Wilhelm Hohenzollern

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Location: City of Berlin, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire

Joined Aug 31, 2013 at 02:46PM EDT


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Wilhelm II or William II (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preußen; English: Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia; 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 a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, two notable contemporary relations being his cousins King George V of the United Kingdom and the Dominions, founder of the House of Windsor, and 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. Crowned in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose “New Course” in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to World War I. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his power in 1908. His top generals, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, dictated policy during World War I with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.
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