Friedrich Wilhelm III. (Prussia)

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Portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm III. by Ernst Gebauer after a painting by François Gérard . Friedrich Wilhelm's signature:Signature Friedrich Wilhelm III.  (Prussia) .PNG
Equestrian portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm III. by Franz Krüger

Friedrich Wilhelm III. (Born August 3, 1770 in Potsdam ; † June 7, 1840 in Berlin ) from the House of Hohenzollern had been King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg since 1797 .

At the beginning of his rule, Friedrich Wilhelm III. a neutrality policy that led to the isolation of Prussia and its dependence on France, but also to territorial gains. In 1806, under threat of danger, he ordered the mobilization against Napoleon , who defeated the Prussian army in the battle of Jena and Auerstedt . The peace of Tilsit in 1807 sealed the defeat of Prussia with large territorial losses. To strengthen the rest of the state, Friedrich Wilhelm III. the Prussian reforms by Karl Freiherr vom Stein , Karl August von Hardenberg , Gerhard von Scharnhorst and Wilhelm von Humboldt . Only hesitantly did he join the wars of liberation against Napoleon in 1813 with an appeal to An Mein Volk . After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, he ensured the rise of Prussia and the recovery of the old areas. However, he did not continue the state reforms , but pursued a restoration policy in the spirit of the Holy Alliance with Russia and Austria.

Friedrich Wilhelm III. was considered popular because of its bourgeoisie and love marriage with Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz . Under his rule, the expansion of Berlin began by Karl Friedrich Schinkel .

Life until the assumption of power


Monogram of Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Friedrich Wilhelm was born on August 3, 1770 in Potsdam as the eldest son of the then heir to the throne and later Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II and Friederike von Hessen-Darmstadt . Friedrich II. , The central figure in Prussian history, was his great-uncle. The young Friedrich Wilhelm had known King Friedrich.

Friedrich Wilhelm was considered a closed, shy and reserved child. The crown prince's peculiarity is not least explained by the fact that the royal father cared little about him. He devoted much more attention to his “favorite son” Alexander von der Mark , who, however, died at a young age. The king had fathered this son with his mistress Wilhelmine Encke, whom he finally raised to Countess Wilhelmine von Lichtenau . Because of this, Friedrich Wilhelm's relationship with his father was tense.

Even as an adult, Friedrich Wilhelm III. a rather dry and sober being. The characteristic brevity of his speech became legendary. The omission of personal pronouns in particular became a model for the concise Prussian military language.


Friedrich Wilhelm III. and Queen Luise in the park of Charlottenburg Palace , oil painting by Friedrich Georg Weitsch , 1799

On December 24, 1793, Friedrich Wilhelm married Luise zu Mecklenburg- [Strelitz] . The affection of this woman became a happy experience for the Crown Prince, who had previously experienced little love. In the Kronprinzenpalais Unter den Linden in Berlin, where he also stayed as king, and in the modest summer residence at Schloss Paretz near Potsdam, Friedrich Wilhelm led an almost middle-class life and an exemplary marriage.

The satisfactory married life resulted in ten children, seven of whom grew up. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm IV. , The eldest son, succeeded his father as Prussian king. Prince Wilhelm I , the second-born son, became King of Prussia in 1861 and from 1871 the first Emperor of the German Empire . The eldest daughter, Princess Charlotte of Prussia , ascended the Russian tsar's throne as Alexandra Feodorovna. Luise von Prussia , the youngest daughter from her marriage to Luise, became Princess of the Netherlands. Daughter Alexandrine of Prussia became Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin .

Friedrich Wilhelm III. as king

Assumption of power (1797)

On November 9, 1797, King Friedrich Wilhelm II left the business of government to his son, as he was no longer able to do so due to shortness of breath and the inability to move. During a seizure, Friedrich Wilhelm II died on November 16, 1797, at 8:58 a.m., at the age of 53 in the Marble Palace . In the early morning of November 16, 1797, Friedrich Wilhelm learned from messengers in Berlin that King Friedrich Wilhelm II was dying. On the way to the Marble Palace in Potsdam, the Crown Prince met the royal cabinet councilor from Bischoffwerder , who was supposed to carry the news of the king's death to Berlin. The Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm became King Friedrich Wilhelm III.

The official ceremony of taking office was the homage of the estates and subjects. In essence, the homage was an oath, which representatives uttered on behalf of the whole people before their monarch. Friedrich Wilhelm III tried the effort of his festive homage. to limit. This was done for two reasons. Friedrich Wilhelm II had left his successor 48 million talers in national debt. In addition, Friedrich Wilhelm III wanted. deliberately differentiate himself from his predecessor, who maintained a very splendid courtly representation. The king replaced the homage festivals in the individual parts of the country with solemn homages in Konigsberg and Berlin. In Königsberg, the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia , on which his royal dignity was based, the festivities began with a sermon and the oath of the bishops and ministers to the new king. For his part, the king had two speeches read to the assembled estates, one in German and one in Polish. The kingdom, which lay outside the imperial borders, had gained over two million Polish inhabitants as a result of the partitions of Poland . 3000 people were invited to the following festive days in Königsberg. The homage to the “Prussian states” within Germany took place on July 6, 1798 in Berlin. After the service in Berlin Cathedral, the royal family and representatives of the nobility and clergy moved to the Berlin City Palace . First the princes of the royal family swore their oath of loyalty to the king and the laws in the knight's hall, then the upper classes in the white hall. In return, the king promised the estates "to rule with grace and justice". The king then stepped onto the balcony of the city palace to also take the oath from the representatives gathered in the pleasure garden. In the face of the French Revolution , the tribute festivities provided an opportunity to provide evidence of the lively relationship between the monarch and the people.

Courtly moral policy

His father's mistress: Wilhelmine von Lichtenau

Disgusted by the moral decay at his father's court (intrigues of a small court clique, affairs of the royal father, who in the end was married to three women at the same time), he tried to restore morality in the royal family. Shortly before the death of his father, he had justified this measure in the text Thoughts on Government :

“A princely court is usually provided with defiant, arrogant, haughty and impertinent subjects. It is precisely from this that most courts are usually abhorred as seats of vice and opulence in the country. "

- Friedrich Wilhelm III.

The Countess von Lichtenau , his father's mistress whom he hated, had Friedrich Wilhelm placed under arrest, her apartment was searched and her property confiscated. In a cabinet order dated March 13, 1798, the king accused her of “having made the most important as well as the smallest government affairs dependent on their pernicious influence”. However, the royal investigations found no evidence that they intervened in the politics of Friedrich Wilhelm II.

The group of princesses , a sculpture by the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow from 1795, was withdrawn from the public by the king because it seemed "fatal" to him. In addition to his wife Luise , who has meanwhile been crowned, her young widowed sister Friederike was shown , who had been made pregnant by a stranger in 1798, had to be married in a hurry and pro forma and was then banished from the court.

Friedrich Wilhelm III also lived as a royal couple. and Luise with her children in the Kronprinzenpalais . The Berlin City Palace was used by the monarchy for rare, representative state acts such as the celebration of homage and otherwise as the seat of the authorities. Unlike his predecessors, Friedrich Wilhelm drew a clear line between private life and public function. His relatively simple, almost bourgeois lifestyle met with a positive response from the public. The theater poet Karl Alexander Herklots praised his king in a poem of praise from 1798 with the following verses:

Not the purple, not the crown
he gives vain priority.
He is the citizen on the throne,
and his pride is to be human.

A quote from Friedrich Wilhelm III. describes the view of duty and can be used as an example of his concise language:

“Every civil servant has a double duty: against the sovereign and against the country. It may well happen that they are not compatible, but then the one against the country is the higher. "

Domestic reform efforts up to 1806

The king's agrarian reformer: Albrecht Daniel Thaer

Even before 1806, Friedrich Wilhelm III. Showed interest in domestic political reforms, which were slow, however, as they met resistance from the estates, his camarilla and parts of the bureaucracy.

In an edict of October 13, 1798, the king instructed the finance commission "to take into account the attraction of the nobility to property taxes ". Friedrich Wilhelm III. the edict was about an increase in the property tax that the nobility paid to the state. The project failed, however, because a high official published the royal order and the Prussian estates protested.

In 1799 the king gave the order to abolish serfdom on the royal estates. But the king's efforts met with stubborn resistance from the general management , as the noble landlords feared the peasants of their estates might rebel. Only after 1803 did Friedrich Wilhelm III ignore it. these concerns and gradually reduced the labor of the peasants on his estates. In 1804 Friedrich Wilhelm III. attention to the agricultural reformer Albrecht Daniel Thaer . The previous methods of Prussian agriculture were ineffective. Thaer replaced the medieval three-field economy with crop rotation . The king sponsored the educational institute founded by Thaer, which in 1819 received the official title of "Royal Prussian Educational Institute for Agriculture".

Another important area of ​​the early reforms was medical care. At the personal invitation of the king, the doctor Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland came to Berlin in 1800 . The king made him the personal physician of the royal family and the first doctor of the Berlin Charité .

On August 11, 1806, Friedrich Wilhelm III. the establishment of the first Prussian asylum for the blind.

Foreign policy until 1807

Neutrality policy

The Peace of Basle of 1795 had led to Prussia's departure from the coalitions against revolutionary France . Prussia and France agreed to respect the neutrality of northern Germany. By creating this neutrality zone, Prussia was able to expand its sphere of influence in the Holy Roman Empire at the expense of the Habsburgs , who continued to wage war. Diplomatically, this policy meant that Prussia did not have a reliable ally to defend the neutrality zone. The belligerent south of the Holy Roman Empire was so weakened against France that the French troops were able to penetrate deep into the Holy Roman Empire.

