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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

 Come cheer up my lads, tis to glory we steer

To add something new to this wonderful year

Hearts of Oak are our ships, Jolly Tars are our men

We always are ready, steady boys steady

-British Patriotic Song



I'm Frederick the Great, I am. Frederick the Great I am, I am.

I got married to a woman I don't love. 'Cause war is all I've time for thinking of
satirical lyric from a history website

From 1756-1763 this was one of the most important wars in history and the largest of the classical eighteenth century style power struggles. It was in a way a bipolar war, consisting of the struggle between various nations for control of Central Europe, and the struggle between Britain and France for control of overseas markets and colonies. It led both to The American Revolution and to the founding of The British Empire . It was also arguably the beginning of the decline of France and the acceptance of Prussia as a Great Power. There was fighting in several theaters including Europe, North America, and India. One could argue that this, not World War I, was the first truly global war.

Often referred to in the US as the French and Indian War. It also marked a crucial turning point in the history of Canada, as the colony of New France was ceded to the British by France, setting the stage for Canada's later development as a bilingual country.

Tropes related to the Seven Years War include:

  • All the Little Germanies
  • Back in the Saddle: Many of the Seven Years War veterans in North America would pick up weapons again during the American Revolution.
  • Badass Army: Prussia
  • Big Brother Instinct: England, curiously enough, had this for Hanover. This was largely because King George II was Elector of Hanover as well.
  • Big Badass Wolf: General Wolfe
  • Brits With Battleships
  • Canuks With Canoes
  • Catch Phrase: At the hard-fought battle of Torgau (1760), Frederick the Great famously or notoriously shouted to his retreating grenadiers: "Dogs, do you want to live forever? Cheaters!" Less well remembered is the soldiers' response: "Old Fritz, no cheating, for 15 Pfennigs (then the daily pay) it's enough for today."
  • The Chessmaster: William Pitt the Elder--who contrary to popular belief was not Great Britain's Prime Minister at the time, but rather Secretary of State for the Southern Department (though he was the main power in the government, the PM being a figurehead). He didn't become Prime Minister until years later.
  • Cowboy: Hussars were originally recruited from Hungarian cowboys.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: just pick. But Quiberon Bay was arguably the Royal Navy's Crowning Moment of Awesome of the century.
    • After the battle of Leuthen (arguably his greatest victory), Frederick II rode ahead with a few officers to look for a place to sleep. He came to the castle of Lissa, which he found as he entered, was filled to the brim with Austrian Officers and soldiers. With complete sang froid, he said: "Bonsoir, messieurs. Is there still room here?" The Austrians, thinking that the king had come with his army quickly fled, missing an easy chance to capture him.
    • After winning major battles in Canada, India and Quiberon Bay, 1759 became known as a Crowning Year of Awesome for Britain (hence 'Heart of Oak', see page quote). It was named the Annus Mirabilis, the Year of Miracles or Year of Victories. HMS Victory, future flagship of Lord Nelson, was laid down at the time and named after the year.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: "Come Cheer up my lads 'tis to glory we steer..."
    • The Prussian army spontaneously singing the chorale "Now Thank We All Our God" after the battle of Leuthen (1757). Hey, coming out of a heavily-fought fight against an army three times your size and utterly defeating it, you'd feel grateful to the Almighty!
  • Cold Sniper: Jaegers, Croats, Indians, Roger's Rangers.
    • The word Jaeger means hunter because they were special ops people recruited from German hunters, gamekeepers, and the like.
      • Rangers were small bands of frontiersmen recruited by the English provinces as border guards. Roger's Rangers were one of the most famous of these.
  • Cossacks
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: British Red coats, French White, Austrian White, Prussian Blue, Russian Green, etc. And Yankee whatever they could bring...
  • Corporal Punishment: It was said only 2 things kept the British Army moving: rum and the lash. (They left the sodomy to the Navy, which didn't mind rum and the lash, either.)
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The 1758 Battle of Ticonderoga. One would expect it to have been such in favor of the British (who brought 18,000 troops, 6000 of which were professional soldiers, to face France's 3,600 strong force of regulars, militia, and indians). It went in favor of France by a large margin. A popular British officer was killed in the opening skirmishes and this led to the British losing nearly 4 times as many men as the French.
