pillnitz,’ not only heightened the fears of an Austrian Invasion but also defined the allies and the opposition. The declaration stated that Austria and Prussia were already siding with the Royalists. This made it clear that Louis was plotting against the revolution and him and the Monarchs of Europe would help him to regain his authority and power. The war was declared as the Revolutionaries saw it as the only way of securing a Republic and it might also spread the Revolution to other parts of Europe if it was successful. The sans-culottes and the radicals believed that the only way forward for France and the Revolution was the overthrow of the Monarchy and the establishment of a Republic. From the Declaration of Pillnitz, we can see that a war would be necessary for these objectives to be achieved.

The court was said to be an ‘Austrian Committee,’ headed by Marie Antoinette. The Monarchy and Royal Supporters believed that a war would re-instate their power. Army officers had fled and the French army was weak from inexperienced new officers, a defeat seemed to be easy. The Monarchy wanted a war Austria and Prussia had great faith in their armies and believed they could intimidate France. A war would also strengthen Royal alliances between the European Monarchs, if France was defeated, it would also deter any post war pro revolutionary action from reoccurring.

Influential figures also held many contributions for encouraging France to go into war. Charles Dumouriez saw a war as a chance to further his own ambitions. In 1792, he was appointed Foreign Minister, he supported the war for mainly personal reasons, he hoped his ambitions would progress from a war with Austria. Lafayette saw the European powers as trying to intimidate France rather than invading. He was the first commander of the National Guard, he wanted the authority of the King to be strengthened and thought it could be done by waging a short but successful war against Austria, he felt it would increase Lafayette’s own prestige and he would be able to dictate to the King and the Assembly his own terms.

The leader of the Jacobin Club, Robespierre was interestingly against the war and proclaimed that France should fight the enemies at home. The fact that he became unpopular shows that France as a whole held strong support for the war.

France declared war on Austria as it thought it would be for everyone’s benefit. The Revolutionaries believed it would result in France uniting to oppose the King, allow the Revolution to progress and a Republic to be established. The Royal Supporters believed that the war would result in the re-instated power of Louis XVI and that it would put a block on the spreading of revolutionary ideas. Fear of the other side is what provoked the war, and pressure from the people of France and those in the Assembly is what finalised the decision for France to declare war. By evaluating the evidence shown, we can see that both sides were not taking the prospect of war seriously, they both regarded it as a stepping stone to what they wanted to achieve.

Timeline of Major War Declarations in World War I

When a Yugoslav nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on June 28, 1914, many Americans had no idea Europe was at the brink of war. A flurry of diplomatic maneuvers followed in the July Crisis, and the first shots were fired July 28.

International alliances eventually drew in all the world’s economic powers either as Allies (also called Entente Powers), aligned with Russia and Serbia, or Central Powers, aligned with Austria-Hungary (see the timeline below). The United States entered the war in 1917, after attempting to remain neutral.

By the war’s official end Jan. 19, 1920, more than 70 million military personnel worldwide had been mobilized—including 4 million from the United States—and 9 million killed. Civilians were swept up, too, serving as nurses and ambulance drivers filling vacant jobs in offices and factories planting victory gardens and sewing bandages and in Europe, watching their homelands be destroyed. Up to 8 million civilians died as a result of the war.

Many call the Great War the “forgotten war,” saying it’s been overshadowed by its sequel, World War II, in the American consciousness. But our ancestors who lived through it never forgot. By learning about their experiences, we can remember, too, and honor the sacrifices of service members and civilians from around the globe.

Here’s a history of WWI declarations of war, which trace how World War I began. In the text below, red indicates the Central Powers and blue indicates the Allied Powers.

July 28: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
Aug. 1: Germany and Russia declare war on each other
Aug. 3: Germany and France declare war on each other
Aug. 4: Germany declares war on Belgium , United Kingdom declares war on Germany
Aug. 6: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia , Serbia declares war on Germany
Aug. 12: United Kingdom and France declare war on Austria-Hungary
Aug. 22: Austria-Hungary declares war on Belgium
Aug. 23: Japan declares war on Germany
Aug. 25: Japan declares war on Austria-Hungary
Aug. 28: Austria-Hungary declares war on Belgium
Nov. 2: Russia and Serbia declare war on the Ottoman Empire
Nov. 5: United Kingdom and France declare war on the Ottoman Empire

May 23: Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary
Aug. 21: Italy declares war on the Ottoman Empire
Aug. 28: Italy declares war on Germany
Oct. 14: Bulgaria declares war on Serbia
Oct. 15: United Kingdom declares war on Bulgaria
Oct. 16: France declares war on Bulgaria
Oct. 19: Russia and Italy declare war on Bulgaria

March 9: Germany declares war on Portugal
March 15: Austria-Hungary declares war on Portugal
Aug. 27: Italy declares war on Germany , Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary
Aug. 28: Germany declares war on Romania
Aug. 30: Ottoman Empire declares war on Romania
Sept. 1: Bulgaria declares war on Romania

April 6: United States declares war on Germany
June 27: Greece declares war on Austria-Hungary , Bulgaria , Germany and the Ottoman Empire
Aug. 14: China declares war on Germany
Dec. 7: United States declares war on Austria-Hungary

Watch the video: French Revolution - Flight to Varennes and War against Austria