Friedrich II. König von Preußen
(24.01.1712 - 17.08.1786)
place of birth: Berlin
Preußen: Seine Majestät der König;
Chef der Armee
Friedrich II., also known in German as
Friedrich der Große
(Frederick the Great), ruled as King of Prussia from
1740 to 1786. Also known as der Alte Fritz (Old Fritz), he
was the eldest surviving son of Friedrich Wilhelm I,
and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, daughter of George I of Britain. His
upbringing and education were strictly controlled by his father, who was
a martinet as well as a paranoiac.
Friedrich II. became a brilliant military campaigner who, in a
series of diplomatic stratagems and wars against Austria and other
powers, greatly enlarged Prussia's territories and made Prussia the
foremost military power in Europe. An enlightened absolute monarch, he
also favored the French language. In 1740, Friedrich
modified the name of an already existent medal for bravery to the Pour
le Merite, the Blue Max.
In administrative, economic, and social policy Frederick's
attitudes were essentially conservative. Much of what he did in these
areas was little more than a development of policies pursued by his
father. He justified these policies in terms of the rationalizing
rhetoric of “enlightened despotism.” The Seven Years' War,
on which he embarked thus soon became a life-and-death struggle. In 1757
France, Sweden, Russia, and many of the smaller German states joined the
ranks of his opponents, while the Prussian invasion of Bohemia collapsed
after a serious defeat at Kolin in June. He died in August of
1786 in Potsdam.
von Preußen ..........