Why did Britain's position dramatically improve between 1739 and 1763? In this study, the author examines a pivotal period in Britain's rise to power status that culminated in the defeat of France in the struggle for North America in the Seven Years' War. The central themes in this book are the choices between war and peace, America of Europe. Due weight is given to the period of the War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48, when British policy was far from successful and when the major theme was concern with European developments, and to the years of inter-war diplomacy, when the agenda was once again dominated by European developments, specifically the attempt to create a continental system of collective security to off set the Franco-Prussian alliance. Focusing on the diplomacy of the period rather than, as with the majority of works, emphasizing the dominance of a struggle with France for colonial and maritime superiority, new light is thrown on British foreign policy in this period.