Most families quarrel, but few family quarrels lead to world war. Grandson of Queen Victoria, cousin of the Russian Tsar, and related to a whole host of minor rulers throughout Europe, Kaiser Wilhelm II was the man whose chagrin, vanity and above all imperial ambition are often credited with pitching Europe into the First World War. With his ridiculous moustache, glitzy pomp, and haughty treatment of successive chancellors from Bismarck to Bethmann-Hollweg, Wilhelm the "sudden" also accelerated the declining popularity of the Prussian dynasty--the Hohenzollerns--to the point where they were swept away in 1918. Wilhelm's reputation has been ripe for reassessment for some time, and revisionist views of his foreign policy are already well underway. Giles MacDonogh, biographer of another famous Prussian, Frederick the Great
, makes out quite a good case for his subject, especially in his introduction. He suggests that Wilhelm aspired to a European union, idolised rather than envied Britain, was poorly served by self-seeking ministers, and made mistakes only from the best of motives. The biographical narrative that follows is packed with information and anecdote, but is not an easy read. The author's train of thought is sometimes as difficult to follow as the contradictory impulses of the Kaiser. --Miles Taylor
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Story of William II, a war monger whose sabre-rattling over Serbia brought about the First World War which cost him his own throne and his country's defeat