Wilhelm II

Political Leader / Emperor / King of Prussia

Born: 27 January 1859
Died: 5 June 1941
Birthplace: Berlin, Prussia
Best known as:

The ruler of Germany during World War I

Name at birth: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert

Wilhelm II ruled Germany and Prussia from 1888 until he was forced into exile at the end of World War I, in 1918. He was the grandson of Wilhelm I, the emperor of a unified Germany, and Queen Victoria of England. Wilhelm I died in 1888 and was succeeded by his son Frederick Wilhlem, who became Frederick III. A little more than three months later, Frederick died, and on 15 June 1888 Wilhelm was crowned Kaiser of Germany at the age of 29. His high-handedness and sense of entitlement wasn't a good thing for Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, who'd been in power for nearly 30 years; Wilhelm dismissed Bismarck in 1890 and took over nearly all German affairs. Kaiser Wilhelm's love of the military and his colonial aspirations antagonized Great Britain, France, Russia and the United States, and his backing of Austria's ambitions in the Balkans is considered by many to be a direct cause of World War I (1914-18). When the Allies defeated Germany, the chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, announced Wilhelm II's abdication and the Kaiser fled to The Netherlands, where he died in 1941.

Extra credit:

 

Kaiser Wilhelm II was born with a deformed left arm… Wilhelm was married to Augusta Viktoria from 1881 until her death in 1921. They had six sons and one daughter… Wilhelm married Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz in 1922, when he was 63 and she not quite 35.

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