What Did Frederick the Great Believe a Ruler Should Be?

Frederick the Great thought that rulers should follow consistent, logical principles when dealing with domestic and foreign matters. When they undertook wars, rulers should initiate swift and decisive conflict. This would minimize the financial cost while maximizing the intimidation brought to the enemy.

Frederick the Great also believed in conducting large-scale maneuvers regularly, involving the same number of men as a medium-sized battle would. His 1753 exercise used 44,000 men. His purpose was to test tactics and formations while bringing precision to inter-regiment coordination. They also showed the raw power of the Prussian state so that other nations would think twice before taking on the Prussian military.

Another primary tenet of Frederick the Great was providing as much for his men as he could. The military uniforms were among Europe's best, and the medical treatment available during both wartime and peacetime for the military was better than what civilians could get. When they weren't fighting, veterans had access to public jobs or working in a garrison company that provided security to local towns and also served as a retirement facility. The Seven Years' War tested his men's resolve, but through character and motivation he kept the Prussian cause alive until Russia withdrew, its empress having died. His philosophy about leadership kept his army together even when things were grim.