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Friedrich Wilhelm III

( King of Prussia)

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Biography Friedrich Wilhelm III
Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840) - King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty, who ruled in 1797-1840 he. Son of Friedrich Wilhelm II and Frederick of Hesse-Darmstadt.

1) in 1793, Mr.. Louise, daughter of Charles II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (genus. 1776. + 1810 g);

2) 1824. Augusta, daughter of Duke Ferdinand Harrahskogo (genus. 1800 g. + 1873).

Genus. August 3. 1770 g. + June 7, 1840


As a youth, Frederick William took part in the wars against revolutionary France. He was in the army in the capture of Frankfurt, at the siege of Mainz, with the blockade of Landau himself in command of detachments. During these trips he met with the Princess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was at the end of 1793, Mr.. his wife. It featured a remarkable beauty, intelligence and affability.

In 1797, after the death of his father, Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia ascended to the throne. He was a man well-intentioned, pious and humble to shyness: Old King, preoccupied with his pleasures, Mado cared about his son. Nevertheless, the Crown Prince received a thorough education in the spirit of bourgeois simplicity that allowed him to continue to easily associate with different classes of society. If his outlook was limited, the mind has always been clear. He had the habit of splendor, zaprostr traveled through the city or stroll along the boulevards.

Prussia was then in a difficult position: the treasury was empty, industry and trade have declined, the army was demoralized by poor maintenance. The people joyfully welcomed the launch of the new reign, and indeed, the first steps of Friedrich Wilhelm had been successful. Countess Lichtenau, favorite of the late King, was ordered to retire from the court, the most odious ministers have resigned. The king suspended the decree on religion, relaxing censorship and announced an amnesty and put some savings in the internal management, the more necessary that the financial department prevailed mess. He gave examples of court order and accuracy and was the first Prussian king, who introduced the subjects report their behavior. At the same time, Friedrich Wilhelm drove all that disturbed his peace: he was highly suspicious for new ideas, pursuing a secret society, severely punished the publishers and distributors of seditious pamphlets. Inexperienced in diplomacy, he is very poorly understood and judged by an international event, often got lost and could not make the final decision. For a long time, Prussia was kept a strict neutrality towards Napoleon's France. But in 1805, Mr.. War broke out in most of its borders, and from the waiting position had to be abandoned. Shortly before the Battle of Austerlitz, Frederick William is very well received the Russian Emperor Alexander 1. During a touching meeting, held at midnight in Potsdam at the tomb of Frederick II, Frederick William pledged their support for the guest, if Napoleon reject the mediation of Prussia. However, the graph Gaugvits, then headed foreign policy, persuaded the king to wait to offer mediation. As a result Gaugvits met with Napoleon after the Battle of Austerlitz, and broken by this brilliant victory, turned to the emperor not to arrogant demands, and with the most humble greetings. 'That's a compliment - replied Napoleon - directed by fate not to the address'. Nevertheless, the emperor decided to take advantage of this forced benevolence. Under a contract entered into by him with Gaugvitsem in the Treaty of Schц╤nbrunn Castle, Napoleon had made concessions to Prussia a few small areas, but instead gave her a significant compensation - taken from the England Hanover.

. For the Patriots, the treaty seemed offensive
. Indeed, the adoption of Hanover, Germany from the hands of the enemy, while the majority of Germans wept defeat at Austerlitz, looked unseemly. Queen Louise, King's nephew Prince Ludwig and Minister Hardenberg ardently sought a declaration of war France. Every day the war party was becoming more numerous. Gaugvits assaulted in the theater. Prussian Guards, the officers defiantly sharpened their swords on the steps of the French Embassy in Berlin. All this had an effect on Friedrich Wilhelm. In 1806, Mr.. he appealed to Napoleon arrogant ultimatum, which ordered him to withdraw his troops from Germany. Berlin in those days was engulfed in an extraordinary enthusiasm. Everyone said it was time to liberate Germany and enter France in its former borders. The people enthusiastically welcomed the Queen Louise, which is riding done reviewing the troops.

