Frederick William

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Frederick William,

crown prince of Germany: see WilliamWilliam
or Frederick William,
1882–1951, crown prince of Germany, son of William II. In World War I he commanded (1914) an army on the Western Front and was nominal commander in the German attack (1916) on Verdun. He fled to Holland in Nov.
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Frederick William,

known as the

Great Elector,

1620–88, elector of Brandenburg (1640–88), son and successor of George William. At his accession the scattered lands of the Hohenzollern were devastated and depopulated by the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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 and occupied by Swedish troops. Frederick William immediately negotiated an armistice with Sweden and then turned to building his military strength. Beginning with few resources and no dependable troops, he raised an efficient army. At the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, he received E Pomerania and several other territories. Frederick William subsequently joined Sweden in its war against Poland (1655–60) but deserted the Swedes after Russia and Denmark entered the war. In a treaty with Poland (1657) he obtained recognition of his sovereignty over Prussia, previously held as a fief of the Polish crown. Now allied against Sweden, he gained W Pomerania, but was deprived of it by the Peace of Oliva (1660). In succeeding years Frederick William continued in his attempt to consolidate his widely scattered lands, at the same time trying to avoid French or Hapsburg domination. In the Dutch War of 1672–78 he achieved his objective of uniting all of Pomerania, but was forced to give up his conquest as a result of the peace between France and the Holy Roman Empire. Nevertheless, his prestige was enormously enhanced by his brilliant victory at Fehrbellin (1675) over France's Swedish allies. Frederick William laid the foundation of the Prussian state by repressing the estates, strengthening central administration, husbanding the resources of his lands, improving communication, and building the army. His son became king of Prussia as Frederick I.


See biography by F. Schevill (1947).

Frederick William,

1771–1815, duke of Brunswick, German military hero. On the death (1806) of his father, Charles William FerdinandCharles William Ferdinand,
1735–1806, duke of Brunswick (1780–1806), Prussian field marshal. He had great success in the Seven Years War (1756–63) and was commander in chief (1792–94) of the Austro-Prussian armies in the French Revolutionary Wars.
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, his duchy was seized by Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life

The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
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 and added to the kingdom of Westphalia. He attempted to liberate his duchy from French control in 1809, when Austria reopened war against France. Frederick William formed a free corps, the "Black Brunswickers," and in a dashing foray advanced through Germany and captured Brunswick. He soon was driven out but succeeded in fleeing with his troops to England. Returning in 1813, he took possession of Brunswick but was killed at Quatre Bras in the Waterloo campaign.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Frederick William


Born Feb. 16, 1620, in Berlin; died May 9, 1688, in Potsdam. Elector of Brandenburg from 1640; known in German bourgeois nobiliary historiography as the Great Elector. Member of the Hohenzollern dynasty.

Prior to Frederick William’s reign, the duchy of Prussia had been a fief of the Polish crown, but under Frederick William it was finally united with Brandenburg, in accordance with the Treaty of Wehlau (1657). By the terms of the Treaty of Westpha lia (1648), Eastern Pomerania and a number of other areas were incorporated into Brandenburg; however, attempts to annex Stettin (Szczecin) and the mouth of the Oder, which were held by Sweden, were unsuccessful. Frederick William laid the foundations of absolutism in Brandenburg-Prussia, and he organized a regular army. He suppressed the resistance of the East Prussian nobility and cities to his policy of centralization.

Frederick William


In Prussia:

Frederick William I. Born Aug. 14, 1688, in Berlin; died May 31, 1740, in Potsdam. King of Prussia from 1713. Member of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Son of Frederick I; father of Frederick II.

Frederick William I laid the foundations of Prussian militarism and strengthened the bureaucratic machinery. Noted for hostility toward the intelligentsia and toward progressive social thought, he embodied the major traits of Prussianism. In historical literature Frederick William I is known as the drill sergeant on the throne.

Frederick William II. Born Sept. 25, 1744, in Berlin; died there Nov. 16, 1797. King of Prussia from 1786. Nephew of Frederick II.

Frederick William II was a man of little foresight and weak character and was inclined to mysticism; a court clique held great influence in state affairs. In 1788 he introduced strict censorship, and he limited freedom of religion. In 1791 he signed the Declaration of Pillnitz, which was hostile to revolutionary France. In February 1792, Frederick William concluded a military alliance with Austria, thus initiating the first coalition of European monarchs against revolutionary France.

Frederick William III. Born Aug. 3, 1770, in Potsdam; died June 7, 1840, in Berlin. King of Prussia from 1797. Son of Frederick William II.

In 1806, Frederick William III joined the fourth anti-French coalition. The Prussian army was defeated in battle against Napoleon, and in accordance with the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) half of Prussia was ceded to France. Between 1807 and 1814, Frederick William was forced to agree to the enactment of a series of bourgeois reforms. In 1812, his troops took part in the Napoleonic campaign against Russia. After the Russian victory in the Patriotic War of 1812, a popular patriotic movement arose in Prussia. Under the influence of this movement, Frederick William declared war on France in March 1813. In accordance with a decision of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), he received Rhenish Prussia, Westphalia, and much of Saxony. He helped create the Holy Alliance. His promise in 1815 to grant Prussia a constitution was not fulfilled. Frederick William assisted in the suppression of the Polish Uprising of 1830–31.

Frederick William IV. Born Oct. 15, 1795, in Berlin; died Jan. 2, 1861, in Potsdam. King of Prussia from 1840. Son of Frederick William III.

Frederick William IV helped suppress the Revolution of 1848–49 and contributed to the establishment of a regime of cruel reaction in Prussia. He was forced, however, to grant Prussia a constitution, which was introduced in January 1850. In the spring of 1849 he refused to accept the imperial crown offered him by the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848–49. In 1857, Frederick William retired from affairs of state because of a mental disorder, and his brother William was declared regent.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Frederick William

called the Great Elector. 1620--88, elector of Brandenburg (1640--88)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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