‘Dearest Nicky…’: Monarchical Relations between Prussia, the German Empire and Russia during the Nineteenth Century

  • Johannes Paulmann
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)

Abstract

Relations between monarchs are often described in terms of personal relationships. We know who liked whom, and who did not get on with each other. If one thinks of the rather phlegmatic Prussian King Frederick William III and the enthusiastic Tsar Alexander I, it may not seem unjustified to attribute some of the changeable and difficult relations between Prussia and Russia during the Napoleonic wars to their different characters.1 Nor are we surprised, knowing the character of Kaiser William II, to read that Alexander III judged him to be ‘an exhibitionist and a nuisance’. After meeting him during a visit to St Petersburg in 1888, the Tsar declared that the Kaiser was ‘a little urchin, badly brought up, full of malice’.2 The relationship between the shy Nicholas II and the exhibitionist William II was certainly no better. Yet this kind of character history is only of limited value for understanding monarchical relations. One has to take a wider view to assess their significance by analysing how personal, dynastic and foreign relations were interlinked and how they interacted. Taking a closer look at monarchical relations between Prussia, and later the German Empire, and Russia, we may ask how those relations worked in practice: what form they actually took and by what means they were cultivated.

Keywords

Europe Assure Dispatch Florid Lamar 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Quotations from Lamar Cecil, ‘William II and his Russian Colleagues’ in Carole Finket al .(eds)German Nationalism and the European Response, 1890–1945, Norman, OK, 1985, p. 106.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Dominic Lieven, Nicholas II: Emperor of All the Russias London, 1993, p. 58.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See the recent criticism of the ‘ balance of power’ concept by Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848 Oxford, 1994, pp. 5–11.Google Scholar
  4. 5a.
    See, for example, the attitudes held by the future Kaiser William II in 1884: John C.G. Röhl,Wilhelm II.: Die Jugend des Kaisers 1859–1888 , Munich, 1993, p. 443.Google Scholar
  5. 5b.
    Ludolf Herbst,Die erste Internationale als Problem der deutschen Politik in der Reichsgründungszeit: Ein Beitrag zur Strukturanalyse der Politik ‘monarchischer Solidarität’, Göttingen, 1975.Google Scholar
  6. 6a.
    See Roger Chartier (ed.), La Correspondance: Les Usages de la lettre au XIXe siècle Paris, 1991, pp. 451–2.Google Scholar
  7. 6b.
    Reinhard Nickisch, Brief Stuttgart, 1991, pp. 13–19.Google Scholar
  8. 27.
    See introduction to AGKK2, I pp. 32–3, and Winfried Baumgart, ‘Zur Außenpolitik Friedrich Wilhelms IV. 1840–1858’ in Otto Busch (ed.), Friedrich Wilhelm IV. in seiner Zeit Berlin, 1987, pp. 132–56 (147–8).Google Scholar
  9. 28.
    Gerlach to Münster in AGKK2, I document 401, 8 August 1854.Google Scholar
  10. 33.
    Frederick William IV to Victoria in AGKK2, H document 295, 10 May 1855.Google Scholar
  11. 35.
    Bernstorff to Frederick William IV in AGKK2, II document 429, 29 February 1856.Google Scholar
  12. 36.
    Baumgart in AGKK2, I pp. 44–8, and Baumgart, ‘Zur Außenpolitik’ (see note 27 above), pp. 138–55.Google Scholar
  13. 46.
    See the report by William’s Lord Chamberlain, Robert Graf ZedlitzTrützschler, Zwölf Jahre am deutschen Kaiserhof Aufzeichnungen, Stuttgart, 7th edn, 1924, p. 102, 7 December 1904.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Paulmann

There are no affiliations available

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