[[caption-width-right:286: ''Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?'' [[note]](see the RousingSpeech entry for translation)[[/note]]]]
-->''I am a mirror; reflect personas of those around me.''
--> ''A creature who lies, who doesn't dare to be what nature designed.''
--> ''But with this new position, a seat upon the Prussian throne.''
--> ''I'll lead my men through fields where Austria's fate is sown.''
--> -''The Philosopher King'' by Music/{{Judicator}}.

Friedrich ([[EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench or ''Frédéric'']], [[ItIsPronouncedTroPay as he preferred to be known]]) II, or, as he has come to be known in English, '''Frederick the Great''', was the [[PrussianKings king]] of {{Prussia}} in the [[TheCavalierYears mid-eighteenth century]]. Something of a dark horse in the realm of [[GambitPileup dynastic politics]], in his youth he was fond of French culture, to a degree that his boorish and possibly insane father, Frederick William I, thought him effeminate. However, he would grow into a notable figure in German martial history, and as such, became an iconic figure of success in the Prussian-dominated German Reich. His reputation is perhaps unfairly stained by imperialists such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_von_Treitschke Treitschke]] or (far worse) UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, who invoked him to justify their ruthless ''Realpolitik''. To consider Frederick a proto-Hitler, however, is absurd. Frederick (a devout Francophile) would have regarded [[ThoseWackyNazis Hitler & Co.]] as typically barbaric Germans overdue for an appointment with [[ATasteOfTheLash the knoutmaster]].

Frederick began ruling a sprawling kingdom, short on resources and indefensible. Therefore he deemed it [[IDidWhatIHadToDo "necessary"]] to invade the rich Austrian province of Silesia and conquer it. This obtained the enmity of the [[UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa Empress]], nominally Frederick's [[HolyRomanEmpire suzerain]], who was unconvinced by Frederick's assurances that it was NothingPersonal. The king also later annexed various other areas, including parts of Poland-Lithuania[[note]]Russia was interested in eastern Poland, and agreed to give Austria and Prussia some of the rest, so they wouldn't object, which became known as The Partitions of Poland[[/note]]. He became well known for his unscrupulous but undeniably skilful foreign policy.

In domestic policy Frederick was a great reformer. He was able to rebuild his kingdom due to the fact that he had –- or was at least prepared to exert -- more authority than most of his contemporaries (even though special interests were stronger and [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Obstructive Bureaucrats]] even more obstructive then). He instituted economic reforms and imposed religious toleration. Naturally enough, he also improved the Prussian army and helped give Prussia a recognized place as a great power. He also instituted one of the world's first systems of social welfare, setting up care houses for his injured soldiers; this was progressive in a time when most European leaders considered being horribly injured for one's social betters to be a privilege in itself.

In personality "Old Fritz," as he came to be known, was famous for being dour and curmudgeonly. He has been accused of being inhumane, although he did provide some PetTheDog moments to his men. Certainly he cared for his people's welfare, perhaps rather more than he cared for his people, and successfully weeded out many archaic and unjust practices that oppressed them. His style of strong personal rule was useful as long as he lived, though it left Prussia temporarily helpless when he was dead. Though it cannot be denied that his effective use of aggression and conspiracy gave them an unhealthy aura of success, it also cannot be denied that he left Prussia with a strong and competent central government. Frederick the Great was not necessarily the most pleasant monarch, but he is not unworthy of admiration.

He was very interested in the arts, sciences, and philosophy, and he met many leading intellectuals during his years on the throne. {{Creator/Voltaire}} was his on-again-off-again friend.

Probably not a good idea to confuse him with the CloudCuckooLander portrayal of him in [[Webcomic/FrederickTheGreat his titular webcomic]]. Though doing so with his ''other,'' more fatherly portrayal in ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' is more understandable.

