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Frederick further frustrated his brother when he created the Principality of Koenigsberg and Ostpreussen East Prussia in Frederick created his own natural son Prince von Schaible as a pun on the German word Strawman intentionally mispronouncing it like the French, a language he and Prince Henry both loved, famously quipping, "I would rather place a Straw man on the Seven Bridges [of Koenigsberg] than my own brother on a throne".

Frederick himself tried further propaganda to justify the Partition, portraying the acquired provinces as underdeveloped and improved by Prussian rule. According to Karin Friedrich these claims were accepted for a long time in German historiography and sometimes still reflected in modern works. Dismissive of contemporary German culture, Frederick instead pursued an imperialist policy, acting on the security interests of his state.

After the first partition Frederick engaged in plunder of Polish property, confiscating Polish estates and monasteries to support German colonization, and in he ordered forced buy-outs of Polish holdings. Frederick looked upon many of his new Polish citizens with scorn, but carefully concealed that scorn when actually dealing with them. Frederick's long-term goal was to remove all Polish people from his territories, both peasants and nobility. He sought to expel the nobles through an oppressive tax system and the peasantry by eradicating the Polish national character of the rural population by mixing them with Germans invited in their thousands by promises of free land.

By such means, Frederick boasted he would "gradually Frederick wrote that Poland had "the worst government in Europe with the exception of Turkey ".


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I have drained the marshes and established a police force where none existed. Those hitherto in power have destroyed the schools, thinking that the uneducated people are easily oppressed. These provinces cannot be compared with any European country—the only parallel would be Canada. Frederick also sent in Jesuits to open schools, and befriended Ignacy Krasicki , whom he asked to consecrate St.

Hedwig's Cathedral in He also advised his successors to learn Polish, a policy followed by the Hohenzollern dynasty until Frederick III decided not to let the future William II learn the language. Late in his life Frederick involved Prussia in the low-scale War of the Bavarian Succession in , in which he stifled Austrian attempts to exchange the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria. Unfortunately for the Austrian Emperor Joseph II , the French were unable to provide sufficient manpower and resources to the endeavor since they were already struggling on the North American continent against the British, aiding the American cause for independence in the process.

Frederick ended up as a beneficiary of the French and British struggle across the Atlantic, as Austria was left more or less isolated. Although Frederick was weary of war in his old age, he was determined not to allow the Austrians dominance in German affairs.

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Frederick and Prince Henry marched the Prussian army into Bohemia to confront Joseph's army, but the two forces ultimately descended into a stalemate, largely living off the land and skirmishing rather than actively attacking each other. Frederick's longtime rival Maria Theresa Joseph's mother and co-ruler did not want a new war with Prussia, and secretly sent messengers to Frederick to discuss peace negotiations.

Finally, Catherine II of Russia threatened to enter the war on Frederick's side if peace was not negotiated, and Joseph reluctantly dropped his claim to Bavaria. In the process of checking Joseph II's attempts to acquire Bavaria, Frederick enlisted two very important players, the Electors of Hanover and Saxony along with several other second-rate German princes.

Perhaps even more significant, Frederick benefited from the defection of the senior prelate of the German Church Archbishop of Mainz who was also the arch-chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, which further strengthened Frederick and Prussia's standing amid the German states. Contrary to what his father had feared, Frederick proved himself very courageous in battle with the exception of his first battlefield experience, Mollwitz.

He frequently led his military forces personally and had six horses shot from under him during battle. During his reign he commanded the Prussian Army at sixteen major battles most of which were victories for him and various sieges, skirmishes and other actions. He is often admired as one of the greatest tactical geniuses of all time, especially for his usage of the oblique order of battle, in which attack is focused on one flank of the opposing line, allowing a local advantage even if his forces were outnumbered overall which they often were.

Even more important were his operational successes, especially preventing the unification of numerically superior opposing armies and being at the right place at the right time to keep enemy armies out of Prussian core territory. Napoleon Bonaparte saw the Prussian king as the greatest tactical genius of all time; [97] after Napoleon's victory of the Fourth Coalition in , he visited Frederick's tomb in Potsdam and remarked to his officers, "Gentlemen, if this man were still alive I would not be here".

Clausewitz praised particularly the quick and skillful movement of his troops. Frederick the Great's most notable and decisive military victories on the battlefield were the Battles of Hohenfriedberg , fought during the War of Austrian Succession in June ; [] the Battle of Rossbach , where Frederick defeated a combined Franco-Austrian army of 41, with a mere 21, soldiers 10, dead for the Franco-Austrian side with only casualties for Prussia ; [] and the Battle of Leuthen , which was a follow up victory to Rossbach pitting Frederick's 36, troops against Charles of Lorraine's Austrian force of 80,—Frederick's masterful strategy and tactics at Leuthen inflicted 7, casualties upon the Austrians and yielded 20, prisoners.

Frederick the Great believed that creating alliances was necessary, as Prussia did not have the comparable resources of nations like France or Austria. Frederick was an influential military theorist whose analysis emerged from his extensive personal battlefield experience and covered issues of strategy, tactics, mobility and logistics.

