The Info List - Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Hohenzollern; 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire
German Empire
and the Kingdom of Prussia
from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandchild of the Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
of the United Kingdom and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, most notably King George V
George V
of the United Kingdom and Emperor Nicholas II
Nicholas II
of Russia. Acceding to the throne in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890. He also launched Germany
on a bellicose "New Course" in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary
in the crisis of July 1914 that led in a matter of days to the First World War. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 that cost him most of his influence.[1] His leading generals, Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
and Erich Ludendorff, dictated policy during the First World War
First World War
with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war-time leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.


1 Biography

1.1 Early years

2 Accession 3 Break with Bismarck 4 Wilhelm in control

4.1 Dismissal of Bismarck 4.2 Promoter of arts and sciences

5 Personality

5.1 Relationships with foreign relatives 5.2 Antisemitism

6 Foreign affairs

6.1 Abushiri Arab Revolt in East Africa 6.2 Hun speech of 1900 6.3 Moroccan Crisis 6.4 Daily Telegraph affair 6.5 Naval expansion

7 First World War

7.1 The Sarajevo crisis 7.2 July 1914 7.3 Shadow-Kaiser

8 Abdication and flight

8.1 Life in exile 8.2 Death

9 Historiography 10 First marriage and issue

10.1 Remarriage

11 Religion

11.1 Own views 11.2 Attitude towards other faiths

12 Ancestry 13 Titles and styles 14 Decorations and awards 15 Documentaries and films 16 See also 17 References

17.1 Notes 17.2 Bibliography

18 Further reading 19 External links

Biography Wilhelm was born on 27 January 1859 at the Crown Prince's Palace, Berlin, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia
(the future Frederick III) and his wife, Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. At the time of his birth, his great-uncle Frederick William IV was king of Prussia, and his grandfather and namesake Wilhelm was acting as Regent. He was the first grandchild of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
and Prince Albert, but more important, the first son of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Wilhelm was from 1861 second in the line of succession to Prussia, and also, after 1871, to the newly created German Empire, which, according to the constitution of the German Empire, was ruled by the Prussian King.

Wilhelm with his father, in Highland dress, in 1862

A traumatic breech birth left him with a withered left arm due to Erb's palsy, which he tried with some success to conceal. Many photos show him holding a pair of white gloves in his left hand to make the arm seem longer. In others, he holds his left hand with his right, or has his crippled arm on the hilt of a sword. In still others, he is seen holding a cane to give the effect of a useful limb posed at a dignified angle. His left arm was about 6 inches (15 centimetres) shorter than his right arm. Historians have suggested that this disability affected his emotional development.[2][dubious – discuss][3] Early years In 1863, Wilhelm was taken to England to be present at the wedding of his Uncle Bertie, (later King Edward VII), and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. William attended the ceremony in a Highland costume, complete with a small toy dirk. During the ceremony the four-year-old became restless. His eighteen-year-old uncle Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, charged with keeping an eye on him, told him to be quiet, but Wilhelm drew his dirk and threatened Alfred. When Alfred attempted to subdue him by force, Wilhelm bit him on the leg. His grandmother, Queen Victoria, missed seeing the fracas; to her Wilhelm remained "a clever, dear, good little child, the great favourite of my beloved Vicky".[4] His mother, Vicky, was obsessed with his damaged arm. She blamed herself for the child's handicap and insisted that he become a good rider. The thought that he, as heir to the throne, should not be able to ride was intolerable to her. Riding lessons began when Wilhelm was eight and were a matter of endurance for Wilhelm. Over and over, the weeping prince was set on his horse and compelled to go through the paces. He fell off time after time but despite his tears was set on its back again. After weeks of this he finally got it right and was able to maintain his balance.[5] Wilhelm, from six years of age, was tutored and heavily influenced by the 39-year-old teacher Georg Hinzpeter.[6] "Hinzpeter," he later wrote, "was really a good fellow. Whether he was the right tutor for me, I dare not decide. The torments inflicted on me, in this pony riding, must be attributed to my mother."[5] As a teenager he was educated at Kassel
at the Friedrichsgymnasium. In January 1877, Wilhelm finished high school and on his eighteenth birthday received as a present from his grandmother, Queen Victoria, the Order of the Garter. After Kassel
he spent four terms at the University of Bonn, studying law and politics. He became a member of the exclusive Corps Borussia Bonn.[7] Wilhelm possessed a quick intelligence, but this was often overshadowed by a cantankerous temper.

Prussian Royalty

House of Hohenzollern

Wilhelm II

Children Crown Prince Wilhelm Prince Eitel Friedrich Prince Adalbert Prince August Wilhelm Prince Oskar Prince Joachim Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick

v t e

As a scion of the royal house of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was exposed from an early age to the military society of the Prussian aristocracy. This had a major impact on him and, in maturity, Wilhelm was seldom seen out of uniform. The hyper-masculine military culture of Prussia in this period did much to frame his political ideals and personal relationships. Crown Prince Frederick 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 were 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, perceiving the 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
German Emperor
as "Wilhelm the Great".[8] However, he had a distant relationship with his mother. Wilhelm resisted attempts by his parents (especially his mother) to educate him in a spirit of British liberalism. Instead, he agreed with his tutors' support of autocratic rule, and gradually became thoroughly 'Prussianized' under their influence. He thus became alienated from his parents, suspecting them of putting Britain's interests first. The German Emperor, Wilhelm I, watched as his grandson, guided principally by the Crown Princess Victoria, grew to manhood. When Wilhelm was nearing twenty-one the Emperor decided it was time his grandson should begin the military phase of his preparation for the throne. He was assigned as a lieutenant to the First Regiment of Foot Guards, stationed at Potsdam. "In the Guards," Wilhelm said, "I really found my family, my friends, my interests — everything of which I had up to that time had to do without." As a boy and a student, his manner had been polite and agreeable; as an officer, he began to strut and speak brusquely in the tone he deemed appropriate for a Prussian officer.[9] In many ways, Wilhelm was a victim of his inheritance and of Otto von Bismarck's machinations. Both sides of his family had suffered from mental illness, and this may explain his emotional instability.[citation needed] When Wilhelm was in his early twenties, Bismarck tried to separate him from his parents (who opposed Bismarck and his policies) with some success. Bismarck planned to use the young prince as a weapon against his parents in order to retain his own political dominance. Wilhelm thus developed a dysfunctional relationship with his parents, but especially with his English mother. In an outburst in April 1889, Wilhelm angrily implied that "an English doctor killed my father, and an English doctor crippled my arm – which is the fault of my mother", who allowed no German physicians to attend to herself or her immediate family.[10] As a young man, Wilhelm fell in love with one of his maternal first cousins, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse-Darmstadt. She turned him down, and would, in time, marry into the Russian imperial family. In 1880 Wilhelm became engaged to Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, known as "Dona". The couple married on 27 February 1881, and would remain married for forty years, until her death in 1921. In a period of ten years, between 1882 and 1892, Augusta Victoria would bear Wilhelm seven children, six sons and a daughter.[11] Beginning in 1884, Bismarck began advocating that Kaiser Wilhelm send his grandson on diplomatic missions, a privilege denied to the Crown Prince. That year, Prince Wilhelm was sent to the court of Tsar Alexander III of Russia
Alexander III of Russia
in St. Petersburg to attend the coming of age ceremony of the sixteen-year-old Tsarevich Nicholas. Wilhelm's behavior did little to ingratiate himself to the tsar. Two years later, Kaiser Wilhelm I took Prince Wilhelm on a trip to meet with the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Franz Joseph. In 1886, also, thanks to Herbert von Bismarck, the son of the Chancellor, Prince Wilhelm began to be trained twice a week at the Foreign Ministry. One privilege was denied to Prince Wilhelm: to represent Germany
at his maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria's, Golden Jubilee Celebrations in London in 1887.[citation needed] Accession

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The German Emperor
German Emperor
Wilhelm I died in Berlin
on 9 March 1888, and Prince Wilhelm's father was proclaimed Emperor as Frederick III. He was already suffering from an incurable throat cancer and spent all 99 days of his reign fighting the disease before dying. On 15 June of that same year, his 29-year-old son succeeded him as German Emperor and King of Prussia. 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. The new Emperor opposed Bismarck's careful foreign policy, preferring vigorous and rapid expansion to protect Germany's "place in the sun." Furthermore, the young Emperor had come to the throne determined to rule as well as reign, unlike his grandfather. While the letter of the imperial constitution vested executive power in the emperor, Wilhelm I had been content to leave day-to-day administration to Bismarck. 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 policies in the late 1880s. The final split between monarch and statesman occurred soon after an attempt by Bismarck to implement a far-reaching anti-Socialist law in early 1890. Break with Bismarck

In this photo of Wilhelm, his right hand is holding his left hand, which was affected by Erb's palsy.

