November 9, 1918: Abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II

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You [recruits] have sworn loyalty to me. You have only one enemy and that is my enemy. In the present social confusion it may come about that I order you to shoot down your own relatives, brothers or parents but even then you must follow my orders without a murmur.

Kaiser Wilhem II, November 23, 1891

Ah, Kaiser Bill.  In World War I he became a monstrous figure in Allied propaganda, a bloodthirsty ghoul thirsting for world conquest.  The reality was rather different.  This grandson of Queen Victoria, who spoke English fluently with only a trace of an accent, fancied himself an autocrat of supreme genius to be feared and obeyed.  Actually he was a weak-willed man of limited intelligence, easily dominated by those around him if they were craftier than him, which was not a high bar to clear.  His tendency to give blood curdling, tough guy utterances, was the dismay of every German government during his reign.  Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who made the Second German Reich, and who the young Wilhelm II dismissed from office, had the measure of his sovereign, who he regarded as a blundering young idiot who would lead Germany to ruin.  That was an accurate assessment.  The Kaiser was the worst type of fool, one who regarded himself as a genius and had no clue as to his limitations.  During World War I the Kaiser became a sad, pathetic figure, as the Army increasingly ran Germany, paying only lip service to him as Supreme War Lord.  Lusting for conflict throughout his reign, he was dismayed as millions of German youth died in the war that he so long had wished for.  In his long years of exile in Holland, he died in 1941, he continually blamed the Jews and the English for his downfall, and never demonstrated any insight at all as to the dismal role he played in propelling Germany down the path that led to Hitler, a man who had nothing but contempt for the man in whose Army he had served.

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