From the point of view of Friedrich Wilhelm III. and his camarilla there were many reasons for maintaining neutrality. A neutral stance offered the opportunity to keep all options open and to wage war later. In addition, the peace made it possible to clean up the country's finances for a later military conflict. Friedrich Wilhelm III. In contrast to Frederick II, did not necessarily strive for military fame. The devastation left by the Seven Years' War should not have escaped Friedrich Wilhelm during his childhood and possibly strengthened his will for peace. The king's joy in military life, as the writer Theodor Fontane later remarked , was limited to “mustering the peace army and not to its equipment, to parades and not to combat training”. Friedrich Wilhelm III. informed his great uncle Heinrich von Prussia (1726–1802) :

"Everyone knows that I detest war and that I know nothing greater on earth than the maintenance of peace and tranquility as the only system that is suitable for the happiness of humanity."

So Prussia stayed away from the armed conflicts with France. Since France tried to shake Great Britain's position in the Mediterranean by conquering Egypt , a second coalition with Russia and Austria was formed around Great Britain , which began another war against the French on March 1, 1799. The British subsequently remained Napoleon's main enemy.

After the French occupation of the Prussian margraviate of Ansbach , Friedrich Wilhelm III. Interest in an alliance with the Russian Tsar Alexander I. The king then sent his foreign minister Christian von Haugwitz with an ultimatum to Emperor Napoleon, who threatened Prussian entry into the Third Coalition War . When Friedrich Wilhelm III. heard of the Austrian and Russian defeat at Austerlitz , he withdrew the threat. Prussia continued to be an ally of the unreliable French Empire . Under pressure from Napoleon, Prussia occupied Hanover , which was ruled in personal union with Great Britain . With this move Napoleon drove a wedge between Friedrich Wilhelm III. and George III. of Great Britain . Prussia experienced a particular humiliation when Napoleon offered the Electorate of Hanover a little later in peace negotiations over Friedrich Wilhelm's head to Great Britain.

Collapse of Prussia

After such French provocations accumulated, Friedrich Wilhelm III ordered. on August 9, 1806 the mobilization of his army. On September 26, the Prussian king wrote a letter to Napoleon. He called on the French emperor to recognize the Prussian neutrality zone and to return Prussian territories on the Lower Rhine.

On September 27, 1806, he followed up the letter with an ultimatum. The French emperor was to begin withdrawing his troops behind the Rhine by October 8, 1806. The ultimatum shows that the Rhine Confederation Act or the creation of the Rhine Confederation had made the peace of Basel and the Prussian neutrality zone in northern Germany ad absurdum. The king accuses Napoleon of breaking the treaty. The ultimatum literally states:

"The King expects from the righteousness of His Imperial Majesty: 1. That the French troops, who do not call for a justified claim to Germany, immediately cross the Rhine again [...]"

Napoleon did not react to the ultimatum, but replied to the letter of Friedrich Wilhelm III. He gave it to Friedrich Wilhelm III. to understand that France is militarily superior to Prussia:

“Believe me, I have such powerful armed forces that none of yours can sway victory for long! But why shed so much blood? For what purpose? I speak to Your Majesty just as I spoke to the Emperor Alexander before the Battle of Austerlitz (...) But Sire, Your Majesty will be defeated! You will give up the quiet of your days, the life of your subjects, without being able to offer the slightest reason for your apology! Today you are still in good standing and can negotiate with me in a manner worthy of your rank, but before a month goes by your situation will be different. "

- Napoleon : Letter to Friedrich Wilhelm III.
Geographical overview of the battlefield of Jena and Auerstedt

On October 9, 1806, the day after the Prussian ultimatum had expired, Napoleon declared war on Prussia. Although Friedrich Wilhelm III. the Duke of Brunswick, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand , the supreme command of the Prussian troops, but neither he nor the king seized control of the campaign. Napoleon, on the other hand, could react faster. He let his troops march from Würzburg to Thuringia. In the Battle of Saalfeld on October 10, 1806, Prince Louis Ferdinand , who was influential at court and a nephew of Frederick II, fell. In the ensuing battle of Jena and Auerstedt , the king's army was crushed. Friedrich Wilhelm barely managed to get himself to safety. He found Weimar, wherever he wanted to turn first, already occupied by the French. Again and again he had to change direction - led by local residents of the area - in order to escape the advancing troops of Napoleon. When he finally arrived in Sömmerda, he had been in the saddle without food for 26 hours without a break. After the battle of Jena and Auerstedt, the Quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate was brought to Paris as spoils of war on the instructions of Napoleon. In Paris it was planned to place the Quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate either on the later Arc de Triomphe or Porte Saint-Denis .

Friedrich Wilhelm had to flee with his wife and children as far as Memel in East Prussia , in the north-easternmost corner of the country. On February 7th and 8th, 1807, the French army was repulsed by Russian forces in the Battle of Preussisch-Eylau . Sobered by this setback, Napoleon offered Friedrich Wilhelm III. to an armistice, according to which Prussia only had to give up its areas west of the Elbe. Friedrich Wilhelm III. declined, however, as he hoped further Russian attacks would tip the balance in Prussia's favor. However, there was no further Russian reinforcement and Napoleon defeated the Russian army in the battle of Friedland .

After the end of the Old Empire on August 6, 1806, Friedrich Wilhelm initially continued his imperial title Elector and Arch Chamberlain of the Empire. He did not take it off until 1809.

Peace of Tilsit

The royal couple Friedrich Wilhelm and Luise resided in 1807/1808 in the palace of the Danish consul Consentius-Lorck in Memel

On June 14, 1807, Tsar Alexander I had to ask for an armistice. In doing so, he broke his promise to Friedrich Wilhelm III not to negotiate with France. The Prussian king was not invited to the meeting between Napoleon and the Tsar in Tilsit . Napoleon aimed at the complete humiliation of the king. Friedrich Wilhelm III. had to wait for hours on the banks of the Memel , surrounded by Russian officers and wrapped in a Russian coat, for the results of the treaty. Not until the next day did Napoleon Friedrich Wilhelm III. to himself. At first Napoleon made the king wait in the anteroom, then he refused to inform the king of his plans for Prussia. Instead, the king was instructed by Napoleon about his military mistakes.

On July 9, 1807, in the Peace of Tilsit , Napoleon dictated the conditions for Prussia. Prussia lost all areas west of the Elbe and from the Second and Third Partition of Poland . Partly from the territories separated from Prussia, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Westphalia emerged , which became French vassals and further curbed Prussia's influence. Prussia had lost half of its territory and was relegated to a heavily indebted middle power.

Prussian reforms

Friedrich Wilhelm III. and Queen Luise in East Prussia during the administrative reforms of 1807/08 with the reformers Stein , Hardenberg , Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and members of the royal family (e.g. brother Prince Wilhelm and his wife, Princess Marianne). Relief on the monument to Baron vom Stein by Hermann Schievelbein and Hugo Hagen in Berlin in front of the House of Representatives.

Friedrich Wilhelm III. was forced to recognize that the military, political and economic collapse of Prussia could only be overcome through radical reforms. He allowed a senior cadre of ministers and civil servants to issue a series of government edicts designed to make Prussia a modern state. Here one speaks of the so-called "Prussian reforms" . The reforms were promoted by Freiherr vom Stein , Karl August von Hardenberg , Wilhelm von Humboldt and the military like Gerhard von Scharnhorst and August Neidhardt von Gneisenau . The situation of the country and also the relationship between people and king improved as a result of the reforms.

While working on the reforms, Prussia entered the early modern era. The king no longer ruled in the style of an absolutist ruler, rather he delegated responsibility to top officials who worked their areas with a certain degree of independence. This involved both the specialist departments and the management of newly formed provinces. The king was responsible for the fundamental decisions, the implementation in detail was left to the departments. The experts advised the king, who moderated and made decisions between them.

Relationship to the baron from and to the stone

Nevertheless, the king initiated the reforms with caution. The state reformers were slowed down by the king in some points, since Friedrich Wilhelm III. wanted to maintain a balance between the nobility and the rising bourgeoisie . The Prussian Finance and Trade Minister Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein , on the other hand, wanted to reshape Prussia based on the example of the Napoleonic Civil Code : peasant liberation , equality before the law, protection of property and freedom of religion . On this basis, the state could win over loyal citizens and tame revolutionary forces such as the French Revolution had demonstrated. When Stein suggested replacing the cabinet government consisting of the king's favorites with a ministry, Friedrich Wilhelm III wrote to him:

"From all this I have to see with great regret that you (are) to be regarded as a stubborn, defiant, persistent and disobedient public servant, who insists on his genius and talent, far from (is) looking at the best of the state have, only guided by capricia, act out of passion and out of personal hatred and bitterness. "

- Friedrich Wilhelm III. : Letter to the Freiherr vom Stein

Friedrich Wilhelm III. accused Stein in this letter of acting only out of prejudice. On January 3, 1807, the king forced Freiherr vom Stein to resign and thus initially hindered the Prussian reforms. Only after Hardenberg's dismissal in July 1807 was the Freiherr vom Stein by Friedrich Wilhelm III. brought back to the civil service.

October edict

The most important achievement by Stein was the so-called October Edict , which was announced on October 9, 1807. With the October edict the bondage of the peasants and compulsory labor was abolished. Freedom of occupation and the free acquisition of property were guaranteed by the state. This allowed farmers to move into the cities, townspeople to buy land and nobles to take up civil professions.

