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First Coalition

From Academic Kids

The name "First Coalition" (17931797) designates the first major concerted effort of multiple European powers to contain revolutionary France. It took shape after the wars had already begun.

After the stated aim of the National Convention to export revolution, the guillotining of Louis XVI of France (January 1793) and the French opening of the Scheldt, a military coalition formed comprising:

These powers initiated a series of invasions of France by land and sea, with Prussia and Austria attacking from the Austrian Netherlands and the Rhine, and Great Britain supporting revolts in provincial France and laying siege to Toulon. France suffered reverses (battle of Neerwinden, 18 March 1793) and internal revolts (the revolt in the Vendée), and responded with extreme measures: the Committee of Public Safety formed (6 April 1793) and the levée en masse drafted all potential soldiers aged 18 to 25 (August 1793). The new French armies counter-attacked, repelled the invaders, and moved beyond France. French arms established the Batavian Republic as a satellite state (May 1795) and gained the Prussian Rhineland by the first Treaty of Basel. Spain made a separate peace accord with France (second Treaty of Basel) and the French Directory carried out plans to conquer more of Germany and northern Italy (1795).

North of the Alps, Archduke Charles of Austria redressed the situation in 1796, but Napoleon Bonaparte carried all before him against Sardinia and Austria in Italy (1796–1797), culminating in the peace of Leoben and the Treaty of Campo Formio (October 1797). The First Coalition collapsed, leaving only Britain in the field (or rather, on the water) fighting against France.

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