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Encyclopedia > Wilhelm II of Germany
Wilhelm II German Emperor and King of Prussia
Wilhelm II
German Emperor and King of Prussia
German Royalty
House of Hohenzollern

Wilhelm I (1861-1888)
Children
   Friedrich III
   Princess Louise
Friedrich III (1888)
Children
   Wilhelm II
   Princess Charlotte
   Prince Heinrich
   Prince Sigismund
   Princess Viktoria
   Prince Waldemar
   Princess Sophie
   Princess Margarete
Grandchildren
   Prince Waldemar
   Prince Sigismund
   Prince Heinrich Viktor
Wilhelm II (1888-1918)
Children
   Crown Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Eitel Friederich
   Prince Adalbert
   Prince August Wilhelm
   Prince Oskar
   Prince Joachim
   Princess Viktoria Luise
Grandchildren
   Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Louis Ferdinand
   Prince Hubertus
   Prince Friedrich
   Princess Alexandrine
   Princess Cecilie
   Princess Victoria Marina
   Prince Wilhem Victor
   Prince Alexander Ferdinand
   Prince Oskar
   Prince Burchard
   Princess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie
   Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Karl
Great Grandchildren
   Prince Friedrich Wilhelm
   Prince Michael
   Princess Marie-Cécile
   Princess Kira
   Prince Louis Ferdinand
   Prince Christian-Sigismund
   Princess Xenia
   Princess Anastasia Victoria
   Princess Marie Christine
   Prince Frederick Nicholas
   Prince William Andrew
   Princess Victoria Marina
   Prince Rupert
   Princess Antonia
Great-Great Grandchildren
   Prince Georg Friedrich
   Princess Cornelie-Cécile

German Emperor Wilhelm (born Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht, Prince of Prussia 27 January 18594 June 1941), was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia (de: Deutscher Kaiser und König von Preußen), ruling from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. Some English-language biographies anglicize his name as William II, or in full, Frederick William Victor Albert of Hohenzollern. Image File history File links Willi. ... Image File history File links Willi. ... The House of Hohenzollern is a German dynasty of electors, kings, and emperors of Prussia, Germany, and Romania. ... This image depicts a seal, an emblem, a coat of arms or a crest. ... Wilhelm I of Germany (March 22, 1797 – March 9, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser), ruled January 18, 1871 – 9 March 1888 and King of Prussia, ruled 2 January 1861 – 9 March 1888. ... Friedrich III (October 18, 1831 – June 15, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruled 1888. ... Princess Louise of Prussia (December 3, 1838–April 23, 1923) was the second child and only daughter of Wilhelm I of Germany and Augusta of Saxe-Weimar. ... Friedrich III (October 18, 1831 – June 15, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruled 1888. ... Victoria Elizabeth Augusta Charlotte, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen (24 July 1860-1 October 1919) was the second child born to Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia and Princess Victoria. ... Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia, known as Prince Heinrich (August 14, 1862 in Berlin – April 20, 1929 in Hemmelmark, Schleswig-Holstein) was a younger brother of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Her Royal Highness Princess Viktoria of Prussia was the daughter of Frederick III of Germany (1831-1888) and his wife, the former Princess Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901) daughter of Queen Victoria. ... Prince Waldemar (Joachim Friedrich Ernst Waldemar) (February 10, 1868–March 27, 1879) was the sixth child of Crown Prince Friedrich III (later Emperor Friedrich III), and Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain, a daughter of the British Queen Victoria. ... Sophie of Prussia (June 14, 1870–January 13, 1932), was queen consort of King Constantine I of Greece. ... Princess Margarete of Prussia (Margarete Beatrice Feodora) (April 22, 1872–January 22, 1954) was the youngest child of Crown Prince Friedrich III (later Emperor Friedrich III), and Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain, a daughter of the British Queen Victoria. ... Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia (6 May 1882 - 20 July 1916), Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor August Ernst Kronprinz von Preussen, was born 6 May 1882 at Marmorpalais, Potsdam, Germany. ... Prince Eitel Friederich (July 7, 1883–December 8, 1942) was a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Adalbert (July 14, 1884–September 22, 1948) was a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Augustus Wilhelm (January 29, 1887–March 25, 1949), called Auwi, was the fourth son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Oskar of Prussia (July 27, 1888–January 27, 1958) was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Joachim Franz Humbert of Prussia (17 December 1890-18 July 1920) was the youngest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, by his first wife, Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein-Augustenburg. ... Princess Viktoria Luise (13 September 1892–11 December 1980), Duchess of Brunswick-Luneburg, was the seventh child and the only daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Viktoria. ... Prince Louis Ferdinand with his family Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (German: Ludwig Ferdinand Viktor Eduard Albert Michael Hubertus Prinz von Preussen) (November 9, 1907 - September 26, 1994), a member of the Hohenzollern family, was the pretender to the abolished German monarchy, opponent of the National Socialist German Workers Party... Prince Hubertus Karl Wilhelm of Prussia (September 30, 1909–April 8, 1950), was the second son of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Cecilie, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. ... Prince Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Christoph of Prussia (December 19, 1911–April 20, 1966), was the son of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Cecilie, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. ... Princess Kira of Prussia (Kira Auguste Viktoria Feiederike) (June 27, 1943 in Kadyny - January 10, 2004 in Berlin) was the fourth child and second daughter of Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia and Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia. ... Prince Louis Ferdinand Oskar of Prussia (25 August 1944–11 July 1977) (German: Ludwig Ferdinand Oskar Christian Prinz von Preußen), also called Louis Ferdinand II, or Louis Ferdinand jr. ... Princess Victoria Marina Cecilie (b. ... Princess Antonia of Prussia, Marchioness of Douro (b. ... Prince Georg Friedrich Ferdinand of Prussia, (German: Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preußen) (born June 10, 1976) is the current head of the royal house of Prussia and the imperial house of Germany. ... January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1859 (MDCCCLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar). ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... An emperor is a (male) monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. ... Look up monarch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (German: Preußen or Preussen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: Prusai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of Russia and... German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ... Kaiser is the German title meaning Emperor, derived from the Roman title of Caesar, as is the Slavic title of Tsar. ... June 15 is the 166th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (167th in leap years), with 199 days remaining. ... 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. ... November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 52 days remaining. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... English is a West Germanic language which is the dominant language in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Republic of Ireland, many Commonwealth nations including Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and other former British colonies, particularly in the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

Contents


Early life and background

Young Prince Wilhelm with his mother, Victoria, and younger brother, Heinrich.
Young Prince Wilhelm with his mother, Victoria, and younger brother, Heinrich.

