If Frederick III, Emperor of Germany ruled until 1900

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,188
Brassicaland
#1
Due to the demise of Germany under Wilhelm II, some historians have speculated about Frederick III, his father.
Frederick III was a heavy smoker and potentially died from cancer because of that. As an informal learner of Wailana's Yoga (video learning), I am aware that yoga urges for non-smoking because smoking negates all the gains; for that time period, it would be unrealistic for Frederick III to be a yogi and non-smoker.
Then, historians still enjoy speculating if Frederick III lived and ruled beyond 1888.
How did Frederick III differ from his son Wilhelm II?
What was the political environment of the German Empire?
 
Jun 2017
2,517
Connecticut
#2
Due to the demise of Germany under Wilhelm II, some historians have speculated about Frederick III, his father.
Frederick III was a heavy smoker and potentially died from cancer because of that. As an informal learner of Wailana's Yoga (video learning), I am aware that yoga urges for non-smoking because smoking negates all the gains; for that time period, it would be unrealistic for Frederick III to be a yogi and non-smoker.
Then, historians still enjoy speculating if Frederick III lived and ruled beyond 1888.
How did Frederick III differ from his son Wilhelm II?
What was the political environment of the German Empire?

Frederick would not have expanded the German navy as unlike Wilhelm he would not have had a fascination with ships and/or a need to compete with his British relatives. This and his wife being the daughter of Queen Victoria would have led to warmer relations with the UK(if you think this is unrealistic remember that the nephew of Napoleon brought France and the UK closer together due to Napoleon III liking her husband whom Victoria was quite obsessed with) and with no battleship program(regardless of whether the program in OTL was a threat to the UK or not as I've fiercely argued about in other threads) the UK would have not entered the Entente with Russia and France who would have remained her two primary antagonists in Asia and Africa respectively. Depending on the situation an Anglo-German alliance is certainly possible.

Frederick would have likely fired/or marginalized Bismarck just like his son but at the end of the day he still would have had to make a decision on the Russia and Austria situation and like Wilhelm would not have been able to remain straddling the fence between two powers whose interests were so contrary to each others. Perhaps he would have made a different decision perhaps not(I do think Wilhelm's choice was a massive mistake), I think with the likely difference in relations with the UK that WWI would have been averted/fundamentally different regardless. I do think Frederick would have been likely to avoid at least some of Wilhelm's other mistakes, though I don't know to what extent he would have been different. I do know with Victoria around it is unlikely Germany's aristocracy would have been able to steer him away from a more liberal philosophy. I do think choosing Russia over Austria is the obvious smart tactical decision but then again Russia was much more autocratic than Austria and Wilhelm might have chosen Austria(it was a little early for Franz Ferdinand to have influence but certainly think they might have gotten along). Who knows maybe he would have ended the Three Emperors League altogether(after all it would be literally impossible for France to seduce both Austria and Russia given the situation) and tried to steer Germany in a different direction though this would be a pretty radical departure? He didn't like Bismarck and Bismarck not only would have probably chose Russia over Austria but the three emperors league was his brainchild and perhaps Frederick would have dismantled Bismarck's work with glee. Another point against Russia was their hostility towards British interests while aligning with Austria opposed mainly the Russians(it opposed the more democratic Italians but Bismarck had already gotten Italy and Austria into a mutual alliance that made so sense somehow). So there is more grounds to believe Frederick would repeat one of his son's major mistakes than not IMO(Russia has logic behind it, Austria or a different course has everything else and of course good ole Holstein everyone's favorite German civil service mascot who had an irrational hatred of the Russians behind it)

This all being said 1900 is still quite early and in your scenario Wilhelm II would still have quite a period of time to leave his mark(and would still be in position to give Austria a blank check if Frederick indeed chose the Austrians over the Russians). Perhaps with years of living in Frederick and Victoria's Germany likely with no influence from Bismarck, Wilhelm would be a different man, while he might have disliked his parents he certainly did have a pro workers streak(it was a fierce disagreement over this that led to Bismarck's fall, important to note despite Bismarck's reputation as a founder of Social Democracy he hated Socialists and he did these programs specifically to hurt the then Marxist Socialists one of his two great political enemies with the Catholics, rather than any benevolence towards workers) and was to the left of Bismarck, but...certainly different than his parents.

