This essay re-examines coalition warfare during the Napoleonic era by looking at the three eastern European powers - Austria, Prussia and Russia - how they interacted over time with France as well as each other, and how they managed French preponderance on the Continent. Before 1812, coalition warfare was dominated by eighteenth-century military and diplomatic attitudes: overall foreign political goals were ill-defined and were characterised by deep mistrust. The result was that the eastern powers pursued their own interests with little regard to coalition cohesion. If the coalition held together in 1813 and 1814, on the other hand, it was largely because individual powers' self-interest coincided with the overall objectives of the coalition - an increased determination to defeat Napoleon - along with a never before seen numerical superiority in allied troops. In this, Austria and especially Chancellor Metternich's role in juggling conflicting interests between the allies so that they could present, for the first time, a united front against France was fundamental.
Journal of Strategic Studies Vol. 31, Issue 4, p. 605-632