Battle of Wattignies
The Battle of Wattignies saw a Republican French army commanded by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan attack a Coalition army directed by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After two days of combat Jourdan's troops compelled the Habsburg Austrian covering force led by François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt to withdraw; the War of the First Coalition victory allowed the French to raise the Siege of Maubeuge. At a time when failed generals were executed or imprisoned, Jourdan had to endure interference from Lazare Carnot from the Committee of Public Safety; the village, renamed Wattignies-la-Victoire in honor of the important success, is located 9 kilometres southeast of Maubeuge. Coburg's main army encircled 25,000 French soldiers in Maubeuge while about 22,000 Austrians under Clerfayt were formed in a semi-circle, covering the southern approaches to the fortress. On the first day, 45,000 French soldiers mounted a clumsy attack, repulsed, except near the village of Wattignies. On the second day, Jourdan concentrated half his army at Wattignies and after a tough fight, forced Coburg to concede defeat.
Though the Coalition army was better trained than the French, its units were spread out too thinly and the different nationalities failed to cooperate. Soon the Coalition army went into winter quarters, finishing a campaign that started with great promise and ended in disappointment. Carnot rewrote history so that he and the political representatives got most of the credit for the triumph. In the summer of 1793, the 118,000-strong Coalition army punched a gap in the line of French fortresses along the frontier with the Austrian Netherlands, with the Siege of Condé concluding on 12 July and the Siege of Valenciennes on 27 July. In the Battle of Caesar's Camp, the Coalition army under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld hustled the French Army of the North out of a position near Cambrai on 7 August. At this moment, the Coalition allies unwisely split their forces. Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany headed west toward Dunkirk with 37,000 British, Austrians and Hessians. From 6–8 September 1793, the Army of the North under Jean Nicolas Houchard defeated the Dunkirk covering force in the Battle of Hondschoote, compelling the Duke of York to give up the Siege of Dunkirk.
This was followed by the Battle of Menin on 13 September, in which the French routed a Dutch corps under Prince William of Orange. The Dutch lost 40 field pieces in the disaster. Two days an Austrian corps led by Johann Peter Beaulieu routed the French and recaptured Menen. Coburg's main army concluded the Siege of Le Quesnoy on 13 September 1793, taking 4,000 French troops prisoner. Two French columns attempted to raise the siege but failed, one of the columns being nearly wiped out by Coalition cavalry in the Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec. Though Coburg might have seized Cambrai and Bouchain, stripped of their garrisons to form the relief columns, the Coalition commander chose to move against Maubeuge instead. For these defeats, Houchard was incarcerated in a common prison. Denounced as a coward and a traitor by the Revolutionary Tribunal, he was executed by guillotine on 16 November, his predecessor in command of the Army of the North, Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine had been guillotined on 27 August 1793.
Jean-Baptiste Jourdan had been wounded at Hondschoote and was named to lead the Army of the Ardennes on 9 September 1793. He was appointed provisional commander in chief of the Army of the North on 22 September 1793; when Jourdan protested that he lacked the experience to command the 104,000-man army, the representatives on mission notified him that refusal would result in his arrest. The new commander found. Coburg's army began the Siege of Maubeuge on 30 September. On 1 October 1793, Jourdan's large army was distributed across a broad front in four great masses, starting at the North Sea and running southeast. Joseph Souham at Dunkirk commanded 8,852 infantry in 17 battalions and 430 cavalry in one regiment and André Gigaux at Hondschoote had 7,269 infantry in 15 battalions. Near Cassel, Dominique Vandamme led 8,984 foot soldiers in 19 battalions and 325 horsemen in one regiment, while Charles François Filon led 3,705 foot soldiers in nine battalions. At Bailleul there were 4,166 infantry in 10 battalions.