6 October war was declared. The moment was chosen for this extremely unfortunate, since Austria had been defeated, but Russia was not yet ready for war. Two Prussian army (one of which was commanded by the king and the old Duke of Brunswick) moved in the direction of Hesse. Napoleon promptly had his troops across the valley and began to threaten Frankenvalda Berlin. King hurriedly deployed its army and tried to cover up the message with the capital. October 14 there were two decisive battles. Napoleon himself in Jena attacked the army of Prince Hohenlohe, and Davout at Aurshtedte defeated Frederick William and the Duke of Brunswick. The latter was killed. Friedrich Wilhelm himself participated in the battle, disregarding any danger - he was among the fire, and two horses were killed under him. After the battle was lost, he ordered the retreat to Weimar. Here the fugitives from the Aurshtedta met with fugitives from the Jena. Universal horror has completed expansion of the Prussian army. Unprecedented turmoil did not allow any attempts to resist. Castles surrendered without a fight. 27 October Napoleon entered Berlin at the head of his victorious troops. In Prussia was placed enormous indemnity. Friedrich Wilhelm fled to Konigsberg. He was so confused that he was ready to make peace. Despite all the efforts of Queen Louise, who attempted to infuse it with courage, the king again fell under the influence Gaugvitsa. October 25 he wrote a derogatory letter to the emperor, who was later ashamed of his life. Napoleon replied haughtily, and agreed only for a short truce, with the most severe conditions. Fortunately, the Russian troops were already at the borders of Prussia. King plucked up courage and refused to sign a truce. In 1807, Mr.. Poland new war broke out, in which Napoleon was opposed by the Russian army. In February there was a bloody battle of Eylau inconclusive victory of either side. In April, Frederick William and Alexander agreed to Bartenstein not to enter into negotiations with France before the French will not be pushed across the Rhine. However, in June at the Battle of Friedland Russian were defeated. The French came in Koenigsberg and threatened the Russian border. Alexander had to agree to negotiate with Napoleon at Tilsit. All the territory of Prussia had already been occupied. Not having any troops or allies, Friedrich Wilhelm involuntarily followed the example of the Russian Emperor. At the same time the king had to drink to the bottom of the thicket of humiliation. Napoleon turned to the King of Prussia so arrogant, that did not invited to the first date, and the second, he barely said a few words. Then moved to dinner, both of Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm left the door. Napoleon initially did not want to even hear about an independent Prussian state, said that Prussia's not worthy of existence ', and suggested that Alexander simply divide its ownership between France and Russia. King was shocked by misfortune which had fallen on his head, and asked for help from his wife. Queen Louise hastily arrived at Tilsit, Napoleon to beg for mercy. French Emperor took her one and a long talk with her face to face. Friedrich the door had to wait their fate. Finally, unable to restrain his disgraceful situation in the face of the court watching him, he dared to enter, an intimate conversation with the Queen of the emperor was interrupted, no results she had.

. Only the stubborn persistence of Alexander 1, which did not want to leave a faithful ally of Tilsit peace Friedrich Wilhelm returned to 'Old Prussia', Pomerania, Brandenburg and Silesia
. All other provinces in the west and east were taken away. (Napoleon formed from these two new puppet state - the kingdom of Westphalia and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.) The next five years were a sad time for the King of Prussia and the Prussian patriots all, especially after, in 1810, Mr.. Queen Louise died, has always been the soul of the patriotic party. Napoleon despotic rules in Germany, and addressed to Friedrich Wilhelm, as if he were his. vassal. For all became clear that without fundamental changes of the state system and the country's military can not withdraw from their inferior status. The King put at the head of Stein and instructed him to reform. In 1807, Mr.. adopted a law on the abolition of serfdom - peasants freed from feudal obligations, but lost half of their land. In November, 1808. have been reformed central administration that has created a confusing system instead of directories and colleges coherent hierarchy of ministries. It was reformed urban governance and destroyed the privileges of individual provinces. For raising funds had to sell the land of the royal domain. Spiritual name listed as a state. In 1809, Mr.. founded Berlin University. At the same time Sharngert he reformed the army, which date from the time of Frederick the Great. The recruitment of foreigners was prohibited, the army was purely Prussian, and it immediately raised her morale. Severe corporal punishment had been commuted, access to the officer ranks is open to all citizens. In addition, much has been done to improve the management of parts, upgrades of weapons and ammunition to facilitate.

