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Frederick II of Prussia

Frederick II (1712–1786) stands alongside Alexander, Hannibal, and Napoleon as one of the most distinguished commanders in the history of warfare. This entry examines the rise to prominence of Frederick II, his writings, and his military principles.

Biography

Born in 1712 as the son of Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, his youth was affected by an enduring conflict with his father, later called the “soldier king,” culminating in a disastrous attempt to escape to France in 1730. The plot failed and Frederick was imprisoned in Küstrin, where he watched his confidant Hans Hermann von Katte executed. After being pardoned by his father, the crown prince was trained for governing the military and the state. In 1733, Frederick married Elisabeth Christine of ...

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