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"What Makes Frederick So Great?" Topic

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918 hits since 16 Dec 2017
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian16 Dec 2017 10:40 p.m. PST

In your opinion, which single accomplishment entitles Frederick the Great to his greatness?

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2017 11:13 p.m. PST

Surviving and expanding his kingdom plus a bit of luck (Russia dropping out of conflict). Napoleon on visiting the gravesite after defeating Prussia, "Hats off gentleemen. If he were still alive we would not be here." As most great generals, Napoleon studied past greats and Old Fritz was one of his favorites.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 2:48 a.m. PST

He was nice to Animals (if you ignore all the horses that died in his wars)

Personal logo herkybird Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 3:48 a.m. PST

I don't think any single accomplishment makes the appellation valid, if any could I would say the campaign encompassing Rossbach and Leuthen would suffice.

14Bore17 Dec 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

I have only 2 books to go in Thomas Carlyle's History of Frederick II. He was a enlightened ruler in his time abolishing many things civilian and in his military. Took a poor country, expanded and protected it against many powerful enemies.

FABET0117 Dec 2017 6:49 a.m. PST

He liked dogs more than people.

Rich Bliss17 Dec 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

Good subordinates

18CTEXAN17 Dec 2017 9:29 a.m. PST

Frederick was a very, very "accomplished" man. Musician, scholar, great military man, wrote a tremendous piece of
legislation (really remarkable-if you get the chance read it…or at least some of it), got his people to grow and eat potatoes….improving their "food stuff"…read how he accomplished that…very clever!. And probably most of all…attracted capable, loyal people who added to his success.

14Bore17 Dec 2017 10:04 a.m. PST

He forced many improvements in land use and rooted out corruption in his government

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 10:14 a.m. PST

Ignoring my joke.
He was greater as a civilian leader than military. His army was mostly made before he got it. He had great subordinates (the battle of Rossbach was as good as won even before he finished his breakfast, as the entire army was on the move on the initiative of his subordinate generals.

But from a humane standpoint he protected religious rights of various Christian denominations as well as Jews and gave jews protection under the law.

He outlawed torture of prisoners etc.

Personal logo herkybird Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

Indeed, considering his upbringing he turned out rather well!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 11:23 a.m. PST

He was a true enlightened despot – and while he did inherit his infantry he did a lot to improve Prussia's cavalry (gigant von elefant) and did have luck and skill in his tigerish generals

He was big on protection of religious rights – in part because it let him play one group against another, but no question he treated minorities way better than the other European monarchs

His huge success was as noted by Ancients Gamer surviving after managing to earn the ire of France, Imperial Russia and Austrio-Hungary. Part skill but also part luck; if the Empress Elizabeth had lived a couple of years longer, one wonders if he might be remembered like Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López, who is often remembered as the President who led Paraguay to disaster

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 12:06 p.m. PST

What makes him Great? Because he is still revered by his countrymen to this day as a much beloved leader of his country.

Before the cold war got into full swing, his body was exumed and taken to Schloss Hohenzollern to prevent desercration by the Russians. (BTW, Hohenzolleren still has his coat he wore when hit by a musket ball on display. Also, the musket ball and the snuff box that it hit saving his life is displayed with it!) After the cold war, he was again reinterred at Potsdam. (IIRC).

Compare that to he likes of Washington, Lee, and Jackson today where some people want to tear down their statues and somehow think it will change history….He remains respected for his life's work for his country.

It adds new meaning to idea that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it… of course, that assumes one even knows it's country's history from study….

Happy Holidays to all!


advocate17 Dec 2017 2:18 p.m. PST

I think it was the conquest of Silesia that won him the title.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

He made a great Berliner!

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Dec 2017 5:37 p.m. PST


basileus66 Inactive Member17 Dec 2017 10:20 p.m. PST

A very clever use of propaganda.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2017 2:20 a.m. PST

And someone somehow had to drag in American politics in this….

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2017 3:37 p.m. PST

No..NOT politics, Truls,..American History illiteracy running rampant. (Bet those folks destroying public property still think the ACW was fought over slavery, too!)

The comparison was meant to be a comparison between a country that holds their heroes in great esteem verses one that does not. The quality of US History being taught here seems to be very poor. Judging by the statements made from those who want to tear down statues, they seem to believe that If they do, they will somehow change history and remove reminders of that history for all. Those premises are just plain crazy and demonstrates how easy it is to control masses of no or low educated people. (An observation of our failing education system and it's effects.)

Why does everyone jump to the conclusion that "politics" is the root of all things these days? Perhaps it's because the masses are so lazy and attuned to believe all they read and hear in the media as gospel rather than doing their own research and thinking for themselves?

At least in Germany, (and over Europe) they know who Frederick the Great was and what he did and the impact it had on their country. Not many there know about Lee, Stuart, Jackson, etc. (well, except for wargamers!)let alone what roles they had in the ACW and for what reasons.

My comment was on the lack of knowledge of History, YES. Politics…NO.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2017 2:09 a.m. PST

And you keep going….

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

DUDE! you are clearing talking about politics. Get a clue…

reasons and roles of confederate generals and their statues and the view in society today about them is the definition of Politics…

wow, just wow. I got a new stifle candidate…

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

daler I believe that Tom is pretty clear, if he finds the clue I am sure he would loan it to you. Just because you say it is politics doesn't make it so. I say that as both a political scientist and military historian.

As far as Frederick's greatness, yes he was a despot but he was a very enlightened one for his time. Militarily he took a good tool that his father provided, improved it and used it skillfully to grow his country. The country went from a poor and under respected country to a major power in the region, and it lasted as such for decades serving as the eventual foundation for modern Germany.

Baranovich23 Dec 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

I look more towards the details of his army. Frederick understood the efficiency of battle and that it meant the difference between winning and losing.

His army was drilled and drilled into maximum efficiency both in marching and fighting, no big mystery. His enemies couldn't keep up.

I forget where I saw it, but there's a quote attributed to him where he talks about how basically his army could get off three or four volleys for the enemy's two which enabled him to win, simple as that.

And while that may seem way overly simplistic it actually isn't. That three-rank formation they used for firing in successive lines was the epi-center of warfare for that time period. You marched into range, and you volleyed and they volleyed. If you had better trained soldiers who could load and fire faster, you got more lead in the air. Simple as that. There was no air superiority war, no radar, no guided missiles, no tanks… was a time when your line of men faced off against their line, now let's see who can knock down more of the other before the whistle blows. The side that shot faster conquered nations, the side that fired slower was conquered.

Furthermore, Frederick placed great priority on keeping his army's weapons in good working order. Again,seems obvious and overly simplistic. But again, crucial. Having numerous gun smiths in the ranks to fix mechanical breakdowns as well as having a thorough system of gun repair and maintenance that accompanied the army was crucial in keeping that lead in the air.

Sometimes I think people try to look too deeply into what made a man "great" militarily. Sometimes it really comes down the very basic essentials of how an army performed mechanically. Frederick simply ensured that his three ranks were always firing faster than the enemy, and that more muskets were in working order. Can't fight a war if your tools aren't properly used and kept in order.

As was referenced in several posts above, there was good reason by Napoleon studied Frederick's victories and his tactics. There was no better source at that time for the recipe on how to win than Frederick.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2017 3:22 a.m. PST

Did he ever get his picture on a bubble gum card?

18CTEXAN26 Dec 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

NO! But he did get a whole set of "cigarette cards" picturing "him" and his army.

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