Article

Seven Years' War

Patrick Speelman

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online February 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0055
Seven Years' War

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The Seven Years’ War was a vast conflict and its voluminous historiography reflects its multi-theater nature. Traditionally, works focused on the operations and military campaigns of such great captains as Frederick the Great, General Wolfe, or Lord Clive, to name a few. This old-fashioned “drum and trumpet” history often overemphasized the great battles at the expense of lesser known engagements and theaters, and it was essentially Eurocentric. Lost in the fog of war were the context of military operations and often any appreciation of the non-European participants and combatants. Recently, newer literature has brought into focus the context in which the war was fought (diplomatic, economic, social, etc.), with the result that we now have a more scholarly and nuanced portrait of the conflict. Most of the literature can be divided among the main theaters of war: Europe, North America, and India. But the global nature and maritime operations evident in the conflict suggest that the historiography should grow in other directions, as fighting occurred on every continent except Antarctica. A new appreciation for the economic importance of the 18th century in general and of the Seven Years’ War in particular, as the progenitor of the fiscal-military state, also drives current scholarship. Finally, over the past decade an appreciation of the war by sociocultural historians has taken root, and some of the most thought-provoking scholarship has emerged from this school. Overall, the trend toward both understanding the conflict as a global phenomenon that bled over into other areas and recognizing that the war entailed regional conflicts around the world should be the emphasis for future studies of the conflict.

Article.  13587 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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