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Wilhelm II, German Emperor

The impetuous young Kaiser, says John C. G. Röhl, rejected Bismarck's "peaceful foreign policy" and instead plotted with senior generals to work "in favour of a war of aggression." Bismarck told an aide, "That young man wants war with Russia, and would like to draw his sword straight away if he could. I shall not be a party to it."[12] Bismarck, after gaining an absolute majority in favour of his policies in the Reichstag, decided to make the anti-Socialist laws permanent. His Kartell, the majority of the amalgamated Conservative Party and the National Liberal Party, favoured making the laws permanent, with one exception: the police power to expel Socialist agitators from their homes. The Kartell split over this issue and nothing was passed. As the debate continued, Wilhelm became more and more interested in social problems, especially the treatment of mine workers who went on strike in 1889. He routinely interrupted Bismarck in Council to make clear where he stood on social policy. Bismarck sharply disagreed with Wilhelm's policy and worked to circumvent it. Bismarck, feeling pressured and unappreciated by the young Emperor and undermined by his ambitious advisors, refused to sign a proclamation regarding the protection of workers along with Wilhelm, as was required by the German Constitution. The final break came as Bismarck searched for a new parliamentary majority, with his Kartell voted from power due to the anti-Socialist bill fiasco. The remaining powers in the Reichstag were the Catholic Centre Party
Catholic Centre Party
and the Conservative Party. Bismarck wished to form a new bloc with the Centre Party, and invited Ludwig Windthorst, the party's parliamentary leader, to discuss a coalition. Wilhelm was furious to hear about Windthorst's visit. In a parliamentary state, the head of government depends on the confidence of the parliamentary majority and has the right to form coalitions to ensure his policies a majority, but in Germany, the Chancellor had to depend on the confidence of the Emperor, and Wilhelm believed that the Emperor had the right to be informed before his ministers' meeting. After a heated argument at Bismarck's estate over Imperial authority, Wilhelm stormed out. Bismarck, forced for the first time into a situation he could not use to his advantage, wrote a blistering letter of resignation, decrying Wilhelm's interference in foreign and domestic policy, which was published only after Bismarck's death. Although Bismarck had sponsored landmark social security legislation, by 1889–90, he had become disillusioned with the attitude of workers. In particular, he was opposed to wage increases, improving working conditions, and regulating labour relations. Moreover, the Kartell, the shifting political coalition that Bismarck had been able to forge since 1867, had lost a working majority in the Reichstag. At the opening of the Reichstag on 6 May 1890, the Kaiser stated that the most pressing issue was the further enlargement of the bill concerning the protection of the labourer.[13] In 1891, the Reichstag passed the Workers Protection Acts, which improved working conditions, protected women and children and regulated labour relations. Wilhelm in control Dismissal of Bismarck

"Dropping the Pilot", a famous caricature by Sir John Tenniel (1820–1914), first published in the British magazine Punch, 29 March 1890

Bismarck resigned at Wilhelm II's insistence in 1890, at the age of 75, to be succeeded as Chancellor of Germany
and Minister-President of Prussia
by Leo von Caprivi, who in turn was replaced by Chlodwig, Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, in 1894. Following the dismissal of Hohenlohe in 1900, Wilhelm appointed the man whom he regarded as "his own Bismarck", Bernhard von Bülow. In foreign policy Bismarck had achieved a fragile balance of interests between Germany, France and Russia—peace was at hand and Bismarck tried to keep it that way despite growing popular sentiment against Britain (regarding colonies) and especially against Russia. With Bismarck's dismissal the Russians now expected a reversal of policy in Berlin, so they quickly came to terms with France, beginning the process that by 1914 largely isolated Germany.[14]

Monarchical styles of German Emperor
German Emperor
Wilhelm II, King of Prussia

Reference style His Imperial and Royal Majesty

Spoken style Your Imperial and Royal Majesty

Alternative style Sire

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 Era". 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.

Silver 5-mark coin of Wilhelm II.

Bismarck did manage to create the "Bismarck myth," the view (which some would argue was confirmed by subsequent events) that Wilhelm II's dismissal of the Iron Chancellor 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 the early twentieth century Wilhelm began to concentrate upon his real agenda; the creation of a German navy that would rival that of Britain and enable Germany
to declare itself a world power. He ordered his military leaders to read Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan's book, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, and spent hours drawing sketches of the ships that he wanted built. Bülow and Bethmann Hollweg, his loyal chancellors, looked after domestic affairs, while Wilhelm began to spread alarm in the chancellories of Europe with his increasingly eccentric views on foreign affairs. Promoter of arts and sciences Wilhelm enthusiastically promoted the arts and sciences, as well as public education and social welfare. He sponsored the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the promotion of scientific research; it was funded by wealthy private donors and by the state and comprised a number of research institutes in both pure and applied sciences. The Prussian Academy of Sciences was unable to avoid the Kaiser's pressure and lost some of its autonomy when it was forced to incorporate new programs in engineering, and award new fellowships in engineering sciences as a result of a gift from the Kaiser in 1900.[15] Wilhelm supported the modernisers as they tried to reform the Prussian system of secondary education, which was rigidly traditional, elitist, politically authoritarian, and unchanged by the progress in the natural sciences. As hereditary Protector of the Order of Saint John, he offered encouragement to the Christian order's attempts to place German medicine at the forefront of modern medical practice through its system of hospitals, nursing sisterhood and nursing schools, and nursing homes throughout the German Empire. Wilhelm continued as Protector of the Order even after 1918, as the position was in essence attached to the head of the House of Hohenzollern.[16][17] Personality

Emperor Wilhelm II talks with Ethiopians at the Tierpark Hagenbeck
Tierpark Hagenbeck
in Hamburg
in 1909.

Historians have frequently stressed the role of Wilhelm's personality in shaping his reign. Thus, Thomas Nipperdey concludes he was:

...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,—technology, industry, science—but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success,—as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday—romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother.[18]

Historian David Fromkin states that Wilhelm had a love-hate relationship with Britain.[19] According to Fromkin:

From the outset, the half-German side of him was at war with the half-English side. He was wildly jealous of the British, wanting to be British, wanting to be better at being British than the British were, while at the same time hating them and resenting them because he never could be fully accepted by them.[20]

Langer et al. (1968) emphasize the negative international consequences of Wilhelm's erratic personality:

He believed in force, and the 'survival of the fittest' in domestic as well as foreign politics... William was not lacking in intelligence, but he did lack stability, disguising his deep insecurities by swagger and tough talk. He frequently fell into depressions and hysterics... William's personal instability was reflected in vacillations of policy. His actions, at home as well as abroad, lacked guidance, and therefore often bewildered or infuriated public opinion. He was not so much concerned with gaining specific objectives, as had been the case with Bismarck, as with asserting his will. This trait in the ruler of the leading Continental power was one of the main causes of the uneasiness prevailing in Europe at the turn-of-the-century.[21]

Relationships with foreign relatives As a grandchild of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm was a first cousin of the British Empire's King George V, as well as of Queens Marie of Romania, Maud of Wales, and Victoria Eugenie of Spain, and of the Empress Alexandra of Russia. In 1889, Wilhelm's younger sister, Sophia, married the future King Constantine I of Greece. Wilhelm, infuriated by his sister's conversion to Greek Orthodoxy
Greek Orthodoxy
upon her marriage, attempted to ban her from entering Germany.

