Seven Years War

Conduct of the War

Victorious at first, Frederick 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., 1759, Daun captured a Prussian army of 13,000 at Maxen. In Oct., 1760, the Russians took Berlin. Days later, as Frederick's army approached, they evacuated it, and in November Frederick defeated Daun at Torgau. Nonetheless, his situation remained critical, especially after the fall of Pitt (1761) deprived him of British subsidies. The death (Jan., 1762) of Elizabeth of Russia and the accession of Peter III, Frederick's ardent admirer, helped save him from defeat.

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