REV SAC 2: Historical Inquiry
Intro: inquiry question (why is question relevant) To what extent did the impact of the international war on the new regime influence the course of the revolution
The proclamation of war on Austria by the Legislative Assembly on 20 April 1792 led to long-lasting and significant ramifications for France, which continued long after the end of the revolution. The fear of foreign intervention and the threat of counter-revolutionaries was prevalent long before the actual outbreak of war as is evident through repressive measures such as the persecution of emigres and the idea of enemies within and without that was perpetuated by Brissot. The conflict dramatically altered the course of the revolution and redefined the new regime through the lens of war.
(why thing occurred in relation to idea of change and continuity and the consequences of revolution) – include primary sources, historical perspectives and historian interpretations
• King’s flight to Varennes (20 June 1791)
• Declaration of Pillnitz (Aug 27 1791)
• Proclamation of War (20 April 1792)
• Brunswick Manifesto (25 July 1792)
The Brissotins led by Brissot in the Legislative Assembly were convinced that war would unify the divided French people and spread the ‘fire’ of revolution to other European monarchies, thus consolidating the revolution in France. The King’s flight to Varennes on June 20 1791 happened because that Louis was promised aid from Austria and Spain in restoring the monarchy but only if he was able to escape France. Historian Timothy Tackett believed this to be a turning point in the revolution as it gave ground to fears of foreign intervention as well as eroded belief that the king was a supporter of the revolution. The Declaration of Pillnitz was issued soon after by Emperor Leopold of Austria and King Frederick of Prussia in an attempt to intimidate the French government, threatening that they were “resolved to act promptly … with the forces necessary to attain the proposed common objective”. This had the opposite effect intended and actually bolstered efforts to remove Louis from the throne.
The formal declaration of war with Austria on April 20 1792 stated that the French nation “takes arms only to maintain its liberty and independence… the war in which it is forced to undergo is not a war of nation against nation but the just defence of a free people against the united aggression of a king”. King Leopold had died in March and his young son had taken the throne, giving confidence to the Brissotins that France would be able to win in a war.
The war came with the public’s support and also that of King Louis’, due to the fact that if France lost the king would regain his throne and if France won, he would have shown himself to be a true French patriot and supporter of the revolution. Simon Schama summarised it as “Given his plight, he had hardly anything to lose. Should a war go well, it would be a means to concentrate power in his hands… and might even give him the military force he needed to restore power at home”
The Brunswick Manifesto was proclaimed on July 25 1792, on behalf of the Duke of Brunswick who commanded the Austro-Prussian forces and demanded Louis’ and his family’s freedom and safety be personally guaranteed by the citizens of Paris otherwise they would be faced with “military punishment and total destruction”. Needless to say, the Manifesto had the opposite effect and actually confirmed the public’s belief that Louis was a traitor in collusion with Austria and contributed significantly to the king’s irreversible downfall. The Storming of the Tuileries on August 10 came soon after the Manifesto’s publication and was described as “the end of the ancien regime” by Norman Hampson and
(what were the results of this for the new society in relation to change and continuity) – include primary sources, historical perspectives and historian interpretations and people of the times experience of revolution
• France fought against a coalition of Europe (Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, Spain, Netherlands)
• Louis’ execution = Fall of the Girondins
• Levee en masse sparking Vendee Rebellion
The paranoia that had led to the declaration of war now was now turned on its head, panic over reports of defeat and the encroaching Austro-Prussian army led people to attack the Brissotins for their decision to wage war.
France’s army had been left in a compromised and weakened state due to the flight of many émigré which included 3000 noble officers (1/3 of the officer corps) as well as the military reorganisation which had come with the change of regime. It was filled with ill-equipped and untrained volunteers which made up the bulk of the army and who were fiercely suspicious of their commanding officers. Radical ideology was present amongst most of the volunteers which made up the army and the idea of covert traitors within the army was prominent amongst the suspicions held. The murder of General Dillon at the hands of his own soldiers came after his troops were forced to retreat leading them to accuse him of treason. Other reports in the army from high-ranked officers also told of similar stories where soldiers would refuse to obey commands, crippling the effectiveness of the army.
The later defection of important military figures such as Lafayette and Dumouriez (who were both royalists wanting a constitutional monarchy) were preceded by a flood of defecting officers in mid-1792, where the French army was rapidly capitulating
Economic problems arose from the war such as the decrease in trade due to the British fleet’s blockade of certain port towns and the lack of trade with neighbouring countries (most of which were at war with France)
Conclusion (1 para)
analyse the consequences of revolution and evaluate the extent of change brought to society
In essence, the international war was one of the primary, if not the main influences on the direction of the French Revolution, leading to irrevocable results for the future of the monarchy in France as well as heightening the radicalism which saw a continued flux in internal political and social affairs.