Operation of The Balance of Power: The War
of The Austrian Succession
- King Charles VI of Austria failed to produce a male heir.
- So he created the Pragmatic Sanction, which was essentially a diplomatic
agreement between the signatories (the Quadruple Alliance) to female inheritance
of the Austrian throne.
- Frederick the Great of Prussia succeeded the Prussian throne in May 1714.
- Frederick the Great said, “The Balance of Power was a mere name.”
- October 1740, Maria Theresa acceded to the Austrian throne.
- 1740, Frederick the Great surprisingly seized Silesia and increased their territorial
and demographic strength, thereby proving their worth as a growing power.
- It is interesting that after this attack, Frederick apologized to Maria Theresa for the
obvious wrong that he did to her. He offered her military and financial
compensation as well as support in the election of her husband, Francis of Tuscany,
as the Holy Roman Emperor.
- Maria Theresa knew she had to retaliate or she would be unable to control the
German states when she ascended to the throne.
- April 1741, Maria Theresa struck quickly and decisively at the Battle of Mollwitz
- The military machine Frederick inherited from his military obsessed father was
what saved Prussia. They were so efficient that they shot the flintlocks at three
times the rate of their enemies.
- Frederick the Great said, “Because of that intensive and machine like training the
Prussian infantry became a walking battery or a moving fortress, the access to
which was formidable and murderess.”
- Notwithstanding his military prowess, however, Frederick the Great was a