The 99 Day Kaiser
The ill-fated 99
The truth of the matter is little is known of what he actually had planned. Bismarck feared he would replace him as Chancellor the leader of the Progressive party. Though there is little said about what he would actually implement for domestic policies, aside from constitutional reform and the potential replacement of Bismarck. What is known is he had significantly stronger ties to foreign powers, especially Britain. In 1858 he married Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, also named Victoria. This was arranged after a long and drawn out feud with his father, who was still crown prince. Wilhelm I wanted him to marry a Russian duchess, probably to strengthen the Russo- Prussian Alliance of the post-Crimean era. Victoria would go on to have a strong influence over Frederick, as such she is worth noting. What we can expect from Frederick's reign is a temporary warming of relations between Britain and Germany. A modified constitution transitioning away from Prussian Constitutionalism. As well as several less years of Otto Von Bismarck, which may or may not have been a good thing. It would be better for liberalism in Germany,
However, Friedrich had been already 57 when he died, admittedly he might not have lasted long enough to make it through to the Era of WWI (though his father made it to 90) Frederick would have a harder time convincing the fledgling German state to listen to his radically different opinions. That being said, the question of the 99-day Kaiser is one we must seek to address. If only because there is a chance he could have potentially reigned for 30 years. It is not a likely one, but it was a possible outcome. What would be more likely to be impactful was if the man he actually got to raise his own son. We know that his son, Kaiser Wilhelm II would definitively reign after Friedrich. Wilhelm was raised by tutors, few, if any actually selected by his parents, most selected by Kaiser Wilhelm I. This was due in part to his withered arm and the German Kaiser’s attempt to make a man of him. An attempt that his mother supported, in part because she blamed herself for his deformed arm. The Kaiser-to-be was raised to understand that his father is a war hero of the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars. He never was brought up to understand the Classical Liberal ideals of his parents were meant to apply to Germany. If Friedrich was merely permitted to raise his own son, or at least have more of a role in the process, Wilhelm could have been a very different Kaiser.
And so the 99
Balfour, Michael. The Kaiser and his Times. Boston: Houghton Miffen, 1964.
Clark, Christopher. Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947. London: Penguin Books, 2008.
Von Poschinger, Margete Landau Edel.The Life of The Emperor Friedrich. Berlin, 1901.
Nichols, J. Alden.Year of Three Kaisers. 1987.
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