Frederick II (Frederick the Great).

Majority of military strategists perceive him as a brilliant military thinker while critics accuse him of being a power-hungry tyrant willing to go to any length to calm his ego and enhance his reputation.1 This paper asserts that Frederick II epitomized what a military leader should be, especially based on his profound and enduring influence on other military strategists, leaders, generals, and statesmen who came after him.2

Frederick II noted, “A country should be ready for war, offensive or defensive and preparedness for war hinges on the condition of the army and the finances. Frederick II of Prussia was one of the “enlightened monarchs” (enlightened despots) based on the reforms that he was able to bring to Prussia. During his reign, he was able to expand the territories of Prussia to become a power house in Europe. Frederick modernized Prussian bureaucracy and civil service, besides promoting religious tolerance. Frederick managed to modify Prussia from European back water to an economically powerful and politically reformed state. One of the strengths of Frederick II lies in the fact that he was an enlightened absolutist and thus, could run the political side while simultaneously directing the army to achieve the objectives of the state. One of Frederick’s most outstanding quote details “a nation lacking an army is like an orchestra without instruments.”3

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As a military leader, Frederick II focused on drill and discipline, besides stimulating initiative and inspiration in his military leadership. Frederick II maintained that common soldiers should fear their own officers more compared to the enemy, and he closely monitored his generals to ensure that none could be trusted to perform independently. As crown prince, Frederick II maintained that Prussia could not evade being drawn into conflict practically anywhere in Europe.

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