The second mass started at Armentières, where there were 9,644 foot in 19 battalions and 1,338 horse in four regiments. At the Camp of Madelaine near Lille, Antoine Anne Lecourt de Berú directed 13,564 infantry in 28 battalions and 817 Chasseurs à Cheval, in three regiments. Pierre Guillaume Gratien at Mons-en-Pévèle led 3,521 infantry in nine battalions; the third mass was located at the Camp of Gavrelle between Arras. Commanded by Jourdan, the force included the Flankers of the Right with 6,048 foot in 15 battalions and 1,602 horse in five regiments and the Flankers of the Left with 6,821 infantry in 14 battalions and 1,323 cavalry in three regiments; the Advance Guard consisted of 4,821 foot in 1,901 horse in five regiments. Jacques Ferrand commanded the fourth mass, in the Maubeuge entrenched camp. Second-in-command was Jean Nestor de Chancel; the fortress garrison under Étienne Gudin counted 2,173 soldiers. Pierre Arnould Meyer's right brigade numbered 6,992 men including the 7th and 12th Dragoons, Joseph-Antoine Colomb's center brigade had 6,802 men and Jacques Desjardin's left brigade consisted of 8,140 men including the 1st Hussars.
Battle of Hondschoote
The Battle of Hondschoote took place during the Flanders Campaign of the Campaign of 1793 in the French Revolutionary Wars. It was fought during operations surrounding the Siege of Dunkirk between 6 and 8 September 1793 at Hondschoote, Nord and resulted in a French victory under General Jean Nicolas Houchard and General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan against the command of Marshal Freytag, part of the Anglo-Hanoverian corps of the Duke of York. By August 1793, the Coalition Army under command of the Austrian Prince of Coburg had taken Condé, Le Cateau in Northern France; the Allies planned to next besiege Cambrai, however the British government ordered the Duke of York's Anglo-Hanoverian corps to instead seize the coastal port of Dunkirk, the possession of which they believed would be a valuable military base and bargaining counter. Its defences, manned by 8,000 men under the command of Joseph Souham, were thought to be in a poor state of repair and vulnerable to capture. York concentrated at Menen and split his command in two forces: 22,000 British troops he led directly to invest the city of Dunkirk, while the 14,500 man covering army of Marshal Freytag consisting of the Hanoverian troops and ten squadrons of British cavalry had to protect his left flank.
The Duke of York drove Souham's men back into Dunkirk, taking the Rosendaël suburb on 24 August digging in to besiege Dunkirk from the east side. The siege looked as though it might be a protracted affair, as York had neither siege artillery nor the manpower to properly surround the city. Arriving at Poperinge on 20 August, Hessian troops under Freytag's command drove the French from Oost-Cappel and Rexpoëde back to Bergues; this fortified town was, two days surrounded by a corps moving south of Bergues and taking Wormhout and Esquelbecq. The corps was spread in a thin military cordon, its left lay at its right at Houtkerque. Freytag's command was split into a number of small outposts in the occupied villages. Freytag was an experienced commander and had seen much service in the seven years war commanding light troops, however at Hondschoote his trust in the cordon system of linked army outposts was to prove fatal; the new French commander of the Armée du Nord was Jean Nicolas Houchard, a brave and experienced subordinate general but patently out of his depth as Commander-in-Chief.
One of Custine's closest deputies, he was in his element leading the charge of a cavalry regiment, but had neither the acumen or confidence to head an army the size of the Armée du Nord. Custine had prophesied that the command of an army would be "an evil present" to him, "Custine could judge men, he was right in this case, for all who knew the worthy old Houchard considered him as lost when given a charge so much beyond his powers”. Paris was in the grip of the Reign of Terror, hanging over him was the spectre of suspicion, Custine himself was under arrest for failing in the field and would shortly die on the scaffold. Placed between the zealous harangues of the Représentant en missions and the inadequate condition of the rag-tag troops he commanded Houchard was acutely aware that the leadership of the'Nord' could be a fatal command, his confidence both in himself and his subordinates was undermined. Houchard wrote on taking command “My life is poisoned... everywhere calumny has preceded me, everywhere I have suffered the last agony, since I have found nothing but distrust in all the persons who do not know me"Nevertheless, following the Levée en Masse the troops under his command were being reinforced with new recruits.
Lazare Carnot, newly elected to the Committee of Public Safety, had galvanised the command structure and had ordered a rapid concentration of forces south of Freytag's position. By 24 August, 20,000 men were in Cassel entrenched camp, 4,000 at Lille, between 12 and 15,000 more were en route from the Moselle front; the Anglo-Hanoverians were aware that the French were strengthening their front and asked for reinforcements from Coburg, but the Austrians were tied down with the siege of Le Quesnoy. The only concessions made were for a corps under Beaulieu to be moved up to Bouvines and Orchies, while the lackluster Dutch troops of the Prince of Orange spread out between Lannoy to Menin. On 27 August Houchard launched 15,000 men in three columns against Orange and Beaulieu's forces towards Tourcoing and Menin. Macdonald's column was beaten back from Lannoy, the same fate befell the command of Dumas at Lincelles. At Tourcoing, faced by Houchard's central column the Dutch abandoned the village after a stiff fight, but the French dispersed to plunder, only to flee on the sight of two small bodies of enemy cavalry.