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany
and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

Wilhelm's most contentious relationships were with his British relations. He craved the acceptance of his grandmother, Queen Victoria, and of the rest of her family.[22] Despite the fact that his grandmother treated him with courtesy and tact, his other relatives found him arrogant and obnoxious, and they largely denied him acceptance.[23] He had an especially bad relationship with his Uncle Bertie, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Between 1888 and 1901 Wilhelm resented his uncle, himself a mere heir to the English throne, treating Wilhelm not as Emperor of Germany, but merely as another nephew.[24] In turn, Wilhelm often snubbed his uncle, whom he referred to as "the old peacock" and lorded his position as emperor over him.[25] Beginning in the 1890s, Wilhelm made visits to England for Cowes Week
Cowes Week
on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
and often competed against his uncle in the yacht races. Edward's wife, the Danish-born Alexandra, first as Princess of Wales and later as Queen, also disliked Wilhelm, never forgetting the Prussian seizure of Schleswig-Holstein
from Denmark in the 1860s, as well as being annoyed over Wilhelm's treatment of his mother.[26] Despite his poor relations with his English relatives, nevertheless, when he received news that Queen Victoria was dying at Osborne House
Osborne House
in January 1901, Wilhelm traveled to England and was at her bedside when she died and remained for the funeral. He also was present at the funeral of King Edward VII, in 1910. In 1913, Wilhelm hosted a lavish wedding in Berlin
for his only daughter, Victoria Louise. Among the guests at the wedding were his second cousin once removed and third cousin Tsar Nicholas II
Nicholas II
of Russia, who also disliked Wilhelm, and his English cousin, King George V and his wife, Queen Mary. Antisemitism Wilhelm's biographer Lamar Cecil identified Wilhelm's "curious but well-developed anti-Semitism", noting that in 1888 a friend of Wilhelm "declared that the young Kaiser's dislike of his Hebrew subjects, one rooted in a perception that they possessed an overweening influence in Germany, was so strong that it could not be overcome." Cecil concludes:

Wilhelm never changed, and throughout his life he believed that Jews were perversely responsible, largely through their prominence in the Berlin
press and in leftist political movements, for encouraging opposition to his rule. For individual Jews, ranging from rich businessmen and major art collectors to purveyors of elegant goods in Berlin
stores, he had considerable esteem, but he prevented Jewish citizens from having careers in the army and the diplomatic corps and frequently used abusive language against them.[27]

On 2 December 1919, Wilhelm wrote to Field Marshal August von Mackensen, denouncing his own abdication as the "deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history, the Germans have done to themselves... egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah ... Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!"[28] Wilhelm advocated a "regular international all-worlds pogrom à la Russe" as "the best cure" and further believed that Jews were a "nuisance that humanity must get rid of some way or other. I believe the best thing would be gas!"[29] Foreign affairs

1898 China imperialism cartoon: A Mandarin official helplessly looks on as China, depicted as a pie, is about to be carved up by Queen Victoria (Britain), Wilhelm II (Germany), Nicholas II
Nicholas II
(Russia), Marianne
(France), and a samurai (Japan).

A 1904 British cartoon commenting on the Entente cordiale: John Bull walking off with Marianne, turning his back on Wilhelm II, whose saber is shown extending from his coat.

Wilhelm II with Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II of Russia
in 1905, wearing the military uniforms of each other's nations

German foreign policy under Wilhelm II was faced with a number of significant problems. Perhaps the most apparent was that Wilhelm was an impatient man, subjective in his reactions and affected strongly by sentiment and impulse. He was personally ill-equipped to steer German foreign policy along a rational course. 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 notorious examples, such as the Kruger telegram of 1896 in which Wilhelm congratulated President Paul Kruger
Paul Kruger
of the Transvaal Republic on the suppression of the British Jameson Raid, thus alienating British public opinion. British public opinion had been quite favourable toward the Kaiser in his first twelve years on the throne, but it turned sour in the late 1890s. During the First World War, he became the central target of British anti-German propaganda and the personification of a hated enemy.[30] Wilhelm invented and spread fears of a yellow peril trying to interest other European rulers in the perils they faced by invading China; few other leaders paid attention.[31] Wilhelm used the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
to try to incite fear in the west of the yellow peril that they faced by a resurgent Japan, which Wilhelm claimed would ally with China to overrun the west. Under Wilhelm, Germany invested in strengthening its colonies in Africa and the Pacific, but few became profitable and all were lost during the First World War. In South West Africa
South West Africa
(now Namibia), a native revolt against German rule led to the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, although Wilhelm eventually ordered it to be stopped. One of the few times when Wilhelm succeeded in personal diplomacy was when in 1900 he supported the marriage of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria to Sophie Chotek, against the wishes of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.[32] A domestic triumph for Wilhelm was when his daughter Victoria Louise married the Duke of Brunswick in 1913; this helped heal the rift between the House of Hanover
House of Hanover
and the House of Hohenzollern
which followed the annexation of Hanover by Prussia
in 1866.[33] Abushiri Arab Revolt in East Africa

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The German East Africa Company
German East Africa Company
colonized the East African coast around Tanganyika
but the Arabs under Abushiri ibn Salim al-Harthi started a massive revolt along the coast, killing German representatives of the company and seizing control. The German Empire
German Empire
sent troops to crush the uprising, with the help of a British blockade. The uprising was defeated by 1889 and the Arab rebel leader Abushiri was hanged by German forces. Hun speech of 1900 The Boxer rebellion, an anti-western uprising in China, was put down in 1900 by an international force of British, French, Russian, Italian, American, Japanese, and German troops. The Germans, however, forfeited any prestige that they might have gained for their participation by arriving only after the British and Japanese forces had taken Peking, the site of the fiercest fighting. Moreover, the poor impression left by the German troops' late arrival was made worse by the Kaiser's ill-conceived farewell address, in which he commanded them, in the spirit of the Huns, to be merciless in battle.[34] Wilhelm delivered this speech in Bremerhaven
on 27 July 1900, addressing German troops who were departing to suppress the Boxer rebellion in China. The speech was infused with Wilhelm's fiery and chauvinistic rhetoric and clearly expressed his vision of German imperial power. There were two versions of the speech. The Foreign Office issued an edited version, making sure to omit one particularly incendiary paragraph that they regarded as diplomatically embarrassing.[35] The edited version read like this:

Great overseas tasks have fallen to the new German Empire, tasks far greater than many of my countrymen expected. The German Empire
German Empire
has, by its very character, the obligation to assist its citizens if they are being set upon in foreign lands. The tasks that the old Roman Empire of the German nation was unable to accomplish, the new German Empire is in a position to fulfill. The means that make this possible is our army. It has been built up during thirty years of faithful, peaceful labor, following the principles of my blessed grandfather. You, too, have received your training in accordance with these principles, and by putting them to the test before the enemy, you should see whether they have proved their worth in you. Your comrades in the navy have already passed this test; they have shown that the principles of your training are sound, and I am also proud of the praise that your comrades have earned over there from foreign leaders. It is up to you to emulate them. A great task awaits you: you are to revenge the grievous injustice that has been done. The Chinese have overturned the law of nations; they have mocked the sacredness of the envoy, the duties of hospitality in a way unheard of in world history. It is all the more outrageous that this crime has been committed by a nation that takes pride in its ancient culture. Show the old Prussian virtue. Present yourselves as Christians in the cheerful endurance of suffering. May honor and glory follow your banners and arms. Give the whole world an example of manliness and discipline. You know full well that you are to fight against a cunning, brave, well-armed, and cruel enemy. When you encounter him, know this: no quarter will be given. Prisoners will not be taken. Exercise your arms such that for a thousand years no Chinese will dare to look cross-eyed at a German. Maintain discipline. May God’s blessing be with you, the prayers of an entire nation and my good wishes go with you, each and every one. Open the way to civilization once and for all! Now you may depart! Farewell, comrades![35][36]

The official version omitted the following passage from which the speech derives its name:

Should you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated! No quarter will be given! Prisoners will not be taken! Whoever falls into your hands is forfeited. Just as a thousand years ago the Huns
under their King Attila
made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German.[35][37]

The term "Hun" later became the favored epithet of Allied anti-German war propaganda during the First World War.[34] Moroccan Crisis

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One of Wilhelm's diplomatic blunders sparked the Moroccan Crisis of 1905, when he made a spectacular visit to Tangier, in Morocco. His presence was seen as an assertion of German interests in Morocco, in opposition to those of France. In his speech, he even made remarks in favour of Moroccan independence, and this led to friction with France, which had expanding colonial interests in Morocco, and to the Algeciras Conference, which served largely to further isolate Germany in Europe.[38]

Wilhelm II and Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
during a military autumn maneuver near Breslau, Silesia
(Wrocław, Poland) in 1906

Daily Telegraph affair Main article: Daily Telegraph Affair Wilhelm's most damaging personal blunder cost him much of his prestige and power and had a far greater impact in Germany
than overseas.[39] The Daily Telegraph Affair of 1908 involved the publication in Germany of an interview with a British daily newspaper that included wild statements and diplomatically damaging remarks. Wilhelm had seen the interview as an opportunity to promote his views and ideas on Anglo-German friendship, but due to his emotional outbursts during the course of the interview, he ended up further alienating not only the British, but also the French, Russians, and Japanese. He implied, among other things, that the Germans cared nothing for the British; that the French and Russians had attempted to incite Germany
to intervene in the Second Boer War; and that the German naval buildup was targeted against the Japanese, not Britain. One memorable quotation from the interview was, "You English are mad, mad, mad as March hares."[40] The effect in Germany
was quite significant, with serious calls for his abdication. Wilhelm kept a very low profile for many months after the Daily Telegraph fiasco, but later exacted his revenge by forcing the resignation of the chancellor, Prince Bülow, who had abandoned the Emperor to public scorn by not having the transcript edited before its German publication.[41][42] The Daily Telegraph crisis deeply wounded Wilhelm's previously unimpaired self-confidence, and he soon suffered a severe bout of depression from which he never fully recovered. He lost much of the influence he had previously exercised in domestic and foreign policy.[1] Naval expansion