  • Deus Ex Machina: The "Miracle of the house of Brandenburg" where Prussia was saved by a Succession Crisis in Russia
    • Nope. The term "Mirakel des Hauses Brandenburg" was actually coined more than two years earlier, when the Russian army, after having devastated the Prussian army at Kunersdorf on the 12th of August 1759, hesitated to march against Berlin and gave Prussia enough time to consolidate its scattered forces.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Empress Maria Theresa was really mad about Frederick taking Silesia earlier
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Montcalm and Wolfe dying on the Plains of Abraham.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield: The closest any war would be until World War I.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Officers competed for positions in the grenadier and light infantry companies as they were perceived as more elite and thus more likely to fuel advancement.
  • A Father to His Men: Lord Howe was one, killed during the opening skirmishes of the first battle of Ticonderoga. He was immensely popular with the enlisted men. He got the highlanders to wear pants.
  • Fast Roping: The Assault on Quebec
  • Folk Hero: The town of King of Prussia Pennsylvania was named after Frederick. One story is that it was a tribute to an allies success. Another is that there was a tavern their that had served a lot of German auxiliaries during The American Revolution and some of these had served with Frederick.
  • For Want of a Nail: The particular spark that set off the powderkeg in North America was the killing of Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, a French diplomat, by the Iroquois chief Tanaghrisson, while Jumonville was in British custody. The killing was completely unexpected, unsanctioned by the British, and in direct violation of the Diplomatic Immunity Jumonville claimed. The fallout from this event led to open war between Britain and France. Had Tanaghrisson not been there, or had the British been able to stop him, would hostilities have broken out? We'll never know...
    • Exacerbating matters is the fact that George Washington, the leader of the British colonial militia sent to scout the Ohio Territory, was tricked into accepting responsibility for the 'assassination' of Jumonville. Following the Jumonville Affair, Washington was defeated at Fort Necessity by a French and Indian force, and he signed the terms of surrender. Washington, who did not speak French, did not realize that the document he signed also included an admission that the death of Jumonville was an assassination. This became a cause celebre for the French and was one of the major factors instigating the conflict.
  • Gambit Pileup: The most concise way to describe the causes.
  • Gauls With Grenades
  • Heel Face Turn / Face Heel Turn (depending whose side you were on): The Treaty of Saint Petersburg in 1762, when Russia dropped out of the anti-Prussian coalition due to the accession of the Germanophile Borussophile Tsar Peter III.
    • Austria and Prussia also swapped alliance systems relative to the last war in a bid to gain more advantage. At the time, this was known as the "Stately Quadrille", the quadrille being a contemporary dance where one changed partners.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: George Washington. Now starring as an officer in the Virginia Colonial forces. Serving in the Kings name and rather incompetent.
    • Not necessarily incompetent. He botched his first assignment which was far more responsibility than a subaltern should have(roughly the equivalent of putting a junior officer in the Virginia National Guard in charge of policy during the Cuban Missile Crisis). Latter assignments he performed reasonably if not superbly.
    • In a little skirmish in 1760, a Mecklenburger serving with the Swedish army is captured by the Prussian Belling Hussars. Colonel Belling, who happens to be a relative of the young man, persuades him to join his regiment. His name? Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.
    • Also in 1760, the newborn son of an artillery officer in the army of the Holy Roman Empire is nearly lost on the retreat from the advancing Prussians. Luckily he is found by a hussar and returned to his parents. He is August Neidhardt, later known as Neidthard von Gneisenau, Blücher's chief of staff in the Waterloo campaign.
    • Also John Stark, here an officer in Rogers Rangers, who went on to become an important American general during the revolution.
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • I Lied: Frederick had said he would abide by the Pragmatic Sanction recognising Maria Theresa's succession, preventing another Silesian war. He didn't.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Between the British regulars in America and the colonial troops, the former mostly regarding the latter as backwoodsy, self-interested incompetents (claimed by some to be the origin of the song "Yankee Doodle", which was originally meant to mock colonial Americans). Of course, this can be seen as Foreshadowing for what came later...
  • Lady of War: Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa
  • Prequel: to The American Revolution
