Kaiser Bill!: A New Look at Imperial Germany's Last Emperor, Wilhelm II 1859-1941 [Taylor]


Author: Blaine Taylor

Nonfiction, Hardcover

Wilhelm II (27 January 1859 - 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, three notable contemporary relations being his first cousins King George V of the United Kingdom, Marie of Romania, Queen consort of Romania and second cousin to Tsar Nicholas II of the House of Romanov, the last ruler of the Russian Empire before the Russian Revolution of 1917 which deposed the monarchy. He became monarch in 1888 and ruled in peace for twenty-five years. Wilhelm's father had been the hero of three wars and his mother the Princess Royal of Great Britain. When his father died prematurely of throat cancer, Wilhelm succeeded him at age twenty-nine and became the icon of the new 'Wilhelminian' age.

Germany excelled in commerce, agriculture, trade, science, cars, the arts, and medicine. Already having Continental Europe's greatest army, Wilhelm set about winning world power via overseas colonies and the building of a vast Imperial High Seas Fleet that rivalled Britain's. Eventually, he was defeated by the combined forces of the UK, US, France and Russia, and driven into exile by the red revolution. He remained politically active in exile, pressing for a return to the monarchy up to the time of his death in 1941. This is a fresh look at a much maligned figure, including his relationships with Bismarck, Hindenburg, Tirpitz, King Edward VII and Tsar Nicholas II, all on the precipice of global change. Was Wilhelm a visionary, a fool, or both?