Maria Theresa.com

WAR OF POLISH SUCCESSION 1733-1735

The French-Savoyard collaboration began falling apart, and as a result the Italian campaign of 1735 was a failure. However, whilst Britain remained neutral along with the Netherlands and Sweden, France became concerned that Britain and the Netherlands would be dragged into the war on Austria's side and signed a peace treaty with Austria (Peace of Vienna, October 3rd 1735).


This Treaty allowed for Augustus III to remain king.


The war resulted mainly in a redistribution of Italian territory and an increase in Russian influence over Polish affairs.


In addition, Don Carlos was allowed to keep Naples-Sicily but had to give Parma and Piacenza to Austria, which he had inherited in 1731, and to renounce his claims to Tuscany, a huge personal loss and embarrassment.


Sardinia-Savoy also acquired Novara and Tortona from Lombardy, which remained a Habsburg possession.



On the death of King Augustus II The Strong, on February 1st  1733, the battle of who would succeed him, turned into a war.

King_Augustus_II_the_Strong_12_May_1670_to_1_February_1733 King_Augustus_II_the_Strong_12_May_1670_to_1_February_1733

King Augustus II the Strong

May 12th 1670 -  February 1st 1733

Map of Europe 1792

The technicalities were that Poland was an elective kingdom, and the majority of those eligible to vote (Sejm), had voted Stanislas Leszczynski as King in Warsaw on September 12th 1733.


Leszczynski had in fact been the Polish King from 1704 – 1709, when the Swedes had forced Augustus II to be deposed temporarily, as well as becoming connected to France via the marriage of his daughter Marie to King Louis XV.


However, a minority voted for Augustus III who was the son of Augustus II and backed by Russia and Prussia as the natural legitimate heir.


Those eligable to vote, the sejm (Diet) were all of 12,000 strong. As with the Nobility and powerful of the time, they had their own interests for voting, along with major powers backing their choice!


It was clear even before the Polish civil war broke out, that this was a conflict between major powers, not of who was to be the legitimate successor to Augustus II.

Stanislas Leszczynski King of Poland Stanislas Leszczynski King of Poland Stanislas Leszczynski King of Poland

Stanislas Leszczynski

October 20th 1677 - February 23rd 1766

Augustus III King of Poland Augustus III King of Poland Augustus III King of Poland

1745

1720

Augustus III

October 17th 1696 - October 5th 1763

V 1713 Map of Europe

The war's major military campaigns occurred outside of Poland and were often little less than the might of the Bourbons dynasty against that of the Habsburg dynasty, with the backing of major military forces of Russia, France, Spain etc.


A glance at as 1713 map of Europe highlights the Kingdoms, Principalities and Dominions which are most unfamiliar with the borders of today.


Russia and Austria supported Augustus III, France and Spain opposed the Austro-Russian position and supported Stanislas Leszczynski.

Russia and Austria supported Augustus III

France and Spain supported Stanislas Leszczynski

When Russia sent an army of 30,000 to Warsaw, Stanislas Leszczynski fled to Danzig (renamed to Gdansk ), whilst another Sejm (Diet) of 3,000 delegates subsequently elected Frederick Augustus as King Augustus III, king of Poland on October 5th 1733.


France immediately scrambled together an anti-Habsburg alliance with Sardinia-Savoy and Spain, declaring war on Austria on October 10th 1733.


Don Carlos, the Spanish infante, led a Spanish army of 40,000 across Tuscany and the Papal States to Naples. He defeated the Austrians at Bitonto (May 25th  1734) before taking Sicily and crowning himself as Charles III King of Naples and Sicily.

Danzig in 1730 now Gdansk

The French, after success at Lorraine, were halted in Southern Germany by Austria’s Prince Eugene of Savoy.


That should have been a sign for the French, as along with the Savoyard forces that invaded Lombardy, they failed take Mantua.


Then a French contingent sent by sea to relieve the 8 month Russian siege of Danzig (Gdansk) also failed, Danzig (Gdansk) fell in June 1734.


Maria Theresa map of Europe


Sardinia-Savoy also acquired Novara and Tortona from Lombardy, which remained a Habsburg possession.


Following the settlement, Leszczynski permanently renounced the Polish crown on January 26th 1736 and Frederick Augustus was recognised as King Augustus III by all parties in July 1736.


On November 18th 1738, France and Austria signed the final Treaty of Vienna, in which the provisions of the preliminary agreement were confirmed and in which France also conditionally guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction, by which Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI named his daughter, the Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa, as the heiress to his Habsburg lands.

As is the common case when conflicts are fought with no real justification, the human loss of life and casualties can be forgotten all too easily.

In this case the deaths and casualties are as follows;


50,400 French killed and wounded.

32,000 Austrians killed and wounded.

1,800 Prussians killed and wounded.

3,000 Spanish killed and wounded.

3,000 Russians killed and wounded.

7,200 Sardinians killed and wounded.

Siege of Danzig by Russians 1734