Frankfurt proposals

The Frankfurt proposals or Frankfurt memorandum was a Coalition peace initiative designed by Austrian minister Metternich. It was offered to French Emperor Napoleon I in November 1813 after he had suffered a decisive military defeat at the Battle of Leipzig. The goal was a peaceful end to the War of the Sixth Coalition. The Allies had reconquered most of Germany up to the Rhine, but they had not decided on the next step. Metternich took the initiative. The Allies, meeting in Frankfurt, drafted the proposals under Metternich's close supervision. The British diplomat in attendance, Lord Aberdeen, misunderstood London's position and accepted the moderate terms.[1][2]

The proposal was that Napoleon would remain as Emperor of France, but France would be reduced to what the French revolutionaries claimed as France's "Natural borders." The natural borders were the Pyrenees mountains, the Alps mountains, and the Rhine River. France would retain control of Belgium, Savoy and the Rhineland (the west bank of the Rhine River), conquered and annexed during the early wars of the French Revolution, while giving up other conquests, including all of Spain, Poland and the Netherlands, and most of Italy and Germany east of the Rhine.[3]

Metternich and Napoleon, meeting privately at Dresden in June had already discussed the terms.[4] The final version was relayed to Napoleon by the Baron de Saint-Aignon in November.[5] Metternich told Napoleon these were the best terms the Allies were likely to offer; after further victories, the terms would become harsher and harsher. Metternich's motivation was to maintain France as a balance against Russian threats, while ending the highly destabilizing series of wars.[6][7]

Napoleon, expecting to win the war, delayed too long and lost this opportunity. By December Austria had signed treaties with the Allies, and London rejected the terms because they might allow Belgium to become a base for the invasion of England. The offer was withdrawn.[8] When the Allies invaded France in late 1813 Napoleon was heavily outnumbered; he tried to reopen peace negotiations on the basis of accepting the Frankfurt proposals.[9] The Allies now had new, harsher terms that included the retreat of France to its 1791 boundaries, which meant the loss of Belgium.[10] Napoleon adamantly refused. He was finally forced to abdicate on April 6, 1814 and lost his throne.

France Departement 1801
France in its "natural borders" as of 1801.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Henry A. Kissinger, A World Restored; Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-1822 (1957) pp 97-103
  2. ^ Leggiere, Michael V. (2007). The Fall of Napoleon: Volume 1, The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814. Cambridge UP. pp. 42–62.
  3. ^ Ross (1969), p 342
  4. ^ Munro Price, "Napoleon and Metternich in 1813: some new and some neglected evidence," French History (2012) 26#4 pp 482-503.
  5. ^ Robert Andrews, Napoleon: A Life (2014), pp 656-59, 685
  6. ^ J. P. Riley (2013). Napoleon and the World War of 1813: Lessons in Coalition Warfighting. Routledge. p. 206.
  7. ^ Leggiere (2007). The Fall of Napoleon: Volume 1, The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814. p. 53.
  8. ^ Andrews, Napoleon: A Life (2014), p 686
  9. ^ Riley (2013). Napoleon and the World War of 1813: Lessons in Coalition Warfighting. p. 206.
  10. ^ Andrews, Napoleon: A Life (2014), p 695

Further reading

  • Andrews, Robert. Napoleon: A Life (2014)
  • Dwyer, Philip. Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power (2013) ch 22
  • Dwyer, Philip G. "Self-Interest versus the Common Cause: Austria, Prussia and Russia against Napoleon," Journal of Strategic Studies (2008) 31#4 pp 605–632; explores why the Coalition held together so well in 1813-1814
  • Esdaile, Charles. Napoleon's Wars: An International History 1803-1815 (2007) pp 217–18
  • Kissinger, Henry A. A World Restored; Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-1822 (1957) pp 97–103
  • Leggiere, Michael V. (2007). The Fall of Napoleon: Volume 1, The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814. Cambridge UP. pp. 42–62.
  • J. P. Riley (2013). Napoleon and the World War of 1813: Lessons in Coalition Warfighting. Routledge. p. 206.
  • Ross, Stephen T. European Diplomatic History 1789-1815: France against Europe (1969) pp 342–344
  • Ward, A.W. and G. P. Gooch, eds. The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, 1783–1919: Volume I: 1783–1815 (1921) online pp 416–35;
Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz

Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Baron de Strolz, sometimes written Stroltz (born 6 August 1771, Belfort, France – died 27 October 1841, Paris), was a French General during the Napoleonic wars, Chief of Staff of André Masséna during the Italian campaign, Governor of the Basilicata province, Aide-de-Camp to Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples and King of Spain, Baron of the First French Empire, Member of Parliament and Pair de France.

