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Frederick the Great of Prussia
Transcript of Frederick the Great of Prussia
Who Was He?
Former and most important of the German states.
Consisted of 13 provinces before 1919
Capital: Königsberg, later becoming Berlin
Currency: Reichsthaler, German papiermark, German gold mark, and the Prussian Thaler.
Wars fought in Frederick II's time: Austrian War of Succession (Silesian Wars) [1740-1748] and the Seven Years' War [1756-1763]
Frederick the Great's Reign
Frederick reigned as an absolute ruling king for 40 years, starting at age 28, in 1740. In the first year of his reign, the Hapsburg Emperor, Charles VI, died. With no male heirs able to claim the throne, Maria Theresa replaced Charles VI, leaving the empire politically weakened. Frederick deciding to take advantage of the convenient situation, challenged Maria by claiming Silesia, a mineral rich province. This was the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, and would last 8 years, with Prussia victorious having full control over Silesia.
What Frederick did to make his rule absolute.
Frederick condemned serfdom, in the abstract he accepted it in practice and let few serfs own estates.
Fought Maria Theresa for Silesia, Frederick formed an alliance with the leaders of France and Russia.
In 1740, Frederick seized Silesia from Austria, Sparking the war of Austrian Succession
Frederick brilliantly used his disciplined army to make people see Prussia as a great power, also giving Frederick the name "Frederick the Great."
The Effects of absolutism on Prussia
After the Seven Years' War, Frederick's way of thinking began to change, for he began to embrace enlightenment ideas; specifically how more humane polices for his subjects might also strengthen the state. He became more tolerant in religious matters and allowed his subjects to believe in what they wished.
Frederick the Great (also known as Frederick II) ruled Prussia from 1740-1786. Frederick was an absolute ruler, but he lived under the principle that he was the "first servant of the state." He did not rule by his own personal whims, but by what was most beneficial for Prussia, and he expected his people to do the same. He devoted himself to building Prussia into a strong state and that meant both expansion and reform.
Frederick lived a musical life until 1740 when his father, Kaiser Frederick Willhelm I, passed away and he became king. He also composed over 100 flute sonatas, and other musical pieces in his time before he gained the throne.
Frederick Was beat by his father because he did not want Frederick to live anything other than a military life. When he was 18 he ended up running away with his friend Hans Hermann von Katte, but both were captured and Hans was executed.
Frederick also promoted improvement of their schools, simplified the country's legal system, and abolished torture. Yet even though he spoke against serfdom he did not abolish it.
Through all of this he brought reform, land and prosperity to Prussia. His subjects soon looked up to him as a role model of enlightenment and supported him until the end.
He befriended Voltaire, and once wrote to him, " I must enlighten my people, cultivate their manners and morals, and make them as happy as human beings can be, or as happy as the means at my disposal permits."
Frederick would also go to make a treaty with England, know as the Treaty of Westminster in 1756, promising that England would support Prussia from any and all Russian conflicts. Frederick would defend his kingdom for 4 years until England refused to defend what seemed to be a lost cause. However in 1762 Elizabeth, the current queen of Russia died, and Peter III took her place. He had great respect for Frederick, and ended all conflict with Prussia, promising to have no more attacks. This lead to over 20 years of peace for Prussia, where is prospered.
The music in this Prezi is from a set of pieces that Johann Sebastian Bach had dedicated to Frederick the Great, called " Musikalisches Opfer". or in English " The Musical Offering". The excerpts used are Largo, and Allegro from Sonata sopr'il Soggetto Reale a Traversa, Violino e Continuo.
This video is one of the songs that Frederick himself composed called "Hohenfriedberger Marsch". It is a march that was written after the Prussian victory over the Austrians at Hohenfriedberg in 1745. It is specially dedicated to the Prussian Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 5