December 1960 | Volume 12, Issue 1
My father, who lived to a very advanced age, spread utter confusion among several successive generations of school children by asking them who won the French and Indian War, the French or the Indians. But I daresay that if we should use the phrase “French and Indian War” to an English schoolboy or the average British man-on-the-street, we could spread some confusion across the water, too. For the terminology that they are used to suggests something more inclusive. The French and Indian War was a part of a larger whole. It was part of a great world war. Professor Crane Brinton likes to remind his readers that what we call World War I and World War II should more accurately be denominated World War, say, VII and VIII. Following along with this terminology, the Seven Years’ War, of which the French and Indian War was a part, would be World War IV. World War I would be what is more usually called the War of the League of Augsburg or, in the more parochial terminology of the North American continent, King William’s War. World War II would be the War of the Spanish Succession, made illustrious by Marlborough’s victories, and called by American historians Queen Anne’s War. Then there was King George’s War, World War III, known to European historians as the War of the Austrian Succession. And then the Seven Years’ War, of which the French and Indian War was a part. World Wars V and VI would be the War of American Independence and the long struggle with Napoleon.