Fighting was partly a continuation of the Austrian War of Succession of the 1740’s and spanned form America to Europe, and from the West Indies to Africa. India was also partly involved in the conflict. This has led historians to name the American theatre of war as the French Indian War 1754-63 (Including the two years of undeclared war, 1754-56). Following the war, Britain emerged as a leader of world politics, and due to the amount of territory gained, confirmed herself as a major Imperial Power. Appendix 2
Prior to the Seven Year’s War, Prussia had been a smallish state amidst the giant states that controlled European diplomacy, such as the French, Austrians and the Russians. Manipulation of treaties following the Austrian war of succession 1744-48 saw the Prussians siding with the British against the Austrians (who they had been fighting for 5 years over the control of Silesia. ) The war began with Frederick’s invasion of the German state of Saxony, as this was a good control base for his armies. Prussia’s early strength gave them a lot of confidence, with good victories against the Austrians and the French.
This is largely down to the military strategies employed by Frederick (he would make his armies engage a weak point in the enemy’s flank, and then retreat. ) Mirabeau summed up Prussia’s militaristic nature “Prussia was not a state which possessed an army, but an army that possessed a state. (Stephen Lee – Aspects of European History p. 191. ) Prussia’s fate, however, was aided by a great deal of luck later on in the 7 years War. Failure to coordinate a 3 pronged attack by the French, Austrians and Russians allowed Frederick to defeat the invading armies.
Meanwhile, Tsarina Elizabeth died, leaving Tsar Peter III to succeed her. The new Tsar was an admirer of Frederick, and immediately signed peace with them, and even supplied them with some troops. The Seven years war was immensely important for Prussia, as it confirmed seat in post-war European politics. In 1870, it was Prussia that unified Germany. Appendix 3 Maps from the Crucible of War The maps all come from the same book, page XXV -map section (Fred Anderson – “Crucible of war” (2000) New France and the British Mainland Colonies in the Seven Years’ War, 1754-1763
Indian Groups, Regions and Topography of the North American Interior New England, New France and Lake Champlain – Hudson Corridor St. Lawrence River Valley and Quebec (June – September 1759) Central European Operations 1 “Total War” is described as a war in which the society at home are affected by the fighting 2 Fred Anderson – “Crucible of War p. xvi (2000)” 3 There were vast numbers of Tribes present in the Americas at the time of the War, but the main ones were the Iroquois, Cherokee, Mohawk and Huron 4 The name given to French imperial designs, and later to their possessions in Canada
5 This was the treaty marking the closure of the “Austrian War of Succession. ” 6 French forts were built at Presque Island (Erie) and on the Rivii?? re aux Boeufs (Waterford) 7 Francis Jennings – “Empire of Fortune p. 3” 8 See Appendix 1 9 Fort Duquesne had originally been a British site of fortification, sighted by George Washington on his way to deliver a letter demanding the French to leave the region of the Upper Allegheny River. The French captured Fort Prince George while the British were building it, and renamed it Fort Duquesne
10 Although only a young Virginia officer at the time of the Seven Years War, George Washington went on to be an influential figure in the American War of Independence years later, showing the feelings of patriotism growing within the American colonies during the War 11 Francis Jennings “Empire of Fortune p. 5 (1988)” – Bush Fire War is the term used to describe the localised and undeclared conflict taking place in the Ohio valley from 1754-56 between the British and the French 12 At this time, Britain was involved in conflicts in Europe, India, the West Indies and Africa
13 The French maintained their grip on the Ohio valley, and captured Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario and Fort William Henry 14 The siege and eventual capture of Fort William Henry was the event shown in the James Fenimore Cooper novel, The Last Of the Mohicans (1826) 15 In 1756, the Quakers had formed an organisation called “The Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures. ” 16 William Pitt the Elder, First Earl of Chatham was a very influential in the later years of the Seven Years War (1757-61), and the Pitt-Newcastle ministry was responsible for a major shift in the course of the War
17 Anderson – “Crucible of War p. 211” 18 Fred Anderson – “Crucible of War p. 212″ 19 Op. cit p. 213” 20 See Appendix 2 21 Paul Kennedy – “The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery p. 115” (1976) 22 During this conflict, and many others around the time, the British army were known as the “Red Coats,” so called as to the red colour of their jackets 23 Also known as the Territorial Army 24 Quote from Frederick II, Fred Anderson – “Crucible of War p. 213″ 25 Op. cit p. 214″ 26 Ibid 27 It can also be seen from the events following the Seven Years War that it had a dramatic effect on the peoples and the politics of the time.
The inspired American nationalism led American militiamen, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, with a belief in British sovereignty to rise up in the American war of Independence in the early 19th century. The serious hindrance to French imperialism is also suggested to be a root cause in the French Revolution years later. 28 Op. cit p. 215” 29 Kennedy – “The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery p. 116” 30 Ibid 31 Quote from Herbert L. Osgood, Jennings – “Empire of Fortune p. 353” 32 Full title, Captain General William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.
He was the main rival of the Pitt-Newcastle ministry, and triumph over Cumberland was a victory in itself 33 See Appendix 3 (Maps) 34 Anderson – “Crucible of War p. 389” 35 Jennings – “Empire of Fortune p. 409” salutary neglect is the term used to describe how the colonies were originally treated (they were neglected by the British government, and were allowed to be self governing. ) Pitt’s move to treat them as subordinate jurisdictions angered the colonials, as they moved from playing almost no part in British tax policy to sharing the burden of the war debt that they didn’t incur.
36 Lee – “Aspects of European History p. 285” 37 The American Revolution effectively marked a new turn in the history of the continent 38 This is simply looking at the effect of the loans in the wartime years, and not the trouble the huge war debts caused with the colonials post 1763 39 American politics ensured by the generals, such as alliances with the Indian nations (shown by Brigadier General John Forbes establishing peace with the Indians before the invasion of Fort Duquesne, thus cutting off the French) are also a major consideration when looking at the politics of the war James Condie Thursday, 10 May 2007.