The Kaiser and the Führer | The Mad Monarchist

Originally posted on The Mad Monarchist.

When the last German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, went into exile in the Netherlands in 1918 he was a man rejected by his country, betrayed by his army and demonized by the world. To understand why he came to take such a cool approach to the politics of Germany in the days leading up to the Second World War one must understand how close the Kaiser came to public humiliation and execution after the first. It had to make an impression on the crestfallen former monarch. After being vilified in the Allied press since 1914 as the very incarnation of evil itself there was no shortage of powerful individuals who wanted to see the last German Kaiser pay with his life for the mass atrocity that was the Great War. The British were the most adamant to see him hanged, the French, surprisingly, were not terribly moved one way or the other and the Americans opposed taking the life of the fallen monarch. Britain’s King George V opposed the idea but, given the clamor for it in his own country, would not speak on his cousin’s behalf. Belgian King Albert I, perhaps surprisingly and perhaps not, opposed executing the Kaiser and did speak up in opposition to such a thing.

The lack of Allied unity on the subject, the lack of any recognized legal precedent to do such a thing and the refusal of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to hand her guest over (as a matter of Dutch sovereignty) meant that eventually the issue, rather than the Kaiser, died after 1920. However, for about a year Wilhelm II had to have been apprehensive as his life hung in the balance. He felt considerable bitterness at having been made the scapegoat for the murderous insanity that gripped Europe in August of 1914, and rightly so for, if he was to blame, he was certainly no more guilty than the leaders of Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Britain and France. Kaiser Wilhelm II saw himself as a man who had been wronged and so he was. He refused to recognize the Weimar Republic of Germany and vowed that he would not…

via The Mad Monarchist: The Kaiser and the Führer.

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