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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Thus ended the Second Silesian War


In

the summer of 1744 he marched into Bohemia with an army of 80,000 men, took Prague on the 16th of September, and conquered the greater part of the country. But the Bohemians were hostile to him, the Hungarians rose again in defence of Austria, and an army under Charles of Lorraine, which was operating against the French in Alsatia, was recalled to resist his advance. He was forced to retreat in the dead of winter, leaving many cannon behind him, and losing a large number of soldiers on the way. On the 20th of January, 1745, Karl VII. died, and his son, Max Joseph, gave up his pretensions to the Imperial crown, on condition of having Bavaria (which Austria had meanwhile conquered) restored to him. France thereupon practically withdrew from the struggle, leaving Prussia in the lurch. Frederick stood alone, with Austria, Saxony and Poland united against him, and a prospect of England and Russia being added to the number: the tables had turned, and he was very much in the condition of Maria Theresa, four years before.

In May, 1745, Silesia was invaded with an army of 100,000 Austrians and Saxons. Frederick marched against them with a much smaller force, met them at Hohenfriedberg, and gave battle on the 4th of June. He began with a furious charge of Prussian cavalry at dawn, and by nine o'clock the enemy was utterly routed, leaving sixty-six standards, 5,000 dead and wounded, and 7,000 prisoners. This victory produced a great effect throughout Europe.

England intervened in favor of peace, and Frederick declared that he would only fight until the possession of Silesia was firmly guaranteed to him; but Maria Theresa (who hated Frederick intensely, as she had good reason to do) answered that she would sooner part with the clothes on her body than give up Silesia.

[Sidenote: 1745. THE SECOND SILESIAN WAR.]

Frederick entered Bohemia with 18,000 men, and on the 30th of September was attacked, at a village called Sorr, by a force of 40,000. Nevertheless he managed his cavalry so admirably, that he gained the victory. Then, learning that the Saxons were preparing to invade Prussia in his rear, he garrisoned all the passes leading from Bohemia into Silesia, and marched into Saxony with his main force. The "Old Dessauer," as Prince Leopold was called, took Leipzig, and, pressing forwards, won another great victory on the 15th of December, at Kesselsdorf. Frederick, who arrived on the field at the close of the fight, embraced the old veteran in the sight of the army. The next day, the Prussians took possession of Dresden: the capital was not damaged, but, like the other cities of Saxony, was made to pay a heavy contribution. Peace was concluded with Austria ten days afterwards: Prussia was confirmed in the possession of all Silesia and Glatz, and Frederick agreed to recognize Francis of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's

husband, who had already been crowned Emperor at Frankfort, as Francis I. Thus ended the Second Silesian War. Frederick was first called "the Great," on his return to Berlin, where he was received with boundless popular rejoicings.


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