Fathers and Sons in the History of the Hohenzollern Dynasty

  • Christopher Clark
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy book series (PSMM)


If we survey the inner history of the Hohenzollern dynasty, two contradictory features attract our attention. The first is the remarkable consistency of political will from each generation to the next. The second is the reality of recurrent conflict between fathers and sons. In this chapter, I want to offer a brief overview of these conflicts and then see whether we can discern any pattern in them. What were father-son conflicts actually about? Did they place the viability of the dynasty at risk, or did they, on the contrary, reinforce its legitimacy? Did they arise because external pressures drove a wedge between different wings or members of the same family, or was it rather that tensions that were psychological or genuinely intra-familial in origin imposed themselves on the court and its political appendages?


Foreign Policy Scarlet Fever Great Elector Political Appendage Crown Prince 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Martin Philippson (1897), Der Große Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg, vol. 1: 1640–1660, Berlin, 20; Political Testament of the Great Elector (1667), in: Dietrich (1986), 179–204, 203; Derek McKay (2001), The Great Elector, Harlow, 14–15.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Carl Hinrichs (1941), Friedrich Wilhelm I., König in Preussen: eine Biographie, Hamburg, 454–57, 464–68, 473–87; Linda and Marsha Frey (1984), Frederick I: The Man and His Times, Boulder, CO, 89–90; Rodney Gotthelf (2000), ‘Frederick William I and Prussian Absolutism, 1713–1740’, in: Philip G. Dwyer (ed.), The Rise of Prussia, 1700–1830, Harlow, 47–67, 50–51; Fritz Terveen (1954), Gesamtstaat und Retablissement. Der Wiederaufbau des nördlichen Ostpreussen unter Friedrich Wilhelm I. (1714–1740), Göttingen, 17–21.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Carl Hinrichs (1964a), ‘Der Konflikt zwischen Friedrich Wilhelm I. und Kronprinz Friedrich’, in: Hinrichs (1964), 185–202, 189.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Theodor Schieder (2000), Frederick the Great, trans. Sabina Berkeley and H.M. Scott, Harlow, 25.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Christopher Clark (2006), Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947, London, 107–11.Google Scholar
  6. 19.
    Frank Lorenz Müller (2011), Our Fritz: Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany, Cambridge, MA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 20.
    John Röhl (1993), Wilhelm II. Die Jugend des Kaisers 1859–1888, Munich, 134.Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    Lamar Cecil (1989), Wilhelm II, vol. 1: Prince and Emperor, 1859–1900, Chapel Hill, 60.Google Scholar
  9. 34.
    Thomas Kohut (1991), Wilhelm II and the Germans: A Study in Leadership, Oxford, 81.Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    John Röhl (1987), ‘Hof und Hofgesellschaft unter Kaiser Wilhelm II.’, in: John Röhl, Kaiser, Hof und Staat. Wilhelm II. und die deutsche Politik, Munich, 78–115.Google Scholar
  11. 37.
    Andrew Hanham, ‘The Leicester House Faction’, in: The History of Parliament: British Political, Social and Local History, www.historyofparliamentonline.org/periods/hanoverians/leicester-house-faction, accessed 25 January 2015Google Scholar
  12. Aubrey N. Newman (1961), ‘Leicester House Politics, 1748–1751’, The English Historical Review 76 (October), 577–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. James Lee McKelvey (1979), George III and Lord Bute: The Leicester House Years, Durham, NC.Google Scholar
  14. 39.
    Jochen Klepper (1937), Der Vater. Roman des Soldatenkönigs, 2 vols, Berlin; on Klepper, see Rita Thalmann (1977), Jochen Klepper. Ein Leben zwischen Idyllen und Katastrophen, MunichGoogle Scholar
  15. Martin Wecht (1998), Jochen Klepper. Ein christlicher Schriftsteller im jüdischen Schicksal, Düsseldorf.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sir Christopher Clark 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Clark

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations