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Friday 21 May 2010

The Kaiser's Sons

The Kaiser's sons were an interesting group of men, weren't they? There are strange parallels with the sons of Britain's George V. An eldest Crown Prince/Prince of Wales who clashed endlessly with his father; a lonely young man who became overweight to compensate for his sense of being misunderstood; a son who contracted a morganatic marriage (around the time the Kaiser was visiting Franz Ferdinand, whose morganatic marriage was such a burden to him); a son who suffered a nervous breakdown (or shell shock??) during World War I; a son who was gay and a son who became addicted to alcohol and gambling (and eventually killed himself). It's endlessly fascinating the way that family patterns work out in the next generation and the next and the next until someone breaks the chain and says, "Enough!".

For any soldier serving in World War I, the horrendousness of the situation must have been unbearable but that trauma must have been multiplied for a son of the Kaiser, coming home to a country in turmoil, and all you once believed and lived being swept away in so short a time. Imagine being the son of a man who was such a bundle of contradictions, who envied you and maybe loved you and played you off as a pawn against your grandmother and then whose throne was swept away and all you had been brought up to believe would one day be yours had suddenly turned to dust!

What's fascinating, though, is that the children of Tsar Nicholas II had a father who simply loved them and had nothing to prove. George V and Kaiser Wilhelm had major 'hang-ups' and their children seemed to bear the brunt of it....Family patterns, following family rules - so much 'stuff' being placed on the shoulders of the next generation - from a psychological point-of-view it is endlessly absorbing and there is so much to learn....


Isabela said...

Very interesting. I recognized CP Wilhelm, Eitel, Auwi, Oskar & Joachim... But who suffered a nervous breakdown? Adalbert?

Can you could get more deeply in this post? I am curious about the sons of Wilhelm II.

Christina said...

Thank you, Isabela. I am not an expert on the Kaiser's sons as I am mainly interested in their relationships with the Kaiser.
Oskar suffered from shell shock/a nervous breakdown in 1915 and was prevented from returning to the front line for some time...though he did eventually return to his regiment.
Crown Prince Wilhelm's memoirs are very interesting. His understandable bitterness is so apparent and I feel that history has treated him (and his father) very unjustly!