Nations – Austria

by: Peffy
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The countrys capital is Vienna. Located in the central Europe, by 1799 Austria was bounded on the north and west by Prussia and the territories of German kingdoms, princedoms and duchies; on the east by the Russian empire; on the east and south-east by Ottoman Empire; on the south by Parma and Ragusa. Besides the territory of the modern Austria, the then Habsburg empire included territories of present Belgium, Czech Republic and Slovakia, and partially territories of Hungary, Romania, Germany, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine and Poland.

Francis I (1768-1835) was at the head of Austria. In 1792, he was crowned as a king of Hungary and Bohemia and an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Austria was involved in the 23-year war with its western neighbor right after the revolution in Paris – France attacked in March 1792. By 1793, the empire lost some of its territories with some of its formal members trying to evade participation in the war under any pretext. During this and many posterior crises, the new emperor proved a rather skillful diplomat. However, most of Francis’s efforts were in vain, as his forces suffered bitter defeat one by one with Napoleon repeatedly annexing Austrian territories. Thus, in 1801, all regions on the left bank and many regions on the right bank of the Rhine were lost.

However, even after numerous annexations by Napoleon, a large territory and enviable amount of resources together with its high industrial development allowed the empire to conduct military operations without any deficiency. There were no lack of recruits here, but because some regions (Northern Italy, for example) were hold in obedience by the Austrian government only with the help of force complicated the situation. They were ready to excite the rebellion any moment and that complicated situation much. Moreover, recruited to army representatives of different nations, frequently practicing different branch of Christianity could not get along together. Creating of large bodies of troops on the nationality aspect could not be done due to the number of factors and “club discipline” that was common in Austrian army could just create a semblance of shallow order.

However, despite all of the weaknesses, Austrian army (in the beginning of XIX century included 255 infantry battalions, 322 cavalry units and about 1000 artillery guns) appeared to be extremely enduring. Repeatedly it was almost completely defeated by Napoleon, but every time it came to life again having more experience and soldiers thanks to recently passed law of conscription, like it was made in France. When ideas of liberation from humiliating domination became common to the whole people and commanders gained some experience useful in action against Great Army, Austrians already were able to withstand Bonaparte forces – and that may be seen on the example of Vagraam battle.

Having and outlet to the Mediterranean Sea through Adriatic – on the territories of present Croatia; – Austria lost these areas in first years of war with France. Weak and small fleet of this country could not have any influence on course of the war.


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