    • Also to Pontiac's Uprising.
  • Made a Slave: Putting a Mickey in people's drinks was a well known recruitment method then.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Frederick the Great. If anyone qualifies, assuredly Old Fritz does.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: The infamous Black Hole of Calcutta, a tiny guardroom in which over a hundred British and allied troops were crammed by the rebellious Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah; nearly all of them died.
    • Revenge: The Battle of Plassey, in which Clive of India defeated Siraj's army despite being outnumbered 18 to 1.
  • Mega Corp: The British East India Company
  • Mildly Military: Colonial troops often had the outrageous idea that the King should actually pay them. And were apt to just march off when they weren't paid.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: As Old Fritz found
  • More Dakka: The Prussian army did not believe in aiming. Instead, they opted to fire as quickly as possible to unnerve the opposing lines.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: British soldiers fighting the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, couldn't pronounce his name and hilariously anglicised it to "Sir Roger Dowlett", making him sound like a Quintessential British Gentleman.
  • Older Than They Think: A war with countries grouping together to form alliances and fighting battles in several regions of the world simultaneously. Many historians argue that this war can be considered the actual First World War--meaning World War I is really World War II.
  • One Last Job / Retirony: Montcalm was brought out of retirement to command the French forces in North America, which wasn't considered important at the time he accepted the post. He died during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which ensured British control of the French colonies.
  • Plunder: Practically the entire French Empire. Which is why it became The British Empire.
  • Pet the Dog: Frederick would make plans while feeding his famous hounds.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Just to start with, the Scottish Highlanders. Who would actually take service with the "Sassenaches" rather then miss out on all the fun.
  • River of Insanity: much of the war centered on the half unknown rivers and lakes in North America which were the main traffic routes through the wilderness.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Wolfe quoting poetry during the assault on Quebec.
    • Of course he did have a long boring wait ahead of him and needed something to do.
    • This would also be Warrior Poet .
    • Frederick the Great wrote poetry before his battles.
  • The Siege: The form of most of the fighting in America took.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: What happened to Rogers Rangers after the St. Francis raid. Indians had captured their boats and many men chose to plunder valuables from the attack instead of food which left them with no quick way home and starving until Rogers took a desperate gamble and managed to reach a fort to send aid back to his men.
  • Urban Warfare: Many of the battles in the Caribbean took this form.
  • Violent Glaswegian: The Highland regiments in the British army.
  • Warrior Prince: Frederick
  • We Have Reserves: Russia always has reserves.
  • Wham! Episode: Compared to the previous wars of the 18th century, especially the War of the Austrian Succession about a decade before, which was almost as global in scale yet hit the Reset Button at the peace. The Seven Years' War on the other hand changed the world forever.
    • Not everywhere - in Europe the result was a confirmation of the result of the War of Austrian Succession, Prussia keeping Silesia and maintining its position as the fifth major European power.
  • The Wild West: the old Wild West.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men
  • Worthy Opponent: Montcalm
  • Yanks With Muskets
  • You Have Failed Me: English Admiral John Byng managed to lose a crucial island to the French, mainly by sticking too closely to the official Fighting Instructions. He was promptly convicted by the Admiralty of "failing to do his utmost" and executed on his own quarterdeck.
    • Cue Voltaire: "In this country we find it pays to shoot an admiral from time to time to encourage the others."
  • Young Future Famous People: George Washington got an Early-Bird Cameo.

Fiction set in this time period includes:

  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Kenneth Roberts' North West Passage deals with the fighting in North America.
  • Der Große König: A German film made in 1942 to inspire morale by associating Prussian tradition with guess who . Ironically the real "Great King"(Frederick the Great) of the title would have thought his alleged spiritual descendants were overlate for an appointment with the Knoutmaster .
  • Barry Lyndon
  • Age of Empires III: Covers a small portion of it.
  • "Acadian Driftwood", a song by The Band
  • Empire Total War features the North American theatre of this conflict in its story mode.
  • Alluded to, if not outright covered, in Axis Powers Hetalia.