When did France declare war on Austria?

First coalition war

The absolutist rulers in Europe watched developments in France with concern. They feared for their own power should revolutionary ideas spread to their own countries.

Declaration of Pillnitz in August 1791

So finally King Leopold of Austria (at the same time Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) and King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia declared their support for King Louis XVI on August 27, 1791. The goal was to help Ludwig regain his old power. This Pillnitz declaration was one of the triggers for the First Coalition War.

Declaration of war in April 1792

In France, the National Assembly received the declaration with indignation. Finally it was decided to declare war on Austria. Many French aristocrats had fled there before the revolution. This declaration of war was made on April 20, 1792.

This was the beginning of the first of several coalition wars. They are so called because France fought against a coalition (an alliance) of several countries (from the Second Coalition War onwards one speaks of the Napoleonic Wars because they took place under Napoleon's rule).
The declaration of war on Prussia followed on July 8th.

Manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick

First France had to retreat: under the command of the Duke of Braunschweig, the enemy advanced to Paris. In a manifesto on July 25, 1792, the duke threatened the destruction of Paris if something happened to the king. But the opposite was achieved: Ludwig's secret connection to the enemies was thus revealed. The angry crowd in Paris stormed the royal palace and imprisoned the king.

Valmy cannonade

On September 20, 1792 the march on Paris was stopped. The Prussian and Austrian troops were weakened by dysentery (a disease with severe diarrhea). In addition, the French were equipped with newer and lighter cannons. This is how they stood up to the coalition forces. They withdrew. The following day, September 21, the republic was proclaimed.

Further course of the war

Initially, the French Revolutionary Army was able to occupy other areas, including the Austrian Netherlands. In 1793 Great Britain and the Netherlands joined the coalition against France. France made peace with several opponents, including Prussia and Spain (Peace of Basel 1795). In 1796 the French army moved to Italy under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte. This successful Italian campaign finally forced Austria to conclude peace (October 17, 1797 Peace of Campo Formio).