Abolition of the cabinet government

Stein succeeded in getting Friedrich Wilhelm III. convince him to dissolve his cabinet of personal advisers and to put ministries in its place. In November 1808, a Ministry of Justice, a Ministry of War, a Ministry of Finance, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Ministry of the Interior were established. The abolition of double consultation of the king (i.e. ministers and councils) was intended to avoid rivalries between ministers and advisers. However, the bureaucratization also limited the power of Friedrich Wilhelm. Stein even tried to convince the king that decrees were only valid if they bore the signatures of the five ministers.

City order

On November 19, 1808, the king put an order, the so-called city ​​order , into force. The Prussian cities were seen as independent corporations that could be distinguished from the state. Local affairs should be organized independently by the local self-government of the citizens. Here, too, the king finally bowed to the urging of the Freiherr vom Stein.

Educational reforms

The king also initiated extensive educational reforms. In 1809 he gave Wilhelm von Humboldt the founding of the Alma Mater Berolinensis , the University of Berlin (1828–1949 Friedrich Wilhelms University , then Humboldt University in Berlin ). In 1811 the Silesian Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität ( University of Breslau ) was established and finally the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn under Altenstein's direction . The reforms of the school system in its various stages were at least as important. In addition, vocational training has been improved, as has the training of specialists and entrepreneurs in the emerging industry.

Reform of public finances under Hardenberg

In 1810 Napoleon renewed the demand for war compensation. Friedrich Wilhelm III. appointed Hardenberg State Chancellor on October 27, 1810, who promised to settle the French bill through a radical reform of state finances. The national debt amounted to 66 million thalers, almost twice as much as before 1806. Paper money, borrowing and depreciation of coins had further exacerbated Prussia's economic crisis. Hardenberg distributed the tax burden evenly through a consumption tax. Freedom of trade was introduced and guilds abolished.

Edict of the Jews

On March 11, 1812, on the initiative of the king, who was not himself a philosemite , 30,000 Jews were legally equated with the Christian population through the Jewish edict .

Friedrich Wilhelm III. with plait (thaler from 1801, left) and with a short Biedermeier hairstyle (thaler from 1814)

New self-expression

Outwardly, Friedrich Wilhelm adapted to the fashions of the new era. While his portrait on coins was still depicted with a Frederician braid until 1809 , he wore the modern Biedermeier hairstyle on later coins (see photo of the two thalers on the right). With the depiction on coins, the depiction of the king with the new hairstyle was officially legitimized.

Foreign policy from 1809

The plundering of the country by the French and the endless extension of the occupation after the peace agreement led to an increasingly hateful mood towards the occupiers.

Neutrality in the Fifth Coalition War

In 1809, Friedrich Wilhelm refused the pressure of the reformers and the romantic poet Heinrich von Kleist to join the new campaign of the Austrian Emperor Franz I against Napoleon, although the Austrians inflicted his first major defeat on Napoleon at the Battle of Aspern . However, because this initial success was not exploited, the king was strengthened in his belief that the Austrians were unable to really defeat Napoleon. Friedrich Wilhelm's strategy was to avoid any step that could lead to the complete dissolution of the kingdom. Friedrich Wilhelm III. commented:

“A political existence, no matter how small, is always better than none and then, time changes a lot in the world, so there is still hope for the future in this case too: but not so if Prussia falls out of the ranks of States would have to be eliminated entirely, which would very likely be the case if it wanted to risk everything too early. "

The king sharply condemned the uprising of Ferdinand von Schill . In this situation, the Prussian king was the only one of the Eastern Powers who (because of mutual distrust) had not yet worked in a coordinated manner against Napoleon to lose his already weakened country.

Return to Berlin

Since Berlin was within reach of the French armies, Friedrich Wilhelm III stayed. between 1807 and 1809 in Königsberg . After Napoleon had victoriously ended the Fifth Coalition War , he authorized the Prussian king to return to Berlin. Napoleon believed that Friedrich Wilhelm III. in Berlin was less exposed to Russian than French influence.

On December 15, 1809, the king left his East Prussian residence with 36 carriages, and on December 23, 1809, he ceremoniously set off at the head of his troops in Berlin. Friedrich Wilhelm was welcomed at the Bernauer Tor by the Lord Mayor of Berlin (to commemorate this event, the Bernauer Tor was renamed “ Königstor ” in April 1810 ). The jubilation in Berlin remained muted in view of the Austrian defeat in the Fifth Coalition War. Friedrich Wilhelm III. wrote about the mood during his entry: "The warmth and calm that received me here on my return do the residents of Berlin and the police facilities to the greatest honor."

Russian campaign (1812)

Map of Prussia, the Confederation of the Rhine and Austria in 1812

In December 1810 Napoleon annexed the Duchy of Oldenburg . However, the Duke of Oldenburg was the uncle of Tsar Alexander I. The Tsar then closed the ports and markets for French products (with the exception of wine and silk). In 1811 Russia finally withdrew from the continental blockade against Great Britain. The looming war between Russia and France threatened the existence of Prussia, which lies between the two power blocs. In the summer of 1811 Prussia had armed militarily and thus violated the peace of Tilsit . Napoleon, angry about this, demanded on September 14, 1811 an immediate stop to Prussian recruiting and repairs to the fortresses. Friedrich Wilhelm III. prevailed against the opinion of his military and gave in to Napoleon's insistence. Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher , who asked the king to leave Berlin and to oppose Napoleon, was recalled from his command.

On February 24, 1812, Napoleon forced the Prussian king into an offensive military alliance against Russia: Prussia had to provide a troop contingent of 12,000 men for the Grande Armée . On the way to Russia, the Grande Army marched through the kingdom. The East Prussian population had to endure billeting and had to take care of Napoleon's 300,000 soldiers without compensation. Looting, beatings and extortion occurred against the civilian population. Even the Prussian fortresses and ammunition depots opened up to the French command.

Tsar Alexander I withdrew his troops and forced the grand army to a forced march, during which the French supplies could no longer follow. With the fire in Moscow , the supply of the army collapsed completely. Napoleon ordered the withdrawal from Moscow. Weakened by the Russian winter and partisan attacks, only 40,000 of the original 600,000 soldiers returned. In Berlin, officers and ministers now saw the opportunity to shake off Napoleon's rule. But Friedrich Wilhelm III. initially held on to the alliance with France. When Napoleon demanded an increase in the aid contingent on December 15, 1812, the king gave in to the order.

After Napoleon's flight to Paris, General Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg , commander of the Prussian Corps, which consisted of 14,000 men and was still under the command of the French and had rarely entered combat, negotiated arbitrarily with the Russians. The result was the Tauroggen Convention , in which Yorck declared himself neutral. The reaction of the king to this risky arbitrariness of the general was not clear: Although Friedrich Wilhelm III. announce in newspapers that Yorck was relieved of his office, but no order was given to the army. Some historians therefore suspect that Friedrich Wilhelm on the one hand wanted to appease France or prevent it from attacking Berlin and on the other hand did not want to turn the tsar against him. After all, Prussia was still in danger of being razed between France and Russia. Since Yorck, contrary to Napoleon's original plan, had not taken over the flank protection of the French, he opened East Prussia to the Russian troops. The French had to abandon their plan to reorganize the remnants of their army on the Vistula and hope for reinforcements because of the Russian advance. The king later rehabilitated Yorck, albeit with internal reservations.

Wars of Liberation (1813-1814)

Karl Philipp zu Schwarzenberg reports victory in the Battle of Nations near Leipzig to the allied monarchs .

The French managed to hold several fortresses on the Oder and Vistula rivers . In this situation Berlin, the king's place of residence, was threatened by the French. On January 25, 1813, Friedrich Wilhelm III met. entered the Silesian town of Breslau with his entourage of 70 people and thus escaped French captivity. In Breslau, Friedrich Wilhelm III. on January 28, 1813, an armaments commission, which included leading generals such as Gerhard von Scharnhorst , Karl Georg Albrecht Ernst von Hake , August Neidhardt von Gneisenau and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher .

Influenced by the armaments commission, the king agreed to a key part of the military reform that he had refused for years: on February 9, 1813, general conscription was introduced for the duration of the war, from which no social class could buy itself out. Thus Prussia was able to raise an army of 300,000 soldiers relatively quickly. Conscription was not abolished again , contrary to the original intention of the king, even after the wars of liberation .

However, the king was initially reluctant to forge an alliance with the Tsarist Empire, fearing that Russia might degrade Prussia, like France, to a satellite state. Under pressure from the tsar and his own subjects, Friedrich Wilhelm III changed. only from February 27 to 28, 1813 the fronts. In the Treaty of Kalisch , the king waived further claims to Polish territory, but in return Tsar Alexander I guaranteed him that Prussia would regain the geographical and financial conditions from before 1806. The Treaty of Kalisch meant an official military alliance between Prussia and Russia. On March 16, 1813, the king declared war on France.

On March 10, 1813, the birthday of Queen Luise , who died in 1810 , Friedrich Wilhelm III. for the first time the Order of the Iron Cross . The cross, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel , created an award for all ranks for the first time, including ordinary soldiers.

The Call " To My People "

The historic importance of Friedrich-Wilhelm III. published appeal " An Mein Volk " in the Breslauer Schlesische privilegierte Zeitung of March 20, 1813. In the appeal, a Prussian regent justified his policy for the first time to his subjects. At the same time he called on his people to rise up against the French "foreign rule", every single province:

“Brandenburgers, Prussians, Silesians, Pomeranians, Litthauer! You know what you have to endure for seven years, you know what your sad lot is if we do not end the beginning struggle with honor. Remember the past, the great Elector, the great Frederick. Remain in mind of the goods that our ancestors bloodily fought for among them [...] "

The appeal drew parallels to conservatively motivated rebellions such as the Tyrolean popular uprising of 1809 . Many German princes, including Friedrich Wilhelm III., Feared that popular uprisings could develop a revolutionary character. For this reason, Friedrich Wilhelm III tried. to assert the monarchical leadership of a possible popular uprising.

