Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome To Weirdsville: The Not-Tall Tale Of The Very Tall Potsdam Grenadiers

(from Meine Kleine Fabrik)

Here's another fun article from my new book, Welcome to Weirdsville - this time on the (rather) tall Potsdam Grenadiers:

The Not-Tall Tale Of The Very Tall Potsdam Grenadiers 

If you're going to dream, the old saying goes, then you might as well dream big. But Friedrich Wilhelm I did more than dream because, as another expression says all too well: It's good to be the King.

Friedrich, born in 1688, was just one in a series of notable Prussian leaders. Friedrich, though, unlike his father, Frederick I – who achieved much during his reign, including wearing the crown for the first time, or Friedrich's son – Frederick II, who was a reformer and fervent supporter of reason and the arts – Friedrich, to put it mildly, loved a man in uniform ... in a secularly big way.

Friedrich, you see, had this thing about the military. Oh, sure, he did, during his reign, improve his then-tiny country's defenses, and carefully – almost pathologically – controlled Prussia's economy to the point when he finally passed away he left behind an awesome surplus. But Friedrich's military obsession wasn't really about keeping his people safe, or even about acquiring new territories: Friedrich liked – really liked – a grand spit and polish display.


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