Frederick III, German Emperor

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Frederick III
Friedrich 3º.jpg
German Emperor; King of Prussia
Reign 9 March 1888 – 15 June 1888
Predecessor Wilhelm I
Successor Wilhelm II
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Born (1831-10-18)18 October 1831
Neues Palais, Potsdam, Prussia
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Potsdam, German Empire
Burial 18 June 1888
Friedenskirche, Potsdam, Germany
Spouse Victoria, Princess Royal
Issue Wilhelm II, German Emperor
Charlotte, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen
Prince Henry
Prince Sigismund
Viktoria, Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Waldemar
Sophie, Queen of the Hellenes
Margaret, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel
Full name
Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl
House Hohenzollern
Father Wilhelm I, German Emperor
Mother Augusta of Saxe-Weimar
Religion Evangelical Christian Church

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Frederick III (German: Friedrich III., Deutscher Kaiser und König von Preußen; 18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl, known informally as Fritz,[1] was the only son of Emperor Wilhelm I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service. Although celebrated as a young man for his leadership and successes during the Second Schleswig, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars,[2][3] he nevertheless professed a hatred of warfare and was praised by friends and enemies alike for his humane conduct. Following the unification of Germany in 1871 his father, then King of Prussia, became the German Emperor. On Wilhelm's death at the age of 90 on 9 March 1888, the throne passed to Frederick, who had by then been Crown Prince for 27 years. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx when he died on 15 June 1888, aged 56, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition.

Frederick married Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The couple were well matched; their shared liberal ideology led them to seek greater representation for commoners in the government. Frederick, in spite of his conservative militaristic family background, had developed liberal tendencies as a result of his ties with Britain and his studies at the University of Bonn. As the Crown Prince, he often opposed the conservative Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, particularly in speaking out against Bismarck's policy of uniting Germany through force, and in urging that the power of the Chancellorship be curbed. Liberals in both Germany and Britain hoped that as emperor, Frederick III would move to liberalize the German Empire.

Frederick and Victoria were great admirers of the Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, Victoria's father. They planned to rule as consorts, like Albert and Queen Victoria, and to reform what they saw as flaws in the executive branch that Bismarck had created for himself. The office of Chancellor, responsible to the Emperor, would be replaced with a British-style cabinet, with ministers responsible to the Reichstag. Government policy would be based on the consensus of the cabinet. Frederick "described the Imperial Constitution as ingeniously contrived chaos."[4]

The Crown Prince and Princess shared the outlook of the Progressive Party, and Bismarck was haunted by the fear that should the old Emperor die—and he was now in his seventies—they would call on one of the Progressive leaders to become Chancellor. He sought to guard against such a turn by keeping the Crown Prince from a position of any influence and by using foul means as well as fair to make him unpopular.[5]

However, his illness prevented him from effectively establishing policies and measures to achieve this, and such moves as he was able to make were later abandoned by his son and successor, Wilhelm II.

The timing of Frederick's death and the length of his reign are important topics among historians. The premature demise of Frederick III is considered a potential turning point in German history;[6] and whether or not he would have made the Empire more liberal if he had lived longer is still discussed.

Personal life

Early life and education

Frederick William, ca. 1841

Frederick William was born in the New Palace at Potsdam in Prussia on 18 October 1831. He was a scion of the House of Hohenzollern, rulers of Prussia, then the most powerful of the German states. Frederick's father, Prince William, was a younger brother of King Frederick William IV and, having been raised in the military traditions of the Hohenzollerns, developed into a strict disciplinarian. William fell in love with his cousin Elisa Radziwill, a Princess of the Polish nobility, but his parents felt Elisa's rank was not suitable for the bride of a Prussian Prince and forced a more suitable match.[7] The woman selected to be his wife, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar, had been raised in the more intellectual and artistic atmosphere of Weimar, which gave its citizens greater participation in politics and limited the powers of its rulers through a constitution;[8][9] Augusta was well-known across Europe for her liberal views.[10] Because of their differences, the couple did not have a happy marriage and,[8][9] as a result, Frederick grew up in a troubled household, which left him with memories of a lonely childhood.[8][11] He had one sister, Louise (later Grand Duchess of Baden), who was eight years his junior and very close to him. Frederick also had a very good relationship with his uncle, King Frederick William IV, who has been called "the romantic on the throne". [12]

