18th Century Warfare

The Enlightenment
Wars & Diplomacy
The Philosophes on War
War was seen as a waste of time, resources,
and most importantly, human life.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are
punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the
sound of trumpets. - Voltaire
Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling
mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: 'War is bad
in that it begets more evil than it kills.' -Immanuel
An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by
war. - Montesquieu
Democratic Peace Theory
Immanuel Kant
The notion that democratic governments are less
likely to go to war with one another.
Solution: Slowly abolish monarchy and establish
republics responsible to the people.
Short term problem: Abolition of monarchy is hard,
and bloody.
Long term problem: democracies LOVE going to war
with other forms of government.
Political Realism
Domestic Policy
Monarchies continued to focus on increasing dynastic
BUT some were beginning to shift their focus toward
the long-term interests of the State.
Foreign Policy
Nations built large armies for protection, but often
used them for the acquisition of new territory.
War of Austrian Succession
Pragmatic Sanction
Austrian Emperor lacks a male heir
European leaders agree to legitimize Maria Theresa
The War
Prussia invaded Silesia because “who cares about
Then France gets involved because “they hate the
Then Austria forms alliance with Britain because
“Britain hates France”
War in Europe, India, and Canada
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
Everything is returned to normal except Silesia
Seven Years’ War: Europe
Count Wenzel von Kaunitz
Austrian Foreign Minister
Overturned the Bourbon/Habsburg rivalry
New Alliances
France, Austria and Russia
Prussia and Great Britain
Prussian military prowess held off all three armies
Ultimately, Prussia was beaten back
Czarina Elizabeth died, however, and Czar Peter III
withdrew because he idealized Kaiser Frederick
Peace of Hubertusburg
Seven Years’ War: India
Anglo-French Disputes
War waged by proxy
British and French supported rival princes
French superior; British persistent
British win @ the end.
Seven Years’ War: America
The French & Indian War
Areas of contention: St. Lawrence River valley and
Ohio River valley
French excursions into ORV threatened British
expansion; they were also allied with the Natives.
William Pitt the Elder
Recognized an opportunity
Focused almost ALL British effort on N.A.
British defeated navy; land victories soon followed.
Treaty of Paris (1763)
French ceded all lands east of the Mississippi to
Britain, including Canada
Nature of War
War became increasingly secular
War is more violent when the soldiers have something
“higher” than their King to fight for.
Civilian populations were less targeted (taxes)
Higher cost = lower scope.
Massive battles were rare.
Generals used tactics to trick the enemy
Formal regulations were adopted.
Major Battles
That said, there were still 41 named conflicts in
Europe between 1700 and 1800.
5 of which had death tolls over 250,000.