Interesting quotes by Kaiser Wilhelm II
“There is only one person who is master in this Empire and I am not going to tolerate any other.”
“I regard every Social Democrat as an enemy of the Empire and Fatherland.”
“For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German. (referring to the Nazis and Kristallnacht)”
“I look on myself as an instrument of the Almighty and go on my way regardless of transient opinions and views.”
A brief biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II
Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert, commonly known as Kaiser Wilhem II, was born on January 27, 1859 in Kronprinzenpalais, Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia. He was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia. He held these titles from June 15, 1888 to November of 1918.
Wilhelm was born breech and was hypoxic. His left arm was injured during delivery as the doctor tried to remove him from his mother’s body. This caused caused Erb’s palsy—a condition whereby a limb is withered and often shorter than the other. His mother, feeling guilty for this, pushed him into rigorous riding lessons when he was young—her rationale being that no heir to the throne should be unable to ride a horse. As a teenager, Wilhelm studied at Kassel at the Friedrichsgymnasium—a school that focussed on foreign language and music. On his 18th birthday, his grandmother, Queen Victoria, granted him into the Order of the Garter, an order of chivalry. After he graduated from Kassel, Wilhelm went on to study at the University of Bonn, receiving an education in law and politics. He was also heavily influenced by the military society of the Prussian aristocracy and his lineage in the house of Hohenzollern, which had a major impact on him and stayed with him for the rest of his life. This is why photographs of the Kaiser almost always show him in military uniform.
Wilhelm was second to his father in succeeding the throne, however his grandfather and father both died in 1888—making Wilhelm the successor, Emperor and King. At the beginning of his reign in 1890, Wilhelm forced Otto Von Bismark to resign due to disagreements. Afterwards, Wilhelm resumed control over the military and foreign policy, as he wanted to solidify Germany’s position as something to be feared. While he did lead the German Empire into acquiring new territories, he also alienated it due to his aggressive attitude and open threats to other nations. He later gave military support to Austria-Hungary after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which was one of the causes that provoked World War I. Careless and indifferent, Wilhelm didn’t partake in the decision making when it came to the military or strategy during the war, often engaging in parades and ceremonies. After the United States entered the war in 1917, Wilhelm lost his support and he renounced his throne and fled to the Netherlands, where he lived in exile until his death.
Wilhelm did not support the Nazis. Of Adolf Hitler he once said, “There is a man alone, without family, without children, without God... He builds legions but he doesn’t build a nation... 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.” After the Kristallnacht—the pogrom against Jews which occurred on Novermber 9-10, 1938—WIlhelm stated, “For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.”
Kaiser Wilhelm II died on June 4, 1941 in Doorn, Netherlands. The cause of his death was a pulmonary embolism. While Adolf Hitler had personal antipathy towards Wilhelm, he was still willing to bring back Wilhelm’s body to Germany for a proper state funeral, recognizing Wilhelm as a symbol of Germany during World War I. However, Wilhelm expressed before that he would never want to return to Germany until the monarchy was to be restored and valued. The Nazi occupation in the Netherlands provided Wilhelm with a military funeral. Against Wilhelm’s wishes, the nazis sported their swastikas and other decorations on their clothes. Kaiser Wilhelm II was buried in Huis Doorn, Doorn, Netherlands in a mausoleum, where German monarchists still make pilgrimages—gathering there yearly on the anniversary of his death to pay homage to the last German emperor.
- Emilio Aguinaldo
- Ethel Lynn Beers
- Madison Cawein
- Mortimer Collins
- James David Corrothers
- Eugene Debs
- Frederick Douglass
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
- Thomas Hardy
- Henry Wilmarth Hazzen
- William Hope Hodgson
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Bram Stoker
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Mark Twain
- August Vogel
- Walt Whitman
- John Greenleaf Whittier
- Oscar Wilde