View Full Version : William allowed Frederick few official duties

09-17-2011, 10:16 AM
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, 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".[29]

Because William was a dogmatic soldier and unlikely to change his ideas at the age of sixty-four,[30] 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".[31] William reconsidered, and instead appointed Otto von Bismarck as Minister-President. The appointment of Bismarck, an authoritarian who often ignored or overruled 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.[18]

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.[32]
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