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BlenheimSpaniel 10-23-2011 12:48 PM

Hitler, the Hohenzollerns and WWII
 
What did the German people think of the German Royal Family during WWII?

Hello,

I'm trying to find out what the general attitude among the German people was to the German Royal Family between the wars, and especially during the Second World War?
I know that Kaiser Wilhelm was forced to retire, and went into exile in Holland; however, I have also read that many placed the blame for the loss of the First World War on the "November Criminals" -- politicians, Jews, etc.

So what did the German people think of the Kaiser and his descendants? Were they patriotic, indifferent, or hostile towards them?

All responses are appreciated. Thanks very much for your time! :)

fearghas 10-24-2011 02:46 AM

I think you need to read Royals and teh Reich by Jonathon Petropolis
http://www.amazon.com/Royals-Reich-P.../dp/0195161335
While it is about the support that many german royals gave Nazism, it does give some good insights into how the various german royals were regarded by the general population before and during the war.

dsalerno5 12-31-2013 11:57 AM

Hitler and the Hohenzollern family
 
I read somewhere that had the allies not gotten rid of the Prussian and Hohenzollern monarchies after world war 1, hitler would never have been able to rise to power. Anyone have any thoughts/insights into this topic?

orrinhoover 04-01-2014 12:48 PM

I suspect dsalerno5 is right... President Wilson, while admirable in his desire to make the world safe for democracy, as delineated in his Fourteen Points, was ultimately proved naive. He was double crossed by his colony-hungry allies in Britain and France and by his own Congress. The Allies refused to negotiate with the Kaiser and insisted upon self determination among the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was fracturing anyhow. With both of those emperors gone, a huge power vacuum was created, into which Hitler was able to waltz with relative ease, being democratically elected. The German people were not prepared to live in a democratic republic. That had never been their tradition. An example of that is Russia today under Putin... he has steadily chipped away at Russian "democracy" because that is a system the Russian people are unfamiliar with. Thus, they are devolving back into a popular and familiar authoritarianism. I think the Allies learned their lesson after World War I when at the end of World War II, the Japanese were allowed to retain their monarchy, albeit as a mere ceremonial institution. They realized the power of the symbolism of the Imperial Institution. The retention of the monarchy in Japan I think had a calming effect on the post war reconstruction and democratization; that and having MacArthur as an American "Shogun" guiding them along. A modern example of how a monarchy has smoothed a transition from dictatorship to democracy is Spain under King Juan Carlos. In 1918, had the Allies permitted the Germans and the Austrians to retain their monarchies, the history of the 20th century may have been very, very different.

Pranter 04-01-2014 01:51 PM

I think you'd need to go back to pre WWI and forward to get a good feel for the relationship between the people and the German royalty.

I have a friend who's area of specialty is WWII ...will have to ask him what he thinks about this. Interesting question.


LaRae

MarcosFenn 04-02-2014 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pranter (Post 1653043)
I think you'd need to go back to pre WWI and forward to get a good feel for the relationship between the people and the German royalty.

I have a friend who's area of specialty is WWII ...will have to ask him what he thinks about this. Interesting question.


LaRae

Another aspect is that, while Germany lost its Imperial House in 1918, the House had reigned only since 1871 over the whole of Germany; previously — and in many cases for centuries also — each area of Germany had its own local ruling dynasty.

Local loyalties thus ran deep in Germany; and since 1648 (Treaty of Westphalia) local rulers defined their subjects' religion according to the principle: cuius regio, eius religio.

So having had one reigning dynasty over the whole of Germany was merely one, rather short-lived, aspect of various, deep-seated loyalties in various parts of Germany, with religion an important part of this.

Pranter 04-02-2014 05:58 PM

Yes you can go back to the capture of Richard the Lionheart and see how that multiple rulers played out as an example of what you mention. The Germans of the early 20th century barely had time to get to know the ruling family of a united Germany.


LaRae

Moonmaiden23 04-02-2014 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orrinhoover (Post 1653030)
I suspect dsalerno5 is right... President Wilson, while admirable in his desire to make the world safe for democracy, as delineated in his Fourteen Points, was ultimately proved naive. He was double crossed by his colony-hungry allies in Britain and France and by his own Congress. The Allies refused to negotiate with the Kaiser and insisted upon self determination among the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was fracturing anyhow. With both of those emperors gone, a huge power vacuum was created, into which Hitler was able to waltz with relative ease, being democratically elected. The German people were not prepared to live in a democratic republic. That had never been their tradition. An example of that is Russia today under Putin... he has steadily chipped away at Russian "democracy" because that is a system the Russian people are unfamiliar with. Thus, they are devolving back into a popular and familiar authoritarianism. I think the Allies learned their lesson after World War I when at the end of World War II, the Japanese were allowed to retain their monarchy, albeit as a mere ceremonial institution. They realized the power of the symbolism of the Imperial Institution. The retention of the monarchy in Japan I think had a calming effect on the post war reconstruction and democratization; that and having MacArthur as an American "Shogun" guiding them along. A modern example of how a monarchy has smoothed a transition from dictatorship to democracy is Spain under King Juan Carlos. In 1918, had the Allies permitted the Germans and the Austrians to retain their monarchies, the history of the 20th century may have been very, very different.

