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Seven Years War and Eclipse of France, Britain's and Russia's rise

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Denis Smyth

4) Seven Years War and Eclipse of France, Britain's and russia's rise The Seven Years War, 1756-63: Part 1 October 29 • Diplomatic Revolution- massive realignment of European Power ◦ Habsburg- offered Netherlands to France- had free hand to regain Silesia -primary goal • Jan 17 1756-Treaty of Westminster - British-Prussian alliance ◦ Prussian miscalculation- led to 1 Treaty of Versailles between France andAustria • Prussia knew thatAustria wanted to retake Silesia ◦ received constant info that Saxony, Russia, andAustria preparing for war ◦ Frederick- more time he had to prepare the greater the anti-Prussian coalition was to grow • 1756- hoped for signs of offense, but when none, decided on pre-emptive strike ◦ had fully mobilized army and treasury-Prussian capital Berlin only 50 km away from Silesia ▪ if attacked Austria, too vulnerable because France would strike through Saxony ◦ Prussia's geographic position terrible- open to Russian attack and in mercy of neighbours ▪ could either gain territory to include all the fragments or give up to pressure • attack on Saxony complete surprise -led to one million casualties and an international war ◦ within 5 days completely overrun- treasury emptied and army integrated into Prussian army • military success for Prussia, but diplomatic disaster - created rise of anti-Prussian coalition ◦ Austro-Franco alliance- Britain had abandonedAustria by Treaty of Westminster ◦ in the Treaty ofAix-la-Chapelle France had excluded Russia -Austro-Russian alliance ◦ Louis' daughter in law a Saxon- invasion of Saxony embarrassing • offensive alliance-Louis offeredAustria unconditional support until Silesia inAustrian hands ▪ 1 million livres, French army while Kaunitz offered nothing in return ▪ Louis' mistake- his enemy was Britain, not Prussia ◦ Frederick couldn't have excuse for pre-emptive strike - Imperial Diet punished Prussia • Frederick totally isolated but lack of common objectives between Russia, France, andAustria ◦ Second Treaty of Versailles-Franco-Austrian andAustro-Russian, but no Franco-Russian • Military genius of Frederick with 250 000 troops compared to allied 500 000 ◦ new military design-broke Prussian lands in sections, each provide certain number of troops ▪ couldn't hide from own village ,trained soldiers so could go back to work a ▪ disciplined soldiers to fight effectively many drills, prohibited officers from beating • outmanouevered other armies by training it to move at same time • couldn't risk battle of attrition due to few resources ◦ Battle of Leuthen- turn of Prussian fortunes in 7 years war due to Prussian military strength Seven Years War Part 2 October 31 ◦ defensive alliance with Britain to defend Hanoverian interest ▪ convenient for Britain because tie down France in Continent ◦ his invasion of Saxony- rights took away by Holy Roman Empire • George II- continental strategy - wouldn't allow his state to be lost- compelled British act ▪ butAustria- Kaunitz didn't want to help nor the Dutch ◦ offered France subsidies not to attack Dutch- France promised not to attack Netherlands ◦ George II as king of Britain- wanted war withAustria and France ▪ but as king of Hanover wanted neutrality with France - if France attacked Hanover, would defend it and if France attacked Prussia, wouldn't stop them ◦ France- Britain best attacked through Hanover- would have to give up overseas land ▪ May 1756- French squadron attacked main British port in Minorca • tremendous victory for French navy which had been in decline since Nine Years War ▪ Sep 1757- France defeated army of Observation- Duke of Cumberland for peace • Hanover out of war- Convention of Klosterzeven- become base for France to attack Prussia • 1757 bad for Prussia- Austria - 3/4 of Silesia in their hands – Russian victory in Eastern Prussia • Frederick- decided that the French army was the most dangerous- left Eastern Prussia open ◦ November 1757- credit to Frederick's brilliance and army discipline- turn of fortunes ▪ Rossbach- within hours 10 000 Frenchmen killed/captured and 500 Prussian casualties ◦ Holy Roman Empire and Britain saw Frederick's worth ▪ repudiated convention of Klosterzeven -reestablishedArmy of Observation- ▪ tied down 100 000 French soldiers in Hanover-Frederick only faceAustria and Russia t • Apr. 1758- signedAnglo-Prussian convention - Britain offered subsidies ▪ 4 weeks after Rossbach-battle of Leuthen- defeatedAustrian army twice size of Prussian • France in Europe and NorthAmerica -British took French India, Carribean, and Canada ◦ Choiseul (French foreign minister)'s mistake - too much help forAustrians ▪ 1759- second Treaty of Versailles verifiedAustro-French marriage • but took back promise of helping to fight until Silesia recaptured ◦ needed new allies- Don Pedro of Spain hated England ▪ gave Minorca to Spain, promised to fight for Gibraltar, give Louisiana if bad outcome • Frederick couldn't overcome Russia -and by 1761 80% of Prussian official corps died in warfare ◦ 1762 Jan- Tsarita Elizabeth died- succeeded by Peter
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