Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany
Historical Figure
Nationality: Germany
Date of Birth: 1882
Date of Death: 1951
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Religion: Lutheran
Occupation: Soldier Prince
Parents: Wilhelm II, German Emperor
Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein
Spouse: Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Children: Wilhelm (d. 1940) and five others
House: Hohenzollern
Military Branch: Imperial German Army (World War I)
Turtledove Appearances:
Curious Notions
POD: August, 1914
Type of Appearance: Indirect posthumous reference
Date of Death: Unrevealed
Political Office(s): German Emperor
"Uncle Alf"
POD: c. 1913
Type of Appearance: Oblique contemporary reference
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): The Center Cannot Hold
In at the Death
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references (as "Friedrich Wilhelm")
Occupation: Monarch
Friedrich Wilhelm Victor Augustus Ernst (6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951) of the House of Hohenzollern was the last Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire. He was known as Kronprinz Wilhelm (Crown Prince William).

Wilhelm served in the Imperial German Army during World War I. After Germany's defeat, the Crown Prince was forced to abdicate along with the rest of his family.

Wilhelm spent most of the remainder of his life trying reinstate of the Hohenzollerns to the throne. To this end, Wilhelm initially supported Adolf Hitler. However, when Wilhelm's oldest son (also named Wilhelm) was killed in battle in 1940, public grieving in Germany convinced Hitler that the Royal Family posed a threat to his own rule, and so sidelined Wilhelm.

At the end of World War II, Wilhelm was briefly imprisoned by the French for alleged war crimes of World War I. He was transferred to house arrest due to poor health, but the charges were ultimately not pursued. He spent his last years in Hechingen.

Wilhelm in Curious NotionsEdit

In an alternate designated as "3477" by Crosstime Traffic, Wilhelm III reigned as German Emperor in the mid 20th century, succeeding his father Wilhelm II and preceding his son Wilhelm IV.

Literary commentEdit

This is a bit speculative, as Wilhelm III is never mentioned in the text. However, the references to Wilhelm II and Wilhelm IV indicate that a Wilhelm III reigned in between. Given the time frame, there is little doubt that this individual held that title.

Wilhelm in "Uncle Alf"Edit

The German Crown Prince was a target of the hateful slanders being spewed by French agitator Jacques Doriot in 1929.[1]

Wilhelm in Southern VictoryEdit

Wilhelm III became Germany's Emperor and Prussia's King in 1941 at the age of 59, upon the death of his father Wilhelm II.[2] Prior to his ascension to the throne, Wilhelm made it his mission to maintain good relations with Germany's principal ally, the United States. As Kaiser, Wilhelm III lead his country through the Second Great War.

As Crown Prince Wilhelm after the Great War, Wilhelm took an active role in his country's diplomacy. He made an official state visit to the United States aboard the Kronprinz Wilhelm in an effort to shore up relations between the two principal members of the Central Powers, which had grown somewhat frosty in the wake of the Great War. Both countries had become aware of the growing threat of the Entente as they slid towards revanchism, however, and Wilhelm personally sought to thaw German-American ties.[3]

Upon ascending to the throne, Wilhelm III was bombarded with a series of ultimata from Britain, France, and Russia, seeing the death of his father as the opportunity reverse the terms imposed on them by Germany in 1917. Wilhelm III refused their demands, and the Second Great War began.[4]

If the Entente had hoped the new Kaiser would be unprepared for war, they underestimated him. After some initial setbacks, German forces stabilized their fronts, then pushed back against their invaders. The Kaiser's deft diplomacy won him a number of minor allies across Europe, including Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Ukraine, and Poland. And he compiled a team of world-renowned physicists headed by Albert Einstein to begin a superbomb project at an undisclosed location. In late 1943, he threatened Britain, France, and Russia with "unprecedented destruction" if they did not capitulate soon. Germany also shared information about their superbomb project with the U.S. government.

In 1944, his government made good on that threat, destroying Petrograd in Russia, Paris in France, and the British cities of London, Brighton and Norwich. While Britain was able to destroy Hamburg with a superbomb of their own, a British attack was thwarted over Belgium. Badly bloodied, all three capitulated.[5]

Wilhelm maintained a partnership with the United States in the aftermath of the war, and agreed to help enforce the doctrine set forth by President Thomas E. Dewey, to restrict the spread of superbombs.[6]

Literary CommentEdit

This character may be the center of a substantial historical error on Harry Turtledove's part. Upon his ascension in The Victorious Opposition, he is announced as Friedrich I of Germany and Friedrich Wilhelm V of Prussia. However, the historical figure Wilhelm, Crown Prince of Germany, repeatedly stated that he would have taken the reign name Wilhelm III had the German Monarchy remained in power. While the Crown Prince's first name was Friedrich, even if he chose to call himself that upon his ascension, or, if the character is meant to be a fictional son of Wilhelm II, he could not have been Friedrich I, but would instead have been Friedrich IV, as there had already been a Kaiser named Friedrich III. There also does not appear to have been a tradition of the German Emperor using a different name in his role as King of Prussia.

In Return Engagement, Turtledove further muddies the waters by calling this character "Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm".  As Turtledove only refers to this character as 'the Kaiser' for the remainder of the Settling Accounts series, there are no additional clues available to the reader as to the character's identity. The administrators of this wiki have decided that the reign name Friedrich is in error, and thus have chosen to list him as Wilhelm III, the name under which he most likely would have reigned.


  1. Alternate Generals II, p. 87, Atlantis and Other Places, p. 349.
  2. The Victorious Opposition, pg. 605.
  3. The Center Cannot Hold, pgs. 126-127.
  4. The Victorious Opposition, pgs. 606-607.
  5. See, Settling Accounts, generally.
  6. Ibid. pgs. 593-595.
Regnal titles
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Wilhelm II
King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany
Succeeded by
Incumbent at series' end, 1945
Regnal titles
(Fictional Work)
Preceded by
Wilhelm II
Emperor of Germany
(Curious Notions)

Succeeded by
Wilhelm IV