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Caricature by Olaf Gulbransson 1909: "Manoeuvre: Emperor William II explains the enemy's positions to Prince Ludwig of Bavaria"

Nothing Wilhelm did in the international arena was of more influence than his decision to pursue a policy of massive naval construction. A powerful navy was Wilhelm's pet project. He had inherited from his mother a love of the British Royal Navy, which was at that time the world's largest. He once confided to his uncle, the Prince of Wales, that his dream was to have a "fleet of my own some day". Wilhelm's frustration over his fleet's poor showing at the Fleet Review at his grandmother Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
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 toward 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 Imperial Naval Office in 1897. 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 British Empire. Naval expansion under the Fleet Acts
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. In 1889 Wilhelm reorganised top level control of the navy by creating a Naval Cabinet (Marine-Kabinett) equivalent to the German Imperial Military Cabinet which had previously functioned in the same capacity for both the army and navy. The Head of the Naval Cabinet was responsible for promotions, appointments, administration, and issuing orders to naval forces. Captain Gustav von Senden-Bibran
Gustav von Senden-Bibran
was appointed as the first head and remained so until 1906. The existing Imperial admiralty was abolished, and its responsibilities divided between two organisations. A new position was created, equivalent to the supreme commander of the army: the Chief of the High Command of the Admiralty, or Oberkommando der Marine, was responsible for ship deployments, strategy and tactics. Vice-Admiral Max von der Goltz
Max von der Goltz
was appointed in 1889 and remained in post until 1895. Construction and maintenance of ships and obtaining supplies was the responsibility of the State Secretary of the Imperial Navy Office (Reichsmarineamt), responsible to the Imperial Chancellor and advising the Reichstag on naval matters. The first appointee was Rear Admiral Karl Eduard Heusner, followed shortly by Rear Admiral Friedrich von Hollmann from 1890 to 1897. Each of these three heads of department reported separately to Wilhelm.[43] In addition to the expansion of the fleet, the Kiel Canal
Kiel Canal
was opened in 1895, enabling faster movements between the North Sea
North Sea
and the Baltic Sea. First World War

Emperor Wilhelm with the Grand Duke of Baden, Prince Oskar of Prussia, the Grand Duke of Hesse, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Prince Louis of Bavaria, Prince Max of Baden
Prince Max of Baden
and his son, Crown Prince Wilhelm, at pre-war military maneuvers in autumn 1909

A composite image of Wilhelm II with German generals

The Sarajevo crisis Wilhelm was a friend of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and he was deeply shocked by his assassination on 28 June 1914. Wilhelm offered to support Austria-Hungary
in crushing the Black Hand, the secret organization that had plotted the killing, and even sanctioned the use of force by Austria against the perceived source of the movement— Serbia
(this is often called "the blank cheque"). 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
North Sea
on 6 July 1914. 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 28 July, 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 mobilisation.[44]

Unknown to the Emperor, Austro-Hungarian ministers and generals had already convinced the 83-year-old Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I of Austria
to sign a declaration of war against Serbia. As a direct consequence, Russia began a general mobilization to attack Austria in defense of Serbia. July 1914 Main article: July Crisis

Emperor Wilhelm in conversation with the victor of Liège, General Otto von Emmich; in the background the generals Hans von Plessen (middle) and Moriz von Lyncker
Moriz von Lyncker

On the night of 30 July, when handed a document stating that Russia would not cancel its mobilization, Wilhelm wrote a lengthy commentary containing these observations:

...For I no longer have any doubt that England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves—knowing that our treaty obligations compel us to support Austria—to use the Austro-Serb conflict as a pretext for waging a war of annihilation against us... Our dilemma over keeping faith with the old and honourable Emperor has been exploited to create a situation which gives England the excuse she has been seeking to annihilate us with a spurious appearance of justice on the pretext that she is helping France and maintaining the well-known Balance of Power in Europe, i.e., playing off all European States for her own benefit against us.[45]

More recent British authors state that Wilhelm II really declared, "Ruthlessness and weakness will start the most terrifying war of the world, whose purpose is to destroy Germany. Because there can no longer be any doubts, England, France and Russia have conspired themselves together to fight an annihilation war against us".[46]

An das deutsche Volk

Extract from Wilhelm's public address for mobilization, 6 August 1914.

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When it became clear that Germany
would experience a war on two fronts and that Britain would enter the war if Germany
attacked France through neutral Belgium, the panic-stricken Wilhelm attempted to redirect the main attack against Russia. When Helmuth von Moltke (the younger) (who had chosen the old plan from 1905, made by General von Schlieffen for the possibility of German war on two fronts) told him that this was impossible, Wilhelm said: "Your uncle would have given me a different answer!"[47] Wilhelm is also reported to have said, "To think that George and Nicky should have played me false! If my grandmother had been alive, she would never have allowed it."[48] In the original Schlieffen plan, Germany
would attack the (supposed) weaker enemy first, meaning France. The plan supposed that it would take a long time before Russia was ready for war. Defeating France had been easy for Prussia
in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. At the 1914 border between France and Germany, an attack at this more southern part of France could be stopped by the French fortress along the border. However, Wilhelm II stopped any invasion of the Netherlands.

Italian poster from 1915 showing Wilhelm II biting into the world. The text reads "The glutton – too hard."


Hindenburg, Wilhelm II, and Ludendorff in January 1917

Wilhelm's role in wartime was one of ever-decreasing power as he increasingly handled awards ceremonies and honorific duties. The high command continued with its strategy even when it was clear that the Schlieffen plan
Schlieffen plan
had failed. By 1916 the Empire had effectively become a military dictatorship under the control of Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff.[49] 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. 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 September 1914 and his replacement by Erich von Falkenhayn. In 1917, Hindenburg and Ludendorff decided that Bethman-Hollweg was no longer acceptable to them as Chancellor and called upon the Kaiser to appoint somebody else. When asked whom they would accept, Ludendorff recommended Georg Michaelis, a nonentity whom he barely knew. The Kaiser did not know Michaelis, but accepted the suggestion. Upon hearing in July 1917 that his cousin George V
George V
had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor,[50] Wilhelm remarked that he planned to see Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.[51] The Kaiser's support collapsed completely in October–November 1918 in the army, in the civilian government, and in German public opinion, as President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
made clear that the Kaiser could no longer be a party to peace negotiations.[52][53] That year also saw Wilhelm sickened during the worldwide 1918 flu pandemic, though he survived.[54] Abdication and flight Main article: Abdication of Wilhelm II

has original text related to this article: Statement of Abdication

Wilhelm was at the Imperial Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium, when the uprisings in Berlin
and other centres took him by surprise 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 accepted that he would likely have to give up the imperial crown, but still hoped to retain the Prussian kingship. However, this was impossible under the imperial constitution. While Wilhelm thought he ruled as emperor in a personal union with Prussia, the constitution actually tied the imperial crown to the Prussian crown, meaning that Wilhelm could not renounce one crown without renouncing the other. Wilhelm's hopes of retaining at least one of his crowns was revealed as unrealistic when, in the hope of preserving the monarchy in the face of growing revolutionary unrest, Chancellor Prince Max of Baden announced Wilhelm's abdication of both titles on 9 November 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. Later that day, one of Ebert's secretaries of state (ministers), Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, proclaimed Germany
a republic. 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.[55] The fact that the High Command might one day abandon the Kaiser had been foreseen in December 1897, when Wilhelm had visited Otto von Bismarck for the last time. Bismarck had again warned the Kaiser about the increasing influence of militarists, especially of the admirals who were pushing for the construction of a battle fleet. Bismarck's last warning had been:

Your Majesty, so long as you have this present officer corps, you can do as you please. But when this is no longer the case, it will be very different for you.[56]

Subsequently, Bismarck had predicted accurately:

Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this.[57]

