Seven Years War

Nature of the War

The struggle 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.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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