Klemens von Metternich

Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, KOGF (German: [ˈmɛtɐnɪç]; 15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859) was an Austrian diplomat who was at the center of European affairs for four decades as the Austrian Empire's foreign minister from 1809 and Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal Revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation.

Born into the House of Metternich in 1773 as the son of a diplomat, Metternich received an education at the universities of Strasbourg and Mainz. Metternich rose through key diplomatic posts, including ambassadorial roles in the Kingdom of Saxony, the Kingdom of Prussia, and especially Napoleonic France. One of his first assignments as Foreign Minister was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian archduchess Marie Louise. Soon after, he engineered Austria's entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sent Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna that divided post-Napoleonic Europe amongst the major powers. For his service to the Austrian Empire, he was given the title of Prince in October 1813. Under his guidance, the "Metternich system" of international congresses continued for another decade as Austria aligned itself with Russia and to a lesser extent Prussia. This marked the high point of Austria's diplomatic importance and thereafter Metternich slowly slipped into the periphery of international diplomacy. At home, Metternich held the post of Chancellor of State from 1821 until 1848 under both Francis I and his son Ferdinand I. After a brief exile in London, Brighton, and Brussels that lasted until 1851, he returned to the Viennese court, this time to offer only advice to Ferdinand's successor, Franz Josef. Having outlived his generation of politicians, Metternich died at the age of 86 in 1859.

A traditional conservative, Metternich was keen to maintain the balance of power, in particular by resisting Russian territorial ambitions in Central Europe and lands belonging to the Ottoman Empire. He disliked liberalism and strove to prevent the breakup of the Austrian Empire, for example, by crushing nationalist revolts in Austrian north Italy. At home, he pursued a similar policy, using censorship and a wide-ranging spy network to suppress unrest. Metternich has been both praised and heavily criticized for the policies he pursued. His supporters pointed out that he presided over the "Age of Metternich", when international diplomacy helped prevent major wars in Europe. His qualities as a diplomat were commended, some noting that his achievements were considerable in light of the weakness of his negotiating position. Meanwhile, his detractors argued that he could have done much to secure Austria's future, and he was deemed as a stumbling block to reforms in Austria.

Napoleon

Napoléon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di ˌbwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica to a relatively modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789. He rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He orchestrated a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Napoleon then invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, and declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign destroyed Russian cities, but did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted. It resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, and the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".

Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia started the Third Coalition and waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British severely defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805. This victory secured British control of the seas and prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Concerned about the increasing French power, Prussia led the creation of the Fourth Coalition with Russia, Saxony and Sweden, and the resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians in Jena and the Russians in Friedland, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, when the badly prepared Fifth Coalition, leaded by Austria, was quickly defeated in Wagram.

Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon launched an invasion of Portugal, the only remaining British ally in continental Europe. After occupying Lisbon in November 1807, and with the bulk of French troops present in Spain, Napoleon seized the opportunity to turn against his former ally, depose the reigning Spanish Bourbon family and declare his brother King of Spain in 1808 as Joseph I. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, and, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and disastrous withdrawal of the French Grande Armée. Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia, Austria, and Russia formed the Sixth Coalition and began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France from the East, while the Peninsular War spilled over Southwestern french territory. Coalition troops captured Paris at the end of March 1814 and forced Napoleon to abdicate in early April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France. The Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena, a British territory midway between Africa and Brazil, where he died six years later.The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, and brought a lasting peace to the continent. The wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.

War of the Sixth Coalition

In the War of the Sixth Coalition (March 1813 – May 1814), sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, Bautzen, and Dresden. The even larger Battle of Leipzig (also known as the Battle of Nations) was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleon's earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing. With their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile. The French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration.

This was not, however, the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815 (also known as the "Hundred Days"), until he was defeated again for the final time.

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