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'No Firing Till You See the Whites of Their Eyes!'

The Seven Year's War has caused big changes. France is now allied with their traditional enemy, Austria-Hungry. The Prussian King Frederick the Great (the Old Fritz) has made alliance with his old enemy, England. In this war he has moved on Prague and laid siege, but Austrian troops threaten him from the Kolin Hills. With such a large force in his rear, the Old Fritz conducts a number of assaults on the Kolin Hills, calling for bayonets and "...no firing till you see the whites of their eyes!" It is an old battle cry even in 1757. The Battle of Bunker Hill won't be until 1775. The British will incur massive losses for the Bunker Hill victory. (In the words of the ancient Greeks, "We can't win many more victories like this one.") Frederick's men are hesitating to join battle so he shouts another familiar line... "You rascals! Do you want to live forever?!" His troops push forward but to no avail. Prussia is forced to retreat. The result is 14,000 dead or wounded for Prussia alone. (In a battle, a wounded solider is as good as a kill since in the short-term he must be cared for.) [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Germans were once a rowdy mob. The exception was the order of the Teutonic Knights, so Frederick the Great used their example in whipping the German people into shape. He was so successful that the word "Prussian" now means disciplined... almost like a machine. Frederick also used the cross of the Teutonic Knights as the symbol for Prussia. The cross was later stylized by modern Germany into the wide, double-lined Iron Cross that most people remember from World War 2. Germany was split into East and West after World War 2, and when talk of reunification began in 1989 I thought that such a disciplined and militaristic people would be too much of a bad thing. I was wrong. Currently Germany is busy goofing up its economy, but compared to the rest of Europe, it is using its discipline well. [10] [11]

The Mongols have Invaded Tech Support!

The word "Mogul" comes from the Persian word meaning "Mongol". The Mogul Empire once extended into India, but the last strong emperor died in 1707 and India fell into warring provinces. Now India is on the verge of surrendering to a British file clerk! ("How the mighty have fallen...") When Robert Clive arrived in India, he was a merchant's representative for the British East India Company but India was being used to fight a proxy war between the various nations of Europe. During those wars, Clive was noticed for his bravery under fire. After over 120 British soldiers died in the Black Hole of Calcutta (a dungeon), and several diplomatic letters to the Nawab (provincial representative of the Moguls) went unanswered, Clive was sent to capture the city. While Admiral Charles Watson bombarded the local fort from the sea, Clive came over land with a small force and took the fort. Shortly thereafter, Calcutta fell. [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Why is this important? Robert Clive was the guy who set up the British Raj along with Warren Hastings. (The British Raj was the government system that Gandhi fought with passive resistance and won.) Clive also set up the conditions to locate all tech-support centers in India because the British Raj insisted on using English as the language of government. Thus today many of the people of India know both their local language and English. If you want to hate Clive for setting that up, take a number. At the time, Clive was accused of corruption and cruelty, but it can be argued that using a stick to bring order out of chaos caused less suffering and not more. (Your choice.) While the power of the Moguls diminished, their prestige did not. They still had a lot of money and influence. That is why today when we use the word "mogul" we mean someone who is powerful and rich even though what it really means is "Mongol". [15]

Timeline Bullet Points

  • George Vancouver is born in England. He will explore the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver Island will be named after him. [16]
  • The London Chronicle starts publishing. It will be the first newspaper in Europe to publish the Declaration of Independence in full (but without comment or explanation). [17]
  • Lafayette is born in France. Even though George Washington is currently fighting the French and Indian War, he will come to depend on Lafayette during the American Revolution. Lafayette Square in Washington, DC will be named after him. [17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1757, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Diplomatic Revolution - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “The Diplomatic Revolution of 1756 was the reversal of longstanding alliances in Europe between the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War; the shift has also been known as 'the great change of partners'. The essence of the revolution was that Britain and Austria versus France and Prussia became France and Austria versus Britain and Prussia.”
  2. Frederick the Great Quotes - Frederick II King of Prussia. military-quotes.com (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “'Rascals, do you want to live forever?' (Ihr Racker, wollt ihr ewig leben?) – Frederick the Great, 1757. When the guards hesitated at the battle of Kolin.”
  3. Frederick the Great Quotes - Frederick II King of Prussia. military-quotes.com (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “'By push of bayonets, no firing until you see the whites in their eyes!'”
  4. Battle of Kolín - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “The battle was Frederick's first defeat in this war, and forced him to abandon his intended march on Vienna, raise his siege of Prague, and fall back on Litomerice. The Austrians, reinforced by the 48,000 troops in Prague, followed them, 100,000 strong, and, falling on Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, who was retreating eccentrically (for commissariat reasons) at Zittau, inflicted a severe check upon him. The king was compelled to abandon Bohemia.”
  5. Frederick the Great - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Seven Years' War - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. McGuffey, William Holmes. McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1920. (PUBLIC DOMAIN) Note: See "The Good Reader"... a story for 5th grade readers about Fredrick the Great and the little girl who could read properly.
  8. Battle of Bunker Hill - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “The famous order 'Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes' was popularized in stories about the battle of Bunker Hill. It is uncertain as to who said it there, since various histories, including eyewitness accounts, attribute it to Putnam, Stark, Prescott, or Gridley, and it may have been said first by one, and repeated by the others. It was also not an original statement. The idea dates originally to the general-king Gustavus Adolphus (1594 – 1632) who gave standing orders to his musketeers: 'never to give fire, till they could see their own image in the pupil of their enemy's eye'.”
  9. Pyrrhic victory - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat.”
  10. Prussian militarism - definition of Prussian militarism (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “Prussia - a former kingdom in north-central Europe including present-day northern Germany and northern Poland: 'In the 19th century Prussia led the economic and political unification of the German states.'”
  11. Iron Cross - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “The design of the cross symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross patty occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century.”
  12. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “The Mogul Emperors continued to rule for another century, though without real power. They remained exceedingly wealthy, however, and although the word 'Mongol' was once a cry of terror and despair, the word mogul is now applied to any very wealthy man.” 
  13. 2 Samuel 1:25 'How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.. biblehub.com (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016.
  14. Robert Clive - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “Clive was one of the most controversial figures in all British military history. His achievements included establishing control over much of India, and laying the foundation of the entire British Raj. For that he was vilified by his contemporaries in England, and put on trial before Parliament. Of special concern was that he amassed a personal fortune in India. Modern historians have criticised him for atrocities, for high taxes, and for the forced cultivation of crops which exacerbated famines. However historian Nirad C. Chaudhuri argues that when Clive first arrived, India was dominated by the atrocities of the Mongols, by the destructiveness of the Marathas and Afghans, and by the greed of the high-caste Hindus. He argues that Clive alleviated these evils.”
  15. Mogul - definition of mogul (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “A very rich or powerful person; a magnate.”
  16. George Vancouver - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “Captain George Vancouver (22 June 1757 – 10 May 1798) was an English officer of the Royal Navy, best known for his 1791–95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.”
  17. 17.0 17.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 348-349. 
  18. Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 April 2016. “Lafayette Square is a seven-acre public park located within President's Park, Washington, D.C. directly north of the White House on H Street, bounded by Jackson Place on the west, Madison Place on the east, and Pennsylvania Avenue. It is named for the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution, and includes a prominent statue of early 19th century President and general Andrew Jackson on horseback.”

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