The Seven Years’ War

The Seven Years’ War pitted Prussia and Great Britain against Russia, Austria, France, Sweden, Saxony, and other minor powers.  Great Britain mostly fought in its colonies, in India and North America, where it was called the French and Indian War.  This left Prussia and its king, Frederick the Great, to prosecute the war in continental Europe, mostly at British expense.

Despite being out-manned and overwhelmed by any material measurement, Prussia managed to hold back its opponents and survive the war intact, a war which had begun with the goal of dismembering the thriving Prussian state and reducing it to what it had been over a century prior.

Frederick the Great’s undeniable military competence was the primary factor in Prussia’s survival, but he had two unparalleled advantages over every other enemy general.  The first was that he was fighting alone, and any gain was his alone, whereas his allies did not necessarily wish for each other to become stronger at Prussia’s expensive.  Secondly, he was king.  Other generals needed to worry about what their leaders would say, a fact which especially crippled the Russians, but Frederick had no such worries, and could take any risk instantly without need to get permission.

After seven years of struggle, the borders of Prussia ended where they began, but she had survived, and would continue to grow in prestige and power as a result of Frederick’s careful handling of the almost unwinnable war.

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