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Lecture

Topic 5 - War of Austrian Succession & Seven Years War & War of American Independence


Department
History
Course Code
HIS103Y1
Professor
Vasilis Dimitriadis

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Topic Five
War of Austrian Succession & Seven Years War & War of Ame. Independence
War of Austrian Succession:
-- Charles VI died, succeeded by Maria Theresa;
-- 1740 King of Prussia invaded Silesia and began the war of Austrian Succession (1740-48);
-- Great military move, but not a great political one;
-- Prussia, France, Bavaria VS. England, Austria and the Dutch republic;
-- Ended with the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
Post Austrian Succession War
-- Europe returned to the status quo;
-- France and Britain:
-- Unsatisfied with the results; both took note of Frederick II’s unpredictability (twice enter the
war), and his military genius;
-- Russia:
-- Unfulfilled potential: immense man power and resources;
-- Austria:
--Unsatisfied alliance with Britain; determined to fight back for Silesia;
-- Austria’s national interest is not in British favor; Britain cares about how Austria can help them
compel France;
-- France: realized that Prussia, instead of Austria, became the biggest threat;
-- Austria realized that, Prussia needs to be isolated; Britain is no longer reliable; therefore needs to break
Prussia’s only alliance in Europe: France:
The Diplomatic Revolution: Franco-Austrian alliance
-- Austria has difficulties holding territories that are detached with Austria; unable to capitalize them in
exchange of man power; capital; finance;
-- However, France would very much want the Austrian Netherlands; France would do anything to protect
the Austria Netherlands;
-- Offer France the lowlands, thus break the alliance between France and Prussia;
-- Moreover, both France and Austria are Catholics, while Prussia and Britain are Protestants;
-- made perfect sense for France and Austria to sign an alliance;
The Diplomatic Revolution: France’s situation:
-- Louis XV, knowing that Britain is mobilizing troops in North America; war oversea is near;
-- 1754, 60-80,000 French settlers in NA, with vast territories occupied (Ontario Mississippi Valley );
while Britain only has the small 13th colony by the eastern coast;
-- Britain has navy upper hand;
-- France needs continental stability to have free hand to fight in NA; therefore Austria’s offer is not bad;
-- France realized Fredrick II’s personality as well:
Fredrick II’s bad behavior in previous wars;
personal insult to Louis XV while Maria shows respect (Louis XV’s mistress)
-- However Louis XV is still not convinced:
French court was deeply anti-Habsburg for two centuries; hard to change;
-- Deal was finally reached: main reason Britain:
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The Diplomatic Revolution: Britain’s Situation:
-- Britain mobilizes into NA; they need to tie down France continentally;
Realized the vulnerability of Hanover if France and Britain go to war in NA;
If Britain is to engage France in NA, the safety and well-being of Hanover must be ensured;
-- Austria declared openly that they would not help Hanover, given British behavior in Austrian
succession; the Dutch was too weak to involve; Britain had therefore no continental guarantee;
-- Britain turned to Russia and offered Russia a financial deal to capitalize Russia, which was exactly
what Russia needed;
-- Russia hated Prussia over the open sea route on the Baltic Sea; Fredrick II insult to Tsarina Elizabeth;
-- “Anglo-Russia subsidizing Treaty” is established;
-- Dilemma: war in NA + need to protect Hanover + unable to subsidize Russia
-- Newcastle as last approaches Prussia; only wanted Prussian neutrality rather than taking it as an ally;
-- Westminster Convention (1756);
-- Anglo-Prussian Convention (1758);
-- Louis XV was outraged by Prussia’s deal with B, and was compelled to sign the treaty with Austria;
-- First Treaty of Versailles (1756); F and P neutrality and mutual military aid;
Seven Years War (1756): Prussia
-- After the First Treaty of Versailles, Austria began to expand it into an anti-Prussian Coalition (S,A,R);
-- Prussia was alarmed and began to prepare militarily;
-- 1756 August attacked Saxony with huge success, initiating the Seven Years War;
-- First time Russia to fight a major European war, as well as the war in NA;
-- Great military move:
-- Prussian army is ready, treasury is full, while other countries are not;
-- Needs to act ASAP to preserve its advantages;
-- Strategic importance: Saxony defense importance of Berlin;
(close to Berlin; rivers provide invasion route to Berlin);
Could attack A from two side (from Silesia & Saxony);
Wants to find out the conspiracy between A and F;
Saxony’s huge treasury was taken over – which covers the cost of the 7-yrs war;
-- But huge political blunder
-- All Germanic states, although militarily weak, turned against Frederick II;
-- F and R completely changed the attitudes towards Prussia;
-- Russian foreign policy was re-assessed: changed from pro-British, anti-French to anti-British and
pro-French, but always wanted to destroy Prussia;
-- Louis XV was also humiliated because his son was married to a Saxony Princess;
-- Second Treaty of Versatile (1757); offering A the entire French army to fight Prussia and
partition/fragment Prussia/ a subsidy of 1 million;
-- F did not ask for anything in return in the STV;
-- STV satisfies EVERY SINGLE ONE of As national interest; huge diplomatic success for A;
-- Prussia was no means capable facing such an coalition, in any aspect (militarily; financially ;)
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