Kaiser Wilhelm II Facts

Kaiser Wilhelm II Facts
Wilhelm II was the last King of Prussia and the last German Emperor (Kaiser) when he abdicated the throne toward the end of World War I in 1918. His rule began in 1888 when his father, Frederick III, the German Emperor, died. Besides being the last German Emperor, he was only the third and also the longest serving emperor - his father had only ruled for a mere ninety-nine days. Wilhelm made many brash political and military moves, such as dismissing the able Otto von Bismarck from the office of chancellor, which later came back to haunt the empire, playing a role in its collapse. Wilhelm was born Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert January 27, 1859 in Berlin, Prussia to Prussian princess Victoria and the crown prince and future emperor, Frederick.
Interesting Kaiser Wilhelm II Facts:
Wilhelm was born breech, resulting in Erb's palsy, which made his left arm six inches shorter than his right arm.
All of the European royal families were connected by marriage at the time. His uncle was Edward VII the King of England and was the first cousin of Nicholas II the Tsar of Russia.
Wilhelm studied law at the University of Bonn, but usually wore some type of military uniform in keeping with his family's Prussian military background.
The Prussian royal family was known as the House of Hohenzollern. It was founded some time in the eleventh century.
Although his parents were part of the post-Enlightenment generation and wanted to raise their son according to British standards, Wilhelm chose a more traditional Prussian and autocratic style of education, which influenced his later outlook on life.
Wilhelm married the Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg in 1881. The couple had five sons and one daughter.
Bismarck brought about his own political downfall by not respecting the young emperor.
Wilhelm II favored an aggressive foreign policy that used the threat of force, or actual force, against Germany's adversaries, while Bismarck wanted to focus on domestic policies.
Germany's modern imperial period began after Germany's victory in the Franco-Prussian War, the establishment of a unified German state, and the imperial German throne in 1871. It later became known as the Second Reich.
Wilhelm II actively sought to increase Germany's presence in China by sending troops to project the so-called Treaty Ports.
Despite his British connections, Wilhelm was very anti-British in his geo-political positions. He saw the British as an obstacle to Germany imperialism. He supported the Boers/Afrikaners against British rule in South Africa by supporting rebellions through the German colony of Southwest Africa (present day Namibia).
Although the modern German people have no direct connection to the ancient Huns, comparisons were drawn by the Allies during World War I. One of the reasons was because Wilhelm II gave a 1900 speech to the German military headed to China where he told them to "fight like Huns."
Besides the imperial sabre rattling in Africa, another point of conflict Wilhelm created with Britain is when he greatly increased Germany's naval presence.
Wilhelm angered the French when he visited the French colony of Morocco in 1905 and proclaimed that the country should be independent.
The close ties he developed with Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire meant that Germany would play the central role in the Central Powers during World War I.
After abdicating his throne, Wilhelm II went into exile in Doorn, Netherlands, which is where he died of a pulmonary embolism on June 4, 1941 at the age of eighty-two.

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