I'm certain about the naval part too because while the German aristocracy might have resisted Frederick and Victoria's liberal agenda, the navy's rise was solely a product of Wilhelm II's interest in it, it had no support from the German establishment(didn't even receive medals during Franco-Prussia because they weren't REALLY part of the military) and absence of this means the German navy would have remained a joke because there was no other force(except the powerless navy itself) pushing for naval development. Even this shift without a change in UK relations would have still drastically changed events because the battleship program was quite a divertion of resources(especially the early pre dreadnought classes that became obsolete with the Dreadnought) that ended up yielding Germany almost nothing during WWI(at least versus the UK) and it stands to reason Germany might have been able to win if that massive expenditure had went elsewhere even if things otherwise went the same.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,591
Las Vegas, NV USA
#4
This is one of modern history's biggest what ifs. No WWI and therefore no Hitler and WWII? Is that the best answer? How about an Anglo-German alliance against France and Russia by 1900? That would bring an older and maybe slightly wiser Kaiser Willie II to the throne. There would be no big German naval buildup to antagonize the UK and the money saved would lead to a better funded army. War comes just the same and this time Britain stays out of it but supports Germany. It's not crazy. Britain and France were often at loggerheads in the late 19th century. The South African war was very unpopular in France and there was competition for colonies in Africa. The royal families of the UK and Germany were linked and France was a Republic. Germany defeats France and Russia drops out and goes communist because the same general conditions prevail.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#6
This is one of modern history's biggest what ifs. No WWI and therefore no Hitler and WWII? Is that the best answer? How about an Anglo-German alliance against France and Russia by 1900? That would bring an older and maybe slightly wiser Kaiser Willie II to the throne. There would be no big German naval buildup to antagonize the UK and the money saved would lead to a better funded army. War comes just the same and this time Britain stays out of it but supports Germany. It's not crazy. Britain and France were often at loggerheads in the late 19th century. The South African war was very unpopular in France and there was competition for colonies in Africa. The royal families of the UK and Germany were linked and France was a Republic. Germany defeats France and Russia drops out and goes communist because the same general conditions prevail.
It would be interesting if Britain would have entered WWI on the German side in this TL instead of merely remaining neutral. That way, Germany and Britain could impose a total and decisive victory against France and Russia and create an era of global Anglo-Saxon dominance.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,591
Las Vegas, NV USA
#7
It would be interesting if Britain would have entered WWI on the German side in this TL instead of merely remaining neutral. That way, Germany and Britain could impose a total and decisive victory against France and Russia and create an era of global Anglo-Saxon dominance.
Interesting but not likely IMO. Britain had prospered by staying out of European wars when possible. Rather than going broke, the empire remains strong and intact. Perhaps they might still declare war on the Ottoman Empire and take over the Mideast while Germany tackles France and Russia.:money:

As for Germany, the Schlieffen Plan was never likely to succeed. French territory would not be easily assimilated. Even the September Plan did not envision annexation of much French territory. It was France that wanted to recover Alsace-Lorraine. Germany could easily afford 10 field armies without the naval buildup. Put 4 on the common border and let the French have their men die in droves in failed offensives. In reality, France regained only a tiny corner of Alsace by military action. Meanwhile Germany would have 6 field armies to throw against Russia plus whatever AH might have. Germany could demand as much as they actually did from Russia and in this scenario, keep it all.

As for Linschoten's comment, yes Willie could indeed mess everything up, but that would be his fault, not mine.
 
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