Frederick grew up during a tumultuous political period as the concept of liberalism in Germany, which evolved during the 1840s, was gaining widespread and enthusiastic support.[13] The liberals sought a unified Germany and were constitutional monarchists who desired a constitution to ensure equal protection under the law, the protection of property, and the safeguarding of basic civil rights.[14] Overall, the liberals desired a government ruled by popular representation.[9] When Frederick was 17, these emergent nationalistic and liberal sentiments sparked a series of political uprisings across the German states and elsewhere in Europe. In Germany, their goal was to protect freedoms, such as the freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, and to create a German parliament and constitution.[13][15] Although the uprisings ultimately brought about no lasting changes, liberal sentiments remained an influential force in German politics throughout Frederick's life.[16]

Despite the value placed by the Hohenzollern family on a traditional military education, Augusta insisted that her son also receive a classical education.[11] Accordingly, Frederick was thoroughly tutored in both military traditions and the liberal arts. His private tutor was Ernst Curtius, a famous archaeologist.[12] Frederick was a talented student, particularly good at foreign languages, becoming fluent in English and French, and studying Latin. He also studied history, geography, physics, music and religion, and excelled at gymnastics; as required of a Prussian Prince, he became a very good rider.[17] Hohenzollern princes were made familiar with the military traditions of their dynasty at an early age; Frederick was ten when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the First Infantry Regiment of Guards and invested with the Order of the Black Eagle. As he grew older, he was expected to maintain an active involvement in military affairs.[18] But, at the age of 18, he broke with family tradition and entered the University of Bonn where he studied history, law and governance and public policy. During his time at Bonn (1850-1852), his teachers included Ernst Moritz Arndt and Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann.[12] His time spent at the university, coupled with the influence of less conservative family members, were instrumental in his embrace of liberal beliefs.[19]

Marriage and family

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Victoria, Princess Royal—eldest daughter of Queen Victoria—whom Frederick married in 1858

Royal marriages of the 19th century were arranged to secure alliances and to maintain blood ties among the European nations. As early as 1851, Queen Victoria of Great Britain and her German-born Prince-Consort Prince Albert were making plans to marry their eldest daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, to Frederick. The royal dynasty in Britain was predominantly German; there was little British blood in Queen Victoria, and none in her husband.[20] The monarchs desired to maintain their family's blood ties to Germany, and Prince Albert further hoped that the marriage would lead to the liberalization and modernization of Prussia. King Leopold I of Belgium, uncle of the British monarch and consort, also favoured this pairing; he had long treasured Baron Stockmar's idea of a marriage alliance between Britain and Prussia.[21] Frederick's father, Prince William, had no interest in the arrangement, hoping instead for a Russian Grand Duchess as his daughter-in-law.[20] However, Princess Augusta was greatly in favour of a match for her son that would bring closer connections with Britain.[1] In 1851, his mother sent Frederick to England, ostensibly to visit the Great Exhibition but in truth she hoped that the cradle of liberalism and home of the industrial revolution would have a positive influence on her son. Prince Albert took Frederick under his wing during his stay but it was Albert's daughter, only eleven at the time, who guided the German prince around the Exhibition. A regular exchange of letters between Victoria and Frederick followed.[12]

