Coalition Wars

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Coalition Wars
French Empire on World 1812.png
The French Empire in 1812
 French Empire and colonies
 Client states and occupied territories
Result Coalition victory
French First Republic French Republic (1792–1804)
First French Empire First French Empire (1804–15)
French client states
Main European powers
 Kingdom of Great Britain (pre-1801)
 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (from 1801)
 Holy Roman Empire (pre-1806)
 Austrian Empire (from 1804)
 Kingdom of Prussia
 Russian Empire
Casualties and losses
1,000,000 dead, wounded, missing, captured, or deserted (1792–1801)[1]
306,000 killed (1805–15)[2]
414,700 killed, wounded, or captured (1792–97)[3]
340,000 killed, wounded, or captured (1799–1801)[1]
376,000 killed in action (1805–15)[4]
134,000 killed in action[4]
289,000 killed in action[4]
War of the Fourth Coalition:
700,000 deaths[4]
War of the Fifth Coalition:
300,000 deaths[4]
Peninsular War:
2,400,000 deaths[4]
War of the Sixth Coalition:
450,000 deaths[4]
War of the Seventh Coalition:
60,000 deaths[4]

The Coalition Wars (French: Guerres de Coalitions, German: Koalitionskriege, Dutch: Coalitieoorlogen etc.) were a series of seven wars waged by various military alliances, known as the Coalitions, between great European powers against Revolutionary France, and from 1796 onwards General and later Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.[5][6]

The Coalition Wars were:



One of the first usages of the term can be found in the 1803 Tribunat report, titled Résultats des guerres, des négociations et des traités qui ont préced́é et suivi la coalition contre la France ("Results of the Wars, Negotiations and Treaties that preceded and followed the Coalition against France"). About the situation in April 1793, when General Dumouriez had just been defeated at Neerwinden and defected to Austria, causing despair in France, it states: "Les événements de cette époque sont les plus pénibles à décrire de tous ceux qui ont signalé les guerres de la coalition." ("The events of that time are the most painful to describe of all those that marked the wars of the coalition.")[7]

In January 1805, the Salzburger Intelligenzblatt was one of the first to number the Coalition Wars when it discussed "Das Staatsinteresse von Baiern bei dem dritten Koalitions-Kriege" ("The national interest of Bavaria in the Third Coalition War").[8] Although the Third Coalition had been formed by that time, war had not yet broken out; the Austrian newspaper discussed why the neighbouring Electorate of Bavaria was likely to side with the French Republic rather than the Austrian-led Coalition. On 30 September 1805, a few days after the launch of the Ulm Campaign, Emperor Napoleon addressed his troops in Strasbourg, starting his speech with the words: "Soldats, la guerre de la troisième coalition est commencée." ("Soldiers, the war of the third coalition has begun.")[9]

Compared to other terms[edit]

The Sixth Coalition's monarchs, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, Emperor Francis I of Austria and King Frederick William III of Prussia, are informed that the French army has been defeated at Leipzig.

The term is distinct from "French Revolutionary Wars", which covers any war involving Revolutionary France between 1792 and 1799, when Napoleon seized power with the Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), which is usually considered the end of the French Revolution. Since the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) had already begun when Napoleon seized power, the war as a whole may[6] or may not be counted amongst the French Revolutionary Wars, which therefore may end in 1799, 1801 (Treaty of Lunéville) or 1802 (Treaty of Amiens).

It also differs from "Napoleonic Wars", which is variously defined as covering any war involving France ruled by Napoleon between 1799 and 1815 (which includes the War of the Second Coalition, 1798–1802), or not commencing until the War of the Third Coalition (1803/05, depending on periodisation). In the latter case, historians do not term the War of the Second Coalition "Napoleonic", since Napoleon did not initiate it himself, but merely "inherited" it from the Revolutionary French Directory which he overthrew during the war.

Because it only pertains to wars involving any of the Coalition parties, not all wars counted amongst the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars are considered "Coalition Wars". For example, the French invasion of Switzerland (1798, between the First and Second Coalition), the Stecklikrieg (1802, between the Second and Third Coalition) and the French invasion of Russia (1812, between the Fifth and Sixth Coalition) were not "Coalition Wars", since France fought against a single opponent.