Excellent, excellent post, thank you. Very sobering to think about the flip side of Woodrow Wilson's misguided(perhaps) idealism. :sad:

MarcosFenn 04-02-2014 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 (Post 1653335)
Excellent, excellent post, thank you. Very sobering to think about the flip side of Woodrow Wilson's misguided(perhaps) idealism. :sad:

Interestingly, states such as Lithuania, which emerged as independent states at the end of World War One, became republics, although in the case of Lithuania, under the German Empire, Monaco-born King Mindaugas reigned for a few months before the Armistice.

Mindaugas was dispensed with. Poland, which also re-emerged as a state at the end of World War One, and Lithuania then proceeded to start fighting each other.

Pranter 04-03-2014 08:15 AM

War, unfortunately, is the nature of man. It seems we learn little from the past.


LaRae

Marengo 12-17-2014 07:24 AM

Der Spiegel published a conclusion by historians in September, which said that Crown Prince Wilhelm promoted the coming to power of Hitler. The historians were hired by the state of Brandenburg to research the complaint of the Hohenzollerns against the state. In 1991 they started a law suit for the return of their properties. The conclusion is said to weaken their claim.

Prinz mit Schuss. Verhalf Kronprinz Wilhelm 1933 Hitler an die Macht? Von der Antwort hängt eine Millionenentschädigung an die Hohenzollern ab | pressespiegel.

http://www.rbb-online.de/politik/bei...014/09/Medienb

Andy T 12-17-2014 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orrinhoover (Post 1653030)
I suspect dsalerno5 is right... President Wilson, while admirable in his desire to make the world safe for democracy, as delineated in his Fourteen Points, was ultimately proved naive. He was double crossed by his colony-hungry allies in Britain and France and by his own Congress. The Allies refused to negotiate with the Kaiser and insisted upon self determination among the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was fracturing anyhow. With both of those emperors gone, a huge power vacuum was created, into which Hitler was able to waltz with relative ease, being democratically elected. The German people were not prepared to live in a democratic republic. That had never been their tradition. An example of that is Russia today under Putin... he has steadily chipped away at Russian "democracy" because that is a system the Russian people are unfamiliar with. Thus, they are devolving back into a popular and familiar authoritarianism. I think the Allies learned their lesson after World War I when at the end of World War II, the Japanese were allowed to retain their monarchy, albeit as a mere ceremonial institution. They realized the power of the symbolism of the Imperial Institution. The retention of the monarchy in Japan I think had a calming effect on the post war reconstruction and democratization; that and having MacArthur as an American "Shogun" guiding them along. A modern example of how a monarchy has smoothed a transition from dictatorship to democracy is Spain under King Juan Carlos. In 1918, had the Allies permitted the Germans and the Austrians to retain their monarchies, the history of the 20th century may have been very, very different.

It was none other than Winston Churchill who argued "If the Allies at the peace table at Versailles had allowed a Hohenzollern, a Wittelsbach and a Habsburg to return to their thrones, there would have been no Hitler. A democratic basis of society might have been preserved by a crowned Weimar in contact with the victorious Allies.” in the aftermath of the Second World War (26th April 1946).

I think it's really hard to decide how much the downfall of the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns was due to internal developments before Versailles and how much was the result of the agenda of the victors. In the case of the Hapsburgs, I think a break-up of the Empire was inevitable but a Kingdom of Austria or even Hungary could have been salvaged from the ashes of defeat. Emperor Karl I was potentially a dependable ally for the victorious powers and had he been retained (and had he lived longer), he would have been quite a counterweight to the ambitions of those who wished to achieve union with Germany, I think, enabling Austria to transition to a full democracy.

The funerals of many ex-Monarchs in Germany in the 1920s, most notably those of Ludwig III of Bavaria and Empress Augusta, demonstrate that strong monarchist sentiment remained after the dissolution of the empire, supporting Churchill's argument.

Nonetheless, the Hohenzollerns pose more of a problem in that neither the Kaiser nor the Crown Prince could realistically be looked upon as reliable partners post-1918. Perhaps if the German Empire had been dissolved in favour of a return to a more rationalised form of the pre-1866 status quo, the result would have been a more stable, less threatening Germany with its Kingdoms and Grand Duchies providing a focus for loyalty and the reconstruction of a new identity. However, I doubt if this would have been acceptable to the German people themselves in the age of nationalism and the nation state and who is to say whether a fragmented Germany would have been more easily overrun by the 'communist' juggernaut, a fate that nearly befell Hungary.

I don't think Wilson "got" Europe - and he's not the last US President to have that failing. Advocating universal human rights is a noble cause but it doesn't necessarily follow that the ideal framework for their promotion can be the same in every culture or society. The US and the French pushed for the republican ideal as this corresponded with their image of democracy but, as we know, it's far from being the only one, and it could be argued that many of the surviving monarchies in Europe are more democratic than, say, the French or Italian Republics. Besides, as orrinhoover points out, although three defeated empires fell, the three victorious ones did very nicely out of the war, thank you very much, in terms of acquiring new colonies/mandates and/or greater economic/political influence.


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