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"Did George Washington Start the FIW and the SYW?" Topic

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Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2019 12:30 p.m. PST

Smithsonian Mag article suggests he commanded the action which started the war, and may even have fired the first shot.


Bit of a stretch on that last point, I think, but interesting history!

gavandjosh0225 Sep 2019 1:08 p.m. PST

I always thought that he did the former (recognizing that there were probably wider pressures to go to war).

Bill N25 Sep 2019 1:40 p.m. PST

I was reading accounts claiming Washington started the French & Indian War when I was a kid. I think there is an equally valid argument that the French initiated it by evicting Virginia troops from the Forks of the Ohio. By 1754 though war had become inevitable between the British and French in North America. The buffer zone between the French and British controlled zones was disappearing.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2019 2:19 p.m. PST

I agree, although Washington was blamed for 'Starting the War', he only acted as any militia officer should have done in the circumstances IMHO. The war was being forced on the American colonies by French intimidation.
The Seven Years War was initiated by Frederick of Prussia, who did a 'Six Days War' preemptive strike by invading Saxony ahead of Marie Theresa's (of the Hapsburg empire)-likely invasion of Silesia.

nsolomon9925 Sep 2019 3:41 p.m. PST

Herkybird is correct, the SYW started in Saxony between Prussia and Austria/Saxony. As the war raged on and the other European powers lined up on either side the fighting eventually spilled out all over the world.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Sep 2019 7:21 p.m. PST

It just sounds more interesting to say a few Natives and some milita killed a few French soldiers in a dense forest wilderness 1000s of miles away from anything started a world war? Grabs the headlines !!

Green Tiger26 Sep 2019 12:47 a.m. PST

Herkybird is right – I'm sure – In fact I wrote a graduate essay comparing Frederick the gReats actuion sin Silesia to the Six Day War – scored pretty well if I recall…

Old Contemptible26 Sep 2019 6:39 a.m. PST

That is what I learned in history class, that George Washington started the SYW. It maybe myth but it is a great story.

Bill N26 Sep 2019 12:50 p.m. PST

From the European perspective it would probably be better to think of it as the pre-existing Franco-British War that in North America is called the French & Indian War merged into the Seven Years War, much in the same way as Jenkins Ear between Britain and Spain merged into the War of Austrian Succession.

Old Peculiar26 Sep 2019 2:16 p.m. PST

It was the great rebel who caused all the problems! Cold blooded killer.

Militia Pete29 Sep 2019 3:48 a.m. PST

They just needed a reason to declare war. British blinked first and gave the French the reason to declare war.

Yes, Washington light the powderkeg that started the war.

A stretch to say he fired the first shot at the enemy. More like a signal shot. It was pretty foggy in the glen.

AuttieCat Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2019 10:00 a.m. PST

M7 $.02 USD cents,

I agree with many of those above, that war was going happen sooner or later regardless. If it really did start in Southwestern, Pennsylvania---then it was a near-endless number of factors that caused the explosion---Not just Washington.
I kind of always thought that the Indian chief, Half-King was more or less the big catalyst, since it was suppose to have been him that actually executed Jumonville.

Tom Semian
Warren County, PA. 16329

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