German Empire / Kaiser Friedrich III. (Emperor Frederick III)

German Empire - Kaiser Friedrich III. (Emperor Frederick III) (9 March 1888 - 15 June 1888)

Frederick III (German: Friedrich) was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl, known informally as "Fritz", 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, 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. Upon Wilhelm's death at the age of ninety on 9 March 1888, the thrones passed to Frederick, who had by then been German Crown Prince for seventeen years and Crown Prince of Prussia for twenty-seven years. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx when he died on 15 June 1888, aged fifty-six, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition.

Frederick married Victoria, Princess Royal, 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.

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; and whether or not he would have made the Empire more liberal if he had lived longer is still discussed.

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.

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Kaiser Friedrich III. (Emperor Frederick III): Details
CountryGerman Empire
From9 March 1888
To15 June 1888
Personal Information Emperor Frederick III of Germany
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Country Details
NameGerman Empire
From1871
To1918
WikiSee Wikipedia page
FlagFlag of German Empire