HIS103Y Lecture 14 November 2 nd
The Seven Years War, 1756-63: Part I
• First treaty of Versailles – diplomatic intimidation. Not a prelude to war
• Austria had not yet achieved its goal of an offensive alliance against Prussia with
France, but waited for Frederick to slip up
• First treaty of Versailles also had an impact on the Russians – Elizabeth wanted to
ally with France
• She set up the ‘Conference at the Imperial Court’ to reconsider Russian foreign
policy options in light of the convention of Westminster and the failure of the
• They told the Empress in 1756 to establish an offensive alliance with Austria
• Also to win France over to the anti-Prussian alliance
• Habsburgs still wanted Silesia
• Frederick kept hearing Anti-Prussian coalition (Austria, France, and Russia)
attack to Prussia.
o Maria denied the fact
o Frederick saw there is no way out of this predicament and chose to attack
• So, August 1756 Frederick invades Saxony, because he thought they were going
to join the anti-Prussian army
o Saxony was a buffer zone with proximity to both Berlin and Paris
• Within one month, Frederick took over Saxony.
o Saxony and its troops were integrated into Prussia. Prussia gained $48
million dollars which was 1/3 of Prussia’s own expenditure.
• However, the military success did not guarantee diplomatic success.
o Anti-Prussian coalition became stronger
o Created the situation that Frederick wanted to avoid.
• In response to this, February 1757, Austro-Russian alliance is established.
• The principle of the diplomatic revolution - an offensive alliance between France
and Austria on May 17th – Second treaty of Versailles, Sweden joined in March
• Prussia was now forced into a war of survival
• Frederick defensive insecurity brought about this, not his offensive militarism
• After the Battle of Kolin 1757, British assisted Prussian chances of survival
• In the 18th century warfare, the army with more men often won the battle and
Prussian forces were greatly outnumbered
• However, at the Battle of Leuthen, even though Austria fielded an army twice the
size of the Prussian one the Prussians still managed to win the battle in December
1757 • Earlier at the battle of Rossbach the Prussians managed to defeat French forces in
November because the Prussian army attacked the French army before they could
form a line
• September 1757, the treaty of Kloster 7 was signed.
o Embarrassment of Britain and Prussia
o Thanks to Army of Observation
• November 1757, the Battle of Rossbach
o Prussian army wiped out outnumbering French army who were marching
towards Saxony by intercepting in the