Wilhelm was born in Berlin to Crown Prince Friedrich and his wife, Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom. His mother was the aunt of Russian Empress Alexandra (wife of Tsar Nicholas II), and sister of British King Edward VII. A traumatic breech birth left him with a withered left arm due to Erb's Palsy, which he tried with some success to conceal. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (638x956, 175 KB) Licensing This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (638x956, 175 KB) Licensing This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... HRH The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal (later German Empress Frederick) Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (nee Her Royal Highness The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain and Ireland) (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise), (21 November 1840-5 August 1901) was Empress of Germany and Queen of Prussia. ... Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia, known as Prince Heinrich (August 14, 1862 in Berlin – April 20, 1929 in Hemmelmark, Schleswig-Holstein) was a younger brother of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. ... For other uses, see Berlin (disambiguation). ... Friedrich III (October 18, 1831 – June 15, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruled 1888. ... Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise (21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901) was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and her consort Albert. ... Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (1872-1918) Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (German: Victoria Alix Helene Luise Beatrice Prinzessin von Hessen und bei Rhein) or Saint Alexandra, 6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918, under the title Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (Russian: Императрица Александра Фёдоровна), was Empress consort of Russia. ... Nicholas II of Russia (18 May 1868 - 17 July 1918) (Russian: (Nikolai II)) was the last Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. ... Edward VII (Albert Edward) (9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of the Commonwealth Realms, and the Emperor of India. ... Breech, by W.Smellie, 1792 A breech birth (also known as breech presentation) refers to the position of the baby in the uterus such that it will be delivered buttocks first as opposed to the normal head first position. ... Erbs Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, is a condition which mainly due to birth trauma can affect 1 or all of the 5 primary nerves that supply the movement and feeling to an arm. ...


Recent analysis of records of his birth in the Imperial Archives have also suggested that he may have experienced some brain trauma, possibly leading to damage. Historians are divided on whether such a mental incapacity may have contributed to his frequently aggressive, tactless, headstrong, and occasionally bullying approach to problems and people, which was evident in both his personal and political life. Such an approach certainly marred German policy under his leadership, most notably in his dismissal of the cautious Otto von Bismarck. He also had a very difficult relationship with his mother, who was somewhat cold towards him and whose guilt over his deformity led her to try to "beat" it out of him through a regimen of rigorous exercise. It is interesting that, given her English origins, Victoria did much to instill in her son a sense of British supremacy in many respects. She insisted on calling her sons by their Anglicised names - thus "Wilhelm" was known as "William", and her second son "Heinrich" was called "Henry". The future Kaiser harboured mixed feelings for Britain and the British throughout his life, many of which may be traced to this very early stage of his development. Bismarck redirects here. ...

Wilhelm II In this photo, one hand is holding the withered one, concealing it. In many other photos he carries a pair of white gloves in his left hand to make the arm seem longer, or has his crippled arm on the hilt of a sword or clutching a cane to give the effect of the limb being poised at a dignified angle.
Wilhelm II In this photo, one hand is holding the withered one, concealing it. In many other photos he carries a pair of white gloves in his left hand to make the arm seem longer, or has his crippled arm on the hilt of a sword or clutching a cane to give the effect of the limb being poised at a dignified angle.

Wilhelm was educated at Kassel at the Friedrichsgymnasium and the University of Bonn. Wilhelm was possessed of a quick intelligence, but unfortunately this was often overshadowed by a cantankerous temper. Wilhelm also took a certain interest in the science and technology of the age, but though he liked to pose, in conversation, as a man of the world, he remained convinced that he belonged to a distinct order of mankind, designated for monarchy by the grace of God. Wilhelm was accused of megalomania as early as 1894, by German pacifist Ludwig Quidde. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, c. ... Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, c. ... Watershed of the river Weser Kassel (until 1926 officially Cassel) is a city situated along the Fulda River, one of the two sources of the Weser river, in northern Hessen in west-central Germany. ... A gymnasium (pronounced /gim-/ as opposed to /jim-/) is a type of school of secondary education in parts of Europe. ... The main building, viewed from the Hofgarten. ... Places where monarchies maintain rule appear in blue. ... The Divine Right of Kings is a European political and religious doctrine of political absolutism. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Narcissistic personality disorder. ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Ludwig Quidde Ludwig Quidde (March 23, 1858 – March 4, 1941) was a German pacifist who is mainly remembered today for his acerbic criticism of German Emperor Wilhelm II. Quiddes long career spanned four different eras of German history: that of Bismarck (up to 1890); the Hohenzollern Empire under Wilhelm...


As a scion of the royal house of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was also exposed from an early age to the military society of the Prussian aristocracy. It hardly needs to be said that this was to be a major part of his life, and in maturity Wilhelm was to be seen out of uniform very infrequently. The hyper-masculine military culture of Prussia in this period did much to frame Wilhelm's political ideals as well as his personal relationships.


Wilhelm's relationship with the male members of his family was equally as interesting as that with his mother. Crown Prince Friedrich was viewed by his son with a deeply-felt love and respect. His father's status as a hero of the wars of unification was largely responsible for the young Wilhelm’s attitude, as in the circumstances in which he was raised, close emotional contact between father and son was not encouraged. Later, as he came into contact with the Crown Prince's political opponents, Wilhelm came to adopt more ambivalent feelings toward his father, given the perceived influence of Wilhelm's mother over a figure who should have been possessed of masculine independence and strength.


Wilhelm also idolised his grandfather, Wilhelm I, and he was instrumental in later attempts to foster a cult of the first German Emperor as "Wilhelm the Great". Wilhelm I died in Berlin on March 9, 1888, and Prince Wilhelm's father was subsequently proclaimed emperor as Friedrich III. Wilhelm's father was dying of throat cancer, and on 15th June of that same year his 29 year-old son succeeded him as German Emperor and King of Prussia. Wilhelm I of Germany (March 22, 1797 – March 9, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser), ruled January 18, 1871 – 9 March 1888 and King of Prussia, ruled 2 January 1861 – 9 March 1888. ... March 9 is the 68th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (69th in Leap years). ... 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. ... Friedrich III (October 18, 1831 – June 15, 1888), German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruled 1888. ...


1888-1900—social and political

Although in his youth he had been a great admirer of Otto von Bismarck, Wilhelm's characteristic impatience soon brought him into conflict with the "Iron Chancellor", the dominant figure in the foundation of his empire. He was very ambitious and militaristic and a threat to other countries. Furthermore, the young emperor had come to the throne with the determination that he was going to rule as well as reign, unlike his grandfather, who had largely been content to leave day-to-day administration to the brilliant Bismarck. Bismarck redirects here. ...


Early conflicts between Wilhelm II and his chancellor soon poisoned the relationship between the two men. Bismarck believed that Wilhelm was a lightweight who could be dominated, and he showed scant respect for Wilhelm's ambitions in the late 1880s. Following an attempt by Bismarck to implement a far-reaching anti-Socialist law in early 1890, the final split between monarch and statesman occurred soon after. Wilhelm was unwilling to open his reign with a wholesale massacre of striking industrial workers, and he dismissed Bismarck in March of 1890. Alternate meanings: See Bismarck (disambiguation). ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ...


