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Seven Years’ War. Lsn 4. ID & SIG:. central position, Frederick the Great, French and Indian War, oblique order, Quebec, Quiberon Bay, Rossbach-Leuthen, Seven Years’ War, Wolfe. Agenda. Causes Frederick the Great British Navy French and Indian War Results. Seven Years’ War: Causes.

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id sig
ID & SIG:
  • central position, Frederick the Great, French and Indian War, oblique order, Quebec, Quiberon Bay, Rossbach-Leuthen, Seven Years’ War, Wolfe
agenda
Agenda
  • Causes
  • Frederick the Great
  • British Navy
  • French and Indian War
  • Results
seven years war causes
Seven Years’ War: Causes
  • After the explorations of the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries, the European powers protected their interests by building a series of fortified trading posts throughout the maritime regions
  • Boundaries in the new colonies were disputed
  • Commercial competition ultimately generated violence
    • In 1746 French forces seized the English trading post at Madras, India
    • In the Caribbean English pirates attacked Spanish vessels and French and English forces fought over the sugar islands
  • The violence culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)
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Seven Years’ War: Causes
  • On one side was France, Austria, Saxony, Sweden, and various German states
  • On the other was Britain, Prussia, and Hanover

In the 18th Century, Britain was the dominant naval power while France had a powerful army

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Seven Years’ War: Causes
  • A global war
    • In Europe, Britain and Prussia fought against France, Austria, and Russia
    • In India, British and French allied with local rulers and fought each other
    • In the Caribbean, the Spanish and French fought the British
    • In North America, the Seven Years’ War merged with the on-going French and Indian War (1754-1763) which pitted the British and French against each other
seven years war frederick the great
Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • Became king of Prussia in 1740 when he was 28
  • Had spent much of his life training as a soldier, visiting battlefields, and studying political history and politics
  • Believed every man had an obligation to serve his state and that it was the king’s particular duty to develop policies that increased the power and standing of the state
  • Strong lust for military glory
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great

A

  • Had inconsistent leadership characteristics
  • His success lay in his purposeful use of authority and unwavering determination to make Prussia a European power
  • Led the Prussians in the Silesian Wars (Silesia was comprised of parts of current Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic)
    • Gained experience with limited war, the oblique attack, attrition warfare, and combined arms (cavalry, infantry, and artillery) operations

B

In the oblique order the commander strengthens one wing of his army and employs it to attack the enemy flank, while holding back another, smaller wing to threaten the enemy’s main force and keep it from changing position

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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • Frederick used the period of peace after the War of Austrian Succession to prepare his country and army for another war
    • Strengthened bureaucracy and treasury
    • Enlarged army to 143,000 men (it had been 83,000 in 1740)
    • Anticipating having to fight against larger armies, he trained his officers to attack in the oblique order and seek a rapid decision
    • Issued orders and conducted maneuvers to get ready
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • In August 1756, Frederick launched a preemptive attack against Saxony and Austria, hoping to force them to sue for peace before another country could intervene
  • Was unable to achieve a quick, decisive victory and was now faced with fighting a coalition of powerful states
    • French, Russian, and Austria forces began converging on Prussia
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • Frederick’s only hope was to exploit his central position to meet his principal enemies separately and prevent them from joining forces against him
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • On November 4, 1757, he defeated the French and Germans near Rossbach
  • Although outnumbered nearly two to one (41,000 to 22,000) Frederick suffered just 500 casualties while killing, wounding, or capturing more than 10,000 French and German troops
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • Then on December 5, Frederick defeated the Austrians at Leuthen
    • First he created a diversion on his left flank which drew Austrian reserves to the northern portion of their line
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • This allowed Frederick to turn the Austrians and concentrate his forces on the Austrian’s southern flank
    • Classic example of the oblique order
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • When all was ready, he made a carefully coordinated combined arms attack to roll up the Austrian flank
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Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great
  • Inflicted 22,000 casualties (33%) while suffering only 6,382 (18%)
  • The Rossbach-Leuthen Campaign is the finest example of Frederican warfare
  • Afterwards, Frederick became overly contemptuous of his enemies and his generalship suffered
  • Still his dogged determination allowed him to secure Prussia’s boundaries of 1756 and gain a satisfactory negotiated peace
seven years war british navy
Seven Years’ War: British Navy
  • Frederick’s success was largely a result of his own and his people’s extraordinary efforts, but he also benefited greatly from Britain’s ability to support Prussia by defeating the French at sea and overseas
  • The British had the most powerful fleet and expeditionary forces of any of the combatants
  • Furthermore, the British could rely on the Prussian army to do most of the fighting on the continent
  • This allowed the British to bring overwhelming pressure against the French at sea
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Seven Years’ War: British Navy
  • The British Navy blockaded the French ports to contain commerce raiders, intercept forces bound for the colonies, and forestall an invasion of England
  • They raided the French Atlantic coast to destroy shipping and stores and to divert French forces from Germany
  • They defeated the French Navy at Louisbourg, Lagos, and Quiberon Bay
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Seven Years’ War: British Navy
  • Quiberon Bay lay off the coast of France near St. Nazaire
  • A storm forced the British to briefly lift their blockade, allowing a French fleet of 21 ships to slip out
  • The British returned from their safe refuge and pursued the French