Hundred DaysWar of the Sixth CoalitionWar of the Fifth CoalitionWar of the Fourth CoalitionWar of the Third CoalitionWar of the Second CoalitionWar of the First CoalitionCongress of ViennaTreaty of SchönbrunnContinental SystemConcordat of 1801Treaty of Campo FormioExecution of Louis XVIBourbon RestorationTreaties of TilsitCoronation of Napoleon ITreaty of AmiensTreaty of LunévilleFrench ConsulateProclamation of the abolition of the monarchyMinor campaigns of 1815Minor campaigns of 1815Gunboat WarTrafalgar CampaignTrafalgar CampaignHaitian RevolutionPeninsular WarAnglo-Spanish War (1796–1808)Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808)War of the PyreneesNeapolitan WarNeapolitan WarDalmatian Campaign (1809)Adriatic campaign of 1807–14Invasion of Portugal (1807)Invasion of Portugal (1807)Invasion of Naples (1806)Invasion of Naples (1806)StecklikriegItalian campaigns of the French Revolutionary WarsItalian campaigns of the French Revolutionary WarsFrench invasion of SwitzerlandFrench invasion of SwitzerlandItalian campaigns of the French Revolutionary WarsItalian campaigns of the French Revolutionary WarsWaterloo CampaignWaterloo CampaignGerman Campaign of 1813German Campaign of 1813Walcheren CampaignBattle of WagramWar of the Fourth Coalition#Prussian campaignWar of the Fourth Coalition#Prussian campaignUlm CampaignUlm CampaignFrench campaign in Egypt and SyriaFrench campaign in Egypt and SyriaExpedition d'IrlandeExpedition d'IrlandeWar in the VendéeWar in the VendéeCampaign in north-east France (1814)Campaign in north-east France (1814)French invasion of RussiaFrench invasion of RussiaFinnish WarFranco-Swedish WarWar of the OrangesWar of the OrangesAnglo-Russian invasion of HollandAnglo-Russian invasion of HollandMediterranean campaign of 1798Mediterranean campaign of 1798Flanders CampaignFlanders CampaignNapoleonic WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars
  •   Phase
  •   French victory
  •   Anti-French victory
  •   Indecisive/compromise
  •   Coalition

Coalition parties[edit]

The main European powers who forged the various anti-French Coalitions were Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, although except for Great Britain not all of them were involved in every Coalition. Smaller powers that occasionally joined the Coalitions include Spain, Naples, Piedmont–Sardinia, the Dutch Republic, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark–Norway and various German and Italian states; the First until Fifth Coalitions fell apart when one or more parties were defeated by France and were forced to leave the alliance, and sometimes became French allies; the Sixth and Seventh were dissolved after Napoleon was defeated in 1814 and 1815 and a new balance of power was established between the parties at the Congress of Vienna.

Members of each Coalition
Members First
 Kingdom of Great Britain (pre-1801) Yes Yes
 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (from 1801) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
 Holy Roman Empire (pre-1806) Yes Yes Yes (until Dec 1805)
 Austrian Empire (from 1804) Yes (1805) Yes Yes Yes
 Kingdom of Prussia Yes (until 1795) Yes Yes Yes
 Kingdom of Sardinia Yes (until 1796) Yes
 Kingdom of Portugal Yes Yes (until 1801) Yes Yes Yes
Spain Spanish Empire Yes Yes Yes Yes
 Ottoman Empire Yes (until 1801)
 Russian Empire Yes (until 1799) Yes (1805) Yes Yes Yes
Tuscany Grand Duchy of Tuscany (to 1801/from 1815) Yes (until 1801) Yes
Sovereign Military Order of Malta Malta Yes (1798–1800)
Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of St. John of Malta Yes (1798)
 Kingdom of Naples Yes Yes (until 1801) Yes (from 1805)
 Kingdom of Sicily Yes (from 1806) Yes Yes Yes Yes
 Dutch Republic (to 1795) Yes (until 1795)
United Kingdom of the Netherlands Principality of the United Netherlands (1813–15) Yes
 United Kingdom of the Netherlands (from 1815) Yes
 Sweden Yes (from 1805) Yes Yes Yes
  Switzerland Yes
Duchy of Brunswick Black Brunswickers (formed 1809) Yes Yes Yes
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–13) and German Confederation (1815–66) members
 Kingdom of Bavaria (from 1806) Yes (from Oct 1813) Yes
 Kingdom of Württemberg (from 1806) Yes (from Oct 1813)
 Nassau (from 1806) Yes
 Kingdom of Saxony (from 1806) Yes (until Dec 1806) Yes (from Oct 1813)
 Grand Duchy of Baden (from 1806) Yes (from Oct 1813)
Province of Hanover Hanover (from 1814) Yes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clodfelter 2017, pp. 109.
  2. ^ Clodfelter 2017, pp. 171.
  3. ^ Clodfelter 2017, pp. 100.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Clodfelter 2017, pp. 170.
  5. ^ Grab, Alexander (2003). Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 1. ISBN 9781403937575. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b ‹See Tfd›(in Dutch) Encarta-encyclopedie Winkler Prins (1993–2002) s.v. "coalitieoorlogen". Microsoft Corporation/Het Spectrum.
  7. ^ Arnould (1803). Résultats des guerres, des négociations et des traités qui ont préced́é et suivi la coalition contre la France (in French). Paris: Badouin. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Intelligenzblatt von Salzburg: 1805". Salzburger Intelligenzblatt (in German). Verlag des Zeitungs-Comtoirs. 11 (1): 143–4. January 1805. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  9. ^ Guizot, François (2015). L'histoire de France depuis 1789 jusqu'en 1848 racontée à mes petits-enfants (in French). Primento. p. 491. ISBN 9782335028768. Retrieved 27 May 2016.


  • Clodfelter, M. (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015 (4th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786474707.