It happened today - May 15, 2015
On May 15, 1756, what should arguably be called the “First World War” began when Britain declared war on France… again. This conflict, imaginatively named the “Seven Years’ War” in Europe and more colourfully “The French and Indian Wars” in Britain’s North American colonies, raged across the globe, from Quebec to India (including the Black Hole of Calcutta), and resulted in the usual outcome for those who challenge the Anglosphere. France got crushed and lost much of its empire.
The war also had enormous consequences within the Anglosphere. Freed of fear of French conquest, the inhabitants of the 13 colonies were emboldened to resist British attempts to impose taxation without representation designed to pay the costs of the war and protection of the new colonies.
Meanwhile France, bitter at having one again been defeated by the shopkeepers across the channel, would seek revenge by assisting Britain’s rebel colonies. French intervention worked out just fine for Americans, producing the crucial victory at Yorktown. And in the end American independence worked out pretty well for the British. But it so overstrained the financial resources of the French government as to precipitate the French Revolution, whose chaos brought Napoleon to power resulting in another global struggle with Britain ending in catastrophic French defeat.
In subsequent world wars, including the Cold War, the French had the good sense to be on England’s side against other aggressors attacked it and went down in flames.
One of my key rules of historical thumb: Don’t attack the Anglosphere.