Wilhelm appointed Leo Graf von Caprivi in Bismarck's place, who in turn was replaced by Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst in 1894. In appointing Caprivi and then Hohenlohe, Wilhelm was embarking upon what is known to history as "the New Course", in which he hoped to exert decisive influence in the government of the empire. There is debate amongst historians as to the precise degree to which Wilhelm succeeded in implementing "personal rule" in this era, but what is clear is the very different dynamic which existed between the crown and its chief political servant (the chancellor) in the "Wilhelmine" period. These chancellors were senior civil servants and not seasoned politician-statesmen like Bismarck. Wilhelm wanted to preclude the emergence of another Iron Chancellor, whom he ultimately detested as being "a boorish old killjoy" who had not permitted any minister to see the emperor except in his presence, keeping a stranglehold on effective political power. Upon his enforced retirement and until his dying day, Bismarck was to become a bitter critic of Wilhelm's policies, but without the support of the supreme arbiter of all political appointments (the emperor) there was little chance of Bismarck exerting a decisive influence on policy. Count Leo von Caprivi (February 24, 1831–February 6, 1899) was a German major general and statesman, who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of the German Empire, serving between 1890 and 1894. ... Prince Chlodwig Karl Victor zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (31 March 1819–6 July 1901) was a German statesman and Chancellor of the German Empire. ...


Something which Bismarck was able to effect was the creation of the "Bismarck myth". This was a view - which some would argue was confirmed by subsequent events - that with the dismissal of the Iron Chancellor, Wilhelm II effectively destroyed any chance Germany had of stable and effective government. In this view, Wilhelm's "New Course" was characterised far more as the German ship of state going out of control, eventually leading through a series of crises to the carnage of the First and Second World Wars. In reality, Wilhelm was probably correct to dismiss a man whose political abilities were on the wane, and who had become dangerously confrontational towards socialist elements within the Reich. Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... (help· info) (), is the German word for realm or empire, cognate with Scandinavian rike/rige, Dutch rijk and English ric as found in bishopric. ...


1900-1914—social and political

Following the dismissal of Hohenlohe in 1900, Wilhelm appointed the man who he regarded as "his own Bismarck", Prince Bernhard von Bülow. Wilhelm hoped that in Bülow, he had found a man who would combine the ability of the Iron Chancellor with the respect for Wilhelm's wishes which would allow the empire to be governed as he saw fit. Bülow had already been identified by Wilhelm as possessing this potential, and many historians regard his appointment as chancellor as being merely the conclusion of a long "grooming" process. Over the succeeding decade however, Wilhelm became disillusioned with his choice, and following Bülow's opposition to the Emperor over the "Daily Telegraph Affair" of 1908 (see below) and on other issues, Wilhelm dismissed him in favour of Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg in 1909. Prince Bernhard Heinrich Karl Martin von Bülow (May 3, 1849–October 28, 1929) was a German statesman who served as Chancellor of the German Empire from 1900 to 1909. ... Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (November 29, 1856–January 1, 1921) was a German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor of the German Empire from 1909 to 1917. ...


Bethmann was a career bureaucrat, at whose family home Wilhelm had stayed as a youth. Wilhelm especially came to show great respect for Bethmann-Hollweg, acknowledging the latter's superior foresight in matters of internal governance, though he disagreed with certain of Bethmann's policies, such as his attempts at the reform of the Prussian electoral laws. However, it was only reluctantly that he parted ways with Bethmann-Hollweg in 1917, after three years of World War I. An elector can be: In the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, the collegiate of seven Electors (eight since 1648) (Kurfürsten) consisted of those lay or clerical princes who had the right to vote in the election of the king or Holy Roman Emperor; see prince-elector. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total of dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First...


Wilhelm's involvement in the domestic sphere was more limited in the early twentieth century than it had been in the first years of his reign. In part, this was due to the appointment of Bülow and Bethmann - arguably both men of greater force of character than Wilhelm's earlier chancellors - but also because of his increasing interest in foreign affairs.


1888-1914—foreign policy

German foreign policy under Wilhelm II was faced with a number of significant problems. Perhaps the most apparent was that Wilhelm, by nature an impatient man, subjective in his reactions and affected strongly by sentiment and impulse, was personally ill-equipped to steer German foreign policy along a rational course. This weakness also made him vulnerable to manipulation by interests within the German foreign policy elite, as subsequent events were to prove.


Following his dismissal of Bismarck, Wilhelm and his new chancellor became aware of the existence of the secret Reinsurance Treaty with the Russian empire, which Bismarck had concluded in 1887. Wilhelm’s refusal to renew this agreement – which guaranteed Russian neutrality in the event of an attack by France – was seen by many historians as the worst offence committed by Wilhelm in terms of foreign policy. In reality, the decision to allow the lapse of the treaty was largely the responsibility of Caprivi, though Wilhelm supported his chancellor’s actions. It is important not to overestimate the influence of the Emperor in matters of foreign policy after the dismissal of Bismarck, but it is certain that his involvement helped contribute to the general lack of coherence and consistency in the policy of the German Empire towards other powers. The Reinsurance Treaty (June 18, 1887) was an attempt by Bismarck to continue to ally with Russia after the League of the Three Emperors broke down. ... 1887 (MDCCCLXXXVII) is a common year starting on Saturday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. ... A neutral country takes no side in a war between other parties, and in return hopes to avoid being attacked by either of them. ...


A typical example of this was his "love-hate" relationship with Great Britain and in particular with his British cousins. Open armed conflict with Britain was never what Wilhelm had in mind—"a most unimaginable thing", so he once quipped—yet he often gave in to the generally anti-British sentiments within the upper echelons of the German government, conforming as they did to his own prejudices towards Britain which arose from his youth. When war came about in 1914 Wilhelm sincerely believed that he was the victim of a diplomatic conspiracy set up by his late uncle, Edward VII, in which Britain had actively sought to “encircle” Germany through the conclusion of the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904 and a similar arrangement with Russia in 1907. This is indicative of the fact that Wilhelm had a highly unrealistic belief in the importance of “personal diplomacy” between European monarchs, and could not comprehend that the very different constitutional position of his British cousins made this largely irrelevant. 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Edward VII (Albert Edward) (9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of the Commonwealth Realms, and the Emperor of India. ... The Entente Cordiale (French for friendly understanding) is a series of agreements signed on April 8, 1904, between the United Kingdom and France. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Similarly, he believed that his personal relationship with his cousin-in-law Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was sufficient to prevent war between the two powers. At a private meeting at Björkö in 1905, Wilhelm concluded an agreement with his cousin which amounted to a treaty of alliance, without first consulting with Bülow. A similar situation confronted Tsar Nicholas on his return to St. Petersburg, and the treaty was, as a result, a dead letter. But Wilhelm believed that Bülow had betrayed him, and this contributed to the growing sense of dissatisfaction he felt towards the man he hoped would be his foremost servant. In broadly similar terms to the "personal diplomacy" at Björkö, his attempts to avoid war with Russia by an exchange of telegrams with Nicholas II in the last days before the outbreak of the First World War came unstuck due to the reality of European power politics. His attempts to woo Russia were also seriously out of step with existing German commitments to Austria-Hungary. In a chivalrous fidelity to the Austro-German alliance, Wilhelm informed the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph in 1889 that "the day of Austro-Hungarian mobilisation, for whatever cause, will be the day of German mobilisation too". Given that Austrian mobilisation for war would most likely be against Russia, a policy of alliance with both powers was obviously impossible. Nicholas II can refer to: Pope Nicholas II Tsar Nicholas II of Russia This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Townsite of Birka Archaeological excavation at Birka Birka  listen? , also Birca and Bierkø (today named Björkö, literally Birch Island), was an important trading center in the Baltic Sea region from the 8th century, which handled goods from Eastern Europe and the Orient, possibly as far as China, thus covering... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Townsite of Birka Archaeological excavation at Birka Birka  listen? , also Birca and Bierkø (today named Björkö, literally Birch Island), was an important trading center in the Baltic Sea region from the 8th century, which handled goods from Eastern Europe and the Orient, possibly as far as China, thus covering... Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ... Franz Joseph I Franz Joseph (in English also Francis Joseph) (August 18, 1830 - November 21, 1916) of the Habsburg Dynasty was Emperor of Austria and King of Bohemia from 1848 until 1916 and King of Hungary from 1867 until 1916. ... 1889 (MDCCCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


