Second Silesian War

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Second Silesian War (1744–1745) was part of both the War of the Austrian Succession and the conflict over supremacy in Silesia between Prussia and Austria . While King Frederick II of Prussia was allied with France , Austria formed an alliance with Saxony , Great Britain and the Netherlands under Maria Theresa .


On July 28, 1742, Great Britain brokered the Peace of Berlin , which ended the First Silesian War between Austria and Prussia and divided Silesia between the two powers into 16 articles. Prussia received a large part of the land with Lower Silesia, Upper Silesia and the County of Glatz , while Austria kept only a few cities such as Jägerndorf and Troppau .

Maria Theresa used the peace treaty to defend herself against the most serious threat to her claim to the throne from the Bavarian Elector Karl Albrecht . After the male line of the House of Habsburg had died out, he had already been elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in January of that year, which thwarted Maria Theresa's plan to secure the throne for her husband Franz Stephan of Lorraine and thus the influence of the Habsburgs in the empire true. Maria Theresa therefore had troops marched into Bavaria and placed it under Austrian administration on June 27, 1742. On September 23, 1743, they expanded their alliance system to include Great Britain and Sardinia-Piedmont .

Frederick II felt increasingly threatened by this new foreign policy constellation: After the emperor and Bavaria had also lost his territorial power base in the empire, it was feared that Maria Theresa would use her increased influence to reclaim Silesia from Prussia. Frederick II then sought allies and on June 5, 1744, finally found connection to the states of Bavaria, France and Spain, allied by the Nymphenburg Treaty of 1741, which in the meantime also had Saxony , Sweden , the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples and the Electoral Palatinate and Kurköln . Contrary to his plans, however, despite the conclusion of a defensive alliance in 1743 , he was unable to win over Russia permanently for his goals, which in the coming years would prove to be fatal for Prussia.

After Friedrich had secured himself in this way, he attacked Bohemia on August 15, 1744 and thereby opened the Second Silesian War.

Course and further consequences

The offensive in Bohemia took place with 80,000 Prussian soldiers. After two weeks of siege, Prague had to surrender on September 16. The Austrians then withdrew far into the country, making the supply route for the advancing Prussians longer and longer. Austria took advantage of this situation, did not face any battle, but weakened the Prussians with skilful attacks and disrupted supplies. These delaying tactics of Field Marshal Traun , the lack of supplies for the Prussian army and the enormously increasing number of deserters ultimately forced Prussia to retreat to Silesia. On January 8 of the following year, the situation for Frederick II became increasingly threatening when Great Britain, the Netherlands, Austria and Saxony formed a quadruple alliance in Warsaw .

In June 1745, Austrian units marched into Silesia. This was followed by the battle of Hohenfriedberg on June 4 , in which Prussian units were able to defeat the opposing army. Further offensive efforts by the Austrians were then nipped in the bud. The Prussians won another important victory in the Battle of Thrush on September 30th , and all advances by the enemy towards Berlin could also be repulsed. In December, Prince Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau finally marched into Saxony, who fought on Austria's side. In the battle of Kesselsdorf (December 15), the forces of the Alliance were defeated.

Peace was concluded in Dresden on December 25th . It was agreed that Silesia should forever remain in Prussian possession. Frederick II recognized Maria Theresa's husband, Franz I Stephan , as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire .

See also


Web links