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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Frederick William I of Prussia – The Soldier King

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How Frederick William Became “The Soldier King”

Fredrick William was born in Berlin to Fredrick I of Prussia. The father of Fredrick successfully got the title king from the Holy Roman Emperor and now this newly founded kingdom was succeeded by Fredrick William I.

Once he sat on the throne in 1713 he made some interesting changes. Firstly he sold all of the prized possessions because he didn’t want to use the country to gain wealth but instead to make it great and reform it.

He owed it to the country to give everything it deserves and this was something rare, mainly the monarch would always look for themselves and their families instead of the country.

After this act he showed that money doesn’t mean anything to him personally, he started to increase the centralized power.  The most important thing for him was the military and that is how he got the name.

He started to replace the military and made drastic changes. He made some strict laws so there would be no slacking among the people, such as an example would be if an administrator didn’t complete his duties he would lose 6 months of pay and for a second time, he would lose his job.

As mentioned he wanted everything to be militarized even though he never started a war. Prussia should have been ready for any war or any kind of outcome. When you compare him to his father you can see the vast difference in the treasury, he didn’t spend money as his father did on luxurious items and events. The royal treasury was always full and ready when times got bad.

New training regimes, programs, and tactics were introduced to the Prussian military – this was called the canton system.

He made a very serious and big army that was one of the most prepared, Fredrick the Great would take this army and make it into the mightiest Europe has ever seen.

The king had a very short temper and had problems with his son, Fredrick II. There are pretty interesting stories about this, as a child, he would wake little Fredrick with the fire of a cannon, he simply wanted for his son to grow into a military man. To his children he didn’t give much, he sent them away as if they were in the lowest ranks, low education, and were enlisted in the army to serve as normal people.

But the problem here could be spotted from a mile away -as Fredrick wanted to read books, listen to music, paint, etc. Later it would be found that Fredrick the Great was a homosexual. They strongly disagreed with their interests and never bonded in that way.

The father would sometimes his son and a great rivalry would take place. When Fredrick wanted to leave the country with his boyfriend, Frederick William found out. He imprisoned them, got his son’s boyfriend, and beheaded him while Fredrick was watching. He did this so that Fredrick would throw away his title and claim to the throne, which he didn’t.

Even though there was no love between them Fredrick respected his father and the things he did for the country. As he went away the tension was less each day until he died in 1740.

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