There was increasing political pressure on King Louis XVI of France to prove his loyalty to the new direction France was taking so in the spring of 1792, France declared war on Prussia and Austria. After an early victory at the Battle of Valmy in September 1792 the French nation was emboldened to abolish the monarchy. A series of victories by the new French armies abruptly ended with defeat at Neerwinden in the spring of 1793 and the remainder of the year witnessed additional defeats for the French. These difficult times allowed the Jacobins to rise to power and impose the Reign of Terror as a method of attempting to unify the nation. In 1794, the situation improved dramatically for the French with a series of victories. By 1795, the French had captured the Austrian Netherlands and knocked Spain and Prussia out of the war with the Peace of Basel. Napoleon's leadership took the French forward, winning almost every battle and capturing 150,000 prisoners in the process.

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