Houchard had intended to threaten Menin, a determined attack through here would certainly have cut off the entire British corps, but confusion reigned in the French camp, Houchard lost 7 guns as he fell back due to his civilian artillery drivers cutting their traces, the opportunity was missed. Having realised that York's objective was to besiege Dunkirk, Houchard saw his opportunity to drive a wedge between the Anglo-Hanoverians and the Austrians; however he had no intention of massing troops to strike a decisive blow, Houchard planned to use the concentrated forces at Cassel to demonstrate against York and draw him away from Dunkirk. At the beginning of September Houchard learned of the execution of Custine in Paris, which sent him into a spiral of dejection and allowed the Representatives a free hand. On the 5th reinforcements from the Rhine raised his forces at Cassel to 45,800 men. On the same day Freytag, fearful of the French build-up to his front, sent two detachments to seize Arneke, duly stormed, though a British colonel was taken prisoner.
Houchard was aware that an enveloping atta
Imperial Guard (Napoleon I)
The Imperial Guard was a small group of elite soldiers of the French Army under the direct command of Napoleon I, but grew over time. It acted as his bodyguard and tactical reserve, he was careful of its use in battle; the Guard was divided into the staff, infantry and artillery regiments, as well as battalions of sappers and marines. The guard itself as a whole distinguished between the experienced veterans and less experienced members by being separated into three sections: the Old Guard, Middle Guard and Young Guard; the Guard had its origin in the Consular Guard, created November 28, 1799, by the union of the Guard of the Directory and the Grenadiers of the Legislature. These formations had for principal purpose the security of the executive and legislative branches of the French Republic and gathered a small number of soldiers, about a thousand. One may question their utility, as they did not oppose Napoleon's 18 Brumaire coup of 1799; the Consular Guard changed its name to the Imperial Guard on May 18, 1804.
Its headquarters were located at the Pentemont Abbey in Paris. Napoleon took great care of his Guard the Old Guard; the Grenadiers of the Old Guard were known to complain in the presence of the Emperor, giving them the nickname Les Grognards, the Grumblers. The Guard received better pay, rations and equipment, all guardsmen ranked one grade higher than all non-Imperial Guard soldiers. Other French soldiers referred to Napoleon's Imperial Guard as "the Immortals"; the Guard played a major part in the climax of the Battle of Waterloo. It was thrown into the battle at the last minute to salvage a victory for Napoleon. Outnumbered, it faced terrible fire from the British lines, began to retreat. For the first time in its history the Middle Guard retreated without orders. At the sight of this, Napoleon's army lost all hope of victory; the Middle Guard broke but the Old Guard battalions held their formation and secured the retreat of the remainder of the French Army before being annihilated by British and Prussian artillery fire and cavalry charges.
The phrase "La Garde meurt mais ne se rend pas!" is attributed to General Pierre Cambronne. It has been suggested that this was in fact said by another general of the Guard, Claude-Etienne Michel, during their last stand at the Battle of Waterloo; the retort to a request to surrender may have been "La Garde meurt, elle ne se rend pas!". Letters published in The Times in June 1932 record; the Guard was composed of three echelons. The Old Guard comprised some of the finest soldiers in Europe, who had served Napoleon since his earliest campaigns; the Middle Guard was composed of his veterans from the 1805 to 1809 campaigns. The Young Guard consisted of the best of the annual intake of conscripts and volunteers, was never considered to be of quite the same caliber of the senior Guards, although its units were still superior to the normal line regiments. In 1804 the Guard numbered 8,000 men. By the time of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, it had swelled to just under 100,000 men; the Guard had its own artillery and cavalry components just like a normal Army corps.