The betrothal of the young couple was announced in April 1856,[22] and their marriage took place on 25 January 1858 in the Chapel of St. James's Palace, London. To mark the occasion, Frederick was promoted to Major-General in the Prussian army. Although it was an arranged marriage, the newlyweds were compatible from the start and their marriage was a loving one;[23][24] Victoria too had received a liberal education and shared her husband's views. Of the two, Victoria was the dominant one in the relationship.[12] The couple often resided at the Crown Prince's Palace and had eight children: Wilhelm in 1859, Charlotte in 1860, Henry in 1862, Sigismund in 1864, Victoria in 1866, Waldemar in 1868, Sophie in 1870 and Margaret in 1872. Sigismund died at the age of 2 and Waldemar at age 11,[25] and their eldest son, Wilhelm, suffered from a withered arm—probably due to his difficult and dangerous breech birth, although it could have also resulted from a mild case of cerebral palsy.[26][27] Wilhelm, who became emperor after Frederick's death, shared none of his parent's liberal ideas; his mother viewed him as a "complete Prussian".[28] This difference in ideology created a rift between Wilhelm and his parents, and relations between them were strained throughout their lives.[28][29]

Political life

Crown Prince

William allowed Frederick few official duties, such as attending balls and socializing with dignitaries.

When his father succeeded to the Prussian throne as King William I on 2 January 1861, Frederick became the Crown Prince. Already twenty-nine years old, he would be Crown Prince for a further twenty-seven years. The new king was initially considered politically neutral; Frederick and Prussia's liberal elements hoped that he would usher in a new era of liberal policies. The liberals managed to greatly increase their majority in the Prussian Diet (Landtag), but William soon showed that he preferred the conservative ways. On the other hand, Frederick declared himself in complete agreement with the "essential liberal policy for internal and foreign affairs".[30]

Because William was a dogmatic soldier and unlikely to change his ideas at the age of sixty-four,[31] he regularly clashed with the Diet over policies. In September 1862, one such disagreement almost led to Frederick being crowned and replacing his father as king; William threatened to abdicate when the Diet refused to fund his plans for the army's reorganization. Frederick was appalled by this action, and said that an abdication would "constitute a threat to the dynasty, country and Crown".[32] William reconsidered, and instead on the advice of Minister of War Albrecht von Roon appointed Otto von Bismarck, who had offered to push through the military reform even against the majority of the Diet, as Minister-President. The appointment of Bismarck, an authoritarian who would often ignore or overrule the Diet, set Frederick on a collision course with his father and led to his exclusion from affairs of state for the rest of William's reign. Frederick insisted on bloodless "moral conquests", unifying Germany by liberal and peaceful means, but it was Bismarck's policy of blood and iron that prevailed.[19] His protests against William's rule peaked at Danzig on 4 June 1863, where at an official reception in the city he loudly denounced Bismarck's restrictions on freedom of the press.[33][34][35] He thereby made Bismarck his enemy and his father extremely angry.[12] Consequently, Frederick was excluded from positions of political power throughout his father's reign. Retaining his military portfolio, he continued to represent Germany and its Emperor at ceremonies, weddings, and celebrations, such as Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887.[36]

Frederick was severely reproached by his father for his liberal ideas, so he spent a large portion of time in Britain where Queen Victoria frequently allowed him to represent her at ceremonies and social functions.[37]

20 August 1870, Illustrated London News celebrates the Crown Prince's Franco-Prussian War achievements.

Frederick fought in the wars against Denmark, Austria and France. Although he had opposed military action in each case, once war had started he supported the Prussian military wholeheartedly and took positions of command. Since he had no political influence at all, these were opportunities to prove himself.[12] Frederick experienced his first combat in the Second Schleswig War. Appointed to supervise the supreme German Confederation commander Field Marshal Wrangel and his staff, the Crown Prince tactfully managed disputes between Wrangel and the other officers. The Prussians and their Austrian allies defeated the Danes and conquered the southern part of Jutland, but after the war they spent two years politicking to assume leadership of the German states. This culminated in the Austro-Prussian War. Frederick "was the only member of the Prussian Crown Council to uphold the rights of the Duke of Augustenberg and oppose the idea of a war with Austria which he described as fratricide." Although he supported unification and the restoration of the medieval empire, "Fritz could not accept that war was the right way to unite Germany.".[38] However, when war with Austria broke out, he accepted command of one of Prussia's three armies, with General Leonhard Graf von Blumenthal as his chief of staff. The timely arrival of his II Army was crucial to the Prussian victory in 1866 at the decisive Battle of Königgrätz, which won the war for Prussia.[39] After the battle, William presented Frederick with the Order Pour le Mérite for his personal gallantry on the field and leadership of the II Army.[2] Nevertheless, the bloodshed caused him great dismay.[12] A few days before Königgrätz, Frederick had written to his wife, expressing his hope that this would be the last war he would have to fight. On the third day of the battle he wrote to her again: "Who knows whether we may not have to wage a third war in order to keep what we have now won?"[40]