!!Tropes Associated With Frederick The Great

* AbusiveParents: His father, Frederick William, gave him TrainingFromHell which included [[ForcedToWatch forcing him to watch]] while his best friend was [[OffWithHisHead beheaded]], [[DisproportionateRetribution after they tried to escape from Prussia together.]] If that wasn't enough, his father also physically beat him, humiliated him in front of their subjects, tried to force him to give up his artistic hobbies and made it clear to him he was a disappointment.
* AbhorrentAdmirer: As noted above, all kinds of German imperialists whom Frederick would personally have ''loathed'' were fond of invoking his name to support their imperialist policies.
* AFatherToHisMen: Frederick instituted one of Europe's first social welfare policies in order to provide for soldiers too wounded to find employment after the wars.
* AntagonistInMourning: Towards UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa.
* {{Asexuality}}: One of the many, many theories surrounding the reason Frederick did not produce heirs. However historians widely consider Frederick's alignment, whatever it was, to be a moot point that in no way detracts from his Badassery.
* BadassBureaucrat: One of the best royal bureaucrats in history
* BeneathTheMask: Frederick spent his youth battling with his father over whether he should be an artistic philosopher (whom he wanted to be) or an ascetic, ruff soldier (what his father wanted him to be). While the adult Fredrick seems to have been both, he was mentally damaged by his ordeals, and felt need to appeal to people by putting on a mask and playing a role to them. He admitted to a close friend he felt himself to be "a mirror, afraid to be what the nature had made it to be".
* BigBookOfWar: His instructions to his officers became a military classic, but ''Frederick's Instructions'' have peculiar advantages for an [[ArmchairMilitary Armchair General]]. Many a BigBookOfWar is about general principles which means of course that enemy officers can read it too, leaving little net gain except possibly to make history books a more interesting read after the war. Frederick's Instructions were written for the special circumstances of {{Prussia}} and thus help remind a would-be [[ArmchairMilitary Armchair General]] that every army has special circumstances.
* BadassBoast: Or rather Badass Tribute. When NapoleonBonaparte invaded Prussia, he went in to Frederick's tomb with a few trusted officers, and basically said, "Hats off gentlemen, for if he were alive, we would not be here."
* BadassBookworm
* BestServedCold: When Frederick tried to run to England with his friend (and possibly lover) Von Katte, his father had Von Katte executed, with Frederick the Great ForcedToWatch. He did this on the advice of Austria, whom he admired and wished for closer alliances with. Frederick's first act upon ascending to the throne of Prussia was to invade Austria and seize Silesia and the Grafschaft Glatz.
* TheChessmaster: Par for the course for German monarchs. The fact that a reasonably-accurate map of Germany at the time happened to resemble the results of someone trying to design a chessboard while taking every drug known to man probably helped.
* CoolVersusAwesome: UsefulNotes/FrederickTheGreat ''vs.'' UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The Battle of Leuthen, in which he marched the bulk of the Prussian army ''all the way across'' the Austrian front to catch them by surprise -- and ironically, the Austrian front had been so long ''because'' the commander was attempting to prevent a Prussian flanking! Frederick had some of his cavalry feint on the Austrian right flank, causing the Austrian commander (coincidentally, Maria Theresa's brother-in-law) to commit his reserve ''and'' cavalry to that direction, while the Prussian army moved behind the cover of hills until it was at a right angle to the now-weakened Austrian left flank... not only was it quickly rolled up, but it took ''over an hour'' for Austrian troops on the right flank to reposition, and when the Austrian cavalry attempted to take the Prussian army's own left flank, the Austrian cavalry were themselves outflanked by the now-charging Prussian cavalry.
* CulturedBadass: He was an accomplished flautist, himself wrote several classical pieces, personally invited Music/JohannSebastianBach to play at his palace at Potsdam (and commissioned what would become ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Musical_Offering A Musical Offering]]''), and hired Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel. On the other hand, he famously said that the great German mediæval epic, the ''Literature/{{Nibelungenlied}}'', wasn’t "worth a shot of powder" and said he wouldn't have such trash in his personal library. This may be explained for his passionate dislike of old German culture.
* DrinkOrder: His favorite drink was [[UnCoffee coffee boiled in champagne]], which is very fitting for him. You see, coffee at the time was very modern and champagne is of course very French...and as we have noted, Frederick ''loved'' being modern and being French. Perfect!
** Note that this didn't keep him from [[{{Hypocrite}} banning coffee (for commoners) in his lands]], as a measure to protect the brewing industry. Oddly, Frederick [[HypocriticalHumor hated beer--because it was too German]].
* [[FamousLastWords/RealLife Famous Last Words]]: "The mountains are passed; now we are going better." « ''La montagne est passée, nous irons mieux''. » (Even his ''last words'' were in French rather than German.)
* FoeYay: Frederick and Maria. One Austrian peasant actually told a prisoner, "I wish your King and our Empress could marry." Back in the 1730s, a young Frederick actually suggested marrying Maria, but he was forced into a marriage with Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, whom he resented for the rest of his life. (Just as well; they would probably have gotten along ''even worse''.)
* {{Folkhero}}: To ImperialGermany... And curiously enough, to Pennsylvania, which has a town called ''King-of-Prussia''. According to one legend it was a patriotic celebration of an ally in the SevenYearsWar. Another version was that there was a tavern there that served German Auxiliaries during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution and some of these had served in Frederick's army.
** UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler gazes on a portrait of him in ''Film/{{Downfall}}'' as he desperately waits for his situation to turn around. It never did, of course.
* ForeignCultureFetish: Regarded France as the epitome of Western civilization, and his own native Germany as a land of uncouth barbarians.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Prussia would later unite most of the German lands into a North German Empire.