With the exception of the duchies of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin , all the states of the Rhine Confederation were on the French side at the beginning of the war of liberation . Napoleon thus still had a relatively stable supremacy in Central Europe. At the following battle at Großgörschen on May 2, 1813, Friedrich Wilhelm III, riding a white Arabian stallion , took part . personally. However, he had to withdraw as Napoleon managed to break through the Russian and Prussian lines. The battle of Großgörschen ended with a victory for Napoleon, not least because of the Confederation of the Rhine, which were still allied with France. After the battle of Bautzen , the Prussian army even had to withdraw from Saxony to Silesia.

On June 4, 1813, Napoleon concluded with Friedrich Wilhelm III. and Tsar Alexander I signed the six-week armistice at Pläswitz . The entourage of Friedrich Wilhelm III. realized that the Russian-Prussian military alliance would not be able to defeat Napoleon without Austria .

In the secret convention of Reichenbach of June 27, 1813, agreed with Friedrich Wilhelm III. and Alexander I, Austria finally undertook to join the coalition if Napoleon did not accept the conditions presented to him. Friedrich Wilhelm III. even agreed to talks between Napoleon and the Austrian diplomat Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich . Should Napoleon withdraw behind the Rhine and dissolve the Confederation of the Rhine , the Prussian king put it, he would recognize Napoleon's rule.

In Dresden Metternich had a nine-hour conversation with Napoleon. However, this declared "no hand's breadth of land" to cede. So the armistice of Pläswitz expired on August 10, 1813, without having achieved a peaceful solution to the conflict. Due to protests in France against further recruitment, it was not possible for Napoleon to significantly increase his troop strength during the period of the armistice. Prussia's troop strength, however, corresponded to 6% of the population.

Sign of victory: The Quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

On August 11, 1813, Austria declared war on France. The balance of power thus shifted significantly to the disadvantage of France. In the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig from October 16-19, 1813, Napoleon and his allies were finally defeated. Friedrich Wilhelm III., Alexander I and Franz I of Austria watched the battlefield of Leipzig from the 158 m high Monarch Hill near Meusdorf . With the exception of the King of Saxony, all German princes resigned from the Confederation of the Rhine . As a result, Napoleon had to withdraw behind the Rhine. In association with the Russians, Austrians and Swedes, the Prussians, who under Blücher dragged the Russians with them, were the driving force in the pursuit of Napoleon as far as Paris. On March 31, 1814, the Prussian king entered Paris through the Porte Saint-Denis .

In Paris, Friedrich Wilhelm III ordered the Quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate to be returned to Berlin immediately. The journey of the six wagons, drawn by a total of 32 horses and carrying 15 heavy boxes, took over two months; Since arriving in Düsseldorf on the right bank of the Rhine, it has been like a triumphal procession. At the request of the king, who wanted the Iron Cross to be taken into account as a symbol of victory , Schinkel designed a new emblem for the goddess of victory. She now carried an iron cross in an oak wreath with a Prussian eagle flying over it. When the king entered Berlin on August 7, 1814, the covering of the quadriga fell as if by magic.

After the Wars of Liberation , Friedrich Wilhelm III. celebrated in Prussia as the "father of the fatherland", for example when he appeared in the theater almost every day in Berlin.

The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815)

Prussia and the German Confederation in 1815

The territorial changes agreed at the Congress of Vienna created a new Europe. The system of the pentarchy or five major European powers ( Prussia , Austria , Great Britain, Russia and France) should establish a balance of power politics and prevent wars in Europe in the future. Friedrich Wilhelm III. originally wanted to incorporate the entire Kingdom of Saxony into its state and thus create a coherent Prussian territory in the east.

For British considerations, however, Prussia had above all to guarantee the defense of Germany's western border against a re-strengthening France. Before that, the Habsburgs had also taken on this task as the ancestral holder of the Austrian Netherlands , but could not prevent the Rhineland from becoming a pawn for French interests (see Left Bank of the Rhine ). At the Congress of Vienna, Prussia received Westphalia and the Rhineland . In his proclamation to the new western provinces, Friedrich Wilhelm III stylized himself. in contrast to France as the defender of national interests.

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress , main work of the second largest fortress system in Europe

"And so, you inhabitants of these countries, I now step among you with confidence, give yourselves back to your German fatherland, an old German princely line, and call you Prussia."

- Friedrich Wilhelm III. : Proclamation

In this context, on March 11, 1815, the king issued the “Order to re-fortify the city of Coblenz and the Ehrenbreitstein fortress ”. Together with the Cologne Fortress, the Koblenz Fortress was supposed to secure the Middle Rhine. The cities of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein were fortified until 1832 and surrounded with a belt of independent forward fortifications, built according to the most modern knowledge, the so-called "New Prussian" or "New German fortification manner". The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (1817–1828) was the main work.

Friedrich Wilhelm III. the Rhine province guaranteed the maintenance of the French civil code . He renounced the introduction of the general land law for the Prussian states in the new province.

In the Congress of Vienna, Prussia received the northern half of Saxony in the east (with the fortress town of Torgau and Lutherstadt Wittenberg ), the Swedish part of Western Pomerania (with the island of Rügen) and the Grand Duchy of Posen .

Consolidation in Peace


The term restoration (Latin restaurare , restore) can only be used to a limited extent on Prussia during the long period of peace from June 19, 1815 to June 7, 1840 (from the day after the victory at Waterloo to the death of the king). The Prussian reforms were not reversed after 1815, but they were not continued either. The borders from before 1806 or the defeat against Napoleon were not restored.

A strongly conservative development began after the death of Friedrich Wilhelm's first wife Luise in 1810. After her death, a reactionary camarilla gained influence over the king. De facto, this politically influential circle around the king meant the return to a cabinet government like the one that Freiherr vom Stein wanted to abolish in 1807. The camarilla consisted of the former preacher Jean Pierre Frédéric Ancillon , Sophie Marie Countess von Voss and Wilhelm Ludwig Georg Graf zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein .

Foreign policy

On September 26, 1815, Friedrich Wilhelm III., The Austrian Emperor and the Russian Tsar signed the founding declaration of the Holy Alliance . With the Holy Alliance, the three Eastern Powers promised each other support or intervention in the event of revolutionary events. The alliance became a powerful tool for suppressing liberal aspirations. The policy of the Holy Alliance was reactionary and restorative, but it gave a long period of peace to the core of Europe, which had been riddled with wars from the French Revolution to the Battle of Waterloo .

In terms of foreign policy, Friedrich Wilhelm continued to pursue the ideas with which he had already started as a young king: neutrality and peace. The retention of the Landwehr after the Wars of Liberation was viewed with suspicion in Austria and Russia as a perpetuation of the “armament of the people”, but the newly created army practically never got caught in the fire after the Wars of Liberation. The king often acted as mediator in European conflicts.

For reasons of power politics, Friedrich Wilhelm III refused to intervene militarily at the outbreak of the French July Revolution of 1830 . The revolutionary spark spread from Paris to parts of the German Confederation . In Berlin there was the so-called tailoring revolution , a dispute between craftsmen and police forces. Although Friedrich Wilhelm III. was significantly involved in the ensuing wave of arrests, the Berliners blamed these events only on the royal advisors and ministers. They continued to dub the king with the nicknames "the righteous" and "the good-natured". Nevertheless, the tailoring revolution cannot hide the fact that the government and the population began to increasingly alienate one another.

Constitutional question

State Chancellor Hardenberg at the equestrian monument for Friedrich Wilhelm III. at the Heumarkt in Cologne

On several occasions the king toyed with the idea of converting Prussia into a constitutional monarchy or introducing a constitution. This was also the case in France under Louis XVIII. done with the relatively liberal Charte constitutionnelle . Until his death on November 26, 1822, State Chancellor Hardenberg in particular urged the king to take a similar step. However, the king's most influential adviser, Jean Pierre Frederic Ancillon, persuaded the king that a Prussian constitution would have parallels to the French National Assembly of 1789 . Any liberal concession by the king would, in Ancillon’s view, create the risk of the overthrow of the monarchy. Friedrich Wilhelm III. promised the introduction of a constitution in 1810, 1812, 1813, 1815, 1820 and 1821. On May 22nd, 1815, the king announced that "an ordinance on the representation of the people to be formed" would be drawn up. But the king made empty promises. The aristocratic party led by the later Friedrich Wilhelm IV wanted to bring Prussia back to class forms with strong dominance of the nobility.

In 1823 only provincial estates were introduced, at least the first regional parliaments, but no “imperial estates”. With quotas in every class, the local nobility could block any proposal. Constitutional forms were only to become possible in Prussia from 1848.

Thalermünze from 1819 with portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm III.

Teplice puncture and the Karlovy Vary resolutions (1819)

In the German Confederation , a loose amalgamation of 34 principalities and 4 free cities, it was primarily the student fraternities who formulated their demand for the national unity of Germany, for a constitutional state and civil rights and freedoms. National and liberal ideas threatened the power of Friedrich Wilhelm III, who continued to adhere to absolutism . The murder of the poet August von Kotzebue on March 23, 1819 by the Jena fraternity and theology student Karl Ludwig Sand presented itself to Metternich and Friedrich Wilhelm III. as a pretext for the Karlovy Vary resolutions . On August 1, 1819, Friedrich Wilhelm III met. with Metternich in Teplitz in order to coordinate a common federal policy between Prussia and Austria in preparation for the Karlsbad resolutions. In Teplitz the Prussian king agreed with Metternich that he wanted to keep the press, universities and state parliaments more closely monitored.

