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Germany

Frederick the Great At 300: An Irreverent German Look At A Singular Prussian King

Part military strategist, part philosopher-king, Frederick the Great ruled what is today the heart of Germany through nearly half of the 18th century. Exactly 300 years from his birth, one German writer takes an unflinching (and ironic) look at Frederick&

Portrait of Frederick the Great, aged 68, by Swiss painter Anton Graff.
Portrait of Frederick the Great, aged 68, by Swiss painter Anton Graff.
Eckhard Fuhr

BERLIN - There have long been lively debates in Germany over the historical legacy of Frederick the Great. Some trace a direct path from the 18th century Prussian King, via Bismarck's militarism, to Hitler and the 20th century's worst catastrophes. Others instead tend to see a link between the 46-year reign of Frederick, a sort of philosopher-king and lifelong friend of the arts, and the best in modern civil democracy.

The embodiment of evil ambition or a grandfather of contemporary political enlightenment? It is a question made all the richer since he died just before the outbreak of the French Revolution, which historians often use to mark the dawn of our modern era.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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