The Treaty of Versailles was a diplomatic agreement signed between Austria and France at Versailles Palace on 1 May 1757 during the Seven Years' War. The agreement expanded on the First Treaty of Versailles from the previous year which had established the Franco-Austrian Alliance. It is commonly known as the Second Treaty of Versailles in relation to this.
In the new treaty France agreed to assist Austria in regaining the province of Silesia from Prussia in exchange for Austria ceding the Austrian Netherlands to France at the wars conclusion - the acquisition of which had been a long-term aim of the French state. Financial subsidies paid from France to Austria were continued. This confirmed a long-standing British fear about the depth of the alliance.
In the wake of the treaty, French troops moved to occupy key ports and settlements in the Austrian Netherlands such as Ostend and Nieuport – freeing up their Austrian garrisons to move east to attack Prussia. This particularly alarmed the British as it was a long-standing policy to prevent the French moving into the Low Countries. The Treaty thus brought to an end the Barrier which had existed for forty years. The French intended to put a Bourbon monarch from the Spanish branch of the dynasty, Duke Philip of Parma, on the throne of a new puppet state in the Southern Netherlands.
The treaty also served to confirm a planned partition of Prussia that was to take place between Russia, Sweden and Saxony.
The terms were later largely renounced by the subsequent Third Treaty of Versailles, as France and Austria were not able to achieve the swift victory over Prussia they had envisaged (despite the assistance of Russia, Sweden and Saxony) - and France was concerned that the war in Germany was sucking in troops and resources which needed to be directed against Britain and had prompted a financial crisis in Paris.
- Dull p.93-94
- Simms p.437
- Dull p.133-34
- Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. Faber and Faber, 2000.
- Dull, Jonathon R. The French Navy in the Seven Years War. University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
- Simms, Brendan. Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire. Penguin Books, 2008.
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