With the Karlsbad resolutions of August 20, 1819, Friedrich Wilhelm allowed unpopular professors to be dismissed, fraternities banned and all books, magazines and newspapers to be censored with less than 320 pages. So the state-loyal Bonn professor Ernst Moritz Arndt could only after the death of Friedrich Wilhelm III. return to his activity. He was only rehabilitated under Friedrich Wilhelm IV . Even prominent personalities such as Wilhelm von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich von Beyme , who protested against the Carlsbad decisions, were dismissed by the king on December 31, 1819. Historians speak of the so-called demagogue persecution .

Religious politics

Archbishop of Cologne Clemens August Droste zu Vischering

With the Congress of Vienna and the territorial gain of the Prussian western provinces ( Province of Westphalia and Rhine Province ), the number of Catholics in Prussia grew to 4 million. This circumstance created a problem of integration in the predominantly Protestant Prussia. The Catholic movement of ultramontanism viewed the church as a structure in whose interests states like Prussia did not have to interfere.

With the mixed marriages dispute in Cologne , which related to Catholic-Protestant marriages, Catholic doctrine and Prussian law came into conflict. While Prussian law required children to adopt their father's religion, Roman Catholic teaching required that the Protestant partner sign up to raise the children as Catholics. When Clemens August Freiherr Droste zu Vischering , a supporter of ultramontanism, became archbishop and insisted on the Catholic mixed marriage regulation, the conflict with Friedrich Wilhelm III. unstoppable. The Prussian king viewed the resistance of the Archbishop of Cologne as a direct attack on his authority. In November 1837, the king ordered the arrest and removal from office of the Archbishop of Cologne, without a judicial charge. Even soldiers were secretly transferred to Cologne to forestall local protests. Droste zu Vischering was held in custody in the Minden fortress until 1839. Only King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. , The successor of Friedrich Wilhelm III., Should try to settle the conflict.

In the areas with a Polish population, the confessional question was also linked to the Poles' desire for national self-determination. Here Martin von Dunin , Archbishop of Poznan and Gniezno, reintroduced the traditional Catholic marriage contract, as in Cologne. Despite initial attempts by the king to negotiate, he was arrested and taken to the Kolberg fortress .

Through the newly founded Union in 1817 (the Lutheran and Reformed congregations united by Friedrich Wilhelm to form a “uniate” church), Friedrich Wilhelm sought at the same time to raise the religious meaning and the unity of the Protestant denominations in the Evangelical Church in Prussia (later the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union ), initially trying peacefully. Stubborn resistance, especially in the new Saxon parts of the country, led him to coercive measures, such as the imprisonment of pastors, the confiscation of Lutheran churches, and the expropriation of property, as the emergence of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church and the agendas prove.

Economic policy

German Customs Union within the borders of the German Confederation, 1834

In Prussia, the peace period was used to get agriculture, trade and commerce going again. Friedrich Wilhelm assumed that a flourishing economy would stabilize the mood of the population. With the Prussian Customs Act of 1818 , all internal tariffs fell in Prussia. The uniformly set import duties on goods of the German Confederation remained relatively moderate, so that Prussia did not seal itself off from the outside world. The king also promoted the establishment of the German Customs Union (1834).

Thanks to Friedrich Wilhelm III. the process of economic modernization advanced more rapidly in Prussia than in Russia and Austria. When industrialization began , the Berlin Trade Institute , founded by the King in 1821 under the direction of Peter Beuth , played a key role. Above all, the institute imparted the technical knowledge required for practical business operations. It made new technologies accessible by acquiring technological knowledge from England, France and Belgium and by building machines.

The Prussian Rhinelander Beuth, who came from Cleve, became an influential promoter of trade and young industry. The very enlarged, but territorially unfavorably distributed new Prussia was able to establish its economic network, e.g. As building of roads and highways that drive. However, the king initially only reluctantly agreed to plans to expand the railway. On the occasion of the opening of the Berlin-Potsdam railway line in 1838, he is said to have said:

“Everything should have a career, peace and comfort suffer as a result. Can't promise me much happiness from being in Potsdam a few hours earlier from Berlin. Time will teach. "

- Friedrich Wilhelm III.

In spite of these concerns, the heavily aged king used the railway line on his last trips to Potsdam in 1839 and in his will approved one million thalers for a Prussian east-west railway. August Borsig in Berlin began building his first locomotive at the same time.


After a long-lasting fever, Friedrich Wilhelm died on June 7, 1840. He found his final resting place in the mausoleum in the park of Charlottenburg Palace , at the side of his first wife Luise. Christian Daniel Rauch, who had portrayed him so often, depicted him lying on the sarcophagus next to his wife's sarcophagus in a marble picture. This work of the Berlin Classic can also be viewed.

Culture and science

Design of Paretz Castle (1797) by David Gilly

Despite his legendary frugality, Friedrich Wilhelm also went down in history as a patron of architecture and art.

Residence in Paretz

Rurality was idealized at many European royal courts at the end of the 18th century. The village of Marie Antoinette in Versailles can be seen as a typical contemporary example of this .

Friedrich Wilhelm III. In Paretz , a village 30 km west of Potsdam, an alternative world to Berlin court life was created. Paretz was converted into a Prussian summer residence from 1797 by the architects David Gilly and Friedrich Gilly . When placing the order, the king admonished David Gilly to be frugal: “Just always think that you are building for a poor landlord.” The architecture of the village was functional and cost-saving, but it also met the aesthetic demands of the royal couple. The classicist buildings fit harmoniously into an English landscape garden . The village church and castle formed the stately center.

In Paretz the courtly ceremonies were more relaxed. For example, the harvest festival was celebrated with the rural village population. The class boundaries were nevertheless preserved. The life of the king in Paretz was similar to the life of a noble landlord.


The king's architect: Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Karl Friedrich Schinkel was in 1810 by Friedrich Wilhelm III. appointed senior building assessor of the Berlin senior building deputation. The Oberbaudeputation was responsible for all public buildings in Prussia, the cost of which was over 500 thalers. As a student with David Gilly , Schinkel had learned that adherence to cost plans was essential in order to maintain the king's trust. Because of the royal austerity measures, Schinkel was often unable to carry out his sometimes extensive projects. In an order dated June 20, 1836, the king wrote to him that "the architect (should) proceed from the point of view that there can only be talk of maintaining the existing and not of extensions and extensions." Numerous complaints to the king have been preserved in which Schinkel complained about excessive work and austerity measures. The King therefore even briefly planned to recall Schinkel from the superstructure deputation, but this did not occur due to protests within the deputation. Brick and terracotta were rediscovered as relatively inexpensive building materials by Schinkel.

Despite the tense relationship with the client Friedrich Wilhelm III. 50 works by Schinkel, including his designs, can be found in the Prussian capital Berlin. Berlin was particularly representative redesigned between 1809 and 1840, the main creative period of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. In the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm III. The main works built by Schinkel include the Wache unter den Linden , the theater on Gendarmenmarkt , the Friedrichswerder Church , the Old Museum and the Bauakademie .

The Prussian architects had an important opportunity to win the king over when Queen Luise , the first wife of Friedrich Wilhelm III, died on July 19, 1810. The king himself designed a mausoleum in the Charlottenburg Palace Park . The king only had the facade drawn by Schinkel, who had even completed drafts himself. Heinrich Gentz completed the work. Later Friedrich Wilhelm III. buried in the mausoleum next to his wife Luise.

An idea of ​​the reform era and a reaction to the dragging away of numerous works of art by Napoleon and their return (including Schadow's Quadriga from the Brandenburg Gate ) was the summary of the art treasures previously shown scattered in the royal palaces in a specially built museum. In 1810 commissioned Friedrich Wilhelm III. Wilhelm von Humboldt with the compilation of a “well-chosen art collection”. In accordance with the new understanding of art, the Royal Museum was created, a cultural and educational institution aimed at citizens. Karl Friedrich Schinkel erected the building, one of the most beautiful buildings of classicism, in the years 1824 to 1830 at the Lustgarten in Berlin. With further museums added by Friedrich Wilhelm's successor, it became the start of Berlin's Museum Island as the Altes Museum .

Between 1826 and 1834 Friedrich Wilhelm III. the Magdeburg Cathedral restoring extensive. In 1831 he acquired Erdmannsdorf Castle in Lower Silesia at the foot of the Giant Mountains and had it redesigned by Schinkel.

Monuments of the Wars of Liberation

In close cooperation with Schinkel's urban planning department, Christian Daniel Rauch and his Berlin School of Sculpture decorated with statues that kept the memory of the Wars of Liberation. Gerhard von Scharnhorst , Bülow von Dennewitz and Blücher were the first to receive their monuments. Yorck and Gneisenau later followed under Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The reliefs on the Berlin monument by Blücher are very popular (Gneisenau, the most hostile reformer by the reaction, can be seen several times). Shortly before his death, the king had the foundation stone laid for the monument to Frederick the Great, which was completed more than ten years later by Rauch and his students.


