Reclusive Prince

August Wilhelm Heinrich Günther Viktor was born in the Potsdamer Stadtschloss on 29 January 1887 and was the fourth son of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, and Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

August Wilhelm grew up in the Neues Palais in Potsdam with his siblings and was educated at the Prinzenhaus in Plön. August Wilhelm later attended the universities of Bonn, Berlin and Strasbourg, however he was said to have achieved his doctorate in political science in 1907 under dubious circumstances.

August Wilhelm married his cousin, Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, on 22 October 1908 at the Berliner Stadtschloss and their only child, Alexander Ferdinand, was born on 26 December 1912. The marriage was not a happy one though as August Wilhelm was rumoured to have been homosexual and was said to have had a longterm relationship with his personal adjutant Hans Georg von Mackensen. August Wilhelm and Alexandra Victoria separated after the end of the First World War and formally divorced on 16 March 1920. August Wilhelm won sole custody of his son and lived a reclusive life in Potsdam where he took drawing lessons.

As Nazism began to rise in Germany, August Wilhelm joined the Nazi Party on 1 April 1930 much to the horror of his father who despised Hitler and he was accepted into the paramilitary with the rank of Standartenführer a year later. August Wilhelm was often ridiculed in the press for his devotion to Hitler and the Nazis used his position as a former Prussian prince to attract votes in the election of April 1932. August Wilhelm made speeches saying Hitler was the best thing for the German people and the German Empire. However, August Wilhelm was harbouring hopes Hitler would restore the monarchy and place either August Wilhelm or his son on the throne.

Once the Nazis had won the election, August Wilhelm was no longer useful to them and they began to bar his access to Hitler though this did nothing to disillusion him. On 30 June 1939, August Wilhelm was made an Obergruppenführer, the second highest rank in the SA, but after making derogatory remarks about Joseph Goebbels, he lost his position in 1942. When the Russians began to march on Berlin, August Wilhelm took refuge with his aunt, Margaret of Prussia, in Kronberg.

On 8 May 1945, August Wilhelm was arrested by American soldiers and was held in Ludwigsburg internment camp until he was tried in 1948. August Wilhelm received a two year sentence but was considered to have served it due to the long time he had already spent at the internment camp. August Wilhelm’s troubles weren’t over though as a new arrest warrant was issued by a court in Potsdam, however he became ill soon after and died on 25 March 1949 in a Stuttgart hospital.