It is now widely recognised that the various spectacular acts which Wilhelm undertook in the international sphere were often partially encouraged by the German foreign policy elite. There were a number of key exceptions, such as the famous Kruger telegram of 1896 in which Wilhelm congratulated President Kruger of the Transvaal on the suppression of the Jameson Raid, and thus aggravated British public opinion. Though its full impact was to be felt many years later, his speech of 27 July 1900 exhorting German troops sent to quell the Boxer Rebellion to emulate the ancient Huns is another example of his unfortunate propensity for impolitic public utterances. (This is the origin of the usage of the word Hun in the English-speaking world to perpetuate the image of the barbarous German soldier.) The Kruger telegram was a message sent by Germanys Kaiser Wilhelm II to Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, president of the Transvaal on 3 January 1896. ... 1896 (MDCCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Paul Kruger Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger (10 October 1825 – 14 July 1904), fondly known as Oom Paul (Afrikaans for Uncle Paul) was a prominent Boer resistance leader against British rule and president of the Transvaal Republic in South Africa. ... Flag of Transvaal The Transvaal (lit. ... The Jameson Raid (December 29, 1895 - January 2, 1896) was a raid on Paul Krugers Transvaal Republic carried out by Sir Leander Starr Jameson and his Rhodesian and Bechuanaland policemen over the New Year weekend of 1895-96. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 1900 (MCM) was an exceptional common year starting on Monday. ... Boxer forces, 1900 photograph The Boxer Uprising (Traditional Chinese: 義和團起義; Simplified Chinese: 义和团起义; Pinyin: Yìhétuán Qǐyì; The Righteous and Harmonious Fists) or Boxer Rebellion (義和團之亂 or 義和團匪亂) was a Chinese rebellion against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final... Many historians consider the Huns (meaning person in Mongolian language) the first Mongolian and Turkic people mentioned in European history. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Perhaps Wilhelm's most damaging personal blunder in the arena of foreign policy had a far greater impact in Germany than internationally. The Daily Telegraph Affair of 1908 stemmed from the publication of some of Wilhelm's opinions in edited form in the British daily newspaper of that name. Wilhelm saw it as an opportunity to promote his views and ideas on Anglo-German friendship, but instead, due to his emotional outbursts during the course of the interview, Wilhelm ended up further alienating not only the British people, but also the French, Russians, and Japanese all in one fell swoop by implying, inter alia, that the Germans cared nothing for the British; that the French and Russians had attempted to instigate Germany to intervene in the Second Boer War; and that the German naval buildup was targeted against the Japanese, not Britain. (One memorable quote from the interview is "You English are mad, mad, mad as March hares.") The effect in Germany was quite massive, with serious calls for his abdication being mentioned in the press. Quite understandably, Wilhelm kept a very low profile for many months after the Daily Telegraph fiasco, and later exacted his revenge by enforcing the resignation of Prince Bülow, who had abandoned the Emperor to public criticism by publicly accepting some responsibility for not having edited the transcript of the interview before its publication. This article deals with The Daily Telegraph in Britain, see The Daily Telegraph (Australia) for the Australian publication The Daily Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper founded in 1855. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Combatants British Empire Orange Free State, South African Republic Commanders Frederick Roberts later Lord Kitchener Christiaan Rudolf de Wet and Paul Kruger Casualties Military dead:22,000 Civilian dead:N/A Total dead:22,000 Military dead:6,500 Civilian dead:24,000 Total dead:30,500 The Second Boer...


The Daily Telegraph crisis had deeply wounded Wilhelm's previously unimpaired self-confidence, so much so that he soon suffered a severe bout of depression from which he never really recovered (photographs of Wilhelm in the post-1908 period show a man with far more haggard features and greying hair), and he in fact lost much of the influence he had previously exercised in terms of both domestic and foreign policy. Clinical depression is a state of sadness, melancholia or despair that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individuals social functioning and/or activities of daily living. ...


In some cases, Wilhelm II's diplomatic "blunders" were often part of a more wide-reaching policy emanating from the German governing elite. One such action sparked the Moroccan Crisis of 1906, when Wilhelm was persuaded (largely against his wishes) to make a spectacular visit to Tangier, in Morocco. Wilhelm's presence was seen as an assertion of German interests in Morocco and in a speech he even made certain remarks in favour of Moroccan independence. This led to friction with France, which had expanding colonial interests in Morocco, and led to the Algeciras Conference, which served largely to further isolate Germany in Europe. However, nothing Wilhelm II did in the international arena was of more influence than his decision to pursue a policy of massive naval construction. The First Moroccan Crisis (also known as the Tangier Crisis) refers to the international crisis over the colonial status of Morocco between March 1905 and May 1906. ... 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Tangier, Morocco Tangier (Tanja طنچة in Berber and Arabic, Tánger in Spanish, and Tanger in French), is a city of northern Morocco with a population of 669,685 (2004 census). ... The Algeciras Conference of 1906 took place in Algeciras, Spain. ...


Naval expansion

A powerful navy was Wilhelm's pet project. He had inherited from his mother a love of the British Royal Navy (the world's largest), and once confided to his uncle Edward VII that his dream was to have a "fleet of my own some day", like the British. Wilhelm's frustration over his fleet's poor showing at the Fleet Review at his grandmother Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, combined with his inability to exert German influence in South Africa following the dispatch of the Kruger telegram led to Wilhelm taking definitive steps towards the construction of a fleet to rival that of his British cousins. Wilhelm was fortunate to be able to call on the services of the dynamic naval officer Alfred von Tirpitz, whom he appointed to the head of the Reich Naval Office in 1897. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services being the oldest of its three branches. ... Edward VII King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India His Majesty King Edward VII (Albert Edward) (9 November 1841–6 May 1910) was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. ... British tradition, where the monarch reviews the massed Royal Navy. ... Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819–22 January 1901) was a Queen of the United Kingdom, reigning from 20 June 1837 until her death. ... A Diamond Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary. ... Alfred von Tirpitz Alfred von Tirpitz (March 19, 1849 – March 6, 1930) was a German Admiral, Minister of State and Commander of the Kaiserliche Marine in World War I from 1914 until 1916. ... 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


