The observation that the "most influential leaders in world history have come not from the church, the halls of governments, or the scholastic centers but from the ranks of soldiers and sailors" 1 is not an exaggeration. Wars do figure out in the modern world too, reinforcing the need and necessity for the modern military professionals to go back to the historical stories of success and failure, defeat and conquest of the past military captains, and learn either from their destruction or achievements. No doubt, warfare over the past 150 years have undergone a lot of changes: the nature of war has changed drastically with the modern man's access to all types of advanced technological devices, machines and bombs. But these factors do not limit the significance of the study of past military leaders as it does have validity for a modern military professional as he has a lot to learn from his predecessors- from their influences, strategies, and leadership abilities, and from the number of victories they have won.
A clear understanding of how Frederick the Great rose into eminence as the undisputed ruler over the Prussian empire and what strategies and diplomacies he employed for this purpose is significant for any modern military professional. Frederick the Great( 1740-86) deserves primary place in this regard as he was a brilliant military leader, diplomat and strategist, who made Prussia the foremost military power in Europe with his military expeditions. The way he fought the war against the Austrians and enlarged Prussia's territories makes him an admirable leader and forerunner. One notices his broad vision and skill for quick diplomacy when Emperor Charles VI died. Soon after the Emperor was dead, knowing for certain that France and Bavaria had an eye on Austria's possessions, Frederick offered to assist Austria to maintain its possessions in exchange of the rich province of Silesia to Prussia. Austria out rightly rejected the offer and it paved the way for Frederick's first of the military expeditions in the form of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740- 1748). The war ended with the seizure of Silesia. However the diplomat in Frederick was never satisfied as he could sense the possibility of fight back when Austria strengthened its alliance with Russia. So he was quick to enter into the Treaty of Westminster (1755) with Great Britain, and took a neutral stand point in the war between England and France. The result was the formation of another strong alliance of Austria, Russia, France and Saxony. A great military leader is someone who handles crisis and takes quick, fearless steps to overcome them; it was so with Frederick-he decided to put the pressure on Austria by being the first to take risk. His strategy was to keep "at gay much more powerful antagonists. He took advantage of the natural lack of cohesion of coalitions and fought his enemies, so far as possible, one at a time." 2 Another factor to be kept in mind is the level of discipline that Frederick maintained in the Prussian army; he divided the army into various sections and always attacked the enemy from various sides concentrating more on the weak spots in the enemy stronghold. After the Seven Years War, his policy was to defend the large amount of territory that he has conquered and for this