Four years later Frederick was in action again, this time during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, in which he was once more paired with Blumenthal and commanded the III Army, consisting of troops from the southern German states.[41][42] He was praised for his leadership after defeating the French at the battles of Wissembourg and Wörth,[42] and met with further successes at the Battle of Sedan and during the Siege of Paris. Frederick's humane treatment of his country's foes earned him their respect and the plaudits of neutral observers.[43] After the Battle of Wörth, a London journalist witnessed the Crown Prince's many visits to wounded Prussian soldiers and lauded his deeds, extolling the love and respect the soldiers held for Frederick. Following his victory, Frederick had remarked to two Paris journalists, "I do not like war gentlemen. If I should reign I would never make it."[3] One French journalist remarked that "the Crown Prince has left countless traits of kindness and humanity in the land that he fought against."[43] For his behaviour and accomplishments, The Times wrote a tribute to Frederick in July 1871, stating that "the Prince has won as much honour for his gentleness as for his prowess in the war".[43]

German Empire and brief reign

Frederick as crown prince, 1874, by Heinrich von Angeli

In 1871, following Prussia's victories, the German states were united into the German Empire, with William as the Emperor and Frederick as heir-apparent to the new German monarchy. Although William thought the day when he became Emperor the saddest of his life, Frederick was excited to be witness to a great day in German history.[12] Bismarck, now Chancellor, disliked Frederick and distrusted the liberal attitudes of the Crown Prince and Princess. Often at odds with his father's and Bismarck's policies and actions, Frederick sided with the country's liberals[44] in their opposition to the expansion of the empire's army.[45] The Crown Prince also became involved in many public works projects, such as the establishment of schools and churches in the area of Bornstedt near Potsdam.[46][47] To assist his father's effort to turn Berlin, the capital city, into a great cultural centre, he was appointed Protector of Public Museums; it was largely due to Frederick that considerable artistic collections were acquired, housed in Berlin's new Kaiser Friedrich Museum (later known as the Bode Museum) after his death.[48] In 1878, when his father was incapacitated by injury from an assassination attempt, Frederick briefly took over his tasks but was soon relegated to the sidelines once again. His lack of influence affected him deeply, even causing him to think about suicide.[12]

During an effort led, between 1879 and 1881, by the völkisch historian Heinrich von Treitschke and the court chaplain, Adolf Stoecker to dis-emancipate German Jews,[49] the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were in opposition, Victoria writing that she saw "Treitschke and his supporters as lunatics of the most dangerous sort", and opining that Pastor Stoecker properly belonged in an insane asylum.[50] She went on to write that she felt ashamed of her adopted country because people like Treitschke and Stoecker "behave so hatefully towards people of a different faith and another race who become an integral part (and by no means the worst) of our nation!".[50] Clad in the uniform of a Prussian field marshal Frederick, together with Victoria, attended a synagogue service in Berlin in 1880 to show support for tolerance in contrast to what Victoria called Treitscke's "disgraceful attacks".[50] Shortly afterward, Frederick gave a speech denouncing the anti-Semitic movement in Germany as "a shameful blot on our time", adding that "We are ashamed of the Judenhetze which has broken all bounds of decency in Berlin, but which seems to flourish under the protection of the Court clerics."[50] In 1881, Frederick and Victoria again attended a synagogue service, this time in Wiesbaden "to demonstrate as clearly as we can what our convictions are".[50] Frederick followed this up by giving a speech in which he spoke out for "poor, ill-treated Jews" of Europe.[50] Frederick's mother-in-law, Queen Victoria, wrote to thank him for his speech, saying she was proud that her daughter had married someone like him, but within Junker circles, Frederick was widely criticised for his actions in support of the Jews.[50] Prominent among the Crown Prince's critics was his eldest son, Prince Wilhelm, who called his father a weak, cowardly man controlled by his British mother and the Jews.[50] Beyond Wilhelm, many of the "reactionary and 'chauvinistic' circles in Germany" had, in the words of the British historian John C. G. Röhl come to the "...conviction that the Crown Prince and his liberal English wife were an alien, un-German force that must not be allowed to accede to the throne".[50]