On 10 November, Wilhelm crossed the border by train and went into exile in the Netherlands, which had remained neutral throughout the war.[58] Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles
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 the Dutch government refused to extradite him, despite appeals from the Allies. King George V
George V
wrote that he looked on his cousin as "the greatest criminal in history", but opposed Prime Minister David Lloyd George's proposal to "hang the Kaiser". President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
of the United States opposed extradition, arguing that prosecuting Wilhelm would destabilize international order and lose the peace.[59] Wilhelm first settled in Amerongen, where on 28 November he issued a belated statement of abdication from both the Prussian and imperial thrones, thus formally ending the Hohenzollerns' 400-year rule over Prussia. Accepting the reality that he had lost both of his crowns for good, he gave up his rights to "the throne of Prussia
and to the German Imperial throne connected therewith." He also released his soldiers and officials in both Prussia
and the empire from their oath of loyalty to him.[60] He purchased a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn
Huis Doorn
and moved in on 15 May 1920.[61] This was to be his home for the remainder of his life. The Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
allowed Wilhelm to remove twenty-three railway wagons of furniture, twenty-seven containing packages of all sorts, one bearing a car and another a boat, from the New Palace at Potsdam.[62] Life in exile In 1922, Wilhelm published the first volume of his memoirs[63]—a very slim volume that insisted 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, he entertained guests (often of some standing) and kept himself updated on events in Europe. He grew a beard and allowed his famous moustache to droop. He also learned the Dutch language. Wilhelm developed a penchant for archaeology while residing at the Corfu Achilleion, excavating at the site of the Temple of Artemis in Corfu, a passion he retained in his exile. He had bought the former Greek residence of Empress Elisabeth after her murder in 1898. He also sketched plans for grand buildings and battleships when he was bored. In exile, one of Wilhelm's greatest passions was hunting, and he bagged thousands of animals, both beast and bird. Much of his time was spent chopping wood and thousands of trees were chopped down during his stay at Doorn.[64] In the early 1930s, Wilhelm apparently hoped that the successes of the German Nazi Party
Nazi Party
would stimulate interest in a restoration of the monarchy, with his eldest grandson as the fourth Kaiser. His second wife, Hermine, actively petitioned the Nazi government on her husband's behalf. However, Adolf Hitler, himself a veteran of the First World War, like other leading Nazis, felt nothing but scorn for the man they blamed for Germany's greatest defeat, and the petitions were ignored. Though he played host to Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
at Doorn
on at least one occasion, Wilhelm grew to distrust Hitler. Hearing of the murder of the wife of former Chancellor Schleicher, he said "We have ceased to live under the rule of law and everyone must be prepared for the possibility that the Nazis will push their way in and put them up against the wall!"[65] Wilhelm was also appalled at the Kristallnacht of 9–10 November 1938, saying "I have just made my views clear to Auwi [Wilhelm's fourth son] in the presence of his brothers. He had the nerve to say that he agreed with the Jewish pogroms and understood why they had come about. When I told him that any decent man would describe these actions as gangsterisms, he appeared totally indifferent. He is completely lost to our family".[66] He also stated, "For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German."[67]

"There's a man alone, without family, without children, without God... He builds legions, but he doesn't build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, traditions: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children... For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed... He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters! This man could bring home victories to our people each year, without bringing them either glory or danger. But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians, of artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics. ― Wilhelm on Hitler, December 1938.[68]

In the wake of the German victory over Poland
in September 1939, Wilhelm's adjutant, General von Dommes, wrote on his behalf to Hitler, stating that the House of Hohenzollern
"remained loyal" and noted that nine Prussian Princes (one son and eight grandchildren) were stationed at the front, concluding "because of the special circumstances that require residence in a neutral foreign country, His Majesty must personally decline to make the aforementioned comment. The Emperor has therefore charged me with making a communication."[69] Wilhelm greatly admired the success which Hitler was able to achieve in the opening months of the Second World War, and personally sent a congratulatory telegram when the Netherlands
surrendered in May 1940: "My Fuhrer, I congratulate you and hope that under your marvellous leadership the German monarchy will be restored completely." Hitler was reportedly exasperated and bemused, and remarked to Linge, his valet, "What an idiot!".[70] In another telegram to Hitler upon the fall of Paris a month later, Wilhelm stated "Congratulations, you have won using my troops." In a letter to his daughter Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick, he wrote triumphantly, "Thus is the pernicious Entente Cordiale of Uncle Edward VII
Edward VII
brought to nought."[71] Nevertheless, after the Nazi conquest of the Netherlands
in 1940, the aging Wilhelm retired completely from public life. In May 1940, when Hitler invaded the Netherlands, Wilhelm declined an offer from Churchill of asylum in Britain, preferring to die at Huis Doorn.[72] During his last year at Doorn, Wilhelm believed that Germany
was the land of monarchy and therefore of Christ, and that England was the land of liberalism and therefore of Satan
and the Anti-Christ.[73] He argued that the English ruling classes were " Freemasons
thoroughly infected by Juda".[73] Wilhelm asserted that the "British people must be liberated from Antichrist Juda. We must drive Juda out of England just as he has been chased out of the Continent."[74][clarification needed] He believed the Freemasons
and Jews had caused the two world wars, aiming at a world Jewish empire with British and American gold, but that "Juda's plan has been smashed to pieces and they themselves swept out of the European Continent!"[73] Continental Europe was now, Wilhelm wrote, "consolidating and closing itself off from British influences after the elimination of the British and the Jews!" The end result would be a "U.S. of Europe!"[74][clarification needed] In a letter of 1940 to his sister Princess Margaret, Wilhelm wrote: "The hand of God is creating a new world & working miracles... We are becoming the U.S. of Europe under German leadership, a united European Continent." He added: "The Jews [are] being thrust out of their nefarious positions in all countries, whom they have driven to hostility for centuries."[69] Also in 1940 came what would have been his mother's 100th birthday, on which he wrote ironically to a friend "Today the 100th birthday of my mother! No notice is taken of it at home! No 'Memorial Service' or... committee to remember her marvellous work for the... welfare of our German people... Nobody of the new generation knows anything about her."[75] This sympathy for his mother is in sharp contrast to the intense animosity he expressed for her during most of her life.[citation needed]

The Huis Doorn
Huis Doorn
in 1925

Wilhelm in 1933

Huis Doorn
Huis Doorn
in the Netherlands


Wilhelm II's tomb in Doorn, Netherlands

Wilhelm died of a pulmonary embolus in Doorn, Netherlands, on 4 June 1941, aged 82, just weeks before the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. German soldiers had been guarding his house. Hitler, however, was reported[by whom?] to be angry that the former monarch had an honor guard of German troops and nearly fired the general who ordered them when he found out. Despite his personal animosity toward Wilhelm, Hitler wanted to bring his body back to Berlin
for a state funeral, as Wilhelm was a symbol of Germany
and Germans during the previous World War. Hitler felt that such a funeral would demonstrate to the Germans the direct descent of the Third Reich
Third Reich
from the old German Empire.[76] However, Wilhelm's wishes never to return to Germany
until the restoration of the monarchy were respected, and the Nazi occupation authorities granted him a small military funeral, with a few hundred people present. The mourners included August von Mackensen, fully dressed in his old imperial Life Hussars uniform, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and Reichskommissar for the Netherlands
Arthur Seyss-Inquart, along with a few other military advisers. However, Wilhelm's request that the swastika and other Nazi regalia be not displayed at his funeral was ignored, and they are featured in the photographs of the event taken by a Dutch photographer.[77] Wilhelm was buried in a mausoleum in the grounds of Huis Doorn, which has since become a place of pilgrimage for German monarchists. Small but enthusiastic and faithful numbers of them gather there every year on the anniversary of his death to pay their homage to the last German Emperor.[78] Historiography Three trends have characterized the writing about Wilhelm. First, the court-inspired writers considered him a martyr and a hero, often uncritically accepting the justifications provided in the Kaiser's own memoirs. Second, there came those who judged Wilhelm to be completely unable to handle the great responsibilities of his position, a ruler too reckless to deal with power. Third, after 1950, later scholars have sought to transcend the passions of the early 20th century and attempted an objective portrayal of Wilhelm and his rule.[79] On 8 June 1913, a year before the Great War began, The New York Times published a special supplement devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Kaiser's accession. The banner headline read: "Kaiser, 25 Years a Ruler, Hailed as Chief Peacemaker". The accompanying story called him "the greatest factor for peace that our time can show", and credited Wilhelm with frequently rescuing Europe from the brink of war.[80] Until the late 1950s, the Kaiser was depicted by most historians as a man of considerable influence. Partly that was a deception by German officials. For example, President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
believed the Kaiser was in control of German foreign policy because Hermann Speck von Sternburg, the German ambassador in Washington and a personal friend of Roosevelt, presented to the president messages from Chancellor von Bülow
Chancellor von Bülow
as messages from the Kaiser. Later historians downplayed his role, arguing that senior officials learned to work around him. More recently historian John C. G. Röhl has portrayed Wilhelm as the key figure in understanding the recklessness and downfall of Imperial Germany.[81] Thus, the argument is made that the Kaiser played a major role in promoting the policies of naval and colonial expansion that caused the sharp deterioration in Germany's relations with Britain before 1914.[82][83] First marriage and issue