* GratuitousFrench: His German was considered wretched by some contemporaries; [[ForeignCultureFetish he vastly preferred French, and wrote extensively in that language]].
* HandicappedBadass: He was famous for his walking stick.
* HeroicBSOD: Famously suffered one when [[ForcedToWatch forced to watch]] his best friend Katte being executed by beheading. He fell unconscious for a few days, and his personality may have been permanently altered by the experience.
* HoYay: Rumours of this (some of them spread by Voltaire, who had rather a SlapSlapKiss relationship with the King) have pursued Frederick from his own time to this.
** His relationship with his best friend Lieutenant Katte was widely rumoured in the royal court to be romantic; whatever the case, they ended up running away together (for which Katte was executed).
** There's supposedly a letter of his where he mentioned that he was opposed to "Greek pleasures"... since he'd found them unpleasant.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo
* InsufferableGenius: Oh, yes!
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Sort of. He was unlikable personally but at least was not selfish and was as ruthless with himself as with others.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: Unlike some conquerors, he knew when to quit.
* MagnificentBastard
* TheMagnificent: Or ''The Great''.
* MisanthropeSupreme: ''"Hunde haben alle guten Eigenschaften des Menschen, ohne gleichzeitig ihre Fehler zu besitzen."'' ("Dogs have all the good qualities of humans, without simultaneously possessing their follies.")
* ModestRoyalty: He liked to lounge around. To look at him, no one could tell he was a king unless they knew before hand.
* MoreDakka: Prussian infantry were said to be able to get five rounds a minute off. Of course that is discounting powder smoke, physical weariness, disturbance from enemy fire, and all that. Still for the time, Frederick's army could get off an awful lot of dakka.
* MustHaveCaffeine: Averted and played straight. Frederick forbade coffee to non-nobles ([[FelonyMisdemeanor Oh, the tyranny!]]) to protect the beer production industry. He himself preferred [[{{Uncoffee}} coffee boiled in champagne]].
* MusicToInvadePolandTo: Apocryphally, he is supposed to be the author of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", a quintessential example of this trope. It's so damn good that the German Army still uses it. After years of bombastic re-imaginings and crummy lyrics put in during the 19th and early 20th centuries, it's recent performances have been [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcUR6y6Kmkk far closer to Frederick's composition.]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Frederick was often known as "Old Fritz", a nickname that combines respect and familiarity. It also happens to be a nickname for the Devil.
* NiceHat: He is often depicted wearing a [[HatShop tricorn]].
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Old Fritz's court musician was Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was widely regarded as the greatest composer of his day (Mozart and Haydn both acknowledged their debt to him). Unfortunately, the only piece of music that anyone remembered for ''the last century and a half'', was a small group of pieces composed by CPE's father: Music/JohannSebastianBach. To be fair, these pieces, entitled ''A Musical Offering'', are among the greatest pieces of keyboard music ever written.
* PragmaticVillainy: He conquered and schemed to improve Prussia's position, and was not AxCrazy like many conquerors.
* {{Prussia}}: [[CaptainObvious Durr.]]
* PetTheDog: He was famous for his fondness for his hounds.
** He is buried next to them at Sanssouci. Visitors to his grave will often see potatoes on it, as he did a lot to further the cultivation of potatoes in Prussia.
* RebelPrince: In his youth. Not as romantic as you'd think.
* ReversePsychology: Fritz wanted to introduce the potato to Prussia, but knew that people were sceptical towards new things. So according to legend, he had potatoes planted on several fields and guarded by soldiers. But at night, the soldiers would leave, and the curious people would dig out the potato plants and plant them on their own fields, JustAsPlanned.
** In truth, it's possible but not terribly likely that this happened; the earliest report of Old Fritz doing this comes from well after his death, and indeed after a Frenchman named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier really did try that trick outside Neuilly in France. Parmentier did acquire his taste for potatoes while an officer in the French Army, as he had been served them as a prisoner during one of France's wars with Frederick's Prussia.
* RousingSpeech: Gave one of the most famous ones in European history to the vacillating Prussian 1st Guards battalion at the Battle of Kolín, in only eight words:
-->''"You damned rascals! You want to live forever?"''
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Fighting wars, streamlining administration, and writing classical music.
* SecretCircleOfSecrets: Frederick first became a member of a Hamburg-based Freemason lodge in the 1730s, and after his accession to the throne he opened Prussia to Freemasonry and acted as its royal protector.
* TheSpartanWay: What the Prussian Army is most famous for.
* TheSpymaster: He was notably good at this.
* TheSpock: Very definitely. Appropriately UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa was TheMcCoy.
* StandYourGround: When his troops began to rout at the Battle of Kolin (1757), he shouted "Ihr verfluchten Kerls, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" ("You damned rascals, would you live forever?").
* TheStoic
* {{Ubermensch}}: One of the major influences; Creator/FriedrichNietzsche regarded him highly, and he ticks many of the boxes for his artist-tyrant, though the latter was much more pan-European and anti-statist. Nietzsche's disdain for all things German can be understood in much the same way as Frederick's, being a disdain for German culture and German tradition, and with a disdain for German nationalism as an extension of such prejudices.
* VitriolicBestBuds: With Voltaire.
* WarriorPrince
* WhyCouldntYouBeDifferent: His overly-dominating father, obsessed with masculinity, considered him to be an effeminate weakling. Also, his father ''hated'' France and French culture (which he considered effeminate), and this probably both informed Frederick's love of France and added further fuel to his father's distaste for him.