The Second Silesian War was a conflict between Prussia and Austria that lasted from 1744 to 1745 and confirmed Prussia’s control of the region of Silesia (now in south-western Poland). The war was fought mainly in Silesia, Bohemia, and Upper Saxony and formed one theatre of the wider War of the Austrian Succession. It was the second of three Silesian Wars fought between Frederick the Great’s Prussia and Maria Theresa’s Austria in the mid-18th century, all three of which ended in Prussian control of Silesia.
The conflict has been viewed as a continuation of the First Silesian War, which had concluded only two years before. After the Treaty of Berlin ended hostilities between Austria and Prussia in 1742, the Habsburg Monarchy’s fortunes improved greatly in the continuing War of the Austrian Succession. As Austria expanded its alliances with the 1743 Treaty of Worms, Prussia entered a renewed alliance with Austria’s enemies in the League of Frankfurt and rejoined the war, hoping to prevent a resurgent Austria from taking back Silesia.
The war began with a Prussian invasion of Habsburg Bohemia in mid-1744, and ended in a Prussian victory with the Treaty of Dresden in December 1745, which confirmed Prussian control of Silesia. Continuing conflict over Silesia would draw Austria and Prussia into a Third Silesian War a decade later. The Second Silesian War repeated the defeat of the Habsburg Monarchy by a lesser German power and contributed to the Austria–Prussia rivalry that shaped German politics for more than a century.