Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

Categories: History

Each person has his own quirks and the higher his status, the more opportunities there are to realize these quirks. If some guys nowadays try to steal mug stands from the pub, although they do not need them, then the king of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm I, who lived in the 18th century, kidnapped tall guys.

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

The King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I, was not called the "soldier king" for nothing – he adored everything connected with the army and spared no effort and finances for its development. Despite this, the king did not get the glory of a great military commander, modestly marking himself only in the Northern War against Sweden. During his reign, the Prussian army numbered 83 thousand people, was well armed and was considered the third most powerful in Europe.

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

The Prussian monarch possessed a whole collection of oddities. Most of all, Friedrich did not like idlers and became enraged at the sight of idlers. He wandered through the streets of Berlin and looked out for revelers, whom he generously gifted with strong blows with a cane and toothpicks. One day the king met a group of cheerful aristocrats wandering around the streets and immediately ordered them to hand out brooms to sweep the parade ground.

But even more than that ,the "soldier king" liked tall guys. No, the king had a normal orientation, a spouse and children. But he also had a dream – to create the largest army in the world. Men under 50 years of age with a height above 189 cm had almost no chance. If Friedrich Wilhelm saw such a giant, and for the 18th century it was more than an impressive growth, he, without accepting objections, immediately enrolled him in the personal regiment "Potsdam Giants".

It was an elite military unit that has no analogues in Europe. The giants of the royal army were dressed in uniforms made of the most expensive fabrics, they were given the best weapons and fed like dukes and barons. Each soldier and officer was given a uniform hat with a height of 45 cm, which made the impressive soldiers even taller.

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

The "Potsdam Giants" were quartered in barracks specially built for them, and the officers were rented the best apartments. The salary of the soldiers was excellent, while the higher the soldier was, the more he received. The main duties of the royal favorites were drill training and pleasing the eyes of Friedrich Wilhelm. The formation of miracle heroes with a thundering minting step on the parade ground could move the stern monarch to tears.

The royal pets, of course, did not participate in the fighting, as they were too dear to their patron. Having collected 2 thousand giants, Friedrich did not want to stop. But it was becoming increasingly difficult to find men willing to devote their entire lives to drill, even on an excellent salary. Then the king began to simply kidnap tall men, not really looking at the position in society and even citizenship.

It is known that once, on the orders of the madcap Friedrich, an Austrian ambassador was kidnapped, who had the misfortune to be two meters tall. It was not possible to return him to his homeland – they simply did not quarrel with the Prussian king and forgave him this "eccentricity". By order of the king, an Irishman James Kirkland was stolen directly from the inn, who had the imprudence to grow up to 214 cm.

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

Very soon, the whole of Europe and part of Asia knew about the" dotted line " of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Hohenzollern. In search of the favor of the Prussian king, foreign monarchs sent him tall men as a gift, and Fritz was happy for everyone like a child. Over time, his strangeness began to progress and the king, suddenly, became interested in eugenics. He began to marry his giants to tall women in order to get even taller children.

Prussian midwives were supposed to be rewarded for information about the birth of especially large boys. In the house where such a baby appeared, a royal official would soon appear, who would give the parents a purse with coins and a red handkerchief for the child. Later, children who received "presents" were taken away from their parents.

In the end, it got to the point that special frames appeared in the barracks of the "Potsdam Giants", on which military doctors tried to stretch the guards to add at least a couple of centimeters to them. The king was aware that he had a very strange eccentricity and openly spoke about it.

Why did King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia kidnap tall guys

Once, in a private conversation with the French envoy, Frederick William I confessed:

Friedrich called himself an "old human tormentor" and he often felt a brief remorse. But the mania was stronger than common sense and the "soldier king" continued to hunt giants until his death. The monarch died at the age of 51, and his son, also Frederick, who was later called the Great for his military victories and progressive reforms, took his place. This guy was not against the big guys, but he treated the army more pragmatically.

We think that if the German Yannick Connicke had lived under Friedrich Wilhelm I, he would have made an excellent military career with his height.

Keywords: Berlin | Army | History | Military | Abduction | Growth | Giant

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