Explain why Peter decided to go to war with Sweden. Peter declared war on Sweden in August 1700 with the most Important aim of expansion and regaining lost territories. He had also hoped to weaken the power and might of the Swedish empire and In doing this, create a more powerful and prestigious image for Russia as he has tried to do throughout his reign so far.
Despite the fact that Peter had not yet completed his conquest of the ottoman empire in the south, he decided to Impose war on Sweden perhaps because in Lee’s pinion Sweden was “more immediately vulnerable and exploitable” than Turkey was and so Peter felt the time was right to challenge Sweden and leave his plans In the south, such as breaking through to the Black sea, to embark upon at a later date. Another reason for Peters change In tact could have been because of the recent bitter disappoint of the 30 year truce that had Just signed with the Turks.
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It meant that no Russian ships were allowed on the Black Sea and that the Turks kept control of Checker. This meant a dead end for Peter in regards to southwards expansion as Checker blocked access to the Black Sea and it could now not be attacked. This would have been hugely frustrating to Peter considering all of the erne effort and resources that had been undertaken to defeat the Turks and would have contributed to his decision to abandon plans in the south and turn his attention to Sweden in the North.
Peter also deeply resented the reception he received at Swedish held Riga which Swift describes as “less than warm”- this could also have contributed to Peters decision to attack Sweden. Peters main priority when embarking upon war with Sweden was gain access to he Baltic sea in order to recapture Ingrain and Israeli- lands that had been lost to Sweden in the seventeenth century which Peter felt he had a “moral claim” to. Not only would this have meant the partition and therefore weakening of the Swedish empire but would also have gave Russia a more powerful position because of It having more land for the Russian empire.
This was very important to Peter as well as giving him the chance to open up a “window on the west”. Peter also felt that this could be a chance to raise Russian’s diplomatic prestige and Russian pride as it would give them another opportunity to emerge as a greater military power If It proved possible to defeat the legend of Swedish military power. Perhaps Peter thought that this would lead to a greater amount of influence for Russia in European affairs as well as a putting Russia in a more powerful position for future alliance systems.
Furthermore, Peter might have felt that victory against Sweden would glorify him personally as a ruler because previous Tsars Ivan IV and Alexei had both fought “long, expensive and eventually unsuccessful struggles against Sweden”, Not only did Peter want to strengthen Russian’s position, he also planned to dramatically weaken Swede’s- he planned to fragment the empire as mentioned above but there is even the possibility that Peter had planned to completely t Off overthrow ten swells monarchy Ana create a repulsed snouts Nils Invasion prove successful.
This, he would have hoped, would have put Russia in a stronger and less vulnerable position as republics were seen as “less dangerous to their neighbors” as both Swift and Anderson state, in comparison to monarchies. This would have been especially true for Sweden who were seen as “so aggressive and expansionist” in the view of Anderson. The creation off republic would also have meant that Sweden would have been less able to regain the territories that Peter wanted to capture from them during the war.
Despite all of Pewter’s ambitions for Sweden, he may not have even attempted to attack if he didn’t feel he had a chance of success. Sweden seemed overstretched in holding its empire together because of its small population of only about 1. Million ND the new Swedish king Charles XII seemed to be a weak ruler due to his reckless and irresponsible life style.
Furthermore, Sweden was rife with internal instability with growing resentment of Swedish nobles due to their dislike for Charles Sol’s absolutist tendencies and the fact that they had to surrender their lands. Furthermore, Peter was able to grow even more confident in the possibility of conquering Sweden due to his Joining of an anti-Swedish alliance in. Poland and Denmark also had designs on Swedish territories with Poland wanting to capture Alveoli and Denmark wanting Holstein- Agitprop.
Furthermore, Frederick IV resented Denmark vulnerable position due to Swedish possessions on its southern frontier as this could have led to the possibility of Denmark having to fight Sweden on two fronts. With this in mind, Augustus elector of Saxony, Frederick IV of Denmark and Peter the great created the anti- Swedish alliance. This certainly would have gave Peter more confidence along with his weak perception of Sweden as it meant he had the extra support of the nations of Denmark and Poland to supply resources if deed during his war with Sweden.
In conclusion, Peter decided to wage war on Sweden due to the fact that he could no longer expand southwards and because he had the confidence to as he saw Sweden as an easy and vulnerable target as well as having the Support of Denmark and Poland in the anti-Swedish alliance. The main reason that Peter wanted to invade Sweden was to recapture lost lands because this would have led to the Strengthening of Russian’s power, the weakening of the Swedish empire and would also give Russia more credibility and prestige in the west.