Wilhelm II, German Emperor

1888 – 1918
1941, old age
Wilhelm II
Kaiser Wilhelm Ii and Germany 1890 - 1914 HU68367.jpg
Wilhelm II in 1902
German Emperor; King of Prussia
Reign 15 June 1888 – 9 November 1918
Predecessor Frederick III
Successor Monarchy abolished
Friedrich Ebert, President of Germany
Spouse 1. Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, 1881–1921 (her death)
2. Hermine Reuss of Greiz, 1922–1941 (his death)
Full name
German: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert
Frederick William Victor Albert
House House of Hohenzollern
Father Frederick III, German Emperor
Mother Victoria, Princess Royal
Born (1859-01-27)27 January 1859
Crown Prince's Palace, Berlin, Prussia
Died 4 June 1941(1941-06-04) (aged 82)
Doorn, Netherlands
Burial Mausoleum at Huis Doorn
Religion Evangelical Christian Church

Wilhelm II or William II (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preußen; Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia; 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, three notable contemporary relations being his first cousins King George V of the United Kingdom, founder of the House of Windsor, Marie of Romania, Queen consort of Romania and the Czarina Alix of Hesse, consort of his second cousin Tsar Nicholas II of the House of Romanov, the last ruler of the Russian Empire before the Russian Revolution of 1917 which deposed the monarchy.

Crowned in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course" in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to the First World War. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his power in 1908. His top generals, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, dictated policy during the First World War with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.