Thursday, August 6, 2009

MM Video: Kaiser Wilhelm II


  1. The music is quite ominous on this one! I have to say the Kaiser is not one of my favorite figures but I'm sure it's true that his guilt has been exaggerated.

  2. Well, he does tend to have a rather ominous reputation. I'm more sympathetic towards him after reading about all the hang-ups and handicaps he had -I'm surprised he turned out even half-way normal. I think he was basically a good man but he had too many inner-contradictions to overrule the more aggressive elements in the upper echelons of Germany.

  3. You mean Otto von Bismarck!
    The other part is that if he had married Ella, who later became Grand Duchess Elizabeth instead, world events may well have turned out differently!
    Though she was, not surprisingly, repelled by the young Willy, she would have calmed him down and diplomatically handled everything. As it was she had to suffer from Grand Duke Sergei anyway, so she could have maybe forestalled a world war or two had she consented to be his consort.
    I can't stand Kaiser Wilhelm myself, but
    his parents were outstanding. As is superbly chronicled in the book "An Uncommon Woman" by Hannah Pakula, they were boxed in by Bismarck and never were able to exercise their talents.

    His father, Fritz, tragically died in 1888 having waited so long to ascend the throne, living to rule something like 88 days, very oddly.
    There's no denying that Kaiser Wilhelm II did have serious emotional problems, no matter what. Other people might have handled a handicap with resignation and serenity rather than anger and rebellion.
    Too bad he did not have recourse to St Dymphna who I see on the margin now! [She was a Belgian princess herself, so it's appropriate for that reason & uplifting to see!]
    I just framed an old-fashioned French-style holy picture of her myself.
    By the way, I don't think anyone on this site is remotely crazy!
    The best description would be very accurate assessments, sharp perceptions and simply, right!

  4. There we may have to disagree. All I've read about Victoria does not leave her coming off well with me and I think the only time I agreed with Fritz on anything was when he actually agreed with Bismarck in opposing marching into Vienna to totally crush Austria. They were just too liberal for my liking and there were forces at work in Germany even then that I think would have had a liberal monarchy for breakfast. It would have been Mussolini and the Savoys in Teutonic style.

    As for recourse to the saints, that's another area that shows the Kaiser's contradictions. He could say some hateful things about Catholics, yet some were his friends, he visited the Pope numerous times and referred to Bismarck's "kulturkampf" as the greatest stupidity ever committed by a Prussian statesman. Nonetheless he and his wife both were very religious people. As to St Dymphna, I just got a new picture of her myself but I thought she was Irish. I know she died in Belgium but I'm thinking she was from Ireland.

  5. In fact, yes, as time goes on I have disliked Vicky more and more myself. But I still do appreciate her courageous struggle against Bismarck, who is the equivalent of a demon for me!
    I like too that she and her mother were very suspicious of Russian aggressive geopolitical moves.

    The one littl-known fact as a significant footnote about Vicky which shows a streak of something not so good is that from the time she was the young Princess Royal, she told lies, almost like a chronic liar.
    That sows seeds for future defects of character which lead in turn to mistakes made.
    St Dymphna might have helped her too!

    A big negative about Fritz is that according to Pakula book, he was a Freemason, ugh!
    Still I see him as a sympathetic character individually overall, while disliking that.
    I didn't like that he and Vicky were totally against France during the Franco-Prussian War either, with Fritz commanding.
    They were hostile to the Imperial family after years of friendship just overnight based on German patriotism, I suppose, making unnecessary disparaging remarks about former good friends.

    About his plans to liberalize, it's a good point what you wrote, I read about Vicky and Fritz earlier and did not notice the strong plug for democratization embedded in these assessments.
    What do you think would have been the best for Germany after 1870?

    The Kaiser WAS full of strange contradictions. And his wife was a nice person, I think, who stayed out of the political world and I think I remember, really cared about him.

    You're right about St Dymphna, yes she was Irish.
    [Which picture did you get, did you mean the one on the column or a different one?!]
    Sorry, I was too preoccupied with St Philomena on her day yesterday - August 11 - to reread St Dymphna's story!

  6. I am certainly no fan of Bismarck though I am obliged to give him credit where credit is due. I would have preferred German unity to have come under Austrian leadership rather than Prussian which is what he engineered. However, he was against furthering the war against Austria and favored alliance with the Hapsburgs, he did take down the vile Paris Commune and I think his policies of alliance with Russia and no more European wars was a good idea. I'm sure I don't need to tell you all of the negatives.

    Fritz was a Mason (as were the British royals) but it is interesting that excepting his own German relations Kaiser Wilhelm II despised freemasonry. It would be hard to say what I would favor after 1870 for Germany, I think their system was good enough I just don't care for alot of their policies. Of course, as said, I would have preferred for Austria to have continued to be the dominant German country rather than Prussia.

    The new St Dymphna picture is different than the one shown, that is a scan of an old prayer card I have had for a long time.


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