The Ottoman Absence from the Battlefields of the Seven Years’ War in Seven Years War as a Global Conflict


Virginia H. Aksan


9 November 2012


The Ottomans (and the Muslim world in general) were not engaged on either side of the Seven Years War, which begs the question why they are included in a volume of essays examining the war. Even for Ottoman spe-cialists, the period 1739–68 is frequently acknowledged as a long hiatus for an empire, which had spent most of the previous hundred years in a series of contests with the Habsburgs. This essay proposes several explanations for the Ottoman absence from the European battlefields, which include diplomatic neutrality, lack of military preparedness, and loss of control over provincial finances. It begins by situating the Ottomans in the geo-political context in the mid-eighteenth century, and continues by discuss-ing regional trends in the period from 1730 to 1768, before turning to particular contests that help illustrate the state of the Ottoman military. The conclusion addresses the consequences of the Ottoman absence from the 1756–63 battles of the new eastern powers: Austria, Russia and Prussia.

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