Wilhelm and his first wife Augusta Viktoria

Wilhelm and his first wife, Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, were married on 27 February 1881. They had seven children:

Name Birth Death Spouse Children

Crown Prince Wilhelm 6 May 1882 20 July 1951 Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Prince Wilhelm (1906–1940) Prince Louis Ferdinand (1907–1994) Prince Hubertus (1909–1950) Prince Frederick (1911–1966) Princess Alexandrine (1915–1980) Princess Cecilie (1917–1975)

Prince Eitel Friedrich 7 July 1883 8 December 1942 Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Oldenburg

Prince Adalbert 14 July 1884 22 September 1948 Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen Princess Victoria Marina (1915) Princess Victoria Marina (1917–1981) Prince Wilhelm Victor (1919–1989)

Prince August Wilhelm 29 January 1887 25 March 1949 Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Prince Alexander Ferdinand (1912–1985)

Prince Oskar 27 July 1888 27 January 1958 Countess Ina Marie von Bassewitz Prince Oskar (1915–1939) Prince Burchard (1917–1988) Princess Herzeleide (1918–1989) Prince Wilhelm-Karl (1922–2007)

Prince Joachim 17 December 1890 18 July 1920 Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt Prince Karl Franz (1916–1975)

Princess Victoria Louise 13 September 1892 11 December 1980 Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick Prince Ernest Augustus (1914–1987) Prince George William (1915–2006) Princess Frederica (1917–1981) Prince Christian Oscar (1919–1981) Prince Welf Henry (1923–1997)

Empress Augusta, known affectionately as "Dona", was a constant companion to Wilhelm, and her death on 11 April 1921 was a devastating blow. It also came less than a year after their son Joachim committed suicide. Remarriage

With second wife, Hermine, and her daughter, Princess Henriette

The following January, Wilhelm received a birthday greeting from a son of the late Prince Johann George Ludwig Ferdinand August Wilhelm of Schönaich-Carolath. The 63-year-old Wilhelm invited the boy and his mother, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, to Doorn. Wilhelm found Hermine very attractive, and greatly enjoyed her company. The couple were wed on 9 November 1922, despite the objections of Wilhelm's monarchist supporters and his children. Hermine's daughter, Princess Henriette, married the late Prince Joachim's son, Karl Franz Josef, in 1940, but divorced in 1946. Hermine remained a constant companion to the aging Emperor until his death. Religion Own views Emperor Wilhelm II was a Lutheran
member of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia's older Provinces. It was a United Protestant denomination, bringing together Reformed
and Lutheran
believers. Attitude towards other faiths Regarding his attitude towards other religions, Wilhelm II was on friendly terms with the Muslim world.[84] He described himself as the "friend" of the "300 million Mohammedans".[85] Following his trip to Constantinople (which he visited three times — an unbeaten record for any European monarch)[86] in 1898, Wilhelm II wrote to Tsar Nicholas II, “If I had come there without any religion at all, I certainly would have turned Mahommetan!”[87] Ancestry

Ancestors of Wilhelm II, German Emperor

16. Frederick William II of Prussia

8. Frederick William III of Prussia

17. Landgravine Frederica Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt

4. William I, German Emperor

18. Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

9. Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

19. Landgravine Frederica of Hesse-Darmstadt

2. Frederick III, German Emperor

20. Charles Augustus, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

10. Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

21. Landgravine Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt

5. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

22. Paul I of Russia

11. Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia

23. Princess Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg

1. Wilhelm II, German Emperor

24. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

12. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

25. Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf

6. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

26. Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

13. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

27. Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

3. Victoria, Princess Royal

28. George III of the United Kingdom

14. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

29. Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

7. Victoria of the United Kingdom

30. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
(= 24)

15. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

31. Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf (= 25)

Titles and styles

Portrait by Max Koner
Max Koner

27 January 1859 – 9 March 1888: His Royal Highness
Royal Highness
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia 9 March 1888 – 15 June 1888: His Imperial and Royal Highness
Royal Highness
The German Crown Prince, Crown Prince of Prussia 15 June 1888 – 18 November 1918: His Imperial and Royal Majesty The German Emperor, King of Prussia

Decorations and awards

Prussian Honours

Grand Master of the following Orders:

Order of the Black Eagle Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown Order of the Red Eagle Order of the Crown (Prussia) Royal House Order of Hohenzollern Pour le Mérite Iron Cross
Iron Cross
and Knight Grand Cross Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)

Knight of the Order of the Rue Crown
Order of the Rue Crown
(Saxony) Knight of the Order of Saint Hubert
Order of Saint Hubert
(Bavaria) Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph
Military Order of Max Joseph
(Bavaria) Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of St. Henry
Military Order of St. Henry
(Saxony) Hanseatic Crosses of Bremen, Hamburg
and Lübeck Military Merit Cross, 1st class (Mecklenburg-Schwerin) Friedrich Cross, 1st class (Duchy of Anhalt)

Foreign honours

Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Order of the Golden Fleece
(Spain) Knight of the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
(United Kingdom) – withdrawn in 1915 Knight of the Order of St. Andrew
Order of St. Andrew
(Russian Empire) Knight of the Order of the Elephant
Order of the Elephant
(Denmark) Knight of the Order of the Seraphim
Order of the Seraphim
(Sweden) Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
(1873, Kingdom of Italy) Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
(1873, Kingdom of Italy) Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy
Order of the Crown of Italy
(1873, Kingdom of Italy) Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Norwegian Lion
Order of the Norwegian Lion
(Norway) Knight of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius
(Kingdom of Bulgaria) Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Documentaries and films

William II. – The last days of the German Monarchy (original title: "Wilhelm II. – Die letzten Tage des Deutschen Kaiserreichs"), about the abdication and flight of the last German Kaiser. Germany/Belgium, 2007. Produced by seelmannfilm and German Television. Written and directed by Christoph Weinert. [88] Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
and the Crippled Kaiser, Channel 4, Secret History Series 13; first broadcast 17 November 2013 Barry Foster plays Wilhelm II in several episodes of the 1974 BBC TV series Fall of Eagles. Rupert Julian
Rupert Julian
played Wilhelm II in the 1918 Hollywood propaganda film The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. Alfred Struwe played Wilhelm in the 1987 Polish historical drama film Magnat. Robert Stadlober
Robert Stadlober
plays a young crown prince Wilhelm and friend of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria
Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria
in the acclaimed 2006 film The Crown Prince (Kronprinz Rudolf). Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
played Wilhelm II in the 2016 fictitious romantic war drama The Exception.

See also

List of people on the cover of Time Magazine: 1920s – 28 June 1926 Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive Rulers of Germany
family tree. He was related to every other monarch of Germany. Wilhelminism Alesund, a Norwegian city rebuilt by Wilhelm II after it had been almost completely destroyed by fire in 1904.

