Nineteenth-century History

Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Nazis

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany
Source: Wikipedia

I’ve recently been reading a German history magazine called Der Spiegel: Geschichte. The most current issue focuses on the Hohenzollern dynasty in Prussia and ultimately in the German Empire from 1871 until 1918. One of the last articles in the issue discusses the last German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and his life after his abdication from the German imperial and Prussian royal thrones.

Something I find quite fascinating about Kaiser after his abdication is his relationship to the Nazis once they came to power in the early 1930s. At first, he believed their nationalistic tendencies would lead to a re-establishment of the German monarchy and he would therefore be able to regain the throne he had lost. This of course proved to be just wishful thinking.

While he corresponded with Hitler through his son, the Nazis were never interested in bringing back the Kaiser or the monarchy that had led them to such embarrassing defeat in the First World War. They also, of course, wanted to keep power for themselves. Naturally, Wilhelm II was very disappointed by this and cut off practically all ties and contacts with Hitler and his party. His only remaining connection to the Nazis were the Nazi German soldiers who guarded him and his family at his home in the Netherlands where he was living in exile. In 1940, when the Kaiser found out about atrocities the Nazis were committing against the Jews and other people, he declared that it was the first time in his life that he felt ashamed to be German.

Shortly before Wilhelm’s death in 1941, he requested that all mention of Nazis, all Nazi symbols and anything related to them be left out of his memorial service. His wish was not granted and he was given a funeral full of Nazi symbols. The funeral itself was used as propaganda by the Nazis, who used it to “show” their legitimacy in inheriting the German Reich.

While in exile, Wilhelm II could dream of nothing other than regaining the German imperial throne. He spent much of his time engaged in coming up with ways of how to re-establish himself as German Kaiser. His phase with Hitler and the Nazis were, in the end, just another part of his obsession.

For more about Kaiser Wilhelm II, his abdication and what led up to it, take a look at my series: Nineteenth Century German History.

3 Comments
  1. George Babbit
    December 31, 2014 4:21 pm 

    Wilhelm was a douche.

  2. Brian
    January 25, 2015 8:38 am 

    Would a douche have such a mustache? His weird ass hair do is origional as well

  3. William Diffin
    May 31, 2017 6:56 am 

    Hair /should/ be shiny.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Explore History Rhymes
Random Featured Articles
Nineteenth Century German History: Consequences of the Fall of the Holy Roman Empire (1806-1848) – Part 2

Nineteenth Century German History: Consequences of the Fall of the Holy Roman Empire (1806-1848) – Part 2

Part 1 of “Consequences of the Fall of the Holy Roman Empire (1806-1848)” Less than ten years after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and after Napoleon was sent into exile after his defeat by the British, a congregation of monarchs and statesmen gathered together in Vienna in order to r...
The Scofield Mine Disaster

The Scofield Mine Disaster

The day of May 1, 1900 started off as any other ordinary day for the miners in Scofield, Utah. Early in the morning, the men and boys kissed their wives and mothers good-bye as they left for a hard day’s work in the mines. Later in the day was to be festivities celebrating May Day,...
Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

As you’ve already read from the last post, I recently returned from a trip to Missouri. I saw the houses of the James brothers and I also took a day trip down to Springfield, MO and visited the Wilson’s Creek battlefield where one of the first large battles of the Civil War took place. T...
Houses in Fin-de-Siècle Britain: Conclusion

Houses in Fin-de-Siècle Britain: Conclusion

Fin-de-Siècle Britain saw many new styles and innovations in the architecture of houses. Some of these new designs were visual whilst others were more practical. A mishmash of styles were created by a number of different architects in an attempt to redefine British architecture, but they would effe...