Seven Years War

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The Seven Years' War

The first true World War. …Cause and effects!

Jeff Brown
The History of Western Civilization II
Professor Zarrillo

What would the state of the free world be today if the alliance of the war of the Austrian Succession had not reversed in the Seven Years' War? Would we speak French, still be "New England", or perhaps New Spain? The fact is that while we may not know for certain that today's world would be different, you can rest assured that the Seven Years' War set the tone in Europe, and more importantly in North America for the next half century. The history of the 18th century in Europe was always uncertain. In fact, the history of Europe will show that the fate of the continent, perhaps even the world, was always on the brink. Nations constantly were maneuvering for the upper hand looking to the highest bidder to choose sides with. The war of the Spanish Succession and the war of the Austrian Succession will show us that this new "world war" would be no different. The degree of uncertainty on the continent in 1755 is unparalleled. Russia, Bohemia, and even France and England could have swung in either direction. In fact France and England did change "loyalties" if you will between the Treaty of Aix-la-chapelle and Frederick's invasion of Bohemia in 1756. Maria Theresa, although agreed to the aforementioned treaty to end the war of her accession, would always seek revenge on Frederick for the humiliation he had inflicted on her. If these loyalties or interests I should say hadn't changed, what would the effect on the world be today? Would you or I be speaking some other language? French perhaps? The Enlightened Despots, Frederick? Was he? Maria Theresa? Hardly, Catherine had absolutely no impact whatsoever, and William Pitt, while he was an effective military strategist, was no despot, and surely not enlightened. Louis the XV, who was led around by the nose by Mme de Pompadour, was as ineffective as all the Kings of France would be after his grandfather. Britain obtained Prussia as her ally, but you might ask, why? Surely you can't fuel Frederick's massive army any more? Pitt the Elder argued though that while true Prussia's army was unmatched in these days, they had no Navy, and therefore was no threat to the "isles". Besides they could defend Hanover as Brittaiinias ally, to let England deal with her main concern, colonization. While the Hanoverian kings were by no means brilliant or very effective furthermore, it was parliament that realized the importance of her colonies, especially in the New World. The treaty of Westminster sealed the deal between both England and Prussia. Frederick's hopes were that this would deter Russia from getting involved, and the "Brits" trusted Frederick in return to protect Hanover. Frederick successfully insulted many of the rulers of Europe of his day. " The first three whores of Europe" is the name he gave to Maria Theresa, Elizaveta Petrovna, and Mme. De Pompadour. Surrounded by enemies on all sides one would think to have a bit more taste. Will Durant put it best when he said, "It is comforting to know that even the Great can be foolish now and then". (Rousseau and Revolution. 43) King Augustus III of Saxony, Elector of Poland, which happened to split the mainland of Prussia down the middle, and also happened to be quite catholic, thought of Frederick as an insolent infidel. Nonetheless, Frederick would have none of this. Quite arrogant, or maybe only confident in his army, knowing all the time that Maria was just maneuvering and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike back and regain Silesia, whose loyalties mostly lie with Austria. While Maria claimed that she would honor the Treaty of Dresden, it was clear to Frederick that all of Europe was taking sides. In order to protect his western front, Frederick invaded...
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