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Overview - Frederick II the Great
He tried to escape from the control of his father in 1730, but was arrested, tried as a deserter, and later pardoned. Six months after he became king, Emperor Charles VI died, leaving his Austrian possessions to his daughter, Maria Theresa. believing that Maria Theresa would not be able to keep her inheritance, Frederick siezed Silesia, thus starting the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 48). By the Peace of Dresden in 1745, he secured possession of Silesia. He built the palace of Sans Souci near Potsdam as his royal residence. He formed a new alliance with England in 1756 against Maria Theresa, France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony. The Seven years' War followed this alliance. During the war, Frederick displayed great military genius against odds. He won many battles, but was badly defeated in some. By the Peace of Hubertsburg in 1763, he established complete claim to Silesia.

He was a great patron of literature. An "enlighted despot", he introduced many reforms to his country. He participated in the first partition of Poland in 1772. A voluminous writer, his complete works fill 30 volumes.

Contributed by Gifford, Katya
15 January 2003

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