Historical Significance of the Seven Years' War

Since the beginning of time, wars have constantly played a strong role in the development of history. Although often considered extremely harsh and barbaric, the fact remains that if not for the hundreds of wars that have occured, the earth would hardly resemble what it is today. They have affected history to such a magnitude that one could say that wars have been crucial to the history of the world. The Seven Years' War is no exception. Although it occured almost 300 years ago, the affects of the Seven Years' War can still be seen today.

Although the war did not officially begin until 1756, hostilities between the warring countries had been growing for many years. The two rival countries, Prussia and Austria, battled on a small scale for five years over who would control the Province of Silesia. Frederick II of Prussia and Maria Theresa of Austria were the respective leaders, both unwilling to give up Silesia. As time progressed, France, Russia, Saxony and Sweden joined with Austria in their cause. Britain was the lone country to ally Prussia.

The Seven Years' War officially began on August 29, 1756. On this day, Frederick of Prussia invaded the German state of Saxony. His reasons, besides the fact that Saxony was an ally of Austria, were that it was wealthy and a good location to post his armies. Within days, Frederick's army had taken over Saxony and the war was in full scale.

Prussias' early triumph led them through the following years with confidence. They fought hard and won many battles in the years following the Saxony invasion, most notably over France and Austria. Frederick conducted brilliant warfare against his extremely powerful enemies. Neveretheless, their supply of soldiers was steadily decreasing and in time, Austria's forces began to take over the war.

A random twist of fate in Frederick's favor helped him to end the war. Prussia was near exhaustion and seemed to face almost certain devastation, but his enemies failed to develop a joint plan against him. In June of 1762, with the allied forces surrounding Prussia's army, the Russian empress Elizabeth died. Peter III took over Russia and immediately pulled out of the war. Austria's other allies were too weak to take over Prussia without Russia's aid. This turn of fate saved Britain and Prussia and allowed them to sign a peace treaty.

Meanwhile, Britain had crushed France's overseas empire by capturing Canada and much of India. The treaty of Paris, signed on February 10, 1763, ended the war and marked Britain as the world's leading country.

The Seven Years' War was fought throughout the world, and therefore had a tremendous affect on the years to come. Many countries were reduced and diminished because of the war, and others were elevated.

One example of a country greatly aided by the Seven Years' War can be seen in Britain's history. Before the war, Britain was not considered an extremely influential country. However, the effects of the war helped propel the country of Britain into one of the world's leading colonial powers. In the time following the war, Britain took power over parts of Africa, India, America, Canada, the Middle East and many other significant territories in the world. If not for their victory in the Seven Years' War, Britain would have never had the power to invade so many other countries. Our world has been remarkably shaped by Britain's conquests, and they are largely due to the impacts of the war.

The effects of the Seven Years' War can also be seen in India. The 1800's could have been a remarkably prosperous time for the country. However, Britain took over India soon after the war ended and began a quite lengthy stretch of military rule that prevented India from progressing into the 20th century. The Seven Years' War was, in every way, a detriment to India's advances in government, politics and culture. If not for the war, India would be much better off today.

The history of the United States has also been grossly affected by the war, too. In the late 1700's, Britain took control over many parts of America that were once owned by the French. Because of their takeover, countless events have ocurred that never would have happened if not for the British. One example is the Revolutionary War, one of the most influential wars ever. If not for the Seven Years' War, and Britain's victory, America would be distinctly altered from what it is today.

Russia also owes much of it's current status to the Seven Years' War. In the 1700's, Russia was fairly isolated from the rest of Europe, and therefore fell behind technologically. The war was their way of 'tuning in' to the western way of life. After the war ended, many of the wealthy Russian people had become distinctly European in culture. Therefore, a gap grew between the lower and upper-classes that have still not been filled entirely. If not for the Seven Years' War, Russian society would have been much more peaceful throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Seven Years' War affected not only the people living in Europe during the war, but millions of others as time progressed. It is truly a historically significant event that has shaped lives, governments and countries to extreme degrees. The war played a crucial role in determining where we are today and where we'll be tomorrow. Concluding, if not for the Seven Years' War, our world would hardly resemble what it now, culturally, socially and governmentally.

originally from http://members.aol.com/Mike3938/seven.html