References Notes

^ a b Cecil 1996, vol. 2, pp. 138–41. ^ William L. Putnam, -The Kaiser's merchant ships in World War I (2001) p. 33 ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHNorbVvyLg ^ Massie 1991, p. 27. ^ a b Massie 1991, p. 28. ^ Clay 2007, p. 14. ^ Massie 1991, p. 29. ^ Hull 2004, p. 31. ^ Massie 1991, p. 33. ^ Röhl 1998, p. 12. ^ Massie 1991, p. 34. ^ John C. G. Röhl (2014). Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Concise Life. Cambridge UP. p. 44.  ^ Gauss 1915, p. 55. ^ Taylor 1967, pp. 238–39. ^ König 2004, pp. 359–377. ^ Clark 2003, pp. 38–40, 44. ^ Sainty 1991, p. 91. ^ Nipperdey 1992, p. 421. ^ Fromkin 2008, p. 110. ^ Fromkin 2008, p. 87. ^ Langer 1968, p. 528. ^ King, Greg, Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
During Her Diamond Jubilee
Diamond Jubilee
Year (Wiley & Sons, 2007), p. 52 ^ King (2007), p. 52 ^ Magnus, Philip, King Edward the Seventh (E. P. Dutton & Co, Inc., 1964), p. 204 ^ Magnus, p. 204 ^ Battiscombe, Georgiana, Queen Alexandra (Constable, 1960), p. 174 ^ LaMar Cecil (1996). Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile, 1900–1941. UNC. p. 57. ISBN 9780807822838.  ^ John Röhl, The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany
(Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 210 ^ Röhl (1994) p. 210 ^ Reinermann 2008, pp. 469–85. ^ Röhl 1996, p. 203. ^ Cecil 1996, p. 14. ^ Cecil 1996, pp. 9. ^ a b ""Hun Speech": Kaiser Wilhelm II's Address to the German Expeditionary Force Prior to its Departure for China (July 27, 1900)". German History in Documents and Images. Retrieved 24 December 2012.  ^ a b c Dunlap, Thorsten. "Wilhelm II: "Hun Speech" (1900)". German History in Documents and Images. Retrieved 24 December 2012.  ^ Prenzle, Johannes, Die Reden Kaiser Wilhelms II (in German), Leipzig, pp. 209–212  ^ Görtemaker,, Manfred (1996), Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert. Entwicklungslinien (Volume 274 ed.), Opladen: Schriftenreihe der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, p. 357  ^ Cecil 1996, pp. 91–102. ^ John C. G. Röhl (2014). Wilhelm II: Into the Abyss of War and Exile, 1900–1941. Cambridge University Press. pp. 662–95.  ^ " The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
Affair".  ^ Cecil 1996, vol. 2, pp. 135–7, 143–45. ^ Donald E. Shepardson, "The 'Daily Telegraph' Affair," Midwest Quarterly (1980) 21#2 pp 207–220 ^ Herwig, pp. 21–23. ^ Ludwig 1927, p. 444. ^ Balfour 1964, pp. 350–51. ^ Wilmott 2003, p. 11. ^ Ludwig 1927, p. 453. ^ Balfour 1964, p. 355. ^ Craig, pp. 374, 377–78, 393. ^ "No. 30186". The London Gazette. 17 July 1917. p. 7119.  ^ Books, Google, 23 March 2010, p. xxiii, ISBN 9780307593023  ^ Cecil 1996, p. 283. ^ Schwabe 1985, p. 107. ^ Collier 1974 ^ Cecil 1996, vol. 2 p. 292. ^ Palmer 1976, p. 267. ^ Taylor 1967, p. 264. ^ Cecil 1996, vol. 2 p. 294. ^ Ashton & Hellema 2000, pp. 53–78. ^ The American Year Book: A Record of Events and Progress. 1919. p. 153.  ^ Macdonogh 2001, p. 426. ^ Macdonogh 2001, p. 425. ^ Hohenzollern
1922. ^ Macdonogh 2001, p. 457. ^ Macdonogh 2001, pp. 452–52. ^ Macdonogh 2001, p. 456. ^ Balfour 1964, p. 419. ^ "The Kaiser on Hitler" (PDF). Ken. 15 December 1938. Retrieved 2 October 2016.  ^ a b Petropoulos 2006, p. 170. ^ The Second World War, Antony Beevor, Phoenix Books, 2013; pp.92–3 ^ Palmer 1978, p. 226. ^ Martin 1994, p. 523. ^ a b c Röhl, John C. G. (2014). Conflict, Catastrophe and Continuity: Essays on Modern German History. Cambridge University Press. p. 1263. ISBN 9780521844314 – via https://books.google.com.  ^ a b Röhl, p. 211. ^ Pakula 1995, p. 602. ^ Sweetman 1973, pp. 654–55. ^ Macdonogh 2001, p. 459. ^ Ruggenberg 1998. ^ Goetz 1955, pp. 21–44. ^ New York Times 1913. ^ Röhl 1994, p. 10. ^ McLean 2001, pp. 478–502. ^ Berghahn 2003, pp. 281–93. ^ Dudoignon, Stephane A.; Hisao, Komatsu; Yasushi, Kosugi, eds. (2006). Intellectuals in the Modern Islamic World: Transmission, Transformation and Communication. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 9781134205974.  ^ Motadel, David, ed. (2014). Islam and the European Empires (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 244–5. ISBN 9780199668311.  ^ Jacob M. Landau
Jacob M. Landau
(2015). Pan-Islam: History and Politics. Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 9781317397533.  ^ "How Recep Tayyip Erdogan seduces Turkish migrants in Europe". The Economist. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.  ^ Weinert 2007.


Ashton, Nigel J; Hellema, Duco (2000), "Hanging the Kaiser: Anglo-Dutch Relations and the Fate of Wilhelm II, 1918–20", Diplomacy & Statecraft, 11 (2): 53–78, doi:10.1080/09592290008406157, ISSN 0959-2296 . Associated Press (15 March 1890), The Kaiser's Conference – Trying to Solve the Workingmen's Problem. Formal Organization of the Delegates in Berlin
– Seeking a New Government Combination, The New York Times, retrieved 15 February 2012 . Balfour, Michael (1964), The Kaiser and his Times, Houghton Mifflin . Berghahn, Volker (2003), "Structure and Agency in Wilhelmine Germany: The history of the German Empire, Past, present and Future", in Mombauer, Annika; Deist, Wilhelm, The Kaiser: New Research on Wilhelm II's Role in Imperial Germany, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-82408-8 , 299 pp.; 12 scholar essays. Butler, David Allen (2010), THE BURDEN OF GUILT: How Germany
Shattered the Last Days of Peace, Summer 1914, Casemate Publishers, ISBN 9781935149576, retrieved 15 July 2012 . Carter, Miranda (2010), George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I . Cecil, Lamar (1989), Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859–1900, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-1828-3 . ———————— (1996), Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile, 1900–1941, ISBN 0-8078-2283-3 . Clark, Jr, Robert M (2003), The Evangelical Knights of Saint John, Dallas, TX . Clay, Catrine (2007), King Kaiser Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War , 432 pp.; popular narrative. Craig, Gordon A, Germany
1866–1945 . F, H (15 March 1890), Labor's Cause in Europe – The Kaiser's Conference and the English Strike. Vast Interests the Strike Involves – French Vandalism, Not German, Spoken from Necessity – Tirard's Fall (PDF), London: The New York Times, retrieved 15 February 2012 . Fromkin, David (2008), The King and The Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners, The Penguin Press . Gauss, Christian (1915), The German Emperor
German Emperor
as shown in his public utterances, New York: Scribner, retrieved 18 February 2012 . Gilbert, Martin (1994), First World War . Goetz, Walter (Feb 1955), "Kaiser Wilhelm II. und die Deutsche Geschichtsschreibung" [Kaiser William II and German historiography], Historische Zeitschrift (in German), 179 (1) . Hohenzollern, William II (28 October 1908), The interview of the Emperor (excerpt), London Daily Telegraph  Hohenzollern, William II (1922), My Memoirs: 1878–1918, Harper & bros. , Archive.org. Hull, Isabel V (2004), The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888–1918 . König, Wolfgang (2004), "The Academy and the Engineering Sciences: an Unwelcome Royal Gift", Minerva: a Review of Science, Learning and Policy, 42 (4): 359–77, doi:10.1007/s11024-004-2111-x, ISSN 0026-4695 . Langer, William L; et al. (1968), Western Civilization  Ludwig, Emil (1927), Wilhelm Hohenzollern: The Last of the Kaisers, New York: GP Putnam's Sons, ISBN 0-404-04067-5 . Macdonogh, Giles (2001), The Last Kaiser: William the Impetuous, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 978-1-84212-478-9 . Massie, Robert K. (1991), Dreadnought: Britain, Germany
and the Coming of the Great War . McLean, Roderick R (2001), "Kaiser Wilhelm II and the British Royal Family: Anglo-German Dynastic Relations in Political Context, 1890–1914", History, 86 (284): 478–502, doi:10.1111/1468-229X.00202, ISSN 0018-2648 . New York Times (8 June 1913), KAISER, 25 YEARS A RULER, HAILED AS CHIEF PEACEMAKER; Men of Mark in and Out of His Dominions Write Exclusively for The New York Times
The New York Times
Their High Opinion of His Work in Behalf of Peace and Progress During the Quarter Century That Has Elapsed Since He Became King of Prussia
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and German Emperor, The New York Times, retrieved 22 February 2012 . Nipperdey, Thomas (1992), Deutsche Geschichte 1866–1918 (in German), 2: Machtstaat vor der Demokratie , translated in Evans, Richard J (1997), Rereading German History: From Unification to Reunification, 1800–1996, Routledge, p. 39 . Pakula, Hannah (1995), The Empress Frederick, Touchstone  Palmer, Alan (1976), Bismarck, Charles Scribner's Sons . Palmer, Alan (1978), The Kaiser: Warlord of the Second Reich, Charles Scribner's Sons . Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006), Royals and the Reich, Oxford University Press . Reinermann, Lothar (Oct 2008), "Fleet Street and the Kaiser: British Public Opinion and Wilhelm II", German History, 26 (4): 469, doi:10.1093/gerhis/ghn046 . Röhl, John CG; Sombart, Nicholaus, eds. (2005) [1982], Kaiser Wilhelm II: New Interpretations − the Corfu Papers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press . Röhl, John CG (1998), Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859–1888, Cambridge University Press . ———————— (2004), The Kaiser's Personal Monarchy, 1888–1900, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-81920-6 , 1310 pp. ———————— (1994), The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-40223-9 . Ruggenberg, Robert 'Rob' (1998), How A German Soldier Still Loves His Dead Kaiser, NL: Greatwar, retrieved 18 February 2012  Schwabe, Klaus (1985), Woodrow Wilson, Revolutionary Germany, and peacemaking, 1918–1919 . Sainty, Guy Stair (1991), The Orders of Saint John, New York: The American Society of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John in Jerusalem  Sweetman, John 'Jack' (1973), The Unforgotten Crowns: The German Monarchist
Movements, 1918–1945 (dissertation), Emory University . Taylor, AJP (1967), Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman . Weinert, Christoph (2007), Wilhelm II. – Die letzten Tage des Deutschen Kaiserreichs [William II – The last days of the German Monarchy] (in German), Germany/Belgium: seelmannfilm and German Television [permanent dead link]. Wilmott, HP (2003), The First World War, London: Dorling-Kindersley .