Created soon after the creation of the Guard itself, the General Staff by 1806 included the four Colonel-Generals of the four divisions of the Guard, all Marshals of France in field rank. It included an Inspector of Reviews, a Commissioner of War, 24 aides-de-camp, other specialist officers, NCOs, privates; the Old Guard regiments served in the 3rd Division of the Guard, while the rest of the foot regiments of the Guard served in the 1st and 2nd Divisions. Created from the Grenadiers of the Consular Guard, the Foot Grenadiers were one of the oldest and most venerated of regiments in the French Army. Created in 1806, the 2e Régiment de Grenadiers-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale was disbanded in 1809 re-raised in 1810; this regiment was created as the Royal Guard in Holland, when Louis Napoleon, brother to Napoleon, was made King of Holland. After Holland became part of France, it became in 1810 the 3e Régiment de Grenadiers-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale. Disbanded 15 February 1813. Re-raised on 8 April 1815, in place of the former Fusiliers-Grenadiers.
Disbanded 24 September 1815. A fourth grenadier regiment, the 4e Régiment de Grenadiers-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale, was raised 9 May 1815. Disbanded 24 September 1815. Created at the same time as the Grenadiers of the Consular Guard, 1er Régiment de Chasseurs-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale was one of the oldest and most venerated of regiments in the French Army. Created in 1806, the 2e Régiment de Chasseurs-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale was disbanded in 1809 re-raised in 1811; the 3e Régiment de Chasseurs-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale existed during the 100 days campaign after Napoleon's escape from Elba. The 4e Régiment de Chasseurs-à-Pied de la Garde Impériale was raised during the 100 days campaign after Napoleon's escape from Elba; the Fusiliers-Grenadiers were the second regiment of Fusiliers created on December 15, 1806, from the 1st battalions of the Grenadier and Chasseur Vélites, forming a regiment, to be 1,800 men strong. Conscripts and men from the Compagnies de Reserve brought the new regiment up to four battalions of four companies each, 120 men to a company.
They were disbanded on May 12, 1814. The Fusiliers-Chasseurs were
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine was a French general. As a young officer in the Bourbon Royal army, he served in the Seven Years' War. In the American Revolutionary War he joined Rochambeau's Expédition Particulière supporting the American colonists. Following the successful Virginia campaign and the Battle of Yorktown, he returned to France and rejoined his unit in the Royal Army; when the French Revolution began he was elected to the Estates-General and served in the subsequent National Constituent Assembly as a representative from Metz. He supported some of the August Decrees, but supported royal prerogative and the rights of the French émigrés. At the dissolution of the Assembly in 1791, he rejoined the army as a lieutenant general and the following year replaced Nicolas Luckner as commander-in-chief of the Army of the Vosges. In 1792, he led campaigns in the middle and upper Rhine regions, taking Speyer and Mainz and breaching the Wissembourg lines. Following Charles François Dumouriez's apparent treason, the Committee of Public Safety investigated Custine, but a vigorous defense mounted by the Revolutionary lawyer Robespierre resulted in his acquittal.
Upon return to active command, he found the army had lost most of its officer corps and experienced troops, in 1793, following a series of reversals in the spring, the French lost control of much of the territory they had acquired the year before. Ordered to take command of the Army of the North, Custine sought first to solidify French control of the important crossings of the Rhine by Mainz. However, when he failed to relieve the besieged fortress of Condé the following year, he was recalled to Paris. After Condé, Mainz and Speyer had all been lost, he was arrested, he was prosecuted in a lengthy trial before the Committee on Public Safety's Revolutionary Tribunal by Antoine Quentin Fouquier-Tinville, Jacques Hébert continued to attack Custine through his publication Le Père Duchesne. Custine was found guilty of treason by a majority vote of the Tribunal on 27 August, guillotined the following day, his son was executed a few months and his daughter-in-law suffered for several months in prison before she was released in the summer of 1794.
She managed to recover some of the family property and emigrated to Germany, Switzerland, with her son, Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, who became a well-known travel writer. The fate of the family is representative of the fates of many of the minor aristocracy in France those in the military and diplomatic corps, whose reputations the Montagnards tarnished in the Reign of Terror. Custine began his career at the age of eight, in 1748, at the end of the War of Austrian Succession in Germany under Marshal Saxe, who continued his tutelage during peace time. During the Seven Years' War, Custine served in the French army in the German states. While fighting the Prussians, Custine learned to admire their modern military organization, which influenced his own military style. By the end of the Seven Years' War, Custine was maestre de camp; the Duc de Choiseul recognized his talent and created a regiment of dragoons for him, but Custine exchanged this for a regiment of infantry, heading for America, where he could continue military action, acquire additional experience, obtain promotion.
