Germans are commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Frederick II “the Great”, king of Prussia in the mid-eighteenth century.
Frederick the Great is known above all for his generalship in a series of wars against the Habsburgs over the control of Silesia and influence within the Holy Roman Empire. Under his command, the Prussian army enforced brutal discipline on its soldiers, but its infantry gained a reputation for military efficiency.
Frederick the Great’s legacy has been successively embraced by Prussian monarchists, German nationalists, and Nazi leaders. This has made the historical memory of Frederick the Great highly controversial within modern Germany and Europe.
Surprisingly, then, some Germans today are actively celebrating the 300th birthday of Frederick the Great. The New York Times reports on the commemorations in Potsdam, which included historical reenactors dressed in eighteenth-century costumes and uniforms.