Further reading

Clark, Christopher M. Kaiser Wilhelm II. (2000) 271 pp. short biography by scholar Eley, Geoff. "The View From The Throne: The Personal Rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II," Historical Journal, June 1985, Vol. 28 Issue 2, pp. 469–85. Kohut, Thomas A. Wilhelm II and the Germans: A Study in Leadership, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. ISBN 978-0-19-506172-7. Mommsen, Wolfgang J. "Kaiser Wilhelm II and German Politics." Journal of Contemporary History 1990 25(2–3): 289–316. ISSN 0022-0094. Otte, T.G., "The Winston of Germany": The British Elite and the Last German Emperor
German Emperor
in Canadian Journal of History, XXXVI December 2001. Retallack, James. Germany
in the Age of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Basingstoke: St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-333-59242-7. Röhl, John C. G; Sombart, Nicolaus (Editors) Kaiser Wilhelm II New Interpretations: The Corfu Papers, Cambridge University Press, 1982 Van der Kiste, John. Kaiser Wilhelm II: Germany's Last Emperor, Sutton Publishing, 1999. ISBN 978-0-7509-1941-8. Waite, Robert GL Kaiser and Führer: A Comparative Study of Personality and Politics (1998) 511 pp. Psychohistory comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wilhelm II of Germany.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Wilhelm II, German Emperor

* The German Emperor
German Emperor
as shown in his public utterances Hohenzolern, William II (1922), My Memoirs: 1878–1918, London: Cassell & Co , Google Books. The German emperor's speeches: being a selection from the speeches, edicts, letters, and telegrams of the Emperor William II Works by or about Wilhelm II, German Emperor
German Emperor
at Internet Archive, mostly in German  "William II. of Germany". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  The Last German Emperor, Living in Exile in The Netherlands 1918–1941 on YouTube Historical film documents on Wilhelm II from the time of World War I at European Film Gateway

Wilhelm II, German Emperor House of Hohenzollern Born: 27 January 1859 Died: 4 June 1941

German nobility

Preceded by Frederick III German Emperor King of Prussia 15 June 1888 – 9 November 1918 Vacant Monarchy abolished

Political offices

Preceded by Frederick III as German Emperor and King of Prussia German Head of State Prussian Head of State 15 June 1888 – 9 November 1918 Succeeded by Friedrich Ebert as President of Germany and Prime Minister of Prussia

Titles in pretence

Loss of title Republic declared

— TITULAR — German Emperor King of Prussia 9 November 1918 – 4 June 1941 Reason for succession failure: German Revolution Succeeded by Wilhelm III

v t e

Princes of Prussia

The generations are numbered from the ascension of Frederick I as King in Prussia
in 1701.

1st generation

Frederick William I

2nd generation

Frederick Louis, Prince of Orange Frederick William, Prince of Orange Frederick II Prince Louis Charles William Prince Augustus William Prince Henry Prince Augustus Ferdinand

3rd generation

Frederick William II Prince Henry Prince Emil Prince Henry Prince Christian Prince Louis Ferdinand Prince Paul Prince Augustus

4th generation

Frederick William III Prince Louis Prince Henry Prince William

5th generation

Frederick William III Frederick William IV William I Prince Charles Prince Ferdinand Prince Albert Frederick William II Prince Frederick Prince Charles Prince Tassilo Prince Adalbert Prince Tassilo Prince Waldemar

6th generation

William I Frederick III Frederick William III Prince Friedrich Karl Prince Albert Frederick William II Prince Alexander Prince George

7th generation

Frederick III William II Prince Henry Prince Sigismund Prince Waldemar Friedrich Wilhelm III Prince Friedrich Leopold Prince Frederick Henry Albert Prince Joachim Albert Prince Friedrich Wilhelm

8th generation

Wilhelm II Crown Prince Wilhelm Prince Eitel Friedrich Prince Adalbert Prince August Wilhelm Prince Oskar Prince Joachim Friedrich III Prince Waldemar Prince Sigismund Prince Henry Friedrich William III Prince Friedrich Sigismund Prince Frederick Charles Prince Frederick Leopold

9th generation

Wilhelm II Prince Wilhelm Prince Louis Ferdinand Prince Hubertus Prince Frederick Prince Wilhelm Viktor Prince Alexander Ferdinand Prince Oskar Prince Burchard Prince Wilhelm-Karl Prince Karl Franz Frederick III Prince Alfred Frederick William III Prince Friedrich Karl

10th generation

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Prince Michael Prince Louis Ferdinand Prince Christian-Sigismund Prince Frederick Prince William Prince Rupert Prince Adalbert Prince Stephan Alexander Prince Wilhelm-Karl Prince Oskar Prince Franz Wilhelm Prince Friedrich Christian Prince Franz Friedrich

11th generation

Prince Georg Friedrich Prince Christian Ludwig Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia Prince Alexander Prince Frederick Prince Christian Prince Frederick Nicholas Prince Oskar Prince Albert

12th generation

Prince Carl Friedrich Prince Louis Ferdinand Prince Heinrich

v t e

Monarchs of Germany

East Francia
East Francia
within the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire

Louis the German Carloman Louis the Younger Charles the Fat Arnulf Louis the Child

East Francia
East Francia

Conrad I Henry I Arnulf Otto I

Kingdom of Germany
within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire

Otto I Otto II Otto III Henry II Conrad II Henry III Henry IV Rudolf Hermann Conrad (III) Henry V Lothair II Conrad III Henry (VI) Frederick I Henry VI Philip Otto IV Frederick II Henry (VII) Conrad IV Henry (VIII) William Richard Alfonso Rudolf I Adolf Albert I Henry VII Louis IV Frederick (III) Günther Charles IV Wenceslaus Rupert Jobst Sigismund Albert II Frederick III Maximilian I Charles V Ferdinand I Maximilian II Rudolf II Matthias Ferdinand II Ferdinand III Ferdinand IV Leopold I Joseph I Charles VI Charles VII Francis I Joseph II Leopold II Francis II

Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine


German Confederation
German Confederation

Francis I Ferdinand I

German Empire
German Empire

Archduke John of Austria
Archduke John of Austria
(Imperial Regent)

German Confederation
German Confederation

Franz Joseph I

North German Confederation
German Confederation

William I

German Empire
German Empire

William I Frederick III William II

v t e

Monarchs of Prussia

Duchy of Prussia

Albert Albert Frederick John Sigismund1 George William1 Frederick William1 Frederick I1

Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia

Frederick I1 Frederick William I1 Frederick II1 Frederick William II1 Frederick William III1 Frederick William IV William I2 Frederick III2 William II2

1also Elector of Brandenburg; 2also German Emperor

v t e

Heads of the German imperial and Prussian royal family since 1918

Wilhelm II (1918–1941) Crown Prince Wilhelm (1941–1951) Louis Ferdinand (1951–1994) Georg Friedrich (since 1994)

See also House of Hohenzollern

v t e

Recipients of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross

1813 Grand Cross

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
(Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross) Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg

1870 Grand Cross

Albert of Saxony August Karl von Goeben Edwin Freiherr von Manteuffel Helmuth Graf von Moltke the Elder Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia August Graf von Werder Kaiser Wilhelm I Frederick Francis II

1914 Grand Cross

Kaiser Wilhelm II Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
(Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross) Erich Ludendorff Prince Leopold of Bavaria August von Mackensen

1939 Grand Cross

Hermann Göring

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 121621349 LCCN: n50018122 ISNI: 0000 0003 7482 1779 GND: 118632892 SELIBR: 200269 SUDOC: 02667517X BNF: cb11887883r (data) MusicBrainz: e52e76e9-988b-442a-8bd1-4d6cc474758f NLA: 35608106 NDL: 00621647 SN