Frederick the Great
By: Angelica Virtucio
Who is Frederick the Great?
Childhood and Education
The War of Austrian Succession
Frederick II took the throne on May 31, 1740, and immediately launched an unprovoked attack on the Austrian region of Silesia (in what is now southwestern Poland), triggering the eight-year War of Austrian Succession. With an army drilled to perfection by his late father, Frederick annexed and held Silesia and invaded Bohemia with an army of 140,000. He was driven back in Bohemia, but a series of quick Austrian defeats in 1748 led to treaty negotiations."
The Seven Year's War
In 1756 Europe’s longstanding alliances reshuffled during the so-called Diplomatic Revolution, which saw Austria allied with France and Russia as Prussia sided with England. Frederick, who had used the years of peace to build and train an army of 154,000, launched a preemptive attack on Austria’s ally Saxony in 1756. In the years of war that followed, Frederick racked up daring tactical victories, but often at great cost to the dwindling Prussian forces. For Prussia, the war was a stalemate mercifully ended by Russia’s sudden 1762 withdrawal—termed the “Miracle of the House of Brandenburg”—following the ascension of Czar Peter III."
Why is he important in world history?
Frederick is often remembered as the father of Prussian militarism, but Prussia’s location as a border state between larger empires meant that frequent wars were hardly a new phenomenon. Still, Frederick’s long reign unified Enlightenment rationalism and military tradition, yielding a highly trained army and a militaristic system of public education."
-Frederick the Great