War of the Austrian Succession
Return this answer. They who want peace with me will give me what I desire. I am sick of ultimatums. I will have no more of them. My part is taken.
The War of the Austrian Succession, also known as the War of Jenkins' Ear and the first two Silesian Wars, was waged from 1740-1748 over a combination of Central European rivalries and colonial competition between England and France. Emperor Charles VI died without male issue. He was succeeded by Maria Theresa
, who claimed the throne based on the Pragmatic Sanction
(pragmatic sanctions were temporary amendments to the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire
enacted by Imperial decree; in this case it was a temporary alteration in the succession laws) which her father had proclaimed note
. Recognition of the Sanction was bought by The Emperor
from the states of Europe at high cost in concession.
When Maria took the throne in 1740 Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, advanced into the Province of Silesia then ruled by the Habsburgs
. Eager for a share of the Plunder
, several of the states of Europe joined him, leading some of Austria's allies-particularly Britain-to declare war to maintain the status quo. This marked the beginning of a continent-wide war.
The war lasted until 1748 through many convoluted twists and turns, the war spreading to North America and India
by way of Franco-British colonial skirmishing (the North American theatre is known in American history as "King George's War" as a result). At the last it subsided through a lack of resources. Frederick ended up gaining Silesia and establishing Prussia as a respected power, at the cost of continuing enmity from the Habsburg throne. The War also saw the last time a British monarch would personally lead their troops in battle, at Dettingen 1743 (although British royals
have taken part in combat as recently as The War on Terror
). In the meantime, the struggle between Great Britain and France remained undecided. This led to the Seven Years' War
- Authority Equals Asskicking: This was the last war where a British monarch led his soldiers in combat, at Dettingen.
- Award Snub: General Sebastián de Eslava, the Spanish Viceroy of New Granada, was awarded the title of "Marquis of the Royal Defense of Cartagena de Indias" for "his" victory during the British Siege of Cartagena de Indias (1741), in modern Colombia. During the actual battle, Eslava had decided that he was not up to the task and surrendered command to Admiral Blas de Lezo, who led the Spanish to victory. However, Lezo died of the plague in the aftermath of the battle.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Maria.
- Brits with Battleships
- Canucks with Canoes
- Cool Horse: Hussars.
- Cool Versus Awesome : Frederick Versus Maria.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Maria Theresa appeared before the Hungarian Diet carrying her newborn son and received a resounding She Is the King.
- The Prussian Bayreuth Dragoons parading before Frederick after the battle of Hohenfriedberg (1745) with 67 captured colors, 2500 prisoners and 5 pieces of artillery. Before the Second Silesian War the king had been less than impressed with the regiment at a review, telling its colonel: "They're all drunkards!" Now it was all "What do you think of the drunkards now?" The Hohenfriedberg March, named after the battle, was heavily used in Barry Lyndon, and would later be quoted in the trio of the Königgrätzer Marsch (which commemorates the decisive battle of the Seven Weeks War of 1866).
- The French fortress of Louisburg in Canada was taken by American militia alone with no help from the regulars. At the peace The British Empire gave it back, allowing a French base for future campaigns in the area. This was one of the many petty annoyances that would lead to an unfortunate future misunderstanding.
- King George II personally leading the Pragmatic Army's retreat to Hanau and breaking the jaws of the Duc de Noailles' attempts to trap him in Bavaria.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Frederick The Great, according to legend, personally composed the "Hohenfriedberg March" to commemorate his victory at Hohenfriedberg. George Frederic Handel composed the "Te Deum for the Victory at Dettingen" to commemorate King George II's victory there, the last time a British monarch would personally lead his armies in the field.
- Cultured Badass : A lot of them, but Frederick most notably.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Scottish officer Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, as evinced by his snarking-for-Britain at Dettingen.
"Lads! See yon fine young men on yon hill? Try to kill them first. If ye dinna kill them they'll kill you."
- And when King George II criticized a novel battle drill of his which forced enemy cavalry to run a gauntlet between two lines of fusiliers with bayonets:
King George: "So, Sir Andrew, I hear the cuirassiers rode through your regiment today."
Sir Andrew: "Oh aye, Yer Majesty, but they dinna get oot again."
- Distressed Damsel : Subverted by Maria Theresa.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Britain and Spain were already engaged in the War of Jenkins' Ear for entirely different reasons and in a completely different manner, being a mostly naval conflict. However, today said war is either completely forgotten or considered an 'Issue 0' of the War of Austrian Succession.