As a patron , the king gave important impulses to painting. In 1827 the King appointed Karl Wilhelm Wach as his court painter and furnished him with a warehouse, which subsequently developed into an important school of painting. Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow , the son of the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow , also received special support from the king . As director of the Düsseldorf Art Academy , he took up his post as the successor to Peter von Cornelius , who painted the vestibule of the Altes Museum based on Schinkel's designs . His most talented students soon followed him, and the famous Düsseldorf School of Painting emerged after a short time . His crown prince, who later became Friedrich Wilhelm IV , urged Friedrich Wilhelm III. to buy the oil painting The Monk by the Sea and the Ruins of Eldena .


The king liked to mingle with the people and was seen in the theater every evening. He went to both the Berliner Schauspielhaus and the Königsstädtische Theater , both of which he had commissioned. The visits to the theater also gave him the opportunity to empathize with the mentality of his citizens and their moods through the middle-class folk plays.


Friedrich Wilhelm III. was not as musically gifted as other Prussian kings before him (e.g. Friedrich II. and Friedrich Wilhelm II.) . He could play the organ moderately and, at the age of ten, composed a march that is still well known today. This march was first performed in 1835 at the Kalisch Revue . The march was later used by most regiments of the army as a presentation march and was named that way. The Bundeswehr still plays it today.


The world traveler Alexander von Humboldt gained influence at court and was very popular in Prussia, and his works gave scientific thought a further boost. The appointment of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to the philosophical chair of the Berlin University made it the center of philosophy in Germany.


Friedrich Wilhelm III., Head of the equestrian statue from Heumarkt in Cologne (war damaged)
Friedrich Wilhelm III., Portrayed by Christian Daniel Rauch (Roman Baths in Sanssouci Park )

In an absolutist monarchy , the respective character of the ruler influences historical processes to a greater extent than in other systems of rule. Friedrich Wilhelm III. was an understanding, principled, and considerate person. However, he did not get along well with “genius” people. He deliberately delved into things, but his tendency to ponder and weigh them up to the last detail often paralyzed his resolve. He tried to keep the country out of the great European war against Napoleon as long as possible .

His father Friedrich Wilhelm II paid little attention to the young heir to the throne, who developed into a shy, serious and not very self-confident character. In his youth he could hardly get out of the court circles in Berlin and Potsdam. The love marriage with Luise , her encouraging nature, the marriage with many children and the popular life with the family in rural Paretz (“Still-im-Land Castle”) brought about a change towards a certain sociability. The young couple was popular with the population, also because they often walked unaccompanied in Berlin's Unter den Linden or the Tiergarten .

The collapse of Prussia (1806) and the early death of his beloved wife Luise (1810) triggered a turning point in Friedrich Wilhelm's life. Close to the state and personal abyss, he decided to implement the reforms that he had only thought about so far. The period of reform and the period of peace after the war of liberation was the period when it was at its best.

Thanks to his calm and prudence as well as his ability to delegate responsibility to his top officials, the king made a significant contribution to the success of the Prussian reforms. At times he could get angry and make tough decisions, for example in his role as protector of the Protestants or when it came to the foundations of the Prussian monarchy. The content and style of liberalism , later of socialism , clashed sharply with Prussian tradition and the character of the king. As the legitimate offspring of a dynasty, the attack on everything that existed worried him.

After the death of his first wife, Friedrich Wilhelm remained a widower for a long time. It was not until 1824 that he married Countess Auguste von Harrach in a morganatic marriage . The connection with Auguste Countess von Harrach was problematic for the 54-year-old king, because the countess did not come from a ruling house, was 30 years younger and, moreover, a Catholic.

Auguste did not appear politically and the marriage remained childless. In the last few months she was able to ensure the respect of the family when she was caring for the sick king, but for protocol reasons she was not allowed to attend the funeral service for her husband in the Berlin Cathedral . Because of the morganatic marriage, she ranked behind the youngest princes and princesses in the protocol.



Still image in the Berlin zoo
Equestrian statue in the Berlin Lustgarten, 1938
  • In the southern Tiergarten park there is a 6.5-meter-high statue of the king, which was created by the sculptor Friedrich Drake , near the monument to Queen Luise . It depicts Friedrich Wilhelm in simple clothing, the inscription reads: Your King Friedrich Wilhelm III. The grateful residents of Berlin in 1849 . The monument was created as a thank you for the beautification of the zoo, which had been arranged by the king. It was financed by donations from all parts of the population. The date of installation was August 3, 1849. The reliefs on the base symbolize a hymn of praise to the zoo. The memorial is a copy; the protected original has been in the Spandau Citadel since May 2009 .
  • In the middle of the pleasure garden stood an equestrian statue of the King by Albert Wolff , unveiled on June 16, 1871, the day the victorious troops returned from the Franco-German War . It belonged to an ensemble of equestrian statues of ultimately five Hohenzollerns who rode on the Berlin City Palace . The memorial, which was moved to the western edge of the square during the redesign of the square in 1936 and damaged in World War II , was melted down as non-ferrous metal scrap after 1945 .
  • In 1886 a 2.8 meter high bronze statue of Friedrich Wilhelm by Emil Hundrieser was erected in the ruler's hall of the armory . First relocated to Plassenburg near Kulmbach in 1944 , it has been located at Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen since 1960 with the other statues of the rulers .
  • For the Siegesallee , the sculptor Gustav Eberlein created a marble statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III in monument group 30 , unveiled on March 30, 1901. At the request of Kaiser Wilhelm II , who commissioned Monumentalallee, Eberlein did not show the king as the unhappy old man, his Politics was remembered rather unfavorably, but in the slim officer figure as a young king who had gladly withdrawn into the almost bourgeois family life in the summer residence of Paretz.
    The politico-military dimension of his reign was represented in the monument group by the side busts of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher and Heinrich Friedrich Karl Reichsfreiherr vom und zum Stein . The statue of Friedrich Wilhelm has been preserved (the right hand and the stick are missing) and has also been resting in the Spandau Citadel since May 2009 .
  • At the same time, Eberlein created a larger than life marble statue of Friedrich Wilhelm for the White Hall of the Berlin Palace, which Ernst von Ihne redesigned between 1892 and 1903 as the main representation room of the Prussian state. Together with the other eight statues, she fell victim to the castle's demolition in December 1950.
  • The citizens of Berlin had it represented by Rauch's student Friedrich Drake as a marble sculpture in the Tiergarten, where it can still be seen today.

Monuments in other places


In 1861 an equestrian statue in honor of Friedrich Wilhelm III was erected near the New Town Hall . set up. The memorial was destroyed in World War II.


1845 in Potsdam sculptor at the William place (today Unity Square) one from donations funded Potsdamer citizens bronze monument of the Berlin August Kiß inaugurated. It showed King Friedrich Wilhelm III. walking in general's uniform with coat and uncovered head. In 1928 it had to be relocated from the center to the south side of the square because the foundation was lowered. The undamaged monument was dismantled in 1945 after the end of the war and in 1950, by order of the Brandenburg state government, it was melted down as non-ferrous metal scrap together with other bronze statues from Potsdam.


The citizens of Kolberg erected a statue created by Friedrich Drake in front of the town hall in 1860 , Friedrich Wilhelm, who had given the city special support because of its successful resistance to the French siege in 1807 . It showed the bareheaded king on a high pedestal , his right hand shirring his ermine cloak, the left hand leaning on a sword, in a suggested step position. The monument was removed in 1945 after the Poles took possession of Kolberg .


Gustav Blaeser executed a colossal monument financed by donations from citizens for the Heumarkt in Cologne , which was inaugurated in 1878. After the monument was badly damaged in World War II, the square remained without a Prussian king until 1990. A partial replica with original pieces then adorned the inner-city square until 2007. Rusted areas had to be worked on to ensure stability. On October 6, 2009, the equestrian statue was lifted back onto the undisguised base. Half of the costs of around 200,000 euros were raised by the city and donors.


When Friedrich Wilhelm IV planned a center for art and science in Königsberg with Friedrich August Stüler , the grateful Prussians , the estates of the Province of Prussia , established Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1851. a bronze equestrian statue even before the new university was built (1857–1862) . Modeled by August Kiß and cast from captured French guns, the five-meter-high figure showed the laurel-crowned king in a purple cloak. She rose on a six meter high pedestal, adorned with six female figures representing faith, bravery, justice, love, peace and wisdom. The monument was considered the most representative of the city. In the now Soviet Kaliningrad , it was eliminated and melted down in the 1950s.


Equestrian monument in the castle park, cast bronze 1918, erected in 1935, last work by Louis Tuaillon .


Children of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. and Queen Luise of Prussia (approx. 1803).
In the middle Friedrich Wilhelm IV. (1840–1861 king), to the right of him Wilhelm I (1861–1888 king and 1871–1888 emperor)

All children come from the first marriage with Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1776–1810).

⚭ 1823 Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria
⚭ 1829 Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
⚭ 1817 Tsar Nicholas I.
  • Friederike Auguste Caroline Amalie (1799–1800)
  • Carl (1801-1883)
⚭ 1827 Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
⚭ 1822 Grand Duke Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Ferdinand (1804-1806)
  • Luise (1808-1870)
⚭ 1825 Prince Friedrich, Prince of the Netherlands
⚭ 1830–1849 Princess Marianne of the Netherlands (1810–1883), a sister of Friedrich, Prince of the Netherlands
⚭ 1853 Rosalie von Rauch , later Countess von Hohenau (1820–1879), daughter of the Prussian Minister of War and Infantry General Gustav von Rauch and his second wife Rosalie, née von Holtzendorff

The second marriage to Countess Auguste von Harrach (1800–1873), later Princess von Liegnitz , remained childless.


