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Modern European History


The Great War for Empire was one of the most important
factors in shaping the economic and political futures for
all of Europe in the eighteenth century and for all time to
come. In this essay I will discuss the causes, the events,
and finally the results of this important war, which
consisted of the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven
Years' War.
The War of the Austrian Succession began as King Frederick
II gained the throne to Prussia, and in less than a year
ordered his troops to take and occupy the large Austrian
province of Silesia. The leader of Austria was Maria
Theresa; Although she was an inexperienced leader, she was
capable of arousing other groups (like the Magyars of
Hungary) to help her not re-take Silesia, but to maintain
the Hapsburg dynasty as a major political power. France was
also one of these powers to fight, they did not want a
powerful army to emerge in Prussia and to ever become an
strong enemy (ironically, that's just what happens). The
wealthy British merchants pushed England to financially
assist the Prussian aggressors, in the hope of weakening
France and winning other fights off-continent.
The causes which led up to the Seven Years' War, were very
similar to those just eight years previously. King
Frederick invaded another province, Saxony, and this
triggered another alliance between Austria and France with
the goal to totally destroy Prussia. There was also a
growing conflict facing France and Great Britain that would
continue to increase in momentum. This war was the prelude
to what American would call "The French and Indian War" in
which these two European countries would fight for land in
the Americas.
The events of the War of Austrian Succession, fortuitously
for France, worked out exactly as Great Britain planned it.
The French resources of war were divided between the
Americas and the fight against Prussia. The eight year war
was a fight between the superior army and resources of
Great Britain and the strategic mastery of French generals,
like Marshal Maurice de Saxe, who led many successful
battles. The war eventually ended in a stalemate, with
Austria not regaining Silesia, but it definitely proven
itself able to fend off any other battles from
Prussia--thanks to Great Britain's help. The war brought to
a peace by the Treaty of Aix-la- Chapelle.
In the Seven Years' War, the issues was simply the survival
of Prussia, surrounded by three powerful enemies, Austria,
France, and Russia. Prussia began winning the war for many
battles, but eventually it began to suffer great defeats
from being overwhelmed by enemies. Prussia survived,
however, because of Great Britain's financial help, and the
enemy-turned-friend empire of Russia, thanks to a new
leader. Prussia managed to stay strong again and the war
ended with the Treaty of Paris.
These two wars resulted in changing or putting many major
countries involved in a different level of power. Austria
was without major land it once had, but had not developed
more independence. Prussia had gained land and turned the
Holy Roman Empire into an empty shell. France was put in a
minor disorder, and was much worse off then previously.
England benefitted the most by "distracting" French forces
in the Americas and gaining a great amount of land; England
became known as a true world power.
The results of the Great War for Empire changed the
economic and political destinies of many countries of
Europe. I believe that this entire war completely changed
the destiny of the United States in the long term, and
thankfully it did. 


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