Poland seems like the "invisible" party during the Seven Years' War Ostensibly, it was fought between France, Austria, and Russia on one side, and Prussia, plus Great Britain-Hannover on the other.

Yet Poland was actually quite "involved," willy-nilly.

  1. King Augustus III of Saxony was also the elected King of Poland in a "personal union.
  2. In order to attack Prussia, Russian troops had to cross Polish territory (modern Latvia and Lithuania to get to East Prussia, and Pomerania to get to Brandenburg).

The trigger event was Frederick the Great's occupation of Saxony in 1756.

Did this constitute an attack on Poland that started an undeclared war between Prussia and Poland? Did Russian soldiers cross Poland with the blessing/invitation of Augustus III? Did the Russians "officially" justify their entry into Poland in terms of rescuing Saxony (and protecting Poland) from Frederick the Great? If it had won the war, Russia planned to seize East Prussia and exchange it to Poland for other considerations: Did Russia proffer this to Poland in exchange for passage?

Are there any records or writings about how the Polish government (or its leaders) felt about these issues? Why didn't they take a more active role by e.g. declaring war on Frederick the Great on behalf of their Saxon king?

  • +1, except for "How did Poland (or its leaders) feel about these issues?" well, it's hard to get an answer about dead peoples feelings in any useful meaning, as we can't ask them. ;-) – Lennart Regebro Oct 7 '13 at 20:44
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    @LennartRegebro: Modified the question to ask for historical records. – Tom Au Oct 7 '13 at 20:50

Poland was already by the Seven Years War a joint protectorate of Russia, Prussia, and Austria [edit] as well as France and Turkey. In a war amongst these three powers, and given the liberum veto which allowed any member of its Diet to nullify the proceedings of the whole, it was unable to have any bearing on the course of the war:

(The Cambridge History of Poland, Volume 2, Page 39):

..., Poland was not able to play any pat in the Seven Years War. While cannons and muskets were roaring in Silesia, in Saxony, in Brandenburg and Westphalia, on the seas and in the colonies, the only noises in Poland were the quarrels at the Dietines (not even at the Diet) and in Tribunals.

and Page 90:
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  • That's suprising - we're talking here about pre-partition times. Can you add a bit about when Poland became a protectorate? +1 anyway – Felix Goldberg Oct 8 '13 at 7:21
  • @FelixGoldberg: Poland was a truly incompetent country well before the Seven Years War, with Austria, France and Turkey having designs on her territory as well as Prussia and Russia, and her ruling nobles seemingly unable to maintain a unified sense of national interest. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 8 '13 at 10:29
  • @FelixGoldberg: That's not surprising. (Virtual) "protectorate"="pre-partition"= "led to partition." The liberum veto en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberum_veto in Poland made for a truly chaotic country, at least in the 18th century. – Tom Au Oct 14 '13 at 0:04
  • @Felix Goldberg During the Northern War polish nobility removed the king Augustus II the Strong, however as Russian were winning the war the king came back with Russian help and assume polish throne. For the rest of his reign (25 years) he was in conflict with nobility and had to rely on foreign help to stay in power. During his reign he was not representing national interest. After his dead the neighbors forced his son as a King of Poland with the same result. King did not care about national interest and military power. – user25367 Aug 3 '17 at 14:36
  • @Pieter Geerkens that is wrong and insulting. The German kings of Poland ruled for 65 years, didn't care about the country and were put in power by force against the will of nobility. – user25367 Aug 3 '17 at 14:38

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