Napoleons Attack On Austria In 1805 History Essay

In the wake of the Gallic Revolution in 1789, France became a hotbed of political instability and force. The political convulsion created as a consequence of the revolution manifested itself in the executing of Louis XVI, a symbol of European imperial power. The development was disturbing to other royal houses of Europe as non merely most of them were connected by matrimony but they besides feared that it could put off a concatenation of events taking to their ain ruin. War was declared on France by many European great powers, most notably England. Napoleon Bonaparte was a Gallic general who came to power in 1800 in a putsch and declared himself Emperor in 1804 ( Levack et al 639 ) . He considered himself a defender of the Revolution and therefore felt threatened by English ill will towards his reign.

It is perplexing that alternatively of taking to support Gallic boundary lines against onslaughts from Britain and its Alliess, Napoleon chose to prosecute an aggressive policy of hegemony-seeking that turned about the full European continent against France. He launched onslaughts into different districts belonging to Alliess of Britain get downing with the conflict of Austerlitz in 1805. The actions of Napoleon are vexing because in 1803 he had sold off the Gallic ownership of Louisiana in North America on the stalking-horse that such distant districts had become hard to pull off and procuring Gallic fatherland was one of his chief precedences ( Schneid 27 ) . Besides, following the Treaty of Amiens with Britain in 1803, France should hold felt more unafraid and the ensuing period of peace should hold given Napoleon the opportunity to set France ‘s financial house in order ( Schneid 12 ) . The financial jobs that brought about the 1789 revolution had exacerbated farther and were seting a great strain on Gallic society. However, Napoleon still chose to spread out French district by establishing expensive onslaughts into Austria, Russia and Prussia. This paper will do the instance for using Offensive Realism as an explanatory theory for the abetment of Napoleonic wars. The political conditions in Europe in early nineteenth century provided Napoleon with the perfect chance to increase France ‘s security by shiping on a series of struggles which would enable it to exert influence over every bit much district as possible.

Theory description

Offensive Realism is a third-image theory significance that it concerns itself with structural issues in all its accounts and analyses. It states that the lone manner for provinces to guarantee their security is to spread out whenever they have appropriate chance to make so. It is merely through enlargement that a province may get power. The greater the sum of district a province has, the greater its power, doing the province more capable of procuring itself against menaces. Hence, the independent variable ( IV ) for this theory is chance for aggression and the dependant variable ( DV ) is enlargement in district.

One of the nucleus premises of this theory include lawlessness as the telling rule, with each province considered as a individual histrion within the system. The provinces are rational histrions “ that think strategically and see others ‘ penchants ; they pay attending to both long-run and immediate effects. ” ( Lam 1 ) Further, harmonizing to Mearsheimer in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, states possess the power to assail or support themselves through military agencies ( Lam 1 ) . Although the provinces may act upon other histrions via other agencies such as economic influence, the chief manner of aggression remains military struggle and one province must physically seek and occupy another in order to represent an onslaught. In add-on, provinces deploy violative steps while reacting to the mere possibility of a menace against them. This has immense deduction for this peculiar instance survey as a universe described by Offensive Realism is an unsure one and provinces can non foretell the future actions of other provinces. Hence, every bit shortly as they detect the possibility of a menace, they take steps to counter it irrespective of the existent likeliness of onslaught by the other province.

If the Napoleonic wars were to be described utilizing the Offensive Realist theory, one would anticipate to happen that the perceptual experience of chance for enlargement by France to hold been really high. It would hold been thought that if France ‘s stableness and security were to be guaranteed, so an discourtesy taking to enlargement in district would hold to be conducted. Besides, France would hold thought that it had the necessary military capableness to mount a successful discourtesy. In a universe described by Offensive Realism, lawlessness as the telling rule consequences in the single capablenesss of provinces as being the most of import differentiator between them. Hence, it should be expected that France would hold felt confident with regard to its military art when compared with other states in Europe. In add-on, France should besides be expected to hold concluded that an aggressive policy would ensue in the best final payment in footings of security for the state.


It has been good established that France faced a menace from Britain because of British resistance to the Gallic Revolution and the deposition of the House of Bourbon from power. Napoleon wanted to increase Gallic security by preemptively assailing Britain ( Flynn 17 ) . However, France and Britain do non portion a land boundary line and any military manoeuvre needed the support of a navy. Britain had an impressive array of battlewagons whereas France was badly missing on the naval forepart. In order to get the better of this failing, Napoleon ordered enlargement of the battlewagon fleet in add-on to continued buildup of soldiers across the English Channel ( Flynn 15 ) . Although it was really improbable that France could hold matched British naval capacity, Britain felt threatened and proceeded to threading together an confederation of European powers that could assist it equilibrate against the Gallic. Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger managed to carry Austria, Sweden and Russia to ally with the English in 1804, organizing the Third Coalition ( Flynn 16 ) . France was now efficaciously outwitted and outnumbered in Europe and had a echt ground to experience threatened. However, it was besides the instance that Gallic military capableness was far greater than that of Russia, Austria or Prussia, the powers which threatened France most instantly as they had land connexions to France. Meanwhile, Austria and Russia had begun mobilising their forces to keep off any onslaught by France. This created an opportune state of affairs for Napoleon as he could easy legalize a pre-emptive onslaught on Austria and Russia to its ally Spain which besides happened to finance Gallic escapades through its immense militias of Ag ( Schneid 79 ) . Therefore, he launched a sudden and pre-emptive onslaught foremost on Austria by traveling his forces from the English Channel on August 13, 1805 to Ulm in Bavaria on unsuspecting Austrian forces which were expecting Russian supports ( Flynn 21 ) . After the resignation of Austrians, Napoleon continued his March into Vienna and captured the metropolis on November 14, 1805. However, the Austrian forces antecedently defeated joined the Russians and raised yet another formidable force against France. Although the Gallic were outnumbered once more, they chose to contend instead than retreat and were met with a concluding decisive triumph at Austerlitz. Consecutive military lickings crushed the Third Coalition and resulted in France going more secure than of all time after the Revolution.