Anton von Werner's depiction of William's proclamation as Emperor; Frederick is standing behind his father, his brother-in-law, the Grand Duke of Baden leads the cheering.

Germany's progressive elements hoped that William's death, and thus Frederick's succession, would usher the country into a new era governed along liberal lines.[45][51] The conservative William, however, lived a long life, dying at the age of 90 on 9 March 1888. Logically, Frederick should have taken as his regnal name either Frederick I (if the Bismarckian empire was considered a new entity) or Frederick IV (if it was considered a continuation of the old Holy Roman Empire, which had had three emperors named Frederick); he himself preferred the latter. However, on the advice of Bismarck that this would create legal problems, he opted to simply keep the same regnal name he had as king of Prussia. By the time he ascended the throne, Frederick was 56 years old and suffering from a debilitating cancer of the larynx. He viewed his illness with dismay, crying "To think I should have such a horrid disgusting illness ... I had so hoped to have been of use to my country."[52] He received conflicting medical advice regarding treatment.[53][54][page needed] In Germany, Doctor Ernst von Bergmann proposed to remove the larynx completely, but his colleague, Doctor Rudolf Virchow, disagreed;[55] such an operation had never been performed without the death of the patient.[56] The British doctor Sir Morell Mackenzie, who had diagnosed the cancer,[57] advised a tracheotomy, to which Frederick and his wife agreed.[54] On 8 February, a month before his father died, a cannula was fitted to allow Frederick to breathe;[58] for the remainder of his life he was unable to speak and often communicated through writing.[59] During the operation, Dr. Bergmann almost killed him by missing the incision in the trachea and forcing the cannula into the wrong place.[54] Frederick started to cough and bleed, and Bergmann placed his forefinger into the wound to enlarge it. The bleeding subsided after two hours, but Bergmann's actions resulted in an abscess in Frederick's neck, producing pus which gave the new Emperor discomfort for the remaining months of his life.[58] Later, Frederick would ask "Why did Bergmann put his finger in my throat?"[58] and complain that "Bergmann ill-treated [me]".[58] The diagnosis and treatment of Prince Frederick's fatal illness caused some medical controversy well into the next century.[60]

Kaiser-Friedrich-Mausoleum (Potsdam): Frederick is entombed in this sarcophagus, which bears his likeness on top

In spite of his illness, Frederick did his best to fulfill his obligations as Emperor. Immediately after the announcement of his accession, he took the ribbon and star of his Order of the Black Eagle from his jacket and pinned it on the dress of his wife; he was determined to honor her position as Empress.[61] As the German Emperor, he officially received Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (his mother-in-law) and King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway, and attended the wedding of his son Prince Henry to his niece Princess Irene. However, Frederick reigned for only 99 days,[62] and was unable to bring about much lasting change.[63] An edict he penned before he ascended to the throne that would limit the powers of the chancellor and monarch under the constitution was never put into effect,[64] although he did force Robert von Puttkamer to resign as Prussian Minister of the Interior on 8 June, when evidence indicated that Puttkamer had interfered in the Reichstag elections. Dr. Mackenzie wrote that the Emperor had "an almost overwhelming sense of the duties of his position".[65] In a letter to Lord Napier, Empress Victoria wrote "The Emperor is able to attend to his business, and do a great deal, but not being able to speak is, of course, most trying."[66] Frederick had the fervour but not the time to accomplish his desires, lamenting in May 1888, "I cannot die ... What would happen to Germany?"[67]

