Friedrich August II

Friedrich August II

Elector of Saxony, King of Poland under the name Augustus III, son and heir of Augustus II, raised by his mother in the Protestant religion
Date of Birth: 07.10.1696
Country: Poland

Biography of Friedrich August II

Friedrich August II, also known as August III, was a Saxon elector and the King of Poland. He was the son and heir of August II and was raised in the Protestant religion by his mother. During a journey through Germany, France, and Italy in 1712, he secretly converted to Catholicism in Bologna, although he openly declared himself a Catholic only in 1717 in Saxony. It is believed that his decision was influenced by his aspirations for the Polish crown and his marriage to an Austrian princess.

In 1733, upon his father's death, he was proclaimed the king of Poland by a faction of the Polish nobility, despite the efforts of Louis XV to reinstate Stanisław Leszczyński. However, he was officially recognized as the king only at the Warsaw Sejm in 1736, after the end of the War of the Polish Succession. While lacking his father's abilities, Friedrich August II inherited his passion for luxury and maintained a splendid court, spending enormous sums on acquiring paintings and supporting his chapel. He entrusted the governance of the state to his prime minister and favorite, Count Brühl.

In 1741, he allied with Spain, France, and Bavaria against Maria Theresa, but, concerned by the successes of Frederick II, he formed an alliance with Maria Theresa in 1742. However, he suffered two defeats in 1745 and only regained his country through the Treaty of Dresden on December 25, 1745, after the end of the Second Silesian War with Prussia.

In 1746, due to a secret agreement with Austria, he was once again involved in a war with Prussia but was surrounded by Frederick II's army at the camp near Pirna with a 17,000-strong force, which was supposed to surrender. Friedrich August fled to Königstein and then to Poland. It was only after the Treaty of Hubertusburg that he returned to Dresden. After his death, his son Friedrich Christian inherited Saxony, while the Polish crown went to Stanisław Poniatowski. Friedrich Christian's life ended soon after on December 7, 1763, and he was succeeded by his underage son, the future King of Saxony, Friedrich August I.