The war that the revolution had launched against Austria and Prussia blew up into a full scale European conflict in the spring of 1793 because of the Girondins’ determination to spread the revolution beyond France’s own frontiers. That created a crisis as the need for extra troops sparked off anti-recruitment riots in some parts of the country and a full-blown counter-revolution in the west, while a series of military defeats caused panic in Paris. Crisis and panic forced the Convention into emergency measures which put the basic building blocks of the terror into place during March and April. Yet the debates over those institutions widened the gap between the Gironde and the Mountain and, to resolve the deadlock, the Mountain forged an alliance with the sans-culottes to have the Girondins removed from the Convention by force in early June. The purge left them in total control of the Convention but it added to the republic’s problems because several cities in the south denounced it and launched what became known as the ‘federalist revolt’ to reverse it. In its attempts to reverse military defeats and get on top of federalism and counter-revolution, the Mountain had to rely on support from the sans-culottes and Parisian radicals.
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