Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On the Fact that When Frederick the Great (Great, I'm Assuming, Because He Killed Lots of Folks) of Prussia Was Asked Why He Had Plunged the World Into War in 1740 He Responded by Saying, "I Wanted to Be Talked of"

At least he was honest (not to mention, a product of his time). Some props for that at least.

4 comments:

BB-Idaho said...

While it is true that Frederick II
was a military expansionist (especially snipping off parts of
Poland-but didn't everybody?) and is still studied in military academies "He who defends everything defends nothing", he
embraced a number of Enlightenment
ideas:
"During his 40-year reign, Frederick II vastly increased Prussia's wealth, doubled its size, recast it into a hub of culture and learning, and made it a great military power.
Frederick was a sensitive and intelligent humanist who composed flute concertos, wrote poetry, and produced insightful essays. His series of histories, dealing primarily with affairs of state, would eventually fill 15 volumes. He became a close friend of the French philosopher Voltaire, Fran├žois-Marie Arouet de, and as monarch would surround himself with artists, writers and musicians. He was host of the most distinguished salon in Europe. Under his tutelage, Brandenburg-Prussia became one of the great intellectual centers of Europe and a mecca for the great minds of the era. With the revival of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1744, funding was provided to the luminaries of the French Enlightenment. To his palace of Sans Souci in Potsdam, he brought ballet, symphonic assemblies and opera companies. Frederick epitomized the "Enlightened Despot."
We note the influence of Voltaire
in Frederick's quote, "A crown is
merely a hat which lets in the rain.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

All of these fellows are mixed bags to one degree or another, I guess (save for Stalin and some others).

dmarks said...

BB: Interesting.

I was also surprised to find the tolerant attitude under the rule of Genghis Khan... of all people.

dmarks said...

Oh.. .and add to those mixed bags, Peter the Great. With his embracing of Western enlightment and art, while retaining the savage heart of an Ivan the Terrible (ordering a slow laborious torture of a large number of people).

Or closer to home, our own Thomas Jefferson... of all his advanced ideas and wisdom... and his slave-owning and abuse (private) and work (public) to cleanse the US territory of Native nations.