The news of the death of Napoleon's army in Russia caused the upsurge of patriotism in Germany. Since 1813. whole Prussia was already under the gun. In February a decree on conscription. However, the people and the ministers had to almost force lug an indecisive king. In early January, Frederick William moved from Berlin to Breslau, and here was surrounded by the most fervent members of the National Party. By this time the uprising against the French spread everywhere. March 15, Emperor Alexander triumphantly entered the Breslau, and met there with King. March 17, Frederick William issued a 'proclamation to-people', which could be considered as declaration of war against Napoleon. March 19 was signed an alliance treaty with Russia.

The success of the campaign of 1813 Mr.. long remained doubtful, and Frederick William had many cases of bitter regret that he was involved in this war. But stop it he was unable. In May there were big battles at Lutzen and Bautzen, in which Napoleon was successful. The Federal army began to retreat, but in summer turning point. In June, Britain allowed the Allies large cash subsidies for the continuation of war. In August, the party joined the coalition in the war Austria. Since then, the fate of Napoleon was doomed. He's still got the victory in the battle of Dresden, the decisive battle for the new Leipzig in October suffered a heavy defeat. In December, the Allies crossed the Rhine in March 1814, Mr.. they entered Paris, and in April, Napoleon abdicated.

In the same year, the allied sovereigns arrived in Vienna for the device post-war Europe. Even before the Congress of Friedrich Wilhelm and Emperor Alexander agreed among themselves on the new boundaries. King agreed to give Russia the Polish land, which owned up to 1806, and instead of going to get Saxony. This plan met strong opposition from Britain, Austria and France. Debate at one time were very sharp and almost led to war. Only the return of Napoleon during the 'Hundred Days' has forced the allies to recover and come to the necessary compromise. May 3, 1815, Mr.. final agreement was. Most of Saxony with the cities of Dresden and Leipzig came back under the authority of the King of Saxony Friedrich August. Prussia withdrew to the border with her Saxon land, part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, as well as some areas in Westphalia and the Rhine. The number of Prussian subjects reached 14 million people. Most of them were Germans. Thus, Prussia became the largest German state.

After the peace agreement in 1815, Mr.. financial condition of Prussia was very difficult. Public debt has reached an enormous sum. The budget has always had a deficit. But soon thanks to the austerity and reduction of civil list to 9 million state loan was to improve. Then Hoffman established a reformed tax and financial system that existed then until 1918. By 1825, Mr.. provision of finance healed. After this country's economic situation has been improving steadily. Since 1817, Mr.. of the reform of public education, during which opened many new schools and universities. In those same years was introduced universal conscription. The climax of this whole renewing system was the creation in 1828, Mr.. Customs Union. All internal customs among members of the Union were destroyed, and the external have become very moderate.

King had no desire to carry out democratic reforms. He was distrustful of himself, until his old age is prone to the dictates of outsiders and the precariousness of this nature has remained hesitant. He did not interfere with the new liberal legislation, . that his ministers Stein Hardenberg would lay the foundations of a new polity, . but by their nature so longed for peace, . that it was contrary to all manifestations of parliamentary activity,
. Therefore, it is all the forces holding back the introduction of representative institutions, although not addressed directly in front of them. After the assassination attempt in 1819, Mr. Sand. Prussia began the persecution of the demagogues and the Liberals. Universities have come under police surveillance, censorship was introduced in the printed edition. Foreign policy is fully passed under Austrian influence.

In the last years of his life Friedrich Wilhelm became more and more carried away by ideas pietists and mystics. He died in 1840, Mr.. already in very advanced age, having gone through all the contemporaries monarchs with whom he had to share the woes and joys of the Napoleonic wars.

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