The new admiral had conceived of what came to be known as the "Risk theory" or the Tirpitz Plan, by which Germany could force Britain to accede to German demands in the international arena through the threat posed by a powerful battlefleet concentrated in the North Sea. Tirpitz enjoyed Wilhelm's full support in his advocacy of successive naval bills of 1897 and 1900, by which the German navy was built up to contend with that of the United Kingdom. Naval expansion under the Fleet Acts eventually led to severe financial strains in Germany by 1914, as by 1906 Wilhelm had committed his navy to construction of the much larger, more expensive Dreadnought type of battleship. The Tirpitz Plan, formulated by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, was Germanys strategic aim to build the second largest navy in the world after the United Kingdom, thereby advancing itself as a world power. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ... German battleship Tirpitz underway for her trials, 1941 Tirpitz was a battleship of the German Kriegsmarine, a sister ship to the German battleship Bismarck, and named for Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. ... 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1900 (MCM) was an exceptional common year starting on Monday. ... The Fleet Acts were four separate laws passed by the German Empire, in 1898, 1900, 1908, and 1912. ... 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The sixth HMS Dreadnought of the British Royal Navy was the first battleship to have a uniform main battery, rather than having a secondary battery of smaller guns. ... HMS Victory in 1884 given to the most powerfully gun-armed and most heavily armored classes of warships built between the 15th and 20th centuries. ...


The Sarajevo crisis and the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia

Wilhelm was a close friend of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and he was deeply shocked by his assassination on June 28, 1914. Wilhelm offered to support Austria-Hungary in crushing the secret organization that had plotted the slaying, and even sanctioned the use of force by Austria against the perceived source of the movement - Serbia. He wanted to remain in Berlin until the crisis was resolved, but his courtiers persuaded him instead to go on his annual cruise of the North Sea on July 6, 1914. It was perhaps realised that Wilhelm's presence would be more of a hinderance to those elements in the government who wished to use the crisis to increase German prestige, even at the risk of general war - something of which Wilhelm, for all his bluster, was extremely apprehensive. Franz Ferdinand links to here. ... 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Serbia and Montenegro  â€“ Serbia      â€“ Vojvodina      â€“ Kosovo (UN admin. ... 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Wilhelm made erratic attempts to stay on top of the crisis via telegram, and when the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum was delivered to Serbia, he hurried back to Berlin. He reached Berlin on July 28th, read a copy of the Serbian reply, and wrote on it:


"A brilliant solution--and in barely 48 hours! This is more than could have been expected. A great moral victory for Vienna; but with it every pretext for war falls to the ground, and [the Ambassador] Giesl had better have stayed quietly at Belgrade. On this document, I should never have given orders for mobilization." [Emil Ludwig, "Wilhelm Hohenzollern: The last of the Kaisers," G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1927 (trans. by Ethel Colburn Mayne), p. 444]


Unknown to the Emperor, Austro-Hungarian ministers and generals had already convinced the 84-year-old Francis Joseph of Austria to sign a declaration of war against Serbia. Franz Joseph I. Francis Joseph I (in German Franz Josef I. (August 18, 1830 – November 21, 1916) of the Habsburg Dynasty was Emperor of Austria and King of Bohemia from 1848 until 1916, and Apostolic King of Hungary from 1867 until 1916. ...


The Great War

It is difficult to argue that Wilhelm actively sought to unleash the First World War. Though he had ambitions for the German Empire to be a world power, it was never Wilhelm's intention to conjure a large-scale conflict to achieve such ends. As soon as his better judgment dictated that a world war was imminent, he made strenuous efforts to preserve the peace (such as the "Willy and Nicky" correspondence mentioned earlier, and his optimistic interpretation of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum that Austro-Hungarian troops should go no further than Belgrade, thus limiting the conflict). But by then it was far too late, for the eager military officials of Germany and the German Foreign Office were successful in persuading him to sign the mobilisation order and initiate the Schlieffen Plan. The contemporary British reference to the First World War as "the Kaiser's War" in the same way that the Second was "Hitler's War" is now seen as unfounded (and even somewhat unfair) in its suggestion that Wilhelm was personally responsible for unleashing the conflict. Nevertheless, his own love of the culture and trappings of militarism and push to endorse the German military establishment and industry (most notably the Krupp corporation), which was the key support which enabled his dynasty to rule helped push his empire into an armaments race with competing European powers. Similarly, though on signing the mobilisation order, Wilhelm is reported as having said "You will regret this, gentlemen", he had encouraged Austria to pursue a hard line with Serbia, was an enthusiastic supporter of the subsequent German actions during the war and revelled in the title of "Supreme War Lord". Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... The Willy and Nicky correspondence was the telegraphic communication between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Czar Nicholas II which took place on 29 July 1914, starting from 1:00 am. ... Belgrade (Serbian: Beograd, Београд ) is the capital of the Republic of Serbia. ... Alfred Graf von Schlieffen The Schlieffen Plan was the German General Staffs overall strategic plan for victory on the Western Front against France, and was executed to near victory in the first month of World War I; however, a French counterattack on the outskirts of Paris, the Battle of... Militarism or militarist ideology is the doctrinal view of a society as being best served (or more efficient) when it is governed or guided by concepts embodied in the culture, doctrine, system, or people of the military. ... The Krupp family, a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. ...

Imperial Styles of
German Emperor Wilhelm II
Reference style His Imperial Majesty (style)
Spoken style Your Imperial Majesty
Alternative style Sire
Styles of
König Wilhelm II of Prussia
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire

This image depicts a seal, an emblem, a coat of arms or a crest. ... A style of office, or honorific, is a form of address which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a title or post, or to the political office itself. ... Imperial Majesty (HIM) is a style used by the Emperors and Empresses. ... Image File history File links Hohenzollern Crown of Wilhelm II. From [1] File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A style of office, or honorific, is a form of address which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a title or post, or to the political office itself. ... Look up majesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Majesty is an English word rooting in the Latin Maiestas, meaning literally, Greatness. ...

The "Shadow-kaiser"

The role of ultimate arbiter of wartime national affairs proved too heavy a burden for Wilhelm to sustain. As the war progressed, his influence receded and inevitably his lack of ability in military matters led to an ever-increasing reliance upon his generals, so much that after 1916 the Empire had effectively become a military dictatorship under the control of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. Increasingly cut-off from reality and the political decision-making process, Wilhelm vacillated between defeatism and dreams of victory, depending upon the fortunes of "his" armies. He remained a useful figurehead, and he toured the lines and munition plants, awarded medals and gave encouraging speeches. 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German Field Marshal and statesman. ... Ludendorff in 1918 Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ...


