Spotlight on Prof. Frank Müller
November 1, 2013 Leave a comment
Growing up in West-Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, Frank Müller dedicated his youth to preparing for the West’s eventual victory in the Cold War and dodging the potential ill effects of a Jesuit education. He returned to the divided city after a year spent as a sixth-former in Bristol in time to witness the disintegration of East Germany, but sadly slept through the night of 9 November 1989 and instead watched the falling of the Berlin Wall on television the following day.
Thoroughly bitten by the British bug he went on to study for a joint degree in History and English at the Free University in Berlin and at Oxford. He returned to England’s First University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1996 to write a doctorate on British perceptions of 19th-century Germany under the direction of Professor Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann. Having published his thesis as a monograph (Britain and the German Question: Perceptions of Nationalism and Political Reform, 1830-1863) he stayed in Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow for another two years to write a book on the revolution of 1848/49 in the German lands (Die Revolution von 1848/49) before travelling north to join the School of History at St Andrews in 2002.
Over the last ten years Frank has remained faithful to the 19th century, focusing on issues such as the militarisation of the German national movement, the politics of memory (“Geschichtspolitik”) in Imperial Germany and, more recently, on biography and monarchy. In 2011 he published a life of the ill-fated German emperor Frederick III (Our Fritz. Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany, Harvard University Press), which has also been translated into German. It is important to note, though, that the book would make an excellent present for speakers of any language!
Currently, Frank is engaged in leading an AHRC-funded project, ‘Heirs to the Throne’, on the roles played by royal heirs in the constitutional monarchies of 19th-century Europe. Research on the last kings of Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg will take him on a tour of German capitals in 2014, but he has also a special interest in the education of heirs to the throne in Britain and Prussia between the 1850s and the First World War.
True to Germanic form Frank has, over the years, been relentless in bringing ruthless efficiency to any number of administrative roles across the School and the Faculty (Director of Teaching, Director of Postgraduates, Chair of Modern History, Pro Dean for the William & Mary Programme). Following his recent naturalisation as a British citizen, however, he has changed his ways and now greatly enjoys spending more time with his research, his fine troupe of PhD students and doing some teaching. Frank’s modules mainly reflect his interest in 19th-century European history and cover topics such as Bismarck (MO4936), British and German foreign policy (MO3323, MO3317), militarism (MO3712), Kaiser Wilhelm II (MO3329) and the 1848 revolutions (MO3318).
Frank has always studiously avoided active participation in sports and finds it hard to explain why his two sons appear to enjoy various forms of physical activity so much. Many decades ago Frank was a fairly competent trumpeter and even made some money playing in the “W.C. Blues Band” which used to rehearse in the converted toilet block of a Berlin primary school. Sometimes he toys with the idea of taking it up again, but inertia usually gets the better of him.