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Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), the German Kaiser and King of Prussia from 1888 to 1918, was one of the most recognizable public figures of World War I.
See the fact file below for more information on the Kaiser Wilhelm II or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Kaiser Wilhelm II worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE EARLY YEARS
- Kaiser Wilhelm II was born in Potsdam, Germany, on January 27, 1859.
- He is the son of Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia and Princess Victoria, the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria of England.
- His birth had been traumatic – in the course of delivery, the doctor damaged Wilhelm’s left arm. It was useless for ordinary tasks such as cutting food with a knife at mealtime.
- Wilhelm was the second in line after his father to become an emperor as well as the king of Prussia. At twelve, Wilhelm was filled with nationalistic enthusiasm.
- His later determination to win a “place in the sun” for Germany had its roots in his childhood.
- Beginning at six years, Wilhelm was tutored and influenced by his teacher Georg Hinzpeter.
- Wilhelm was educated at Kassel at the Friedrichsgymnasium during his teenage years.
- He received a present from his grandmother, Queen Victoria, the Order of the Garter when Wilhelm finished high school.
- After Kassel, he spent four terms at the University of Bonn, studying law and politics.
- As a scion of the royal house of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was exposed to the military society of the Prussian aristocracy.
- The masculine military culture of Prussia in his time molded his political ideals and personal relationships.
- Intelligent by nature, this was overshadowed by his short temper, resulting in a very challenged relationship with his parents.
- In 1880, Wilhelm became engaged to Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein,,, also known as “Dona”.
- The couple married on 27 February 1881, and remained married for forty years, until her death in 1921.
- 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 a few months.
- Later in his rule, Wilhelm brokered with Otto von Bismarck, the “Iron Chancellor” who had dominated German politics since the 1860s.
- On his political goal called New Course, he appointed chancellors who were upper-level civil servants rather than statesmen.
- In 1911, he established the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which became a prominent centre for scientific research.
- With Bismarck’s dismissal, the Russians expected a reversal of policy in Berlin. They quickly came to terms with France, beginning the process that, by 1914, largely isolated Germany.
- Basing his political decision on his emotions, Wilhelm’s relationships with other nations began to dwindle.
- In the early 20th century, Wilhelm began to concentrate on his agenda – the creation of a German navy that would rival that of Britain and enable Germany to declare itself a world power.
- By 1914, however, the naval buildup had caused severe financial problems for Wilhelm’s government.
- Dubbed the “Moroccan Crisis,” this was one of Wilhelm’s diplomatic blunders. He favored Morocco’s quest for independence which soured France as it has interest in the country.
- In the “Daily Telegram Affair,” the Kaiser remarked that the Germans cared nothing for the British; that the French and Russians had attempted to incite Germany to intervene in the Second Boer War; and that the German naval buildup was targeted against the Japanese, not Britain.
KAISER AND WORLD WAR I
- With World War I under way, the kaiser retained the power to make upper-level changes in military command.
- The Sarajevo Crisis eventually sparked the war resulting from the Kaiser Wilhelm’s blunders. His fear of attacks from his supposed enemies resulted in him mobilizing forces against Russia.
- Because of this, German military generals excluded Wilhelm from key decisions and he became merely a figurehead for the German army.
- After the US joined the war, Germany was experiencing serious shortages of troops and ammunition.
- In late 1918, popular unrest in Germany convinced civilian political leaders that the kaiser had to abdicate to preserve order.
- Wilhelm’s abdication was announced on November 9, 1918, before he had actually consented to it. He agreed to leave when the leaders of the army told him he had lost their support as well.
- He lived in Doorn, Netherlands for the rest of his life in exile. During this time, he expressed his disappointment with the Nazis.
- Wilhelm died of a pulmonary embolism on 4 June 1941, at the age of 82, just weeks before the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union.
Kaiser Wilhelm II Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Kaiser Wilhelm II across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Kaiser Wilhelm II worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941), the German Kaiser and King of Prussia from 1888 to 1918, who was one of the most recognizable public figures of World War I.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Heads of State
- The Kaiser
- Year of Three Emperors
- Ruling Timeline
- Royal Insignia
- German Defender
- Kaiser Word Puzzle
- Wilhelm Word Find
- Germany After War
- Deutsche Sprache
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Link will appear as Kaiser Wilhelm II Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 26, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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