Nevertheless, Wilhelm still retained the ultimate authority in matters of political appointment, and it was only after his consent had been gained that major changes to the high command could be effected. Wilhelm was in favour of the dismissal of Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1915 and his replacement by Erich von Falkenhayn. Similarly, Wilhelm was instrumental in the policy of inactivity adopted by the High Seas Fleet after the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Likewise, it was largely owing to his sense of grievance at having been pushed into the shadows that Wilhelm attempted to take a leading role in the crisis of 1918. He realised the necessity of a capitulation and did not insist that the German nation should bleed to death for a dying cause. Helmuth von Moltke Chief of the General Staff Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke (May 25, 1848–June 18, 1916), also known as Moltke the Younger, was a nephew of Field Marshal Count Moltke and served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Erich von Falkenhayn Chief of the General Staff Erich von Falkenhayn (11 November 1861 - 8 April 1922) was a German soldier and Chief of the General Staff during World War I. Falkenhayn was a career soldier. ... German battlecruiser Derfflinger scuttled at Scapa Flow. ... Jutland Peninsula Jutland (Danish: Jylland; German: Jütland; Frisian Jutlân; Low German Jötlann) is a peninsula in northern Europe that forms the only non-insular part of Denmark and also the northernmost part of Germany, dividing the North Sea from the Baltic Sea. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in woods near Compiègne on November 11th, 1918, and marked the end of the First World War on the Western Front. ...


Abdication and flight

Wilhelm was at the Imperial Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium, when the uprisings in Berlin and other centres occurred in late 1918. Mutiny among the ranks of his beloved Kaiserliche Marine, the Imperial Navy, profoundly shocked him. After the outbreak of the German Revolution, Wilhelm could not make up his mind whether or not to abdicate. Up to that point, he was confident that even if he were obliged to vacate the Imperial German throne, he would still retain the Prussian kingship. The unreality of this claim was revealed when, for the sake of preserving some form of government in the face of anarchy, Wilhelm's abdication both as Emperor of the German Empire and King of Prussia was abruptly announced by the Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, on November 9, 1918. (Prince Max himself was forced to resign later the same day, when it became clear that only Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD could effectively exert control). Spa is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. ... For other uses, see Berlin (disambiguation). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The Wilhelmshaven mutiny broke out in the German High Seas Fleet on 29 October 1918. The mutiny ultimately led to the end of the First World War, to the collapse of the Monarchy and to the establishment of the Weimar Republic. ... The Kaiserliche Marine or Imperial Navy was the German Navy created by the formation of the German Empire and existed between 1871 and 1919; it grew out of the Prussian Navy and the Norddeutsche Bundesmarine. ... This article describes the November 1918 revolution in Germany. ... Prince Maximilian of Baden (Max von Baden) (1 July 1867–6 November 1929) was the cousin and heir of Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden, and succeeded Frederick as head of the Grand Ducal House in 1928. ... November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 52 days remaining. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Friedrich Ebert (February 4, 1871–February 28, 1925) was a German politician (SPD), who served as the 9th Chancellor of Germany and its first president during the Weimar period. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with SPD (disambiguation). ...

The former car of Wilhelm, with its new Dutch owners, the Schunck family
The former car of Wilhelm, with its new Dutch owners, the Schunck family

Wilhelm consented to the abdication only after Ludendorff's replacement, General Wilhelm Groener, had informed him that the officers and men of the army would march back in good order under Paul von Hindenburg's command, but would certainly not fight for Wilhelm's throne on the home front. The monarchy's last and strongest support had been broken, and finally even Hindenburg, himself a lifelong royalist, was obliged (with some embarrassment) to advise the Emperor to give up the crown. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3484x2224, 106 KB)Photograph uploaded by DirkvdM The family Schunck in front of the former car of Kaiser Wilhelm, from whom they purchased it. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3484x2224, 106 KB)Photograph uploaded by DirkvdM The family Schunck in front of the former car of Kaiser Wilhelm, from whom they purchased it. ... Schunck (pronounced Shoonk with a short oo) is the name of former fashion house and department store Firma Schunck in Heerlen, the Netherlands. ... General Erich Ludendorff Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now Poznań, Poland). ... Wilhelm Groener (November 22, 1867 - May 3, 1939) was a German soldier and politician. ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German Field Marshal and statesman. ... Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy. ...


The following day, the now former German Emperor Wilhelm II crossed the border by train and went into exile in the Netherlands, which had remained neutral throughout the war. Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles in early 1919, Article 227 expressly provided for the prosecution of Wilhelm "for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties", but Queen Wilhelmina refused to extradite him, despite appeals from the Allies. The erstwhile emperor first settled in Amerongen, and then was subsequently provided with a small castle in the municipality of Doorn, which was to be his home for the remainder of his life. From this residence, Huis Doorn, Wilhelm absolved his officers and servants of their oath of loyalty to him, however he himself never formally relinquished his titles, and hoped to return to Germany in the future. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... For other uses, see Wilhelmina (disambiguation). ... Amerongen is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands. ... Doorn is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. ... The bust of William II at Huis Doorn Huis Doorn (Doorn House) is a small manor house that lies outside Doorn, a small town near Utrecht, the Netherlands. ...


Life in exile

In 1922 Wilhelm published the first volume of his memoirs -a disappointingly slim volume which nevertheless revealed the possession of a remarkable memory (Wilhelm had no archive on which to draw). In them, he asserted his claim that he was not guilty of initiating the Great War, and defended his conduct throughout his reign, especially in matters of foreign policy. For the remaining twenty years of his life, the ageing emperor regularly entertained guests (often of some standing) and kept himself updated on events in Europe. Much of his time was spent chopping wood (a hobby he discovered upon his arrival at Doorn) and observing the life of a country squire. It would seem that his attitude towards Britain and the British finally coalesced in this period into a warm desire to ape British custom. Wilhelm's first reported desire upon entering his exile was for "a cup of good English tea". No longer able to call upon the services of a court barber, and partly out of a desire to disguise his features, Wilhelm grew a beard and allowed his famous moustache to droop. 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


In the early 1930s, Wilhelm apparently hoped that the successes of the Nazis would stimulate interest in the revival of the monarchy. His second wife, Hermine (see below), actively petitioned the Nazi government on her husband's behalf, but the scorn which Adolf Hitler felt for the man whom he believed contributed to Germany's greatest defeat, and his own desire for power would prevent Wilhelm’s restoration. Though he hosted Hermann Göring at Doorn on at least one occasion, Wilhelm grew to distrust Hitler, though he greatly admired the success which he was able to achieve in the opening months of the Second World War, and even sent a congratulatory telegram on the fall of Paris. Nevertheless, after the Nazi conquest of the Netherlands in 1940, the ageing Wilhelm retired completely from public life. The Nazi swastika symbol The National Socialist German Workers Party ( German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), better known as the NSDAP or the Nazi Party was a political party that was led to power in Germany by Adolf Hitler in 1933. ... Hitler redirects here. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader known for being second in command of the Third Reich, a leading member of the Nazi party, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... Doorn is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... The Eiffel Tower, the international symbol of the city For other uses, see Paris (disambiguation). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


