Kaiser Wilhelm II: The Last German Emperor and King of Prussia


Wilhelm II (1859-1941) was the son of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia and Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria of England. He served a period of military service. In 1888 his father succeeded as Frederick III. He died shortly after and Wilhelm became Kaiser at age 29.  Within two years he forced the resignation of Otto von Bismarck. He greatly increased the strength of the German armed forces. Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, he greatly encouraged the Austrians against Serbia. This helped trigger World War I. When the war began he was excluded from military decisions by military commanders. In 1918 the German military collapsed. Kaiser Wilhem was forced to abdicate and went into exile in the Netherlands. This Cabinet Card portrait was photographed by G. Hansen of Hamburg, Germany.