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History and Chance

Valentin Balutoiu

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History and Chance

A significant event marking the international relations of the 18th century was the 7-year war (1756-1763). The war established England’s position as the greatest colonial and naval power of the times and allowed Prussia, led by king Frederic the Great, to confirm its status as a great European military power. It is nonetheless common knowledge that despite the king’s energy and military prowess, there was a time when Prussia was on the point of giving in due to its enemies’ (Russia’s, more specifically) overwhelming superiority. In 1761, the new British cabinet, led by Bute, stopped the transfer of funds to the Prussians. Given the circumstances, Frederic the 2nd found himself no longer able of carrying on the war. He even gave serious thought to abdication. But then there came about what the king himself named “the miracle of the House of Branderburg”. In January 1762 tsar Peter the 3rd, a great admirer of the Prussian king, followed his successor to the throne of Russia. He commanded that the Russian army put an end to all operations against the Prussian army, which situation provided Frederic the Great with an outlet to his predicament. This remains an incredible happening in the course of history, its consequences reaching far deeper than would appear at first sight. Hence, it is known that Germany was unified around the kingdom of Prussia. Had Prussia been defeated, it would not have played such an important part in the history of both Germany and Europe. If this were the case, how would it have become possible for Germany to be unified? Would the two World Wars still have taken place? These are amazing questions, emphasizing the beauty of history. Such questions can be made use of during classes, as brainstorming or debate themes for students.

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