Wilhelm II died of pulmonary embolism in Doorn, Netherlands on June 5, 1941 with German soldiers at the gates of his estate. Hitler, however, was reportedly angry that the former monarch had an honor guard of German troops and nearly fired the general that ordered them there when he found out. He was buried in a mausoleum in the grounds of Huis Doorn, which has since become a place of pilgrimage for German monarchists, though there is concern at its growing popularity with adherents of the extreme right. Hitler hoped to bring Wilhelm's body back to Berlin for a lavish funeral, in which Hitler could act as chief mourner and thus demonstrate to Germans the direct succession of the Third Reich from the old Kaiserreich. Wilhelm's wishes, that he would never return to Germany until the restoration of the monarchy, were respected, and the Nazi occupation authorities granted a small military funeral, the mourners at which included the hero of the First World War August von Mackensen and Rupprecht of Bavaria, along with a few other military advisors. Wilhelm's request that the swastika and other Nazi regalia not be displayed at the final rites was ignored however. Doorn is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. ... June 5 is the 156th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (157th in leap years), with 209 days remaining. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... The bust of William II at Huis Doorn Huis Doorn (Doorn House) is a small manor house that lies outside Doorn, a small town near Utrecht, the Netherlands. ... For other uses, see Berlin (disambiguation). ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... This article or section should include material from German Monarchy The term German Empire (the translation from German of Deutsches Reich) commonly refers to Germany, from its consolidation as a unified nation-state on January 18, 1871, until the abdication of Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II on November 9, 1918. ... Field Marshal August von Mackensen August von Mackensen (December 6, 1849–November 8, 1945), was a German Field Marshal, born August Mackensen in Haus Leipnitz, in the Prussian province of Saxony, to Louis and Marie Louise Mackensen. ... Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria or Crown Prince Rupert of Bavaria(German: Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern) (18 May 1869 – 2 August 1955) was the last Bavarian Crown Prince. ... A right-facing Swastika in decorative Hindu form For the town in Ontario, see Swastika, Ontario. ...


Marriages and issue

Wilhelm and his first wife Augusta Viktoria
Wilhelm and his first wife Augusta Viktoria

Wilhelm and his first wife, Princess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein, were married on February 27, 1881. Throughout their life together, they had seven children: Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Auguste Viktoria Auguste Viktoria (October 22, 1858 - April 11, 1921), German Empress, daughter of Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenberg; married (1881) to Wilhelm II of Germany, and accompanied him to the Netherlands after World War I. She is reputed to have been a woman who loved the arts... February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...

Known affectionately as "Dona", Augusta was a close and constant companion to Wilhelm throughout his life, and her death on April 11, 1921 was a devastating blow. It also came less than a year after their son, Joachim, had committed suicide, unable to accept his lot after the abdication of his father, the failure of his own marriage to Marie-Auguste of Anhalt, and the heavy depression felt after his service in the Great War. Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia (6 May 1882 - 20 July 1916), Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor August Ernst Kronprinz von Preussen, was born 6 May 1882 at Marmorpalais, Potsdam, Germany. ... Prince Eitel Friederich (July 7, 1883–December 8, 1942) was a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Adalbert (July 14, 1884–September 22, 1948) was a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Augustus Wilhelm (January 29, 1887–March 25, 1949), called Auwi, was the fourth son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany by his first wife, Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Oskar of Prussia (July 27, 1888–January 27, 1958) was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Augusta Viktoria, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein. ... Prince Joachim Franz Humbert of Prussia (17 December 1890-18 July 1920) was the youngest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, by his first wife, Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein-Augustenburg. ... Princess Viktoria Luise (13 September 1892–11 December 1980), Duchess of Brunswick-Luneburg, was the seventh child and the only daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Viktoria. ... April 11 is the 101st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (102nd in leap years). ... 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of willfully ending ones own life. ... Anhalt is a historical region of Germany, which is now included in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ...


The following January, Wilhelm received a birthday greeting from a son of Prince Johann Georg of Schönaich-Carolath. He invited the boy and his mother, Princess Hermine, daughter of Prince Henry XXII of Reuss and a descendant of William the Conqueror, to Doorn. Wilhelm found her very attractive, and greatly enjoyed her company. By early 1922, he was determined to marry her and the couple were eventually wed on November 9, 1922 despite grumblings from Wilhelm's monarchist supporters and the objections of his children. Hermine's daughter, Henriette, eventually married Joachim's son, Karl Franz Josef, on October 5, 1940 (Wilhelm's step-daughter and grandson respectively), though they divorced in 1946. Hermine remained a constant companion to the ageing emperor until his death. Alternate use: Reuss River Reuss is the name of several historical states in todays Thuringia, Germany. ... William I ( 1027 – September 9, 1087), was King of England from 1066 to 1087. ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 52 days remaining. ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... October 5 is the 278th day of the year (279th in Leap years). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


Alleged extramarital affairs

Prior to his marriage, Wilhelm had fallen in love with his cousin, Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, daughter of his aunt Alice, and even wrote her a series of love poems. Elizabeth was initially intrigued, but soon found him to be intolerable, always demanding that she be constantly at his side. During the Great War, he continually tried to aid Elizabeth in an escape from Russia, but she refused to leave her adopted country and stayed there until she was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Although she rejected his hand in marriage, as an old man, he confessed that he never forgot her. Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia (Елизавета Фёдоровиа), née Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt (1 November 1864–18 July 1918), was the wife of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, the fifth son of Emperor Alexander II... Princess Alice (Alice Maud Mary), (25 April 1843 – 14 December 1878), was a member of the British Royal Family, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria. ... Bolshevik Party Meeting. ...


Wilhelm was implicated in some degree in the scandal over his aide and great friend, Philip Fürst zu Eulenburg-Hertefeld, which revealed homosexual activities (then illegal under German law) within Wilhelm's inner circle (the Harden-Eulenburg Affair). Bismarck, among others, suggested that there was an inappropriate relationship between Wilhelm and Eulenburg. There is no conclusive evidence to prove that the Kaiser and Eulenburg's relationship went beyond friendship. Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg-Hertefeld (German: Philipp Fürst zu Eulenburg-Hertefeld) was born at Königsberg, Prussia in 1847. ... The Harden-Eulenburg affair, often simply Eulenburg affair, was the controversy surrounding a series of courts-martial and five regular trials regarding accusations of homosexual conduct, and accompanying libel trials, among prominent members of Kaiser Wilhelm IIs cabinet and entourage during 1907-1909. ...