Frederick III died in Potsdam on 15 June 1888, and was succeeded by his 29-year-old son Wilhelm II. Frederick is buried in a mausoleum attached to the Friedenskirche in Potsdam.[68] After his death, William Ewart Gladstone described him as the "Barbarossa of German liberalism".[69] Empress Victoria went on to continue spreading Frederick's thoughts and ideals throughout Germany, but no longer had power within the government.[70]


Frederick III as crown prince, by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky 1870 (The Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection, Toronto, Canada)

Frederick believed a state should not act against the popular opinion of its inhabitants.[33][71] He had a long history of liberalism, and had discussed his ideas and intentions with Victoria and others before his reign. Admiring Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and the British parliamentary system,[45][72] Frederick and his wife planned to rule as consorts and liberalize Germany through the appointment of more liberal ministers.[73] They intended to severely limit the office of Chancellor,[64] and reorganize Germany to include many elements of British liberalism. Many historians, including William Harbutt Dawson and Erich Eyck, consider that Frederick's early death put an end to the development of liberalism within the German empire.[8] They believe that, given a longer reign and better health, Frederick might indeed have transformed Germany into a more liberal democratic country, and prevented its militaristic path toward war.[62][74][75] Dr. J. McCullough claims that Frederick would have averted World War I—and by extension the resulting Weimar Republic[75]—while other historians such as Michael Balfour go even further by postulating that, as the end of World War I directly affected the state of the world's development, the liberal German Emperor might also have prevented the outbreak of World War II.[76] Author Michael Freund states outright that both world wars would have been averted had Frederick lived longer.[77] Frederick's life inspired historian Frank Tipton to speculate: "What would have happened had his father died sooner or if he himself had lived longer?"[78]

United States magazine Puck mourned the passing of the liberal monarch, Frederick III.

Other historians, including Wilhelm Mommsen and Arthur Rosenberg, oppose the idea that Frederick could have, or would have, liberalized Germany.[8] They believe that he would not have dared to oppose both his father and Bismarck to change Germany's course; a natural soldier, he was steeped in his family's strong military tradition, and had happily reported to his father since he joined the army at the age of ten.[1] Andreas Dorpalen notes that Frederick had complied with most of William's and Bismarck's policies early in his life, and would have been unlikely to change his behaviour.[72][79] According to Arthur Rosenberg, despite his liberal tendencies Frederick still firmly believed in Bismarck and his system,[80] with Dorpalen adding that in any case Frederick had too weak and ineffectual a character to have brought about real change, regardless of how long he reigned.[51][81] James J. Sheehan states that the political climate and party system of Germany during that period were too steeped in the old ways for Frederick to overcome with liberalization.[82] Dorpalen also observes that Frederick's liberal persona may have been exaggerated after his death, to keep the liberal movement strong in Germany,[83] and he points out that the many mistakes made by Wilhelm II helped to paint his father in a more favorable light.[84]

Frederick's children—Wilhelm in particular—held various political positions and greatly influenced Europe. Unlike his father, Wilhelm had not personally experienced the horrors of war, and he enthusiastically embraced his family's military heritage, coming under Bismarck's tutelage. The Chancellor, who disapproved of Frederick's and Victoria's liberal ways, felt bound to increase the tensions between Wilhelm and his parents.[85] Wilhelm grew up full of disdain for their opinions on government, and shortly after his father's death, proclaimed that he would follow the path of his grandfather, William I. He made no reference to Frederick III.[86] William II abandoned all of his father's policies and ideas, and eventually led Germany into World War I.[8][84]

