First War against Napoleon

First War against Napoleon

The First War against Napoleon or the Pomeranian War, was the first involvement by Sweden in the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1804 the Swedish government broke diplomatic ties with France after the execution of Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien and concluded a convention allowing the British to use Swedish Pomerania as a military base against France, in exchange for payments. On August 9, 1805 Sweden joined the Third Coalition and on October 31, 1805 declared war on France.

In November 1805, a combined force of British, Russian and Swedish troops were sent to liberate French-held Hanover. However, in December 1805, after the battle of Austerlitz, the British and the Russian troops evacuated Hanover leaving a small Swedish force alone . In April 1806, Prussia, Napoleon’s new ally, forced Swedes to retreat from Hanoverian territory. On November, 1806 Swedish troops were caught between the advancing French troops and Prussians in Lübeck (now Coalition members) and part of them surrendered to the French. The French army began an offensive towards Swedish Pomerania and besieged Stralsund on January 15, 1807. The Swedes were reinforced the 1st April and defeated the 15 000 men strong French army.On April 18, 1807, France and Sweden agreed a cease-fire according to which French were to leave Pomerania. However, the Swedish government refused to join the Continental System and denounced the armistice under the influence of British diplomacy on July 8, 1807.

On August 6, 1807, 50,000 French, Spanish and Dutch troops under Marshal Brune begin an assault on Swedish Pomerania and besieged Stralsund again. On August 20, 1807, the defenders of the city capitulated. Swedish army was surrounded at Rügen. However, Swedish General Johan Christopher Toll managed to concluded the convention of Schlatkow with Marshal Brune on favorable terms and his forces withdrew to Sweden with all of their munitions of war on September 7, 1807.

Franco-Russian treaty

The Franco-Russian treaty of Tilsit left Britain and Sweden without other allies in the war with France. On February 21, 1808, Russia joined the war against Sweden by invading Finland (the Finnish War). On March 14, 1808, Denmark also declared war on Sweden. Danish and French-Spanish troops began preparations for an invasion of Skåne in Sweden, but the plan was soon aborted. Small combats occurred at the Norwegian border. Sir John Moore's expedition sent by the British government to protect Sweden from possible French-Danish attack arrived on May 3 1808 and stayed until July when it was redirected to Portugal.

Napoleon’s plans to invade Sweden was never realized due to the British activity on the Baltic Sea, the weakness of Danish military and hesitations of French Marshal Bernadotte. Bernadotte's actions made him popular enough to be elected as a Swedish Crown Prince after the coup d'état in March 1809. On August 30, 1809, the new Swedish government was to conclude the treaty of Fredrikshamn with Russia legitimizing the Russian annexation of Finland and Åland. A peace treaty between Sweden and Denmark was signed with no territorial adjustments on December 10 1809.

On January 6 1810, Sweden signed a Russian-mediated Treaty of Paris with France regaining Pomerania, at a cost of joining the Continental System. On November 17 1810, Sweden was forced to declare war against Britain. All British goods in Swedish Pomerania were seized. The government-supported smuggling continued, however, over the North Sea. The English fleet was informed that it would be a phantom war. The war lasted until 1812 and no military action was taken.

ee also

*Second War against Napoleon
*List of Swedish wars
*Absolute monarchy in Sweden

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