The Army and the Bureaucracy
By the end of Frederick William’s reign, Prussia’s army had grown from 45,000 to 83,000 men. A notable feat, considering its relatively small population relative to other European states, but regardless held the fourth largest army. Beyond its army, Prussia was able to maintain strict loyalty amongst its nobility, through the use of nobles as officers, ensuring a close bond between nobility and army. Which in turn created loyalty amongst the nobility and absolute monarch. Recognized as one of the best armies in Europe, Prussian militarism became synonymous with the extreme exaltation of military virtues. And through the use of their army, attained Polish territory between Prussia and Brandenburg and created greater unity for the scattered lands of Prussia. Among military success, Prussia was able to attain limited freedom of speech and press as well as complete religious.
While having some success among the nobility, the remaining classes in Prussia were considerably less important than the nobility. They had few real rights and needed their Junker’s permission to ever marry. For the middle class their only given opportunity for social prestige was through the Prussian civil service. The policy of allowing commoners to rise to power in the civil service was revoked and positions of bureaucracy members became solely available for nobility. The upper ranks of the bureaucracy came close to constituting a hereditary caste over time.