Bismarck's plan of undermining Frederick and Victoria, and of using Wilhelm II as a tool for retaining his own power, led to his own downfall. As it turned out, Wilhelm did share his father's conviction that the position of the chancellor was too strong and should be modified in favour of a more powerful Emperor.[12] When Bismarck realized that Wilhelm II was about to dismiss him:

All Bismarck's resources were deployed; he even asked Empress Victoria to use her influence with her son on his behalf. But the wizard had lost his magic; his spells were powerless because they were exerted on people who did not respect them, and he who had so signally disregarded Kant's command to use people as ends in themselves had too small a stock of loyalty to draw on. As Lord Salisbury told Queen Victoria: 'The very qualities which Bismarck fostered in the Emperor in order to strengthen himself when the Emperor Frederick should come to the throne have been the qualities by which he has been overthrown.' The Empress, with what must have been a mixture of pity and triumph, told him that her influence with her son could not save him for he himself had destroyed it.[87]

Churches honouring Frederick include the Kaiser-Friedrich-Gedächtniskirche in Berlin and the former Kalthof Church in Königsberg. Mount Frederick William in the Jervis Inlet area of the British Columbia Coast in Canada is named in his honour.[88]

Titles, styles, honors and arms

Monarchical styles of
German Emperor Frederick III, King of Prussia
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichsadler 1889.svg
Reference style His Imperial and Royal Majesty
Spoken style Your Imperial and Royal Majesty
Alternative style Sire

Titles and styles

  • 18 October 1831 – 2 January 1861: His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Prussia
  • 2 January 1861 – 18 January 1871: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Prussia
  • 18 January 1871 – 9 March 1888: His Imperial and Royal Highness The German Crown Prince, Crown Prince of Prussia
  • 9 March 1888 – 15 June 1888: His Imperial and Royal Majesty The German Emperor, King of Prussia


At the age of ten he was invested with the Order of the Black Eagle.[18] Following his victory at the Battle of Königgrätz, he received the Order Pour le Mérite for his leadership during the battle.[2]


Family of Frederick III, German Emperor
16. Prince Augustus William of Prussia
8. Frederick William II of Prussia
17. Duchess Louise Amalie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
4. Frederick William III of Prussia
18. Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
9. Frederica Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt
19. Countess Palatine Caroline of Zweibrücken
2. William I, German Emperor
20. Charles Louis Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg-Mirow
10. Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
21. Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
5. Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
22. Georg Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt
11. Princess Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt
23. Maria Louise Albertine of Leiningen-Falkenburg-Dagsburg
1. Frederick III, German Emperor
24. Ernest August II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar
12. Charles Augustus, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
25. Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
6. Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
26. Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (=18)
13. Luise Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt
27. Countess Palatine Caroline of Zweibrücken (=19)
3. Augusta of Saxe-Weimar
28. Peter III of Russia
14. Paul I of Russia
29. Catherine II of Russia
7. Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia
30. Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Wurttemberg
15. Maria Feodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg)
31. Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt


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Image Name Birth Death Notes
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany - 1902.jpg Wilhelm II, German Emperor 27 January 1859 4 June 1941 married (1), 27 February 1881, Princess Auguste Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein; died 1921; had issue
(2), 9 November 1922, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, no issue
Laslo - Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen.jpg Princess Charlotte 24 July 1860 1 October 1919 married, 18 February 1878, Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen; had issue
Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia.jpg Prince Henry 14 August 1862 20 April 1929 married, 24 May 1888, his first cousin Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine; had issue
Sigismund (1).jpg Prince Sigismund 15 September 1864 18 June 1866 died of meningitis at 21 months. First grandchild of Queen Victoria to die.
Princess Viktoria of Prussia (Frederica Amalia Wilhelmine Viktoria) (April 12, 1866 – November 13, 1929).jpg Princess Victoria 12 April 1866 13 November 1929 married (1), 19 November 1890, Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe; he died 1916; no issue
(2), 19 November 1927, Alexander Zoubkov; no issue
Prince Waldemar of Prussia.jpg Prince Waldemar 10 February 1868 27 March 1879 died of diphtheria at age 11
Sophia of Prussia.jpg Princess Sophie 14 June 1870 13 January 1932 married, 27 October 1889, Constantine I, King of the Hellenes; had issue
Margit of Prussia.jpg Princess Margaret 22 April 1872 22 January 1954 married, 25 January 1893, Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse; had issue