Notable facts and common misconceptions

Kaiser Wilhelm II
Kaiser Wilhelm II
  • Wilhelm, the first grandchild of Queen Victoria, was at his maternal grandmother's deathbed, holding her in his arms as she passed away. For this, he won some lasting affection from the British public which was unfortunately snuffed out in 1914.
  • Wilhelm developed a penchant for archaeology during his vacations on Corfu, a passion he harboured into his exile. He also sketched plans for grand buildings and battleships when he was bored, although experts in construction saw his ideas as grandiose and unworkable. One of Wilhelm's greatest passions was hunting, and he bagged thousands of animals, both beast and bird. While in exile, he also developed a hobby of cutting down trees. During his years in Doorn, he largely deforested his estate, the land only now beginning to recover.
  • Wilhelm owned a vast collection of uniforms and costumes. He wore different ones for each occasion, often 4 or more a day. This habit made people joke about it, saying that when eating plum pudding the emperor would dress as a British Admiral (an honorary rank he had been awarded by his grandmother in 1889).
  • Wilhelm had his summer palace in Stuttgart. When in residence, he held a parade every Sunday at noon. In full military dress, the Emperor, his officers and cavalry, marched up and down the main street; the townsfolk being encouraged to attend.
  • The Emperor loved all things Norwegian. He often spent his summer holidays on his yacht, cruising Norway's coast. When the city of Ålesund was demolished by a great fire in 1904, he oversaw and partially-financed its restoration in Jugendstil architecture.
  • Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands visited Wilhelm II who boasted to the child-Queen that "my guards are seven feet tall and yours are only shoulder high to them." Wilhelmina smiled politely and replied: "Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall. But when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!" After the armistice ending the Great War, Wilhelm had to swallow his pride and seek Wilhelmina's aid in the Netherlands, this time as a political exile.
  • Wilhelm paid for a marble sarcophagus for the Muslim hero Saladin. Although it is in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, next to the old tomb, Saladin's remains are not interred in it, but lie in the original wooden coffin in which he was interred.
  • Wilhelm enjoyed the themes of the music of Richard Wagner, and although his patronage of the composer and his Bayreuth Festival never approached the fanatical levels of King Ludwig II of Bavaria or later of Hitler, the horn of the German Emperor's first automobile played Donner's "Heda! Heda! Hedo!" motive from Das Rheingold. Wilhelm himself thought that Wagner's music made "too much noise".
  • Through Queen Victoria, Wilhelm was a first cousin to many of the crowned heads of Europe with whom he went to war, most notably George V of the United Kingdom and Nicholas II (through his consort, the Empress Alexandra). All three spoke English fluently and called each other Georgie, Willy and Nicky respectively.
  • Upon hearing that his cousin George V had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor, he remarked that he planned to see Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
  • Prior to the outbreak of hostilities of WWI, Wilhelm hosted Theodore Roosevelt in a review of the German army on parade. Roosevelt is purported to have said to the future adversary, "My God, if I had an army like that, I could rule the world!"
  • To this day, small but enthusiastic numbers of German monarchists gather at Huis Doorn every year on the anniversary of his death to pay their homage to the last German Emperor.

The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the eminent Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June, 1837, and Empress of India from 1 January, 1877, until her death in 1901. ... Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech/discourse) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Pontikonisi Island in the background with the Vlaheraina Monastery in the foreground. ... Christmas pudding is the dessert traditionally served on Christmas day in Britain and Ireland, as well as in some Commonwealth countries. ... Stuttgart, a city located in southern Germany, is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg with a population of approximately 590,000 as of September 2005 in the city and around 3 million in the metropolitan area. ... County Møre og Romsdal District Sunnmøre Municipality NO-1504 Administrative centre Ã…lesund Mayor (2003) Arve Tonning (H) Official language form Neutral Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 388 98 km² 93 km² 0. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Art nouveau /É‘Ê€ nuvo/ (French for new art) is a style in art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century. ... Wilhelmina is the name of: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands The Wilhelmina modeling agency This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ... Saladin. ... The Umayyad Mosque in the center of Damascus The courtyard of the Mosque with the ancient Treasury (Beit al Mal) The Grand Mosque of Damascus, also known as the Umayyad Mosque, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. ... Damascus by night, pictured from Jabal Qasioun; the green spots are minarets Damascus (Arabic: ‎ translit: Also commonly: الشام ash-Shām) is the capital and largest city of Syria. ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... Bayreuth Festspielhaus, as seen in 1882 The annual Bayreuth Festival in Bayreuth, Germany is devoted principally (but not exclusively) to performances of operas by the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner. ... Ludwig (Louis) II, King of Bavaria, Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm; sometimes known in English as Mad King Ludwig and as the Märchenkönig (Fairy-tale King) in German. ... In music, a motif is a perceivable or salient reoccurring fragment or succession of notes that may used to construct the entirety or parts of complete melodies, themes. ... For the famous train, see Rheingold Express. ... Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the eminent Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June, 1837, and Empress of India from 1 January, 1877, until her death in 1901. ... George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert) (3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor (formerly known as the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha). ... Nicholas II of Russia (18 May 1868 - 17 July 1918) (Russian: (Nikolai II)) was the last Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. ... Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (1872-1918) Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (German: Victoria Alix Helene Luise Beatrice Prinzessin von Hessen und bei Rhein) or Saint Alexandra, 6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918, under the title Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (Russian: Императрица Александра Фёдоровна), was Empress consort of Russia. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The House of Windsor, previously called the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, is the Royal House of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the other Commonwealth Realms. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare featuring the fat knight Falstaff. ... Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. ... Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy as a form of government in a nation. ...

Further reading

The role of Wilhelm II in German history is a controversial issue in historical scholarship. Initially seen as an important, but embarrassing figure in German histories until the late 1950s, for many years after that, the dominant view was that he had little or no influence on German policy leading up to the Great War. This has been challenged since the late 1970s, particularly by Professor John C. G. Röhl. Despite the continuing debate over the precise nature of his impact upon history, the Wilhelm has been the focus of many biographies, of which the first (by Emil Ludwig) is still one of the most accessible.

  • Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.
  • E. F. Benson, The Kaiser and English Relations, London: Longmans, Green, 1936.
  • Lamar Cecil, Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859-1900, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.
  • Lamar Cecil, Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile, 1900-1941, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
  • Isabel V. Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  • Thomas A. Kohut, Wilhelm II and the Germans: A Study in Leadership, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Emil Ludwig, Wilhelm Hohenzollern: The Last of the Kaisers, New York: Ames Press, 1970 (originally published 1926).
  • Giles Macdonogh, The Last Kaiser: William the Impetuous, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2001.
  • Annika Mombauer & Wilhelm Deist (eds), The Kaiser: New Research on Wilhelm II's Role in Imperial Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Alan Palmer, The Kaiser: Warlord of the Second Reich, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1978.
  • James Retallack, Germany in the Age of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Basingstoke: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  • John C. G. Röhl & Nicholaus Sombart (eds), Kaiser Wilhelm II: New Interpretations - the Corfu Papers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982 (reprinted 2005).
  • John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany, trans. Terence F. Cole, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • John C. G. Röhl, Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 (Volume I of Röhl's massive new biography).
  • John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser's Personal Monarchy, 1888-1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004 (Volume II of Röhl's masive new biography).
  • John Van der Kiste, Kaiser Wilhelm II: Germany's Last Emperor, Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1999.
  • Tyler Whittle, The Last Kaiser: A Biography of William II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, London: Heinemann, 1977.
  • Wilhelm II, My Memoirs: 1878-1918, London: Cassell & Co., 1922.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wilhelm II
  • William of Germany; Stanley Shaw; 1913; Project Gutenberg edition.
  • Biography of Wilhelm II
Preceded by:
Friedrich III
King of Prussia
15 June 18889 November 1918
Succeeded by:
Abolition of monarchy
Crown Prince Wilhelm Pretender
German Emperor
15 June 18889 November 1918

  Results from FactBites:
 
Wilhelm II of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5824 words)
Wilhelm was educated at Kassel at the Friedrichsgymnasium and the University of Bonn.
Wilhelm was accused of megalomania as early as 1894, by German pacifist Ludwig Quidde.
Wilhelm was in favour of the dismissal of Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1915 and his replacement by Erich von Falkenhayn.
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