His childhood visits to his British cousins had given him a love for the sea–sailing was one of his favorite recreations–and his envy of the power of the British navy convinced him that Germany must build a large fleet of its own in order to fulfill its destiny.
The kaiser supported the plans of Alfred von Tirpitz (1849-1930), his chief admiral, who maintained that Germany could gain diplomatic power over Britain by stationing a fleet of warships in the North Sea.
Twelve years old at the time, Wilhelm was filled with nationalistic enthusiasm.
Wilhelm’s behavior during the crisis that led to war in August 1914 is still controversial.Some historians maintain that Wilhelm was controlled by his generals, while others argue that he retained considerable political power. He spent the rest of his life in exile in the Netherlands, where he died at age 82. kostenlos casual dating Nürnberg Kaiser Wilhelm II was born in Potsdam, Germany, on January 27, 1859, the son of Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia (1831-88) and Princess Victoria (1840-1901), the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901).The kaiser embarked on his so-called New Course, a period of personal rule in which he appointed chancellors who were upper-level civil servants rather than statesmen.Bismarck bitterly predicted that Wilhelm would lead Germany to ruin.
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While Wilhelm did not actively seek war, and tried to hold back his generals from mobilizing the German army in the summer of 1914, his verbal outbursts and his open enjoyment of the title of Supreme War Lord helped bolster the case of those who blamed him for the conflict.His role in the conduct of the war as well as his responsibility for its outbreak is still controversial.There is little doubt that he had been broken psychologically by the criticism that followed the Eulenburg-Harden and Daily Telegraph scandals; he suffered an episode of depression in 1908. In addition, the kaiser was out of touch with the realities of international politics in 1914; he thought that his blood relationships to other European monarchs were sufficient to manage the crisis that followed the June 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914) in Sarajevo, Bosnia.His birth had been traumatic; in the course of a complicated delivery, the doctor permanently damaged Wilhelm’s left arm.
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In addition to its smaller size, the arm was useless for such ordinary tasks as cutting certain foods with a knife at mealtime.Although Wilhelm signed the order for German mobilization following pressure from his generals–Germany declared war against Russia and France during the first week of August 1914– he is reported to have said, “You will regret this, gentlemen.” With World War I under way, the kaiser, as commander in chief of the German armed forces, retained the power to make upper-level changes in military command.Nonetheless, he was largely a shadow monarch during the war, useful to his generals as a public-relations figure who toured the front lines and handed out medals.In 1881, Wilhelm married Princess Augusta Victoria (1858-1921) of Schleswig-Holstein. Wilhelm’s father became Kaiser Frederick III of Germany in March 1888.Already ill with terminal throat cancer, he died after a reign of only several months.