His regiment, the Regiment de Saintonge, embarked for the Thirteen Colonies in April 1780 from Brest. There, he served with distinction against the British as a colonel in the expeditionary force of Count Rochambeau in the War of American Independence; the regiment participated in the Virginia campaign of 1781 and received distinguished commendations for action at the Battle of Yorktown. Rouchambeau's reports praised his honesty, zeal and talents. Following the surrender of the British, his regiment wintered in Williamsburg and departed for the Antilles in December 1782, with the rest of the expeditionary force. On his return to France, Custine was appointed governor of Toulon, he resumed responsibilities as the proprietor of the dragoon regiment de Rouergue. In 1789, the bailliage of Metz elected Custine to the Estates-General. In July 1789, as the French Revolution gained momentum, he remained in the National Constituent Assembly. There, he supported the creation of a constitution espousing the principles of representative government and voted with such liberal nobility as the Marquis de Lafayette.
Although he supported the abolition of some seigniorial rights, he defended royal prerogative and the rights of the nobility who fled during the Great Fear their rights of property. He offered limited support of the nineteen decrees that abolished game-laws, seigniorial courts, the purchase and sale of posts in the magistracy, pecuniary immunities, favoritism in taxation, surplice money, first-fruits and unmerited pensions. With the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly in October 1791, Custine was appointed lieutenant general to the Army of the Vosges, as the army of volunteers was known. Despite his strict discipline, he was popular with the soldiers, amongst whom he was known as "général moustache"; the following year he was appointed commander-in-chief of the army. In the Rhineland, Cu
Army of the North
The Army of the North, contemporaneously called Army of Peru, was one of the armies deployed by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata in the Spanish American wars of independence. Its objective was freeing the Argentine Northwest and the Upper Peru from the royalist troops of the Spanish Empire, it was headed by Hipólito Vieytes, Juan José Castelli, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, Manuel Belgrano, José de San Martín, José Rondeau, Manuel Belgrano and Francisco Fernández de la Cruz. The offensive operations started in 1810 and ended in 1817, with the defeat of the forces commanded by Gregorio Aráoz de La Madrid at the battle of Sopachuy, the last attempt to advance into Upper Peru. Since only defensive operations on the Northern frontier were carried on, as the offensive had been transferred to the Army of the Andes, commanded by José de San Martín, who devised the strategy of reaching the main royalist stronghold, through Chile and the Pacific Ocean. In 1820 the Army of the North was summoned to intervene in the internal strife between the central government in Buenos Aires and the Federal League provincial caudillo leaders.
Shortly after, the Arequito Revolt led by the independentist veterans who refused to fight a civil war instead of an independence war ended the existence of the Army of the North. During the War of the Confederation, between Chile and the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, a new military corps received the name of Army of the North under the command of Alejandro Heredia; the Army would disband itself without conducting any major operations after the uprising known as North Coalition and the 1838 assassination of Heredia. The war ended in 1839 with a decisive Chilean victory at the Yungay, so the Peruvian-Bolivian army retreated from Argentine territory; the lack of trained military was one of the most pressing difficulties of the revolutionary government in Buenos Aires. Besides the Patricios Regiment and other corps formed during the British invasions, the only troops with some experience were the Blandengues, lancers militia recruited to patrol the borders of the territories still controlled by indigenous people.
Until 1812, with the arrival of veterans from the Napoleonic Wars, that would join as officers, the army was a militia. Most of the commanders were civilians or junior officers, put in charge more for their political leanings, status in society or charisma than for their military capacity. What would become the Army of the North started with troops drafted by Juan José Castelli by order of the Primera Junta on 14 June 1810, to fight viceroy Santiago de Liniers, who headed a counter-revolutionary movement at Córdoba Province; the Junta's order followed its creation documents from 25 May of the same year, which required them to send an expeditionary force to the provinces. It was in response to the Junta decree that created the Argentine Army on 29 May, five days after its formation; the Junta started a collection in Buenos Aires to equip the expeditionary force and created a small army of 1,150 men, which left from Monte de Castro on 6 July 1810 under the command of colonel Francisco Ortiz de Ocampo, lieutenant colonel Antonio González Balcarce.
