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The Seven Years War Part 1_ History Lecture Notes.docx

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

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The Seven Years War, 1756-1763: Part 1 By: John Yoon We learned in the previous class- May 1, 1756- Bourbon and Hapsburg - Treaty of Versailles (Defensive Alliance) Louis thought it would be never be evoked and did so in order to bring three Great Powers together (Russia, France and Austria) The Austrians wanted Silesia back from King Frederick of Prussia and He would be the most helpful asset towards regaining it -Why? Frederick was warned of coalition to wipe out Prussia and He acted first in attacking Saxony Frederick had no other option as 1. In 1756, his alliance with France was cancelled, 2. Saxony had a long border with Prussia- Berlin for example was just 50 miles away from the Saxony border, Frederick feared vulnerability. Frederick hoped to gain evidence of anti-Prussian coalition to justify his actions August 29, 1756- Pre-emptive strike on Saxony with rapid success By October- 70,000 Saxon troops stood no chance against 65,000 Prussians, 48 million thalers from Saxony’s treasury falls into Prussian hands which is later used to fund 1/3 of the cost for the 7 years war. However like we have repeatedly seen before- Military success does not lead to equal diplomatic or political success- his actions brought together the coalition and he was condemned as an aggressor However this strike is necessary as Prussia was fragmented and thus very vulnerable to attack but this pre-emptive strike leads to changes of attitude by France and Russia Russia- Empress Elizabeth wanted to go to war for 1.personal reasons and 2. Strategic consideration: Elizabeth feared that Russian trade through the Baltic could be cut Problems: Russia had no money to go to war and had no subsidies, Foreign Minister Bestuzhev is replaced with Voronstov who expresses his desire to crush Prussia as a state and take East Prussia as a reward. January 1757, Imperial Conference held- Russia is no longer pro-British: France had supported traditional rival Sweden in the past From this point on, co-operation with France France: Dauphin ( French heir to the Throne) was married to a Saxon princess and thus the Prussian invasion was insult to France. Louis disregarded all common sense- October 1756, revise first treaty of Versailles into an Offensive Treaty, France offers 1M Francs to Austria and unconditional French military support The Second Treaty of Versailles is signed in May 1757 and in it France does not ask for any rewards but in fact offers free financial and military resources (France had opportunity to receive Austrian Netherlands) January 17, 1757- Austria declares war on Prussia- Not much in m
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