The Enemy of My Enemy Is What, Exactly? the British Flanders Expedition of 1793 and Coalition Diplomacy
Description: The British entered the War of the First Coalition against Revolutionary France in 1793 diplomatically isolated and militarily unprepared for a major war. Nonetheless, a French attack on the Dutch Republic in February 1793 forced the British to dispatch a small expeditionary force to defend their ally. Throughout the Flanders campaign of 1793, the British expeditionary force served London as a tool to end British isolation and enlist Austrian commitment to securing British war objectives. The 1793 Flanders campaign and the Allied war effort in general have received little attention from historians, and they generally receive dismissive condemnation in general histories of the French Revolutionary Wars. This thesis examines the British participation in the 1793 Flanders campaign a broader diplomatic context through the published correspondence of relevant Allied military and political leaders. Traditional accounts of this campaign present a narrative of defeat and condemn the Allies for their failure to achieve in 1793 the accomplishments of the sixth coalition twenty years later. Such a perspective obscures a clear understanding of the reasons for Allied actions. This thesis seeks to correct this distortion by critically analyzing the relationship between British diplomacy within the Coalition and operations in Flanders. Unable to achieve victory on their own strength, the British used their expeditionary force in Flanders as diplomatic leverage to impose their objectives on the other powers at war with France.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Jarrett, Nathaniel W.
Partner: UNT Libraries