William I of England (1027-1087)/biography

There are no circumlocutions, he gives factual and historical proof of the assertions he makes, for he is well versed in history. Historian Robert M. Citino describes Frederick's strategic approach:. Historian Dennis Showalter argues: "The King was also more consistently willing than any of his contemporaries to seek decision through offensive operations. Foresight ranked among the most important attributes when fighting an enemy, according to the Prussian monarch, as the discriminating commander must see everything before it takes place, so "nothing will be new to him.

Donning both the skin of a fox or a lion in battle, as Frederick once remarked, reveals the intellectual dexterity he applied to the art of warfare. Much of the structure of the more modern German General Staff owed its existence and extensive structure to Frederick, along with the accompanying power of autonomy given to commanders in the field. Even the later military reputation of Prussia under Bismarck and Moltke rested on the weight of mid-eighteenth century military developments and the territorial expansion of Frederick the Great.

Frederick helped transform Prussia from a European backwater to an economically strong and politically reformed state.

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He protected his industries with high tariffs and minimal restrictions on domestic trade. He abolished most uses of judicial torture, except the flogging of soldiers, as punishment for desertion. The death penalty could be carried out only with a warrant signed by the King himself; Frederick only signed a handful of these warrants per year, and then only for murder. He made it possible for men not of noble stock to become judges and senior bureaucrats. Langer finds that "Prussian justice became the most prompt and efficient in Europe. New agricultural land was reclaimed at the Oder.

In January , Johann Philipp Graumann was appointed as Frederick's confidential adviser on finance, military affairs, and royal possessions, as well as the Director-General of all mint facilities. In addition, he wanted to compete with the French Louis d'or , which was used all over Germany and the Dutch currency which was used for trading in the Baltic states.

Graumann announced that he would be able to achieve high coin seignorage for the state and that Berlin would become the largest exchange center in Central and Northern Europe. Frederick reorganized the Prussian Academy of Sciences and attracted many scientists to Berlin.

Around he founded the Emden Company to promote trade with China. He introduced Friedrich d'or , a lottery , a fire insurance and to stabilize the economy a giro discount and credit bank. Frederick the Great followed his recommendations in the field of toll levies and import restrictions. When Gotzkowsky asked for a deferral during the Amsterdam banking crisis of , Frederick took over his porcelain factory, now known as KPM. Frederick modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted religious tolerance throughout his realm to attract more settlers in East Prussia.

With the help of French experts, he organized a system of indirect taxation , which would provide the state with more revenue than direct taxation; the French officials who would have to lease the tax failed. Frederick was a religious skeptic, in contrast to his devoutly Calvinist father.

Frederick wanted development throughout the country, adapted to the needs of each region. He was interested in attracting a diversity of skills to his country, whether from Jesuit teachers, Huguenot citizens, or Jewish merchants and bankers. Like Catherine II of Russia , Frederick recognised the educational activities of the Jesuits as an asset for the nation. We have too many Jews in the towns. They are needed on the Polish border because in these areas Hebrews alone perform trade.

As soon as you get away from the frontier, the Jews become a disadvantage, they form cliques, they deal in contraband and get up to all manner of rascally tricks which are detrimental to Christian burghers and merchants. I have never persecuted anyone from this or any other sect; I think, however, it would be prudent to pay attention, so that their numbers do not increase.

Jews on the Polish border were therefore encouraged to perform all the trade they could and received the same protection and support from the king as any other Prussian citizen. In territories he conquered from Poland, Frederick persecuted Polish Roman Catholic churches by confiscating goods and property, exercising strict control of churches, and interfering in church administration [].

The Development of England

As Frederick made more wasteland arable, Prussia looked for new colonists to settle the land. To encourage immigration, he repeatedly emphasized that nationality and religion were of no concern to him. This policy allowed Prussia's population to recover very quickly from its considerable losses during Frederick's three wars.


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Like many leading figures in the Age of Enlightenment, Frederick was a Freemason , and his membership legitimized the group and protected it against charges of subversion. Frederick had many famous buildings constructed in his capital Berlin, most of which still stand today, such as the Berlin State Opera , the Royal Library today the State Library Berlin , St. However, the king preferred spending his time in his summer residence at Potsdam, where he built the palace of Sanssouci , the most important work of Northern German rococo.

Sanssouci French for "carefree" or "without worry" , was a refuge for Frederick. As a great patron of the arts, Frederick was a collector of paintings and ancient sculptures; his favorite artist was Jean-Antoine Watteau. The picture gallery at Sanssouci "represents a unique synthesis of the arts in which architecture, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts enter into dialogue with each other, forming a compendium of the arts. Both the wall paneling of the galleries and the diamond shapes of the floor consist of white and yellow marble. Paintings by different schools were displayed strictly separately: 17th-century Flemish and Dutch paintings filled the western wing and the gallery's central building, while Italian paintings from the High Renaissance and Baroque were exhibited in the eastern wing.

Sculptures were arranged symmetrically or in rows in relation to the architecture. Frederick was a patron of music as well as a gifted musician who played the transverse flute. The Hohenfriedberger Marsch , a military march , was supposedly written by Frederick to commemorate his victory in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg during the Second Silesian War.

His court musicians included C. Frederick also aspired to be a Platonic philosopher king like the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The king joined the Freemasons in and stood close to the French Enlightenment , corresponding with some of its key figures, such as Voltaire. The personal friendship of Frederick and Voltaire came to an unpleasant end after Voltaire's visit to Berlin and Potsdam in —, although they reconciled from afar in later years.