Savages in a Civilized War: The Native Americans as French Allies in the Seven Years War, 1754-1763
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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The Seven Years War was the first truly global war but it will forever be recognized in North America as the French and Indian War because of the extensive use of Native American allies by the French from 1754-1758. These irregular forces were needed to offset the massive manpower advantage the British possessed in North America, 1.5 million British colonists to 55,000 French colonists. This thesis examines the complex relationship the French had with their Indian allies who were spread throughout their territorial holdings in North America. It examines French and Indian diplomatic relations and wartime strategy, and moves to describe and form an understanding of the savage frontier warfare practiced by the Indians and its adaption by the French settlers known as la petite guerre. The thesis examines the French employment of the Indians as frontier raiders, setting the conditions for conventional army operations, and counter-irregular force operations and how understanding an irregular forces culture is crucial for success. The thesis examined these cultural differences and why the Indians began to move away from the French in 1758 after the massacre of the British prisoners at the surrender of Fort William Henry. This examination of the employment of Native Americans provides a concise understanding of their use and where understanding the lessons of the past benefits the modern military officer working with partner forces today.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics