The War of the Sixth Coalition was fought from March 1813 to May 1814 in Europe. It is also known as the War of Liberation in Germany. The war was part of a series of seven wars against the French Empire by coalitions of various European powers. The War of the Six Coalition was a military alliance between Prussia, Russia, Austria, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, and a number of German states.
Lead-Up to the War
As mentioned above, the War of the Sixth Coalition was the sixth of seven wars that took place in Europe between 1792 and 1815 involving various coalitions of European powers against the French Empire. The first, known as the War of the First Coalition, took place between 1792 and 1797, and began when France (then known as the French First Republic and later the French Empire) declared war on the Habsburg Monarchy (later the Austrian Empire). The main members of the seven coalitions were the Kingdom of Great Britain (United Kingdom), the Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire as well as the Kingdom of Portugal, Spanish Empire, Kingdom of Sicily, and Sweden. The War of the Sixth Coalition began in earnest in March 1813, when Sweden declared war on France.
The first battle took place on April 5, 1813, between Prussia and Russian forces against French troops at Möckern. Major battles took place at Lützen (May 1813), Bautzen (May 1813), Dresden (August 1813), and Leipzig (October 1813). The Battle of Leipzig is also referred to as the Battle of the Nations as it was the largest battle seen in Europe prior to the First World War. Although both sides sustained considerable losses, the coalition was able to The coalition drove the French Empire out of Germany in 1813 before invading France in 1814 to occupy Paris.
The coalition began the war with a 1,070,000 strong army in comparison to the French Empire's 850,000 soldiers. By the end of the war just over a year later, the coalition had lost 526,000 men with 391,000 killed or wounded and an additional 135,000 captured or missing in comparison to the French Empire's loss of 668,900 men of which 103,300 were killed, 320,600 were wounded, and 245,000 were captured or missing.
Napoleon was forced to abdicate and fled in exile to the Mediterranean island of Elba. It is important to note, however, that Napoleon evaded the French and British navies patrolling the island and escaped to France in February 1815, leading to the War of the Seventh Coalition, known as the Hundred Days War.