The Year of Maria Theresa: Treaty of Breslau

By Pruis - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

After lengthy negotiations in Wrocław, Silesia, on 11 June 1742, the Treaty of Breslau was signed. The treaty, a preliminary peace agreement, brought about an end to the First Silesian War alongside the Treaty of Berlin. Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria and King Frederick II of Prussia helped to negotiate the treaty.

Austria and Prussia signed the Treaty of Breslau, written in French, in Berlin. Although signed in the middle of June, it would not go into effect until over a month later on 28 July. 

Written into the treaty were certain terms, agreed upon by the emissaries, that had to be met. The majority of the Silesian duchies were given to Prussia with certain notable exceptions. Those exempt included the districts of Troppau and Krnov and the Duchy of Teschen, as well as the southern part of the Duchy of Nysa. Additionally, King Frederick acquired the Bohemian County of Kladsko.

Austria did not leave empty handed, though. Frederick and Prussia agreed to recognise Charles Albert of Bavaria as Emperor, as well as “recognise the Sulzbachs in the whole of Jülich-Berg,” according to the scholars, Roman Koropeckyj and Ewa M. Thompson.

The First Silesian War occurred from 1740 to 1742 which ended with a Prussian victory. In a larger context, it was part of the War of the Austrian Succession.  Both sides would lose more than 7,000 men during the war.

It began in 1740 when King Frederick occupied Silesia which had been part of the Habsburg Monarchy, that Maria Teresa then ruled, since the 1500s. Due to the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, Maria Teresa was able to come to the throne. Frederick thought she had not been a successful ruler and used that to his advantage with the occupation. 

In the autumn of 1741, secret peace negotiations commenced. However, since no peace treaty had been signed, on 17 May 1742 he invaded Bohemia; the Battle of Chotusitz then resulted ending in a Prussian victory. The British envoy, John Carmichael, 3rd Earl of Hyndford, worked to bring peace and prevent more war on the continent, and the next month, the Treaty of Breslau was signed to bring peace back to the area. 

Maria Theresa was constantly working on diplomacy throughout her the years of her life in armed conflict. In a biography by Edward Crankshaw, he explained that her years of diplomatic exercises was full of confusion, repetition and “leading nowhere in particular.” He stated that more diplomatic exertions by the Empress continued until the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War.

Additionally, he added, “With Frederick neutralised by the Breslau Treaty of June 1742 she obtained the breathing space she needed to deal with the French and the Bavarians.”

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About Brittani 20 Articles
My name is Brittani, and I am from Tennessee, USA. I have a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Tennessee: Knoxville, and I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree at Northeastern University. I’ve been passionate about history since I was a child. My favorite areas to study and research are World War II through the Cold War, as well as studying the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Aside from pursuing my passion for writing about history, I am the Europe Editor for Royal Central. I am also an avid reader who believes you can never stop learning! On any weekend in the fall, you can find me watching college football (American football) and cheering on my Tennessee Volunteers! You can contact me on Twitter @brittani_91 .
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