Noah S. Hutto

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name


Capstone Instructor

Dr. Mark Bowles


This thesis will examine the role of Frederick II, known as Frederick the Great, in the unification of Germany. After a review of existing historiography, the thesis will show that Frederick’s actions as the King of Prussia were instrumental in establishing the very foundation for a unified Germany. Unfortunately, his achievements, as applied to this end, are outshined by the historiography that paints Otto von Bismarck as the true unifier of the individual German states. This thesis will concentrate on the timelines of war and peace of both men, and then more specifically on the actions they took domestically and diplomatically. During this compare and contrast of Frederick and Bismarck, their actions as captured in their own hand, their contemporaries, and modern historians will all serve in answering the following: Outside of military prowess, what exactly were their domestic and foreign policies? Within the context of these policies, where does Frederick serve as the greater visionary for Prussia’s role in Central Europe? How does shifting credit for unification of Germany under Frederick’s ideals and policies impact modern German historiography? This thesis will argue that Frederick’s policies were the true baseline of a unified Germany, and that its progressive thinking established roots that Bismarck either completed or perverted, ultimately forcing Germany’s complete transformation to Frederick’s initial ideals.



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