I have referred to the French and Indian War as the first world war a few times since last summer's Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon, but I had not fully understood the depth of that statement until reading more about the motivations and methods employed by the players at the time. In Fred Anderson's volume about the war, The War that Made America, he discusses more of the narrative. Anderson begins putting the pieces together, making the case that the French and Indian War was truly a global event.
But first, since I will participate in Fort Ticonderoga's Teacher Institute this summer, I was interested in reading about the building of the fort by Frenchmen in an effort to block the enemy from effectively using Lake George to access Lake Champlain going north, as well as establishing a command center for sending troops south to New England.
...Johnson's men were too shocked and demoralized by the battle to pursue the enemy, who regrouped at Crown Point and then set out to build a new fort at the foot of Lake George, on the promontory of Ticonderoga. For Carillon, as they called it, would become both the main obstacle on the Lake Champlain invasion route and a base for raids against the New England frontier.
Great Britain had the greatest naval force on earth. As an island nation, Britain understood the need for well-armed ships to defend itself. With no air threat at the time, there was no other route to take in attacking the country. That said, as disciplined as their army was, it was not a defensive force for the most part. France understood all of this and more, and planned its fights with England carefully. In North America, it would be important to keep the British from becoming strong on the water.
France, meanwhile, was prepared to fight a war that, its leaders believed, would consist mainly of actions against Britain's man source of commercial strength, its empire. There was no real intention to use the troops stationed in Brittany and Normandy to invade England, only to tie down Royal Navy and army units in coastal defense, making it safer and easier to attach British overseas possessions in North America and the Caribbean, and perhaps to seize the British East India Company's trading factories at Calcutta and Madras. Chances seemed excellent that a weakened Britain would beg for peace in three or at most four years' time.
The explosion of a general war in Europe destroyed France's plans for a limited Anglo-French confrontation beyond the seas. All the preparation that Versailles had done could do nothing to control the direction of events. As 1756 ended and 1757 began, the gathering momentum of a general war in Europe preoccupied government leaders in France and Britain alike, while the war in North America proceeded according to a violent logic of its own.