After receiving their orders they took the road to Córdoba to confront Liniers. Similar to the armies in the French Revolution, they were accompanied by the Junta's representative, Hipólito Vieytes as commissioner and for the army's comptroller Feliciano Chiclana, who reached the army on 28 July at Fraile Muerto and continued to Salta with a small guard, where he was named governor of Salta and Tucumán; the military command was subject to the political representative and he to the Junta through the Secretary of War Mariano Moreno. Vieytes carried instructions to arrange in each province for elections so the people could designate their representative to the new Junta; the force was composed of about 1,000 men in two companies with the 1st and 2nd Patricios Regiments, 3rd Arribeños, 4th Montañeses, 5th Andaluces, plus the Pardos and Morenos regiments and 50 soldiers of the Buenos Aires regiment, all infantry. The artillery was formed by a group of 60 men with 40 veteran artillery men, they were accompanied by two chaplains.
The cavalry was divided into 50 hussars and 100 blandengues. On 14 July the force arrived in Luján, continuing through Salto, Pergamino. On 8 August they arrived in Córdoba. On 31 July the royalist commanders in Córdoba had fled to Upper Peru after the dissolution of their regiments, to join the royalist army there. Liniers was captured on 6 August in the Córdoba highlands along with others officers from his command, who were sent to Buenos Aires against the execution orders, but on 26 August they were met in Cabeza de Tigre by the new political command of the Army of the North sent by Moreno. Castelli ordered and immediate execution by firing squad for Liniers and the Córdoba governor, Juan Gutiérrez de la Concha, lieutenant-governor Victorio Rodríguez, Santiago Alejo de Allende and Joaquín Moreno, but pardoned bishop Rodrigo de Orellana, sent as a prisoner to Luján. Domingo French, gave the coup de grâce to the French officer. By order of the Junta, González Balcarce replaced Ortiz de Ocampo as troop commander, with Juan José Viamonte as his second in command replacing Vieytes.
Juan José Castelli occupied the post of political representative and Bernardo de Monteagudo the comptroller. French and Rodríguez Peña became part of the new political committee. With Córdoba occupied on 8 August, they replaced their cabildo and Juan Martín de Pueyrredón was named governor, assuming the post that s
French First Republic
In the history of France, the First Republic the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times; this period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power. Under the Legislative Assembly, in power before the proclamation of the First Republic, France was engaged in war with Prussia and Austria. In July 1792, the Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro–Prussian Army, issued his Brunswick Manifesto, in which he threatened the destruction of Paris should any harm come to King Louis XVI of France; the foreign threat exacerbated France's political turmoil amid the French Revolution and deepened the passion and sense of urgency among the various factions.
In the violence of 10 August 1792, citizens stormed the Tuileries Palace, killing six hundred of the King's Swiss guards and insisting on the removal of the king. A renewed fear of anti-revolutionary action prompted further violence, in the first week of September 1792, mobs of Parisians broke into the city's prisons, killing over half of the prisoners; this included nobles and political prisoners, but numerous common criminals, such as prostitutes and petty thieves, many murdered in their cells—raped and slashed to death. This became known as the September Massacres; as a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, a party of six members of France's Legislative Assembly was assigned the task of overseeing elections. The resulting Convention was founded with the dual purpose of abolishing the monarchy and drafting a new constitution; the Convention's first act, on 10 August 1792, was to establish the French First Republic and strip the king of all political powers.
Louis XVI, by a private citizen bearing his family name of Capet, was subsequently put on trial for crimes of high treason starting in December 1792. On 16 January 1793 he was convicted, on 21 January, he was executed by guillotine. Throughout the winter of 1792 and spring of 1793, Paris was plagued by mass hunger; the new Convention did little to remedy the problem until late spring of 1793, occupied instead with matters of war. On 6 April 1793, the Convention created the Committee of Public Safety, was given a monumental task: "To deal with the radical movements of the Enragés, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendée and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, the desertion of its commanding general." Most notably, the Committee of Public Safety instated a policy of terror, the guillotine began to fall on perceived enemies of the republic at an ever-increasing rate, beginning the period known today as the Reign of Terror. Despite growing discontent with the National Convention as a ruling body, in June the Convention drafted the Constitution of 1793, ratified by popular vote in early August.
