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Our Fritz Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany by Frank Lorenz Muller

Our Fritz Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany


Our Fritz Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany by Frank Lorenz Muller

On June 15, 1888, a mere ninety-nine days after ascending the throne to become king of Prussia and German emperor, Frederick III succumbed to throat cancer. Europeans were spellbound by the cruel fate nobly borne by the voiceless Fritz, who for more than two decades had been celebrated as a military hero and loved as a kindly gentleman. A number of grief-stricken individuals reportedly offered to sacrifice their own healthy larynxes to save the ailing emperor. Frank Lorenz Muller, in the first comprehensive life of Frederick III ever written, reconstructs how the hugely popular persona of Our Fritz was created and used for various political purposes before and after the emperor's tragic death. Sandwiched between the reign of his ninety-year-old father and the calamitous rule of his own son, the future emperor William II, Frederick III served as a canvas onto which different political forces projected their hopes and fears for Germany's future. The book moves beyond the myth that Frederick's humane liberalism would have built a lasting Anglo-German partnership, perhaps even preventing World War I, and beyond the castigations and exaggerations of parties with a different agenda. Surrounded by an unforgettable cast of characters that includes the emperor's widely hated English wife, Vicky--daughter of Queen Victoria--and the scheming Otto von Bismarck, Frederick III offers in death as well as in life a revealing, poignant glimpse of Prussia, Germany, and the European world that his son would help to shatter.


[A] thought-provoking, highly informed biography. -- Martin Rubin Wall Street Journal 20111212 Effective, well-grounded and thoughtful...This is an important work, particularly notable for its discussion of political myths, and especially as a political resource. It is to be hoped that comparable work can be produced for several other contemporary rulers. -- Jeremy Black Times Higher Education 20120112 How many times have I told a class that if only William I had died earlier, the history of Europe would have been different? Frank Lorenz Muller has made me less certain of that. His excellent biography of Frederick William--one part biography, one part revisionism and one part cultural histor--offers a subtler, more nuanced and less emotional account of Our Fritz. -- Jonathan Steinberg London Review of Books 20120510 A concise, vivid and unfailingly interesting portrait of one of the nineteenth century's most appealing and most unhappy rulers. -- James J. Sheehan Times Literary Supplement 20120914

About the Author

Frank Lorenz Muller is Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of St. Andrews.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th October 2011


Frank Lorenz Muller

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Harvard University Press


366 pages


Biography: historical, political & military
European history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900



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