Pedigree of Friedrich Wilhelm III. (Prussia)
Great-great-grandparents King Friedrich I (Prussia) (1657–1713)
⚭ 1684
Sophie Charlotte of Hanover (1668–1705)
Duke Ernst August (Hanover) (1629–1698)
⚭ 1658
Princess Sophie of the Palatinate (1630–1714)
Duke Ferdinand Albrecht I (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern) (1636–1687)
⚭ 1667
Landgravine Christine von Hessen-Eschwege (1648–1702)
Duke Ludwig Rudolf (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (–1735)
⚭ 1690
Princess Christine Luise von Oettingen-Oettingen (1671–1747)
Landgrave Ernst Ludwig (Hessen-Darmstadt, Landgrave) (1667–1739)
⚭ 1687
Princess Dorothea Charlotte of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1661–1705)
Landgrave Johann Reinhard III. (Hanau) (1665–1736)
⚭ 1699
Princess Dorothea Friederike of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1676–1731)
Count Palatine Christian II (Pfalz-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld) (1637–1717)
⚭ 1667
Countess Katharina Agathe von Rappoltstein (1648–1683)
Count Ludwig Kraft (Nassau-Saarbrücken) (1663–1713)
⚭ 1699
Countess Philippine Henriette zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1679–1751)
Great grandparents King Friedrich Wilhelm I (Prussia) (1688–1740)
⚭ 1706
Sophie Dorothea von Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1687–1757)
Duke Ferdinand Albrecht II (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel)
⚭ 1712
Antoinette Amalie von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
Landgrave Ludwig VIII (Hessen-Darmstadt) (1691–1768)
⚭ 1717
Charlotte Christine Magdalene Johanna von Hanau-Lichtenberg (1700–1726)
Duke Christian III. (Pfalz-Zweibrücken) (1674–1735)
⚭ 1719
Karoline von Nassau-Saarbrücken (1704–1774)
Grandparents Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia (1722–1758)
⚭ 1742
Luise Amalie von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1722–1780)
Landgrave Ludwig IX. (Hessen-Darmstadt) (1719–1790)
⚭ 1741
Henriette Karoline von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1721–1774)
parents King Friedrich Wilhelm II. (Prussia) (1744–1797)
⚭ 1769
Friederike von Hessen-Darmstadt (1751–1805)
King Friedrich Wilhelm III. (Prussia) (1770-1840)


  • Property tax law for the western provinces of January 21, 1839, along with the relevant statutory provisions . Regensberg, Münster 1839 digitized



  • Frank Bauer: King Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia. A monarch between perseverance and change, Small Series History of the Wars of Liberation 1813–1815, SH 12, Potsdam 2020.
  • Thomas Stamm-Kuhlmann : King in Prussia's great times. Friedrich Wilhelm III., The melancholic on the throne . Siedler, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-88680-327-9 .
  • Hans Haussherr:  Friedrich Wilhelm III .. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9 , pp. 560-563 ( digitized version ).
  • Julius von HartmannFriedrich Wilhelm III., King of Prussia . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, pp. 700-729.
  • Birgit Aschmann : Prussia's fame and Germany's honor. On the national honorary discourse in the run-up to the Franco-Prussian wars of the 19th century. (= Contributions to military history. Volume 72). Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-486-71296-4 .
  • Carsten Peter Thiede , Eckhart G. Franz : Years with Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In: Archive for Hessian History and Archeology. Volume 43, Darmstadt 1985, pp. 79-160.
  • Claudia von Gélieu , Christian von Gélieu: The educator of Queen Luise. Salomé de Gélieu . Regensburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-7917-2043-2 .
  • Dagmar von Gersdorff : Queen Luise and Friedrich Wilhelm III. A love in Prussia . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2001, ISBN 3-499-22615-4 .
  • Heinrich von Treitschke : German history in the nineteenth century. different editions, for example: FW Hendel Verlag Leipzig 1928, especially volume 1 (first 1879).
  • Otto Hintze: The Hohenzollern and their work. Five hundred years of patriotic history. 6th edition. Berlin 1915.
  • Rudolf Ibbeken: Prussia 1807-1813. State and people as an idea and in reality. (= Publications from the archives of Preussischer Kulturbesitz. Volume 5). Cologne / Berlin 1970.
  • Rulemann Friedrich Eylert : Character traits and historical fragments from the life of the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm III., Collected from personal observations and self-made experiences . 4 volumes. Heinrichshofensche Buchhandlung, Magdeburg 1843. ( digitized version )
  • Thomas Stamm-Kuhlmann: Friedrich Wilhelm III. (1797-1840). In: Frank-Lothar Kroll (Ed.): Prussia's rulers. From the first Hohenzollern to Wilhelm II (= Beck's series ). Munich 2006, pp. 197-218.
  • Friedrich Vormbaum: Friedrich Wilhelm the Third, King of Prussia, the Just and Wise. A memory book for all Prussians, especially fd Prussia. Citizen u. Farmer. Crayen, Leipzig 1841. ( digitized version )
  • Eulogy for His Most Blessed Majesty Friedrich Wilhelm the Third, King of Prussia. With an appendix. Logier, Berlin 1840. ( digitized version )
  • Heinrich Menu von Minutoli: Contributions to a future biography of Friedrich Wilhelm III. like some civil servants and officials in his immediate environment: collected from personal experience and verbally guaranteed communications . Mittler, Berlin et al. 1843. ( digitized version )
  • The will of Friedrich Wilhelm III. and the speeches from the throne of Frederick William IV at the homage to Konigsberg and Berlin. Six state documents for Preuss. Volk, added the two opening speeches d. Mr. v. Rochow ud oath of homage. G. Eichler, Berlin 1840. ( digitized version )
  • Friedrich Thimme: Friedrich Wilhelm III. and his part in the Tauroggen Convention and in the army reform. In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history . 18, 1905, pp. 1-59.
  • Paul Haake: King Friedrich Wilhelm III., Hardenberg and the Prussian constitutional question (second part). In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history. 28, 1915, pp. 175-220.

