Wilhelm II

Feb 2007
538
Ohio
#2
Do you think that the Kaiser had a choice in rather or not to enter World War One?
Whether or not he still had a choice after the Archduke was dead, I'm not sure. But one thing is sure: he did make a choice as a young man ... he chose to fire his father's prime minister, Bismarck, so he could appoint his own prime minister, and thereby he set in motion the destruction of Bismarckian diplomacy which had preserved the peace.
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
#4
He also didn't take Bismarks advice when he said it was a bad idea to annex France's Eastern Provinces . Bismark knew that such a thing would mean France would be a permanent enemy. Willie also didn't resign the Reinsurance treaty that kept Russia from seeking alliances elsewear. When William decided not to resign it, the inevitable consequence was that Russia would sign on with the only other available power, France.
Plus I believe it was Bismark who said that building a fleet was a bad idea and Germany should stay out of the colony business because it would automatically make an enemy out of England.
So those 3 decisions made a war inevitable.
 
Feb 2007
538
Ohio
#5
Not that it would of helped if he hadnt fired Bismarck. Bismarck was old and died soon afterwards.
Granted, Kaiser Bill "dropped the pilot" (i.e., fired Bismarck) in 1888 and Bismarck died in 1890, so, even had Kaiser Bill had kept Daddy's prime minister in the early part of his reign, that arrangement would likely have lasted only a few more years. But, the point here is the deliberate destruction of Bismarckian diplomacy. Bismarck had spent the last two decades of his life implementing diplomatic arrangements to try to avoid a two-front war. Kaiser Bill was a young man with too much power who arrogantly assumed he knew everything and so trashed the old man's accomplishments. Even given that it was inevitable that Bismarck would die (and likely soon after Kaiser Bill's accession to the throne), Kaiser Bill could have chosen a new prime minister who would continue Bismarck's diplomatic achievements even after his death. Pride comes before the fall!
 
Last edited:

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#6
Granted, Kaiser Bill "dropped the pilot" (i.e., fired Bismarck) in 1888 and Bismarck died in 1890, so, even had Kaiser Bill had kept Daddy's prime minister in the early part of his reign, that arrangement would likely have lasted only a few more years. But, the point here is the deliberate destruction of Bismarckian diplomacy. Bismarck had spent the last two decades of his life implementing diplomatic arrangements to try to avoid a two-front war. Kaiser Bill was a young man with too much power who arrogantly assumed he knew everything and so trashed the old man's accomplishments. Even given that it was inevitable that Bismarck would die (and likely soon after Kaiser Bill's accession to the throne), Kaiser Bill could have chosen a new prime minister who would continue Bismarck's diplomatic achievements even after his death. Pride comes before the fall!
That about sums it up for me too. Damn. I'm actually agreeing with Heikstheo...where's my medication? :)
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#9
He also didn't take Bismarks advice when he said it was a bad idea to annex France's Eastern Provinces . Bismark knew that such a thing would mean France would be a permanent enemy.
If you mean Alsace and Lorraine, Wilhelm II had nothing to do with that. That was Wilhelm I in 1871.
 

Similar History Discussions