In an ideal scenario as defined by violative pragmatism, France would hold tried to get every bit much power as possible in order to counter the menace posed by Britain and its Alliess. Since enlargement in district leads to an addition in the sum of power held by a province, France would hold embarked on a run to acquire its custodies on as much district as possible if presented with an chance to make so. The chance available to France would besides ideally be increasing during the determination timeframe as it would do France more likely to spread out into other districts ( which may non be needfully hostile to France ) . Besides, the political and fiscal feasibleness of the onslaught would besides be such that the discourtesy would non jeopardize France ‘s internal or external stableness. France would besides be rather certain that its military capableness would be sufficient to get the better of the challenge put away by other provinces in order to supply itself with the best possible opportunity of success. Last, the onslaught would ensue in France geting greater power than earlier, leting it to go more unafraid in the face of menaces posed to its endurance by other provinces.

Historical grounds mostly seems to fall in line with the idealised version of France ‘s actions as defined by Offensive Realism. In order to prolong a alliance against France in Europe, Britain had agreed to supply heavy subsidies to Austria, Russia and Prussia. Napoleon perceived chance for France to spread out its district as he was cognizant of tensenesss among states consisting the Third Coalition as Britain was efficaciously held to redeem to guarantee its security. This meant that British defence was in the custodies of European states which had mostly involved themselves in the Third Coalition for money with the cognition that France was a larger menace to Britain than to them ( Schneid 83 ) . Therefore, Napoleon could bring down stating blows upon Britain by assailing her European Alliess. In add-on, France had besides struck an confederation with Spain in 1804 which ensured that the war would be financed with Spanish Ag. Besides, he could bank on the Spanish and the Dutch for naval supports in a war that he still viewed as being against Britain merely ( Schneid 78 ) . However, with the mobilisation of Austrian and Russian forces, it was no longer prudent for Napoleon to disregard the menace to France. He moved his forces from the English Channel and ordered them to process towards Germany and preemptively assail the Austrians and the Russians ( Schneid 89 ) . The Gallic ground forces marched on to Vienna and won conflicts at Ulm and Austerlitz, efficaciously closing Austria and Russia out of war. By taking this chance to spread out, France made itself extremely secure and could now concentrate its energies on a possible cross-Channel onslaught to undertake the staying British menace.


In decision, the pre-emptive onslaught on Austrian and Russian forces by Napoleon in 1805 at Austerlitz is an illustration of Offensive Realism in action. The chance to spread out its district had been presented to France as a consequence of the political alterations go oning in the continent. Spain had shed off its impersonal stance in the struggle between Britain and France, corroborating its place as a Gallic ally. This provided Napoleon with much needed entree to financess and forces he could utilize in his struggle against Britain. Meanwhile, Britain had begun to shore up up a alliance of European powers including Austria, Russia and Prussia which had openly begun build uping themselves. This created a state of affairs of security quandary and Napoleon felt compelled to assail the states which were a portion of the Third Coalition against France. His pre-emptive onslaught on Austria can be explained by Offensive Realism as by spread outing into more district in Continental Europe, he could do the Gallic province more powerful and therefore better its security in an lawless universe.

Although Offensive Realism adequately describes the events taking up to the conflict of Austerlitz, there are certain restrictions that undermine its effectivity. First, it does non take into history the personal features of the leaders of the powers involved in this episode. Napoleon Bonaparte, the Gallic leader, was a famed military general and hence it is possible that his background led him to comprehend chance for Gallic territorial enlargement disproportionately. Besides, he was known to be a really ambitious solon which shows that first-image variables do be given to hold a considerable influence on determinations taken by a province. Therefore, a deficiency of step ining variables in Offensive Realism makes it hard to take into consideration the effects of first-image factors on the dependant variable. In add-on, the theory states that provinces will spread out every bit much as possible in order to derive maximal power for themselves. If that is so the instance, so the Gallic sale of Louisiana to the United States does non hold with normal outlooks of behaviour by a province. It is impossible that a province would volitionally yield power in return for fiscal additions in a universe described by Offensive Realism. However, Napoleon used the money received as a consequence of the sale to pay off the debts France had accrued in the wake of the Gallic Revolution. The sale put France in an advantageous place to establish onslaughts on other states. Therefore, the position of Offensive Realists that district is the lone index of the power a province possesses may be misguided as economic considerations besides appear to play a portion in finding a province ‘s clout in an lawless system. Despite the presence of these historical aberrances, Offensive Realism mostly seems to explicate Gallic onslaught on Austrian forces in 1805 without any major incompatibilities.