Friedrich Wilhelm, Count Brandenburg

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Friedrich Wilhelm, Count Brandenburg


Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Brandenburg
Minister President of Prussia
In office
2 November 1848 6 November 1850
Monarch Frederick William IV
Preceded by Ernst von Pfuel
Succeeded by Otto Theodor von Manteuffel
Foreign minister of Prussia
In office
3 May 3 July 1849
Preceded by Heinrich Friedrich von Arnim-Heinrichsdorff-Werbelow
Succeeded by Alexander von Schleinitz
Personal details
Born(1792-01-24)24 January 1792
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 6 November 1850(1850-11-06) (aged 58)
Spouse(s)Aurora von Massenbach(m. 1818)
Parents Frederick William II of Prussia
Sophie von Dönhoff

Friedrich Wilhelm, Count of Brandenburg (24 January 1792 – 6 November 1850) was a German soldier and politician, who served as Minister President of Prussia from 1848 until his death.

Minister President of Prussia position

The office of Minister President, or Prime Minister, of Prussia existed from 1848, when it was formed by the King Frederick William IV during the 1848–49 Revolution, until the abolition of Prussia in 1947 by the Allied Control Council.


Born in the Prussian capital Berlin, he was the son of King Frederick William II of Prussia (1744–1797) from his morganatic marriage with Countess Sophie von Dönhoff (1768–1838). He and his younger sister Julie (1793–1848) received the comital title von Brandenburg in 1794, and were raised with the sons of Hofmarschall Valentin von Massow. His sister married Duke Frederick Ferdinand of Anhalt-Köthen in 1816.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Frederick William II of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William II was King of Prussia from 1786 until his death. He was in personal union the Prince-elector of Brandenburg and sovereign prince of the Canton of Neuchâtel. Pleasure-loving and indolent, he is seen as the antithesis to his predecessor, Frederick II. Under his reign, Prussia was weakened internally and externally, and he failed to deal adequately with the challenges to the existing order posed by the French Revolution. His religious policies were directed against the Enlightenment and aimed at restoring a traditional Protestantism. However, he was a patron of the arts and responsible for the construction of some notable buildings, among them the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

On 18 April 1806, Friedrich Wilhelm joined the Prussian Army by entering the Gardes du Coprs regiment and from the next year participated in the Napoleonic War of the Fourth Coalition. In 1812 he achieved the rank of Rittmeister in the staff of Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg, leading the Prussian auxiliary forces in support of the French invasion of Russia. In 1839 he was elevated to Lieutenant general of the VI Army Corps. By 1848, he had distinguished himself in several battles and was a cavalry general.

Prussian Army 1701-1871 land warfare branch of Prussias military, primary component and predecessor of the German Army to 1919

The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.

Gardes du Corps (Prussia)

The Gardes du Corps was the personal bodyguard of the king of Prussia and, after 1871, of the German emperor. The unit was founded in 1740 by Frederick the Great. Its first commander was Friedrich von Blumenthal, who died unexpectedly in 1745; his brother Hans von Blumenthal, who, with the other officers of the regiment had won the Pour le Mérite in its first action at the battle of Hohenfriedberg, assumed command in 1747. Hans von Blumenthal was badly wounded leading the regiment in a successful cavalry charge in the battle of Lobositz and had to retire from the military.

War of the Fourth Coalition part of the Napoleonic Wars

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.

Ministers Brandenburg, Manteuffel, Radowitz BrandenburgManteuffelRadowitz.png
Ministers Brandenburg, Manteuffel, Radowitz

During the German revolutions of 1848–49, in November 1848, King Frederick William IV called him back to Berlin to succeed Ernst von Pfuel as Prussian minister president. The appointment reflected the king's intention to quell the ongoing uprisings. Jointly with Interior Minister Otto Theodor von Manteuffel, he had the revolutionary Prussian National Assembly suppressed and dissolved on December 5, while a reactionary Constitution was decreed.

German revolutions of 1848–49 German part of the Revolutions of 1848

The German revolutions of 1848–49, the opening phase of which was also called the March Revolution, were initially part of the Revolutions of 1848 that broke out in many European countries. They were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the states of the German Confederation, including the Austrian Empire. The revolutions, which stressed pan-Germanism, demonstrated popular discontent with the traditional, largely autocratic political structure of the thirty-nine independent states of the Confederation that inherited the German territory of the former Holy Roman Empire.

Frederick William IV of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William IV, the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. Also referred to as the "romanticist on the throne", he is best remembered for the many buildings he had constructed in Berlin and Potsdam, as well as for the completion of the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. In politics, he was a conservative, and in 1849 rejected the title of Emperor of the Germans offered by the Frankfurt Parliament as not the Parliament's to give. In 1857, he suffered a stroke and was left incapacitated until his death. His brother Wilhelm served as regent for the rest of his reign and then succeeded him as King.

Ernst von Pfuel German general

Ernst Heinrich Adolf von Pfuel was a Prussian general, as well as Prussian Minister of War and later Prime Minister of Prussia.

In October 1850, he traveled to the Warsaw Conference to meet with Czar Nicholas and sound out the Russian stance in the Austria-Prussia rivalry. Though he had initially supported the implementation of the Prussian-led Erfurt Union, he shied away from an armed conflict with Austria as State Chancellor Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg was able to strengthen the alliance with the Russian Empire isolating the Prussian side. After his return, Friedrich Wilhelm spoke out against mobilising the Prussian Army as advocated by Foreign Minister Joseph von Radowitz. Shortly afterwards, he took seriously ill and died, it is said from the humiliation of the Czar's abandonment of the Erfurt policy. He was buried in the crypt of Berlin Cathedral.

The Warsaw Conference of 1850 was a conference attended by representatives of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Austrian Empire and the Russian Empire on 28 October 1850, in Warsaw, Congress Poland. The aims of the conference were to re-establish order in the German states following the revolutions of 1848, and also to prevent war between Austria and Prussia over the so-called Hessian Question. The conference resulted in Russian support for Austria as well as the restoration of the German Confederation.

Nicholas I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Nicholas I reigned as Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. He was also the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He has become best known as a political conservative whose reign was marked by geographical expansion, repression of dissent, economic stagnation, poor administrative policies, a corrupt bureaucracy, and frequent wars that culminated in Russia's defeat in the Crimean War of 1853–56. Nicholas had a happy marriage that produced a large family; seven children survived childhood. His biographer Nicholas V. Riasanovsky says that Nicholas displayed determination, singleness of purpose, and an iron will, along with a powerful sense of duty and a dedication to very hard work. He saw himself as a soldier—a junior officer totally consumed by spit and polish. A handsome man, he was highly nervous and aggressive. Trained as an engineer, he was a stickler for minute detail. In his public persona, says Riasanovsky, "Nicholas I came to represent autocracy personified: infinitely majestic, determined and powerful, hard as stone, and relentless as fate." He was the younger brother of his predecessor, Alexander I. Nicholas inherited his brother's throne despite the failed Decembrist revolt against him and went on to become the most reactionary of all Russian leaders.

Erfurt Union Prussian initiative to unify Germany, 1849/1850

The Erfurt Union was a short-lived union of German states under a federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament, lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened at the former Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The union never came into effect, and was seriously undermined in the Punctation of Olmütz under immense pressure from the Austrian Empire.

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