Born: 27 January 1859 in Berlin, Germany.
Died: 4 June 1941 in Doorn, Netherlands.
Wilhelm II, German Emperor and king of Prussia, 1888-1918 was born in Berlin, January 27, 1859, the eldest son of Frederick, afterwards German emperor, and his wife Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria. He was baptised Freidrich Wilhelm Victor Albrecht, and after a spell of private tuition was sent to Cassel and then to Bonn. In 1881 he married Augusta Victoria, daughter of Frederick, duke of Augustenburg.
On June 15 1888 William succeeded his father as king and emperor and for 30 years was one of the foremost figures in Europe, especially after 1890, when he dismissed Bismarck and became himself the director of Germany's policy . His restless energy led him to make spectacular tours, such as the one to the Holy Land in 1898 to rush to London and other capitals and discuss affairs of state with sovereigns and statesmen and to make himself noticeable by martial speeches to his troops. At one time he seemed sincerely anxious to keep the peace at others, as when he telegraphed to Kruger in 1896, determined to cause trouble. He was consistent, however, in his efforts to give Germany a place in the sun to maintain her army, extend her colonial empire, foster her trade, and make her heard, if not always respected on all questions of international politics. He supported the idea of a great German navy, but above all, with the army as the main support of his throne, believed that he ruled by divine right.
In July 1914 convinced that he possessed an invincible army, the Kaiser decided on war. During its course, as nominal commander-in-chief he flitted from place to place in the battle areas. Believing that Germany would yet triumph he refused to read the signs pointing to her downfall in the autumn of 1918 and when told that his cause was hopeless he reluctantly abdicated on November 9th and on November 10th he fled into Holland where the castle of Amerongen was granted to him for his residence. The treaty of peace declared the ex-Kaiser a criminal and arrangements were made for his trial in London. On January 16th 1920 his extradition was formally demanded but it was refused by the Dutch government and he continued to live in Holland. His wife died April 11th 1920 having borne her husband six sons and a daughter. In 1922 he married Princess Hermine von Reuss. The ex-Kaiser defence of his career and policy was translated into English as Comparative Historical Tabulations from 1878 to the Outbreak of war in 1914.
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