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 MacDonogh, p. 17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kollander, p. 79.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Illustrated London News
  4. Balfour, p. 69
  5. Balfour, p. 70
  6. Tipton, p.175
  7. Van der Kiste, p. 10.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Dorpalen, p. 2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kollander, p. 1.
  10. Van der Kiste, p. 11.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Van der Kiste, p. 12.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Palmowski, p. 43.
  14. Sperber, p. 64.
  15. Sperber, p. 128-129.
  16. Röhl, p. 554.
  17. Mueller-Bohn, p. 44.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Mueller-Bohn, p. 14.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Nichols, p. 7.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Van der Kiste, p. 15.
  21. Van der Kiste, p. 16.
  22. Van der Kiste, p. 31.
  23. MacDonogh, pp. 17–18.
  24. Van der Kiste, p. 43.
  25. Kollander, p. 21.
  26. Röhl, p.12.
  27. MacDonogh, p. 22.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Röhl, p. 101.
  29. Röhl, p. xiii.
  30. Van der Kiste, p. 68.
  31. Van der Kiste, p. 61.
  32. Pakula, p. 168.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Dorpalen, p. 11.
  34. Kollander, pp. 38–45
  35. Oster, pp. 63–64
  36. Van der Kiste, pp. 130–31.
  37. Pakula, p. 69.
  38. Balfour 1964, pp. 67-68.
  39. Lord, p. 125.
  40. Pakula, p. 98.
  41. Howard, p. 60.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Kollander, p. 92.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Kollander, p. 109.
  44. Dorpalen, p. 6.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Dorpalen, p. 1.
  46. Mueller-Bohn, p. 420.
  47. Van der Kiste, p. 89.
  48. Van der Kiste, p. 128.
  49. Röhl, John The Kaiser and His Court, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994 pages 198-199.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 50.4 50.5 50.6 50.7 50.8 Röhl, John The Kaiser and His Court, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994 page 198.
  51. 51.0 51.1 Sheehan, p. 217.
  52. Pakula, p. 448.
  53. Pakula, p. 479.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Mackenzie
  55. Sinclair, p. 195
  56. Sinclair, p. 206
  57. Judd, p. 13.
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 Sinclair, p. 204
  59. Dorpalen, p. 27.
  60. Westman, Stephan, Surgeon with the Kaiser's Army London 1968 pp20-21 ISBN 0718300211
  61. Van der Kiste, p. 193.
  62. 62.0 62.1 Kitchen, p. 214.
  63. Cecil, p. 110.
  64. 64.0 64.1 Kollander, p. 147.
  65. Van der Kiste, p. 195.
  66. Van der Kiste, p. 196.
  67. Pakula, p. 484.
  68. Wanckel
  69. Kollander, p. xi.
  70. Kollander, p. 179.
  71. Dorpalen, p. 22.
  72. 72.0 72.1 Dorpalen, p. 3.
  73. Farago, p. 264.
  74. Chalat, p. 1307.
  75. 75.0 75.1 McCullough, p. 403.
  76. Balfour, p. v.
  77. Freund, p. 9.
  78. Tipton, p. 176.
  79. Dorpalen, p. 18.
  80. Rosenberg, p. 34.
  81. Dorpalen, p. 4.
  82. Sheehan, p. 216.
  83. Dorpalen, p. 30.
  84. 84.0 84.1 Dorpalen, p. 31.
  85. Feuchtwanger, p. 243.
  86. Kollander, p. 178.
  87. Balfour, p.132
  88. Hitz, p. 54


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Frederick III, German Emperor
Born: 18 October 1831 Died: 15 June 1888
German nobility
Preceded by German Emperor
King of Prussia

9 March 1888 – 15 June 1888
Succeeded by
William II