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Kaiser Wilhelm II Podcasts

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6 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Kaiser Wilhelm II. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Kaiser Wilhelm II, often where they are interviewed.

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6 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Kaiser Wilhelm II. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Kaiser Wilhelm II, often where they are interviewed.

Updated daily with the latest episodes

Episode 104 - Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany - Royal Family Biography

The History Express
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Wilhelm II or William II (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia. He reigned from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918 shortly before Germany's defeat in World War I.

The eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm's first cousins included King George V of the United Kingdom and many princesses who, along with Wilhelm's sister Sophia, became European consorts. For most of his life before becoming emperor, he was second in line to succeed his grandfather Wilhelm I on the German and Prussian thrones after his father, Crown Prince Frederick. His grandfather and father both died in 1888, the Year of Three Emperors, making Wilhelm emperor and king. He dismissed the country's longtime chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890.

Upon consolidating power as emperor, Wilhelm launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course" to cement its status as a respected world power. However, he frequently undermined this aim by making tactless, alarming public statements without consulting his ministers. He also did much to alienate his country from the other Great Powers by initiating a massive build-up of the German Navy, challenging French control over Morocco, and backing the Austrian annexation of Bosnia in 1908. His turbulent reign ultimately culminated in his guarantee of military support to Austria-Hungary during the crisis of July 1914, resulting in the outbreak of World War I. A lax wartime leader, he left virtually all decision-making regarding military strategy and organisation of the war effort in the hands of the German General Staff. This broad delegation of authority gave rise to a de facto military dictatorship whose belligerent foreign policy led to the United States' entry into the war on 6 April 1917. After losing the support of the German military and his subjects in November 1918, Wilhelm abdicated and fled to exile in the Netherlands, where he died in 1941.

Wilhelm was born on 27 January 1859 at the Crown Prince's Palace, Berlin, to Victoria, Princess Royal, the wife of Prince Frederick William of Prussia (the future Frederick III). His mother was the eldest daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. At the time of his birth, his great-uncle Frederick William IV was king of Prussia, and his grandfather and namesake Wilhelm was acting as regent. He was the first grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and one of the two grandchildren born in Albert's lifetime, but more importantly, the first son of the crown prince of Prussia. From 1861, Wilhelm was second in the line of succession to Prussia, and also, after 1871, to the newly created German Empire, which, according to the constitution of the German Empire, was ruled by the Prussian king. At the time of his birth, he was also sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his maternal uncles and his mother.

A traumatic breech birth resulted in Erb's palsy, which left him with a withered left arm about six inches (15 centimetres) shorter than his right. He tried with some success to conceal this; many photographs show him holding a pair of white gloves in his left hand to make the arm seem longer. In others, he holds his left hand with his right, has his crippled arm on the hilt of a sword, or holds a cane to give the illusion of a useful limb posed at a dignified angle. Historians have suggested that this disability affected his emotional development.

In 1863, Wilhelm was taken to England to be present at the wedding of his Uncle Bertie (later King Edward VII), and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Wilhelm attended the ceremony in a Highland costume, complete with a small toy dirk. During the ceremony, the four-year-old became restless. His eighteen-year-old uncle Prince Alfred, charged with keeping an eye on him, told him to be quiet, but Wilhelm drew his dirk and threatened Alfred. When Alfred attempted to subdue him by force, Wilhelm bit him on the leg.

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Dec 31 2019

48mins

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Episode 019 "Kaiser Wilhelm II: Douche or Unjustly Vilified?"

Snakes & Otters Podcast
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Francis wants us to consider Christina Croft's The Innocence of Kaiser Wilhelm II: and the First World War and exonerate the Kaiser of his exclusive historical blame for WWI. Martin says "well the damn Russians were to blame anyway". Robert reminds us that history is always complicated. 

Oct 04 2019

48mins

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Episode 58: Kaiser Wilhelm II

The Revisionists
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We’re back and we’re joined by the hilarious Jacob Rupp as we discuss Kaiser Wilhelm II! Zach has some very specific lists, Jacob regales us with an epic, and Brian lays a trap for Jacob!

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Jan 13 2018

43mins

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Kaiser WIlhelm II: Part II

World War I Podcast
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From 1890-1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II struggled through a series of scandals and crises. His gaffes on the international stage embarrassed his government and helped create the alliances that would be arrayed against Germany in 1914. Due to these issues, even as he struggle for personal rule, his power within Germany was on the wane. When World War I began, he assumed his role as Supreme Warlord, the leader of the German army. The German general staff believed he could not “lead three soldiers over a gutter,” and therefore conspired to keep actual power out of his hands. In the end, it did not matter. In the first weeks of the war, the Kaiser suffered a nervous collapse. As historian Miranda Carter points out, for the rest of the war, he was merely a “flimsy fig leaf” for a Germany ruled by a military dictatorship. At the end of the war there were calls to officially blame him for the war through an international trial. This would never materialize – instead he spent the next 22 years of his life in exile (23:16)

Oct 12 2016

23mins

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“If you do not want to see God’s hand in everything, even in the most unbearable, you are lost.” Experiencing the First World War Alongside Kaiser Wilhelm II

Oh What a Lovely War? First World War Anniversary Lectures
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Leeds University's Professor of Central European History, editor of An Improbable War?The Outbreak of World War I and European Politicsl Culture before 1914, views the war through the letters of one of the Kaiser's generals to his wife.

Mar 04 2014

52mins

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“If you do not want to see God’s hand in everything, even in the most unbearable, you are lost.” Experiencing the First World War Alongside Kaiser Wilhelm II

Oh What a Lovely War? First World War Anniversary Lectures
Episode artwork
Read more
Leeds University's Professor of Central European History, editor of An Improbable War?The Outbreak of World War I and European Politicsl Culture before 1914, views the war through the letters of one of the Kaiser's generals to his wife.

Mar 04 2014

52mins

Play