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Wilhelm II of Germany
Wilhelm.jpg
Historical Figure
Nationality: Germany (born in Prussia)
Date of Birth: 1859
Date of Death: 1941
Cause of Death: Pulmonary embolism
Religion: Lutheran
Parents: Friedrich III,
Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Spouse: Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (d. 1921),
Hermine Reuss (d. 1947)
Children: Crown Prince Wilhelm and six others
Relatives: Victoria of Britain and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (maternal grandparents)
Wilhelm I (paternal grandfather)
Edward VII (maternal uncle)
George V (first cousin)
House: Hohenzollern
Political Office(s): German Emperor and King of Prussia
Fictional Appearances:

Kaiser Wilhelm II (27 January 1859 - 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, reigning from 1888 to 1918. He was the eldest grandchild of the Queen Victoria of Britain and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe.

Upon his ascent, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course", seeking at once to assert more absolute control over his own government while conducting foreign relations with the goal of making Germany an important country in global affairs. However, this new course systematically alienated most of Germany's neighbors, as Wilhelm tended to support belligerence and militarism over diplomacy.

Conversely, certain aspects of his domestic policy were quite progressive for the time, as Wilhelm pushed for, and received, legislation that protected the German workers. He also supported science, the arts, education, and public welfare. However, Wilhelm also maintained a healthy antisemitism, often lamenting what he saw as the undue influence the Jews exerted over Germany.

When Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, Wilhelm promised to support Austria-Hungary in any action it might take against Serbia. When Russia went to war with Austria-Hungary, Wilhelm II honored the Central Powers alliance, bringing his country into what became the First World War. By 1918, Germany had been defeated, and Wilhelm was overthrown and the German monarchy was abolished. He fled Germany and spent the rest of his life in the Netherlands until his death on 4 June 1941.

Wilhelm II in "Christmas Truce"

"Christmas Truce"
POD: December 25, 1914
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references

In the opening months of the Great War, the Kaiser's troops made substantial gains into Belgium. Nonetheless, all belligerents initiated an informal truce with their officers' tacit agreement on Christmas Day, 1914.[1] However, a German runner named Adolf Hitler, disgusted with the situation, attempted to single-handedly end the truce. He was killed by British officer, instead, and the truce held.[2]

Wilhelm II in Curious Notions

Curious Notions
POD: August, 1914
Type of Appearance: Posthumous references
Date of Death: Unknown
Political Office(s): German Emperor and King of Prussia

Wilhelm II led Germany through the brief war in 1914, in which France, Britain, and Russia were defeated. He led his country to victory against France and Britain again in the late 1930s, making Germany the supreme power in Europe.[3] Upon his death in 1941, he was succeeded as Kaiser by his son Wilhelm III.

Literary comment

The last statement is speculation based on the fact that Wilhelm II died in OTL in 1941.

Wilhelm II in "Uncle Alf"

"Uncle Alf"
POD: c. 1913
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references

After the Great War in 1914, Wilhelm II ruled a German Empire that included occupied France and Belgium.[4] In 1916, Wilhelm came to the rescue of his cousin, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, helping his former enemy put down a communist revolution.[5] Feldgendarmerie Sergeant Adolf Hitler attributed this string of victories to the superiority of the German Volk and the leadership of the Kaiser. With this in mind, Hitler was fanatically determined to hunt down the enemies of the "Second Reich" wherever they might be.[6]

Wilhelm II in "Last Flight of the Swan of the East"

Shared Universe Story
"Last Flight of the Swan of the East"
POD: 1878
Type of Appearance: Direct

In mid-1914 Wilhelm II reigned over a German Empire maintained territories all over the globe, thanks to its formidable Kaiserliche Luftmarine.[7]

When Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Serbia, Wilhelm's government backed Austria-Hungary's ultimata and eventual declaration of war on Serbia, which in turn lead Germany into war against Russia, France, and the United States, triggering the Great War. Peculiarly, Wilhelm's cousin was George V of the United Kingdom. This relationship, coupled with relatively warm relations between to the two countries, led the U.K. to declare its neutrality.[8]

In June 1915, Wilhelm personally pinned the Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern on the chest of Hellmuth von Mücke, the first officer of the leviathan commerce raider SMS Emden. Mücke had led a successful raid on U.S. plants in the Philippines at the end of 194. While the Americans captured the Emden, Mücke and his crew escaped, and made their way back to Germany. After bestowing the honor, Mücke joined Wilhelm for a lavish luncheon. Mücke was surprised that Wilhelm was shorter than he.[9]

Wilhelm II in Southern Victory

Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): American Front
through
The Victorious Opposition
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Political Office(s): German Emperor

An affirmation of the Central Powers: Wilhelm with President Theodore Roosevelt of the United States.

Kaiser Wilhelm II led his country to victory in the Great War. Germany gained a substantial empire, occupying Belgium, the French province of Lorraine, and the Ukraine. Germany also created the Kingdom of Poland as a vassal state, and moved into the Belgian Congo.

Wilhelm died in June 1941 and was succeeded by his son Friedrich Wilhelm V. The Entente took advantage of his death to launch a coordinated attack on Germany, beginning the Second Great War.

In the earlier part of the 20th century, it was common for U.S. men - especially members of the armed forces - to sport what was affectionately referred to as "a Kaiser Bill Moustache". This was linked to the Remembrance ideology and the wish of Americans to emulate Germany and achieve victory over the hated Confederates. This style faded away after the end of the Great War.

See Also

References

  1. Asimov's Science Fiction, November/December, 2019, Vol. 43 Nos. 11 & 12, pgs. 46-47.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 50-51.
  3. Curious Notions, pgs. 18-19, TPB.
  4. See e.g.: Atlantis and Other Places, pgs. 337-339, HC.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 343-344.
  6. "Uncle Alf" generally, Ibid. pgs. 340, 342, specifically.
  7. Leviathans: Armored Skies, pgs. 292-293, loc. 4174-4190, ebook.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 292-299, loc. 4174-4290, ebook.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 378-380, loc. 5505-5535.
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