The Seven Years’ War 1756–63


Map Code: Ax01313

The pugnacious Frederick the Great of Prussia seized Silesia from the Austrian-led Holy Roman Empire in the War of Austrian Succession (1740–48). The determination of Austria to regain Silesia, coupled with Britain’s determination to safeguard the Hanoverian homeland of their monarchy, led to the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, and the ensuing war. Frederick’s military brilliance brought a string of victories against France (Rossbach) and Austria (Leuthen). But the Russians proved more implacable, inflicting a crushing defeat at Kunersdorf. By 1762, Prussia was close to collapse, despite France’s distraction by repeated British victories in the colonial war. But a reprieve came when the Prussophile Peter III, the new tsar, agreed peace terms with Frederick, even placing troops at his disposal enabling a late Prussian revival. By the Treaty of Hubertusburg (1763), Frederick kept Silesia. Ironically, his placid son, Frederick William II would gain more territory through the partition of Poland, painlessly, than Frederick in all his campaigns.

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