Frederick the Great (born 24 January 1712 in Berlin) was an unusual Hohenzollern king in the “classical” eighteenth century of Prussian history (see entry on “Prussia”). As crown prince he was full of intellectual promise, as king he was admired both as a superb general and as a “philosopher on the throne”, but his detractors considered him an “oriental despot”. Essentially, he was a tragical figure who neither fulfilled his own life's dreams nor the aspirations of his people and left an ambivalent legacy for Prussia and for Germany at large.

Since Frederick's childhood a conflict between the crown prince and Frederick William I (the “Soldier King”, 1713-40) had festered when his father discovered some “…

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Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Frederick the Great". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 March 2005 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

1626 Frederick the Great 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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