Lord Edmund Hawke commanded the British fleet of 23 ships at Quiberon Bay

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Seven Years’ War: British Navy
  • The British caught up with the French just as they were preparing to enter the dangerous waters of Quiberon Bay where the French planned to embark their army
  • In a risky move the British followed the French to the shore and destroyed them thanks to excellent seamanship and powerful cannon
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Seven Years’ War: British Navy
  • Mahan wrote, “The battle of 20 November 1759 was the Trafalgar of this war, and … the English fleets were now free to act against the colonies of France, and later of Spain, on a grander scale than ever before.”

The Battle of Quiberon Bay by Nicholas Pocock

seven years war french and indian war
Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • The British, French, and Spanish all had colonial interests in North America and this competition led to war in 1754
  • The French and Indian War merged with the Seven Years’ War
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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • As the British secretary of state, William Pitt viewed America as the place “where England and Europe are to be fought for”
  • Consequently, he let Prussia bear the brunt of the fighting in Europe, while concentrating British military resources in America
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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • Early on the British had troubles
    • Their colonists proved to be ineffective and difficult allies
    • In 1755, the French were able to run two fleets through the British blockade and reach Canada with reinforcements of 4,000 men
    • French defenses were especially strong around Quebec

Braddock’s defeat at the Battle of Monongahela

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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • The initial British offensive in 1758 was only partially successful in conquering New France
  • The plan for 1759 involved three attacks
    • James Wolfe would lead an amphibious attack up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec with 12,000 regulars supported by 22 warships and 150 transports
    • James Amherst would lead an even larger army across either Lake Champlain or Lake Ontario to Montreal
    • A third smaller force would advance through western Pennsylvania against French outposts in the Ohio Valley
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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • By this time the French had placed greater emphasis on the war in Europe than in the colonies and the British had a numerical advantage
    • The French decided to concentrate their force at Quebec, leaving relatively small forces to delay an advance on Montreal
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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • The French developed a sound defense
    • They spread their forces some eight to ten miles along the St. Lawrence
    • The length of the defense precluded a siege and the river, tidal flats, bluffs, and forests protected against a direct attack
    • Supplies could be shipped by river from Montreal

Louis Joseph Montcalm commanded the French forces

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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • After initially being frustrated by the sound French defense, Wolfe was convinced to approach Quebec from the west along the north bank of the St. Lawrence
  • To maximize surprise, he landed his force just two miles from Quebec, hoping to force the French to accept battle
  • The French expected an attack from the east and were caught by surprise

James Wolfe

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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • Wolfe dug 4,800 men into a line of battle on the Plains of Abraham
  • The French could not afford to allow the British to hold this strong position so they attacked
  • Superior British discipline and firepower defeated the French attack and the French abandoned Quebec
  • Still the British did not conquer all of Canada until September 1760 when the combined Anglo-American force overwhelmed the French at Montreal
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Seven Years’ War: French and Indian War
  • Although the French were ultimately defeated by a land force, the British Navy had played an important role in blockading New France
  • New France was never a self-sufficient colony and without a steady stream of support from France it could not survive
  • The victory in Canada allowed the British to divert thousands of troops elsewhere and ultimately win the Seven Years’ War
seven years war results
Seven Years’ War: Results
  • Britain was now in a position to dominate world trade for the foreseeable future
  • The Seven Years’ War paved the way for the establishment of the British Empire of the 19th Century
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Seven Years’ War
  • The Seven Years’ War occurred during the era of the classical international system (1648-1789), an era exemplified by:
    • States acting according to self-interest
    • European dominance
    • Absolute authority
    • Limited war
    • Balance of power
    • Multipolar
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  • The Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution