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Austrian Succession, War of the

Second Silesian War

In 1744 Frederick II, fearing the rising power of Austria, started the Second Silesian War by invading Bohemia; he was soon expelled by Austrian and Saxon forces. On the death (1745) of Emperor Charles VII, Bavaria, once more overrun by Austrian troops, was forced out of the war. These Austrian successes were balanced by the great French victory (1745) of Fontenoy, where Maurice de Saxe defeated the British. Anxious for peace, George II concluded (1745) the Convention of Hanover with Frederick II, who promised to support the imperial candidacy of Maria Theresa's husband (shortly afterward elected as Francis I) in return for her cession of Silesia guaranteed by Europe. Defeated at Hohenfriedberg and at Kesselsdorf, Maria Theresa accepted the compromise in the Treaty of Dresden with Prussia (Dec., 1745).

The war continued in N Italy, in the Low Countries, in North America (see French and Indian Wars), and in India. The chief belligerents (Austria, Britain, Holland, and Sardinia on the one side, France and Spain on the other) grew weary of the conflict. Although Maria Theresa secured (1748) the alliance of Russia, the other nations were determined to restore peace, and late in 1748 the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (see Aix-la-Chapelle, Treaty of, 2) was signed. Prussia gained Silesia and thus emerged as a major European power; the Hapsburgs thenceforth looked to the east for resources to develop their state.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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