The Seven Years War saw Britain established as the greatest colonial power, with control over India and North America seemingly secured, while Prussia emerged as the greatest power on the Continent, and the dominant force inside Germany, reducing still further the power of the Holy Roman Empire and Habsburg Austria. Frederick II of Prussia (the Great) emerges as the most remarkable leader of the war. Prussia was the smallest of the main combatants, and yet Frederick survived year after year of campaigning, and despite coming near to defeat he emerged triumphant (Richard).
Histories of the American Revolution tend to start in 1763, the end of the Seven-Year's War, a worldwide struggle for empire that pitted France against England in North America, Europe, and Asia. Fred Anderson, who teaches history at the University of Colorado, takes the story back a decade and explains the significance of the conflict in American history. Demonstrating that independence was not inevitable or even at first desired by the colonists, he shows how removal of the threat from France was essential before Americans could develop their own concepts of democratic government and defy their imperial British protectors. Of great interest is the importance of Native Americans in the conflict. Both the French and English had Indian allies; France's defeat ended a diplomatic system in which Indian nations, especially the 300-year-old Iroquois League, held the balance between the colonial powers. In a fast-paced narrative, Anderson moves with confidence and ease from the forests of Ohio and battlefields along the St. Lawrence to London's House of Commons and the palaces of Europe. He makes complex economic, social, and diplomatic patterns accessible and easy to understand. Using a vast body of research, he takes the time to paint the players as living personalities, from George III and George Washington to a host of supporting characters. The book's usefulness and clarity are enhanced by a hundred landscapes, portraits, maps, and charts taken from contemporary sources. Crucible of War is political and military history at its best; it never flags and is a pleasure to read. --John Stevenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From 1756 to 1763, the Ohio Valley was the site of a historic contest between the French and the English, both of whom wanted to add this fertile soil to their colonial holdings. In this elegant new account of the Seven Years' War, University of Colorado historian Anderson demonstrates that the conflict was more than just a peripheral squabble that anticipated the American Revolution. Not only did the war decisively alter relations among the French, the English and the Native American allies of the two powers, who for decades had played the English and French off one another to their own advantage, but just as critical, argues Anderson, the war also changed the character of British imperialism, with the mother country trying to reshape the terms of empire and the colonists' place in it. (it was the British victory of 1763, for example, that led the British to post a permanent, peacetime army in America and to support those troops with new taxes.) Indeed, Anderson shows that familiar events of the mid-1760s, like the Stamp Act and Tea Act crises, are better understood as postwar rather than prewar events: they did not "reflect a movement toward revolution so much as an effort to define the imperial relationship." This volume, then, will be of interest not just to Seven Years' War buffs, but also to those interested in the entire Revolutionary era. Anderson's magisterial study -- like his earlier book, a People's Army -- is essential reading on an often ignored war (Anderson).
William Pitt proved an excellent manager of the war, subsidizing Prussia and minimizing Continental troop commitments while protecting Hanover mostly with troops from the German states. For 1758, British troops were sent on diversionary attacks on the French coast, at St. Malo (see map) and Cherbourg, which were thought by Pitt and Frederick to divert troops away from Germany. An expedition to western Africa captured the French slaving station at Senegal. In North America, a force was dispatched to take the vital fortress of Louisbourg, which it did, but there was no time to take Quebec, the next objective. A British force under Maj. Gen. James Abercrombie took heavy casualties in a failed attack on Ticonderoga, but an expedition under Col. John Bradstreet captured Fort Frontenac and gained control of Lake Ontario. As a result, an expedition under Col. Forbes found Fort Duquense abandoned and burned. Fort Pitt on the modern site of Pittsburg was built in its place (Part of John's Military History Page).
In July, Contades advanced from Geissen, threatening Ferdinand's left, pushing him back beyond Minden, which was taken July 9th. The lower Rhine army, under Armentieres took Munster and moved to join Contades. Just when Hanover seemed lost, Ferdinand turned and attacked at Minden (battle map) on August 1st, gaining a great victory. The whole French army could have been destroyed, but the cavalry under Lord George Sackville did not join the attack. Ferdinand followed the French to Warburg, but did not pursue vigorously. An allied force retook Munster, and Contades continued to fall back to Giessen on the Lahn River. Frederick's difficulties forced a reinforcement from Ferdinand, weakening him just when he was doing so well. The new French commander, Broglie, now ordered the lower Rhine army to threaten Ferdinand's right by advancing from Colonge to Dillenburg on the Dill River, but Ferdinand successfully held Marburg (Part of John's Military History Page).
France convinced Spain to enter the war to regain enough naval power to once again attempt an invasion of England. Controversies related to the entry of Spain as well as the coronation of George III led to the fall of Newcastle's and Pitt's government and the formation of a new one under Bute. An invasion of England was never really practical and Spain gained nothing by the war. Despite having a new enemy, Britain captured Martinique (map) from France followed by Havana (map) on August 12, 1762 and Manila on October 6, 1762, both from Spain. With the loss of Havana, Spain lost three ships of the line sunk, nine captured, and two being built, which amounted to roughly 20% of the Spanish navy. More importantly, this blocked Spain's vital trade and treasure network which financed their war effort. Spain invaded Britain's ally Portugal in the hopes of gaining a bargaining chip at the peace talks. They hoped to divert troops from Britain in preparation for the foiled desperate invasion attempt. Britain shifted troops from Belleisle to Portugal and the Spanish invasion was halted (Part of John's Military History Page).
The first minister in the French government, the duc de Choiseul, was determined to regain Martinique and Guadeloupe and to retain a base for the Grand Banks fisheries. He also wanted CAPE BRETON, but had to settle for St.-Pierre and Miquelon. He left Canada to Britain, convinced that the American colonies, no longer needing British military protection, would soon strike out for independence. The loss to France of Canada would be as nothing compared to the loss to Britain of her American colonies. To force the stubborn Spanish king to agree to peace terms, France ceded the vast Louisiana territory as compensation for the loss of Florida.
was complex in its origin and involved two main distinct conflicts -- the colonial rivalry between France and England and the struggle for supremacy in Germany between the house of Austria and the rising kingdom of Prussia. It was preluded in America by the outbreak of the last of the French and Indian Wars and in India by fighting among native factions and the struggle there between the French governor Dupleix and the British statesman Robert Clive.
The War of the Austrian Succession (1740 -- 48) had left Austria humiliated. Seeking to recover Silesia from Prussia, Empress Maria Theresa even before the conclusion of that war had secured the alliance of Elizabeth of Russia. In the years following the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), Kaunitz, as Austrian ambassador to France and then as chancellor, worked for a rapprochement with France.
was severely defeated by the Austrians under Daun at Kolin (June, 1757) and had to evacuate Bohemia. The fighting was carried into Saxony and Silesia, where Frederick gained the great victories of Rossbach (Nov., 1757) and Leuthen (Dec., 1757) over the French and Austrians. The Russians, who had invaded Prussia, were defeated by Frederick at Zorndorf (Aug., 1758). The English and Hanoverians, at first unsuccessful against the French in NW Germany, began a vigorous effort when William Pitt (later earl of Chatham) came into power; the troops then won the victories of Krefeld (June, 1758) and Minden (Aug., 1759).
However, Frederick soon found himself in an almost desperate situation. He was badly beaten by Daun at Kunersdorf (Aug., 1759) and in Nov.,…