Father and Son: Frederick William and Frederick the Great

Aram Bakshian, Jnr discusses how two contrasting monarchs both devoted their reigns to soldiering and the oversight of government.

Due credit has been given to Frederick Empire that followed in the next century. Yet, the Great’s role in the emergence of important though the Philosopher King’s role Prussia as a major power and the was, both he and it were the direct products of ultimate Prussianization of the unified German one of the strangest, least understood and most contradictory figures ever to sit on a throne: his father, Frederick William I.

As one of Frederick’s most perceptive modern biographers, the late Nancy Mitford, has noted, the first twenty-eight years of Frederick’s life ‘were overshadowed by his curious, furious but in some ways touching father’.

Even death failed to sever the tortured bond of love and hatred that united the two men. For the rest of his life, Frederick was haunted by his father’s shade, especially in moments of stress:

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