Frederick the Great – Great 18th Century Prussian Statesman, Military Leader and Man of Culture

Frederick II of Prussia (1712-86), normally referred to as Frederick The good, was King of Prussia and one among that place’s finest rulers. He experienced a multi-faceted identity, remaining an awesome statesman, a military commander, a writer, a musician, plus a social reformer.

The Statesman and Armed service Leader

When Frederick the Great was born, Austria was the leading energy while in the German-speaking spot of Europe. Frederick opposed Austria’ s overbearing electricity. He experienced formidable ideas for Prussia: he thought it should really enhance its armed forces influence and economic electric power and turn into the top German-Talking point out.

In 1740 Frederick reactivated Prussia’s previous claims into the Austrian province of Silesia. When this assert was turned down by Austria’s ruler, the Empress Maria Theresa, Frederick seized Silesia. This transfer upset Maria Theresa and served provoke the outbreak in the War on the Austrian Succession (1740-48). along with the Seven Yrs’ War (1756-sixty three).

With Frederick’s remarkable abilities being a military commander, some great luck and much effort, Prussia ended up not merely preserving Silesia but will also wound up, in 1772, participating of Poland.

By the time that Frederick died, Prussia comprised 2 times the area space than it experienced at time of his birth.

Frederick The good fostered The expansion of a solid economic system in Prussia, by encouraging modernization and better efficiencies in the two Prussian agriculture and market. This advancement, coupled with The reality that Frederick managed to wage his wars without having incurring debt, brought Significantly prosperity towards the region.

With its enlarged geographical spot, its greater Military (getting 195,000 troopers by 1786) and its strong financial state, Prussia not simply prevailed above its rival, Austria, and became the most important and most powerful on the German states, nevertheless it ended up all through Frederick’s reign as a leading European electrical power.

The Man of Lifestyle

Unlike his rigidly militaristic and Calvinist father, Frederick William I, Frederick the Great (Frederick II) was keen on culture and from the Thoughts of the Enlightenment, particularly the Tips on the French philosophes (philosophers) for instance Voltaire.

Frederick performed and composed audio. He played the flute really effectively (You will find a popular portray by Adolph von Menzel of Frederick playing a flute within the music room of his palace, Sanssouci) plus some of his musical compositions remain performed now.

He examine French literature and wrote poetry. He corresponded with French writers and Enlightenment philosophers for instance Voltaire (the latter visited Frederick in Berlin in 1750) and examined their operates.

A famous observation published by Frederick in the letter to Voltaire dated March eighteen, 1771 continues to be preserved and claims: “Drive out prejudices throughout the doorway, and they will return throughout the window.”

Frederick wrote an excellent deal – normally in French – on politics, heritage and army science. His will work happen to be released in 33 volumes.

Frederick was a patron of architecture and experienced lots of fantastic structures produced in Berlin. These properties, including this sort of gems as being the Berlin Point out Opera, typically still exist nowadays.

Frederick also created a wonderful summer months palace named Sanssouci (French for “carefree” or “with out worry”) at close by Potsdam. This palace is the best illustration of the Northern German Roccoco sort of architecture. The palace and gardens of Sanssouci, normally found as being the Prussian equivalent from the Palace of Versailles, were being placed on the United Nations listing of Entire world Heritage Internet sites in 1990.

The Social Reformer

Frederick the Great increased flexibility of speech and promoted freedom of religion. He enhanced the performance and honesty of government administration. He abolished torture and corporal punishment. Serfdom, however, was not abolished.

Enlightened Despotism

Frederick’s sort of government is what we connect with enlightened despotism or benevolent despotism (that is definitely, the country was ruled by an absolute monarch, but just one who tried to rule his folks justly, rather than In line with his have egocentric whims and desires).


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