ASW Reference: KM# 360 FRIED: WILHELM KOENIG VON PREUSSEN, Wilhelm facing right. EIN THALER, Crowned eagle arms with supporters. Frederick William II German: Friedrich Wilhelm II. 25 September 1744 - 16 November 1797 was King of Prussia from 1786 until his death. He was in personal union the Prince-elector of Brandenburg and (via the Orange-Nassau inheritance of his grandfather) sovereign prince of the Canton of Neuchâtel.
Pleasure-loving and indolent, he is seen as the antithesis to his predecessor, Frederick II. Under his reign, Prussia was weakened internally and externally, and he failed to deal adequately with the challenges to the existing order posed by the French Revolution. His religious policies were directed against the Enlightenment and aimed at restoring a traditional Protestantism.
However, he was a patron of the arts and responsible for the construction of some notable buildings, among them the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The attitude of Frederick William II towards the army and foreign policy proved fateful for Prussia. The army was the very foundation of the Prussian state, as both Frederick William I and Frederick the Great had fully realised.The army had been their first care, and its efficiency had been maintained by their constant personal supervision. Frederick William II had no taste for military matters and put his authority as "Warlord" (Kriegsherr) into commission under a supreme college of war (Oberkriegs-Collegium) under the Duke of Brunswick and General Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorf. It was the beginning of the process that ended in 1806 at the disastrous Battle of Jena.
Although the Prussian army reached its highest peacetime level of manpower under Frederick William II (189,000 infantry and 48,000 cavalry), under his reign the Prussian state treasury incurred a substantial debt, and the quality of the troops' training deteriorated. Under the circumstances, Frederick William's interventions in European affairs were of little benefit to Prussia.The Dutch campaign of 1787, entered into for purely family reasons, was indeed successful, but Prussia received not even the cost of her intervention. An attempt to intervene in the war of Russia and Austria against the Ottoman Empire failed to achieve its objective; Prussia did not succeed in obtaining any concessions of territory, and the dismissal of minister Hertzberg (5 July 1791) marked the final abandonment of the anti-Austrian tradition of Frederick the Great.
Meanwhile, the French Revolution alarmed the ruling monarchs of Europe, and in August 1791 Frederick William, at the meeting at Pillnitz Castle, agreed with Emperor Leopold II to join in supporting the cause of King Louis XVI of France. However the king's character and the confusion of the Prussian finances could not sustain effective action in this regard. A formal alliance was indeed signed on 7 February 1792, and Frederick William took part personally in the campaigns of 1792 and 1793, but the king was hampered by want of funds, and his counsels were distracted by the affairs of a deteriorating Poland, which promised a richer booty than was likely to be gained by the anti-revolutionary crusade into France. A subsidy treaty with the sea powers (Great Britain and the Netherlands, signed at The Hague, 19 April 1794) filled Prussia's coffers, but at the cost of a promise to supply 64,000 land troops to the coalition. The insurrection in Poland that followed the partition of 1793, and the threat of unilateral intervention by Russia, drove Frederick William into the separate Treaty of Basel with the French Republic (5 April 1795), which was regarded by the other great monarchies as a betrayal, and left Prussia morally isolated in the struggle between the monarchical principle and the new republican creed of the Revolution.
Although the land area of the Prussian state reached a new peak under his rule after the third partition of Poland in 1795, the new territories included parts of Poland such as Warsaw that had virtually no German population, severely straining administrative resources due to various pro-Polish revolts. The Kingdom of Prussia (German: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin. The kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern.
Prussia was a great power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia, which became a military power under Frederick William, known as "The Great Elector". Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more commonly known as Frederick the Great, was the third son of Frederick William I.
Frederick the Great was instrumental in starting the Seven Years' War, holding his own against Austria, Russia, France and Sweden and establishing Prussia's role in the German states, as well as establishing the country as a European great power. After the might of Prussia was revealed it was considered as a major power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles, and many wars.
Because of its power, Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states (excluding the German cantons in Switzerland) under its rule, although whether Austria would be included in such a unified German domain was an ongoing question. After the Napoleonic Wars led to the creation of the German Confederation, the issue of more closely unifying the many German states caused revolution throughout the German states, with each wanting their own constitution. Attempts at creation of a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful member states, Prussia and Austria. The North German Confederation, which lasted from 1867 to 1871, created a closer union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent. The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War but many of its laws were later used in the German Empire.
The German Empire lasted from 1871 to 1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony. This was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
The war united all the German states against a common enemy, and with the victory came an overwhelming wave of nationalism which changed the opinions of some of those who had been against unification. In 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. The formal abolition of Prussia, carried out on 25 February 1947 by the fiat of the Allied Control Council referred to an alleged tradition of the kingdom as a bearer of militarism and reaction, and made way for the current setup of the German states. However, the Free State of Prussia (Freistaat Preußen), which followed the abolition of the Kingdom of Prussia in the aftermath of World War I, was a major democratic force in Weimar Germany until the nationalist coup of 1932 known as the Preußenschlag.
The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) , which has become one of the largest cultural organisations in the world. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. It includes 16 constituent states and covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) with a largely temperate seasonal climate. Its capital and largest city is Berlin. With 81 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state in the European Union.
After the United States, it is the second most popular migration destination in the world. Various Germanic tribes have occupied northern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before 100 CE. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. The rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. The establishment of the Third Reich in 1933 led to World War II and the Holocaust.After 1945, Germany split into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified. In the 21st century, Germany is a great power and has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled and productive society.
It upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection and a tuition free university education. Germany was a founding member of the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD.
The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential artists, philosophers, musicians, sportsmen, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more.
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