However, the Committee of Public Safety was seen as an "emergency" government, the rights guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the new constitution were suspended under its control. The Committee's laws and policies took the revolution to unprecedented heights. After the arrest and execution of Robespierre in July 28, 1794, the Jacobin club was closed, the surviving Girondins were reinstated. A year the National Convention adopted the Constitution of the Year III, they reestablished freedom of worship, began releasing large numbers of prisoners, most initiated elections for a new legislative body. On 3 November 1795, the Directory was established. Under this system, France was led by a bicameral Parliament, consisting of an upper chamber called the Council of Elders and a lower chamber called the Council of Five Hundred, a collective Executive of five members called the Directory. Due to internal instability, caused by hyperinflation of the paper monies called Assignats, French military disasters in 1798 and 1799, the Directory lasted only four years, until overthrown in 1799.
The period known as the French Consulate began with the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799. Members of the Directory itself planned the coup, indicating the failing power of the Directory. Napoleon Bonaparte was a co-conspirator in the coup, became head of the government as the First Consul, he would proclaim himself Emperor of the French, ending the First French Republic and ushering in the French First Empire. French Republican Calendar French Revolutionary Wars
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Third French Republic, the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded; some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.
On 16 July 1870, the French parliament voted to declare war on Prussia and hostilities began three days when French forces invaded German territory. The German coalition mobilised its troops much more than the French and invaded northeastern France; the German forces were superior in numbers, had better training and leadership and made more effective use of modern technology railroads and artillery. A series of swift Prussian and German victories in eastern France, culminating in the Siege of Metz and the Battle of Sedan, saw French Emperor Napoleon III captured and the army of the Second Empire decisively defeated. A Government of National Defence declared the Third French Republic in Paris on 4 September and continued the war for another five months. Following the Siege of Paris, the capital fell on 28 January 1871, a revolutionary uprising called the Paris Commune seized power in the city and held it for two months, until it was bloodily suppressed by the regular French army at the end of May 1871.
The German states proclaimed their union as the German Empire under the Prussian king Wilhelm I uniting Germany as a nation-state. The Treaty of Frankfurt of 10 May 1871 gave Germany most of Alsace and some parts of Lorraine, which became the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine; the German conquest of France and the unification of Germany upset the European balance of power that had existed since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Otto von Bismarck maintained great authority in international affairs for two decades. French determination to regain Alsace-Lorraine and fear of another Franco-German war, along with British apprehension about the balance of power, became factors in the causes of World War I; the causes of the Franco-Prussian War are rooted in the events surrounding the unification of Germany. In the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Prussia had annexed numerous territories and formed the North German Confederation; this new power destabilized the European balance of power established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars.
Napoleon III the emperor of France, demanded compensations in Belgium and on the left bank of the Rhine to secure France's strategic position, which the Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, flatly refused. Prussia turned its attention towards the south of Germany, where it sought to incorporate the southern German kingdoms, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt, into a unified Prussia-dominated Germany. France was opposed to any further alliance of German states, which would have strengthened the Prussian military. In Prussia, some officials considered a war against France both inevitable and necessary to arouse German nationalism in those states that would allow the unification of a great German empire; this aim was epitomized by Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's statement: "I did not doubt that a Franco-German war must take place before the construction of a United Germany could be realised." Bismarck knew that France should be the aggressor in the conflict to bring the southern German states to side with Prussia, hence giving Germans numerical superiority.
He was convinced that France would not find any allies in her war against Germany for the simple reason that "France, the victor, would be a danger to everybody – Prussia to nobody," and he added, "That is our strong point." Many Germans viewed the French as the traditional destabilizer of Europe, sought to weaken France to prevent further breaches of the peace. The immediate cause of the war resided in the candidacy of Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a Prussian prince, to the throne of Spain. France feared encirclement by an alliance between Spain; the Hohenzollern prince's candidacy was withdrawn under French diplomatic pressure, but Otto von Bismarck goaded the French into declaring war by releasing an altered summary of the Ems Dispatch, a telegram sent by William I rejecting French demands that Prussia never again support a Hohenzollern candidacy. Bismarck's summary, as mistranslated by the French press Havas, made it sound as if the king had treated the French envoy in a demeaning fashion, which inflamed public opinion in France.
French historians François Roth and Pierre Milza argue that Napoleon III was pressured by a bellicose press and public opinion and thus sought war in response to France's diplomatic failures to obtain any territorial gains following the Austro-Prussian War. Napoleon III believed. Many in his court, such as Empress Eugénie wanted a