Web links

Commons : Friedrich Wilhelm III.  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Friedrich Wilhelm III.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Brockhaus Encyclopedia . 21st edition. tape 9 . FA Brockhaus, Leipzig / Mannheim 2006, p. 806 .
  2. Characteristic of the almost prophetic advice given by the great-uncle to the boy on a walk in Sanssouci: "Now Fritz will do something good ... Big things are waiting for you ... I'm at the end of my career and my day's work will soon be over ... There are fermentation substances everywhere and unfortunately nourish they the ruling lords, especially in France ... The masses are already beginning to push in from below, and when it comes to an outbreak, the devil is loose. I am afraid you will one day have a difficult, bad stand ... prepare yourself, be firm, think of me ... watch over our honor and our fame. Do not commit injustice; but don't tolerate any ... With such statements he had come to the exit in Sanssouci, where the obelisk is ... Look at it ... slim, rising and high and yet firm in the storm and thunderstorm ... the culmination point, the highest peak, overlooks and crowns the whole thing ; but does not support, but is supported by everything that lies beneath it, especially by the invisible, deeply built foundation. The supporting foundation is the people in their unity. Always keep it with him that he loves you and trusts you; in this alone can you be strong and happy. With a steady look he measured me from the sole of my foot to the top of my head, held out his hand and dismissed me with the words: Don't forget this hour! I have not forgotten it and right now it stands vividly in front of my soul. ”(See in the literature list: Eylert, Friedrich Wilhelm III., Pp. 455–456)
  3. ^ Franz Blei : Queen Luise of Prussia. In: companions. Berlin 1931, p. 68 f.
  4. Linda Brüggemann: Rule and death in the early modern times. 2002, p. 334.
  5. ^ A b Daniel Schönpflug: Luise von Prussia: Queen of Hearts. 2010, p. 133.
  6. For the official designation of the monarchy as "States of the King of Prussia" until 1806 see Gerd Heinrich : Geschichte Preußens. State and dynasty. Propylaeen, Frankfurt et al. 1981, ISBN 3-549-07620-7 , p. 132
  7. ^ Günter de Bruyn : Preussens Luise. About the creation and decay of a legend . Berliner Taschenbuch Verlag 2003, ISBN 3-8333-0106-6 , p. 21
  8. ^ Prussia: rise and fall. P. 368.
  9. ^ Die Verwaltung , Volume 19, p. 294.
  10. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 372.
  11. ^ Ernst Peter Fischer: The Charité: A hospital in Berlin - 1710 until today . Siedler Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-88680-880-9 , p. 53 .
  12. a b Christopher Clark : Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 343.
  13. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 349.
  14. Guntram Schulze-Wegener: Wilhelm I. German Kaiser - King of Prussia - National Myth . Middle. Berlin 2015. p. 16.
  15. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 349.
  16. Johannes Willms: Nationalism without a nation. German history from 1789–1914 .
  17. ^ Daniel Schönpflug: Luise von Preußen: Queen of Hearts. 2010, p. 208.
  18. ^ Frank Bauer: Napoleon in Berlin: Prussia's capital under French occupation 1806-1808 . 2006, p. 114 .
  19. Tobias Schenk: The Reichshofrat as the highest feudal court. Dynasty and nobility historical implications using the example of Brandenburg-Prussia . In: Anette Baumann and Alexander Jendorff (eds.): Nobility, law and jurisdiction in early modern Europe. Oldenbourg, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-034713-5 , p. 292 (accessed from De Gruyter Online).
  20. Wolfgang Stribrny in a lecture on the history of Memel 1252–1945: (PDF; 1.0 MB), p. 16.
  21. Christopher Clark: Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947 .
  22. ^ Erich Donnert: Central, Northern and Eastern Europe. P. 801.
  23. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 374.
  24. ^ Martin Will: Self-administration of the economy: Law and history of self-administration. P. 32.
  25. ^ Gunter Heinickel: Nobility reform ideas in Prussia. P. 88.
  26. Thomas Stamm-Kuhlmann: King in Prussia's great time. Friedrich Wilhelm III., The melancholic on the throne.
  27. ^ Daniel Schönpflug: Luise von Preußen: Queen of Hearts. 2010, p. 248.
  28. ^ Wolfgang Ribbe : History of Berlin . S. 453 .
  29. Prussia. The rise and fall of a great power. P. 409.
  30. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 413.
  31. ^ Gerhard P. Gross, Ernst Willi Hansen, Karl-Volker: The time until 1914: From the war band to the mass army . S. 198 .
  32. ^ Daniel Hitzing: Source criticism for "To my people" by Friedrich Wilhelm III. P. 4.
  33. Heinz G. Nitschke: The Prussian military reforms 1807-1813. The activity of the military reorganization commission and its effects on the Prussian army. P. 169.
  34. Michael Sikora: Prussia 1813. p. 14.
  35. ^ Andreas Klinger, Hans-Werner Hahn: The year 1806 in a European context: Balance, hegemony. P. 63.
  36. Klaus Wiegrefe : The good revolution . In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 2007, p. 37 ( online ).
  37. Winfried Heinemann: The Iron Cross: The history of a symbol in the course of time. P. 14.
  38. ^ Prussia: rise and fall. P. 421.
  39. Martin Wrede: The staging of the heroic monarchy: Early modern royalty. P. 448.
  40. ^ Martin Hofbauer, Martin Rink: The Battle of Nations near Leipzig: courses, consequences, meanings 1813-1913-2013.
  41. ^ Wolfram Siemann: Metternich: statesman between restoration and modernity. P. 46.
  42. Jörg Meiner (ed.), Jan Werquet (ed.): Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Of Prussia. Politics - Art - Ideal. Contributions to a conference on March 22nd and 23rd, 2012 at the Kulturforum in Berlin. Lukas Verlag, Berlin 2014, p. 66.
  43. ^ Wolfgang Ribbe : History of Berlin . Volume 1: From early history to industrialization. Berlin 2002, p. 473.
  44. Prussia. Rise and fall. P. 449.
  45. Ernst Dietrich Baron von Mirbach: Prince Friedrich von Preussen: a pioneer of romanticism on the Rhine . S. 118 .
  46. Christopher Clark: Prussia: Rise and Fall. P. 463.
  47. ^ David King: Vienna 1814: Of emperors, kings and the congress that reinvented Europe. 1st edition. 2014, ISBN 978-3-492-96820-1 .
  48. Axel Weipert: Das Rote Berlin: A history of the Berlin workers' movement 1830-1934 . Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8305-3242-2 , p. 12 .
  49. Wolfgang Ribbe : History of Berlin: From early history to industrialization. 3. Edition. tape 1 . Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2002, ISBN 978-3-8305-0166-4 , p. 589 .
  50. About France 1831–1837. Reports on art and politics. P. 76.
  51. Uwe Birnstein: New Chronicle of World History . Ed .: Brigitte Beier. tape 1 . Wissen Media Verlag, Munich 2007, p. 487 .
  52. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: History of the West from antiquity to the 20th century. CH Beck, p. 220.
  53. Christopher Clark: Prussia: Rise and Fall. 10th edition. CH Beck, 2008, p. 464.
  54. Karlheinz Schuh: The solution to the mixed question. 1980, p. 11.
  55. Christopher Clark: Prussia: Rise and Fall. CH Beck, 2008, p. 483.
  56. ^ Wolfram Siemann: From confederation to nation state: Germany 1806–1871. P. 284.
  57. Michael Sachs: 'Prince Bishop and Vagabond'. The story of a friendship between the Prince-Bishop of Breslau Heinrich Förster (1799–1881) and the writer and actor Karl von Holtei (1798–1880). Edited textually based on the original Holteis manuscript. In: Medical historical messages. Journal for the history of science and specialist prose research. Volume 35, 2016 (2018), pp. 223–291, p. 244, note 63.
  58. From Queen Luise's notes it is known that she too had already attached such ideas: “... because everyone knows as well as I that only trade brings a state to bloom, that only it makes the people rich, and who comes does wealth benefit more than the king? So if this old truth remains true, then trade had to be a political point of view for the king, and one of the most important ones. ”Karl Griewank (Ed.): Queen Luise. A life in letters. Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim 2003, p. 355.
  59. ^ Winfried Scharlau: Mathematical Institutes in Germany 1800–1945 . tape 5 . Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, 1989, p. 16 .
  60. Thomas Nipperdey : German History 1800–1866: Citizens' World and Strong State, Volume 1 . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 1994, p. 192 .
  61. Gaby Huch: Between Ehrenpforte and Incognito: Prussian Kings on Trips . Sources to represent the monarchy between 1797 and 1871. Ed .: Academy of Sciences. 2nd Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-11-040915-4 , pp. 678 .
  62. Frank-Lothar Kroll: Prussia's ruler. From the first Hohenzollern to Wilhelm II. CH Beck, 2006, ISBN 3-406-54129-1 , p. 218 (online)
  63. Luise: Queen of Hearts. P. 115.
  64. ^ Letter of instruction from Friedrich Wilhelm III. to David Gilly. Quoted from Mario Zadow: Karl Friedrich Schinkel. A son of the late enlightenment. P. 123.
  65. Brigitte Beier: The Chronicle of the Germans. P. 213. Media Verlag GmbH Munich / Gütersloh 2007.
  66. Ernst Dietrich Baron von Mirbach: Prince Friedrich von Preussen: a pioneer of romanticism on the Rhine. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, p. 176.
  67. Jörg Meiner (ed.), Jan Werquet (ed.): Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Of Prussia. Politics - Art - Ideal. Contributions to a conference on March 22nd and 23rd, 2012 at the Kulturforum in Berlin. Lukas Verlag, Berlin 2014, p. 116.
  68. Wolfgang Radtke: Brandenburg in the 19th Century (1815-1914 / 18) . 1st edition. tape 1 . Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2016, ISBN 978-3-8305-3646-8 , pp. 734 .
  69. ^ Eva Börsch-Supan: Work for King Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (IV.) . S. 1 .
  70. ^ Wolfgang Ribbe : History of Berlin . 3. Edition. tape 1 . Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-8305-0166-4 , p. 454 .
  71. Margret Dorothea Minkels : Founders of the Neues Museum: Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and Elisabeth of Bavaria . Books on Demand GmbH, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-8448-0212-2 , pp. 181 .
  72. ^ Margret Dorothea Minkels: The founders of the Neues Museum: Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and Elisabeth of Bavaria . S. 38 .
  73. Hans-Dieter Otto: For unity and law and freedom: The German wars of liberation against Napoleon . Edition: 1. Thorbecke, 2013, ISBN 978-3-7995-0749-3 , pp. 17 .
  74. An important first-hand source on the biography and personality of Friedrich Wilhelm III. depicts the work of his court preacher, Bishop Rulemann Friedrich Eylert : Character traits and historical fragments from the life of the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm III, collected based on his own observations and experiences , Heinrichshofensche Buchhandlung, Magdeburg 1843.
  75. Another source on the personality of the king is FR Paulig: Friedrich Wilhelm III. King of Prussia (1770 to 1840). His personal life and government in the light of recent research. Verlag Friedrich Paulig, Frankfurt an der Oder, 1904. This work is based in part on Eylert.
  76. Heinrich von Treitschke characterized him as "serious and dutiful, pious and righteous, just and truthful". Cf. Treitschke (1928, first 1879), pp. 141–143.
  77. In the words of Treitschke: “Every big decision was incredibly difficult for him; he hesitated and considered, let things go, for a long time tolerated what he displeased because he did not dare to come forward with his judgment; but when a decision had to be made, he followed his conscience always and everywhere. ”Cf. Treitschke (1928, first 1879), pp. 141–143.
  78. Treitschke judged: "He bears the main blame for the slack peace policy which caused the downfall of the old state". Cf. Treitschke (1928, first 1879), pp. 141–143.
  79. ^ Peter Bloch, Waldemar Grzimek: The Berlin School of Sculpture in the nineteenth century . Propylaea, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin / Vienna 1978, p. 154, illustration of the rubble in the Eosanderhof of the Berlin Palace p. 249.
  80. ^ Regina Müller: The Berlin Armory. The building history. Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, Berlin 1994, p. 248.
  81. Uta Lehnert: The Kaiser and the Siegesallee. Réclame Royale . Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-496-01189-0 , p. 210 f.
  82. For the room program and the other statues, see Goerd Peschken, Hans-Werner Klünner: Das Berliner Schloß. Classic Berlin. Propylaea, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-549-06652-X , p. 491 f.
  83. See Renate Petras: Das Schloß in Berlin with a photo of the restored hall before the demolition . From the revolution in 1918 to the destruction in 1950. Verlag für Bauwesen, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-345-00538-7 , p. 99.
  84. Frank Bauer, Hartmut Knitter, Heinz Ruppert: Destroyed , Forgotten, Displaced . Military buildings and military monuments in Potsdam. ES Mittler & Sohn, Berlin, Bonn, Herford 1993, pp. 139f., Documents from official correspondence on the destruction of monuments 1945–1950, pp. 186–196.
  85. Otto Schmitt: East Pomerania. Pomerania east of Rega. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 1927, p. 21, ill. Plate 78
  86. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .
predecessor Office successor
Friedrich Wilhelm II. King of Prussia
Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
Friedrich Wilhelm II. Elector of Brandenburg