- Dulcinea Effect : Maria
- Epic Fail: The Siege of Cartagena de Indias. The British had 30,000 men and 186 vessels. The Spanish had 4,000 at most and 6 ships. The British admiral Edward Vernon was so confident in his victory that he announced it in a letter to London before the battle was over. Then he lost.
- Friendly Enemy : Military people of the time had a colorful tradition of this, reflecting the fact that their leaders each considered themselves an Officer and a Gentleman.
- Gambit Pileup
- Gauls with Grenades
- Handicapped Badass: The Marquis de Saxe, who was unable to ride when he commanded the French army in the victorious battle of Fontenoy. As the natural son of August the Strong of Saxony and the fair Aurora von Königsmarck, he doubled as a Heroic Bastard.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Once he got Silesia, Frederick the Great took Prussia out of the war because he did not want Austria to be reduced to complete impotence by France and its ally Bavaria (who had at that point taken Prague). Then, when Austria had beaten off the French and Bavarians and now threatened to be strong enough to reconquer Silesia, Frederick rejoined the fight.
- Heir Club for Men: Charles VI tried to defy this with the Pragmatic Sanction. His choice of heir stuck but only after much more effort than he hoped was needed.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Subverted. The "Captain Washington" at Cartagena de Indias wasn't that Washington, but his half-brother Lawrence.
- Honor Before Reason: Possibly the French at Fontenoy: "Tirez les premiers, messieurs les Anglais!"
- Insufferable Genius: Frederick
- Lady of War: Maria
- Magnificent Bastard: Frederick
- Naďve Newcomer: Maria. Frederick less so as his father was a Drill Sergeant Nasty.
- Noble Fugitive : Bonnie Prince Charlie
- Pregnant Badass: Maria Theresa
- Prequel to The Seven Years' War
- Proud Merchant Race: England
- Real Men Love Jesus: According to legend, Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau ("the Old Dessauer") prayed, before opening the battle of Kesselsdorf, which he won for the Prussians: "Dear God, please graciously help me today. Or if not, at least don't help that villain, the enemy, but see how things turn out."
- Silly Reason for War: A merchant captain, Robert Jenkins had his ear cut off by the Spaniards. He preserved it and showed it to Parliament to convince them to declare war. Hence the name War of Jenkins Ear
- The Spartan Way : Prussia.
- The Starscream: Prince-Elector Karl Albrecht of Bavaria (1697-1745), who was elected Emperor Charles VII of the Holy Roman Empire in 1742.
- Succession Crisis
- The Sound of Martial Music
- This Means War!: Silesia
- To Win Without Fighting: This was allegedly the basic slogan of eighteenth century military philosophy. Of course it didn't work out that way.
- Old Shame: George II forbid historians to write about the siege of Cartagena de Indias.
- Training from Hell: Frederick. In his case it included being forced to watch while his best friend was beheaded. Frederick's father was a great believer in The Spartan Way.
- Turks with Troops: Averted by Austrian diplomacy.
- Underestimating Badassery : Everyone underestimated Maria.
- Frederick was underestimated as well
- The British believed that Blas de Lezo and his ridiculous small army of 3000 soldiers would surrender without a fight. They were wrong. Very wrong.
- Unwitting Pawn: Charles VI. Yeah Charlie of course the statesmanlike and peaceloving princes of Europe will respect the Pragmatic Sanction. Your faith in human nature is most commendable.
- Warrior Prince: Frederick
- George II was the last English monarch to personally command an army, although he notably fell off a horse doing so.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl : Averted.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men
- Yanks With Muskets
- Xanatos Speed Chess
- You Fight Like a Cow: Admirals Vernon and Lezo exchanged multiple insulting letters during the lead to and the siege of Cartagena de Indias. When Vernon finally announced the retreat, Lezo replied that he still had ships left to move coal from Ireland to London.
Fiction set during the War of the Austrian Succession:
- Der Rosenkavalier is set early during the reign of Maria Theresia, when the Marschallin's husband - obviously an Austrian Field Marshal - is off to the wars. The first silent film adaptation, for which Richard Strauss adapted the opera into a movie score, even included battle scenes intercut with the main action and ended with the Field Marshal receiving a hero's welcome from his wife.
- Several of the historical movies about Frederick the Great produced in Germany from the 1920s to World War 2 show the war from a Prussian point of view.
- Trenck, der Pandur (1940) is one of the few with an Austrian hero, in this case a commander of light troops.
- Axis Powers Hetalia includes a reasonably accurate arc on the war. Maria Theresa and Frederick the Great both get a good deal of screen time (revealing just how hard and fierce they were).
- It could happen in Empire: Total War.