Wilhelm II (1859 - 1941)

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Wilhelm was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, whose policies helped to bring about World War One.

    Wilhelm was born on 27 January 1859 in Berlin, the eldest child of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia and Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria. A difficult birth left Wilhelm with a withered arm, which he always tried to conceal. In 1881, after a period of military service, Wilhelm married Augusta Victoria, princess of Schleswig-Holstein, and they had seven children.
    In 1888 Wilhelm's father succeeded as Frederick III. However, he died shortly afterwards and Wilhelm was Kaiser aged 29. Although he had previously admired the great German statesman Otto von Bismarck, within two years Wilhelm had forced his resignation. He was a strong believer in increasing the strength of the German armed forces, particularly the navy. His policies towards Britain were contradictory. He alienated Britain with his naval expansion and a policy of aggressive German colonial expansion, and also supported the Boers in their fight against the British. However, he was also closely related to the British royal family and was particularly fond of his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

    Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, Wilhelm encouraged the Austrians to adopt an uncompromising line against Serbia. He appeared not to realise the chain reaction this would trigger, bringing Russia and her allies France and Britain to war against Germany and Austria. Wilhelm tried to scale back the mobilisation of Germany's armed forces but was prevented by the Germany military. While theoretically supreme commander, Wilhelm found himself excluded from military decisions, but crippled chances of a compromise peace by encouraging the grandiose war aims of certain generals and politicians.
    In 1918, America's full scale entry into the war combined with severe German shortages of men and materials, led to Germany's military collapse. Wilhelm was forced to abdicate and went into exile in the Netherlands. Attempts by the victorious allies to extradite and try him for war crimes came to nothing. With Hitler's rise to power Wilhelm had hopes of being restored but they came to nothing and he died on 4 June 1941.

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  2. For those, who are curious to the location of the Kaiser's exile in the Netherlands and his Mausoleum, please visit my photo impression about "Huis Doorn".

  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Hi Pierre !

    Thank you for the picture .... don't they have a funeral every year also for him ?

    Annie :)
  4. No, Annie, not a funeral or another celebration, that I know of. But sometimes family members still visit the closed down Mausoleum, and fresh flowers and wreaths (?) are laid in the Mausoleum on a regular basis.
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  6. Thanks Annie. I am amazed about the amount of people mentioned still visiting the mausoleum.
    That kind of comments nowadays really do worry me. The spokesman of this quote has lost his mind, I suppose.
  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Hi Pierre ... I came across this and thought it maybe of interest to you !!


    And just as an aside ... heres something else ........ :D

    What is the connection between Audrey Hepburn and Kaiser Wilhelm II ?

    Beautiful Audrey Hepburn was born Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston in Brussels the daughter of the British banker Joseph Anthony Hepburn-Ruston and the Dutch aristocrat Ella, Baroness van Heemstra (Audrey was raised near Brussels). Grandmother de Beaufort and her husband Willem, Baron van Heemstra owned House Doorn in Doorn, the Netherlands, which was bought by German Emperor Wilhelm II when in exile in the Netherlands.

    Small world .... don't you think ??

    Annie :)
  8. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I also meant to say to you a few days ago ....... that your photos were terrific !! :D

    It's not very often we see photos of him as an old man ... it was quite surprising to me to see him with white hair !! :) .... funny isn't it how we keep images in our minds ??

    The house and grounds are lovely !

    Annie :)
  9. Excuse me for my late reaction, Annie, I was ill the last days. Thank you for your compliments!
    As you have read, my grandfather, being a forester, used to watch him in the twenties, daily from a distance, chopping slices of wood from tree trunks. Perhaps the story of my grandfather formed the semen of my interest for WW1. The WW1-virus came definitely over me in 1986 while viiting by hazard the battlefields of Verdun.
  10. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Sorry to hear you have been sick Pierre .... get well soon !

    Yes ! ..... WW1 can be very addictive !!

    Annie :)
  11. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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