Wilhelm II of Germany

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The soldier and the army, not Parliamentary majorities and decisions, have welded the German Empire together. I put my trust in the army.

Wilhelm II of Germany (27 January 18594 June 1941), born Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Preußen, was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and the last King (König) of Prussia, ruling from 1888 to 1918. Deposed during the November Revolution.

Quotes[edit]

  • I regard every Social Democrat as an enemy of the Empire and Fatherland.
    • Speech (14 May 1889), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 159.
  • The soldier and the army, not Parliamentary majorities and decisions, have welded the German Empire together. I put my trust in the army.
    • Speech (18 April 1891), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 158.
  • There is only one person who is master in this Empire and I am not going to tolerate any other.
    • Speech at Düsseldorf (4 May 1891), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 157.
  • You [recruits] have sworn loyalty to me. You have only one enemy and that is my enemy. In the present social confusion it may come about that I order you to shoot down your own relatives, brothers or parents but even then you must follow my orders without a murmur.
    • Speech (23 November 1891), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 158.
  • I am just now not reading but devouring Captain Mahan's book and am trying to learn it by heart. It is a first-class book and classical on all points.
    • Letter to an American friend (1893), quoted in John Rohl, Wilhelm II: The Kaiser's Personal Monarchy 1888-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 1003.
  • There is a breed of men who do not deserve the name of Germans. I trust that the entire nation will find the strength to beat back their outrageous attacks. If that does not occur, I shall have to call on you, my Guards, for protection against the gang of traitors and for leading the battle which will free us from such elements.
    • Speech (2 September 1895), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 159.
  • The Party which dares to attack the foundations of our State, which sets itself against religion and does not stop at attacking the person of the All-Highest Ruler must be rooted out to the very last stump.
    • Speech (26 February 1897), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 159.
  • The poor French...They have not read their Mahan!
    • On France's diplomatic retreat from war with Britain during the Fashoda Incident (1898), quoted in Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (London: Penguin, 2004), p. 206.
  • Imagine a monarch, holding personal command of his army, disbanding his regiments, sacred with a hundred years of history—and handing his towns over to Anarchists and Democracy.
    • Reaction to the Tsar's invitation (August 1898) to the Hague Conference of 1899, quoted in Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War (London: Pimlico, 2004), pp. 429-430.
  • I am not a man who believes that we Germans bled and conquered thirty years ago...in order to be pushed to one side when great international decisions call to be made. If that were to happen, the place of Germany as a world power would be gone for ever, and I am not prepared to let that happen. It is my duty and privilege to employ to this end without hesitation the most appropriate and, if need be, the sharper methods.
    • Speech at the launching of the battleship Wittelsbach (3 July 1900), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), pp. 158-159.
  • In spite of the fact that we have no such fleet as we should have, we have conquered for ourselves a place in the sun. It will now be my task to see to it that this place in the sun shall remain our undisputed possession, in order that the sun's rays may fall fruitfully upon our activity and trade in foreign parts, that our industry and agriculture may develop within the state and our sailing sports upon the water, for our future lies upon the water.
    • Speech in Hamburg (18 June 1901)
    • Variant: Germany must have her place in the sun. (is not of Wilhelm himself but of Bernhard von Bülow
      • As quoted in Germanism from Within (1916) by Alexander Duncan Mclaren
  • I repudiate these attacks on him...a German of the Germans...his honour so assailed. Who made this infamous attack upon our friend? Men who till now have been looked upon as Germans, but who henceforth are unworthy of that name. And these men come from the Reich's working classes, who owe so infinite a debt of gratitude to Krupp!
    • Speech at the funeral of Friedrich Alfred Krupp (27 November 1902), quoted in William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968 (London: Michael Joseph, 1968), p. 275.
  • [The German Legion] which, in conjunction with Blucher and the Prussians at Waterloo, saved the British Army from destruction.
    • Speech celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Hanoverian regiments (19 December 1903), quoted in The Times (21 December 1903), p. 9.
Shoot down, behead and eliminate the Socialists first, if need be, by a blood-bath, then war abroad. But not before, and not à tempo.
  • Shoot down, behead and eliminate the Socialists first, if need be, by a blood-bath, then war abroad. But not before, and not à tempo.
    • Letter to German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow (1 January 1906), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 22.
  • I look on myself as an instrument of the Almighty and go on my way regardless of transient opinions and views.
    • Speech at Koenigsberg (25 August 1910), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 157.
  • Krupp cannon have thundered over the battlefields where German unity was fought for and won, and Krupp cannon are the energy of the German army and navy today. The ships constructed in the Krupp yards carry the German flag into every sea. Krupp steel protects our vessels and our forts...But the Krupp works has not only been an exploiter in this sense. It has also been the first in Germany to recognize the new social problems and to seek to solve them, thus leading to social legislation.
    • Speech at the Krupp Centenary in Essen (8 August 1912), quoted in William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968 (London: Michael Joseph, 1968), p. 303.
  • [The unavoidable] racial war, the war of Slavdom against Germandom...[in which the] Anglo-Saxons with whom we are related by common ancestry, religion and civilisatory striving, allow themselves to be used as tools of the Slavs...if this question...cannot be solved by diplomacy, then it will have to be decided by armed force. The solution can be postponed but the question will arise again in 1 or 2 years. The racial struggle cannot be avoided - perhaps it will not take place now, but it will probably take place in one or two years.
    • Conversation with Arthur de Claparède, the Swiss ambassador (10 December 1912), quoted in John Rohl, 'Germany', in Keith Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War 1914 (London: University College London Press, 1995), p. 41.
  • [The coming war is] the last battle between Teutons and Slavs [which would] find the Anglo-Saxons on the side of the Slavs and the Gauls...[England] wanted to forbid other Powers to defend their interests...with the sword. … England will undoubtedly stand behind France and Russia against Germany out of hatred and envy. The imminent struggle for existence which the Germanic peoples of Europe (Austria, Germany) will have to fight out against the Slavs (Russians) and their Latin (Gallic) supporters finds the Anglo-Saxons on the side of the Slavs. Reason: petty envy, fear of our growing big.
    • Marginal note on report from the German ambassador to London, Prince Lichnowsky (December 1912), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 32.
  • Chapter 2 of the Great Migrations...is over. Now comes Chapter 3, the Germanic peoples' fight for their existence against Russo-Gallia. No further conference can smooth this over, for it is not a question of high politics, but one of race...for what is at issue is whether the Germanic race is to be or not to be in Europe.
    • Marginal note on a report from the London Conference of Ambassadors (December 1912), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 33.
  • The Slavs have now become unrestful and will want to attack Austria. Germany is bound to stand by her ally - Russia and France will join in and then England...I am a man of peace - but now I have to arm my Country so that whoever falls on me I can crush - and crush them I will.
    • Conversation with Lord Stamfordham (25 May 1913), quoted in John Rohl, 'Germany', in Keith Wilson (ed.), Decisions for War 1914 (London: University College London Press, 1995), pp. 43-44.
  • Must stay there and also foment war and revolt against England. Doesn't he yet know of the intended alliance, under which he is to be Commander in Chief?!
    • Marginal note in a telegram from Constantinople (29 July 1914) regarding the wish of the German military delegation to return, quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 121.
  • England must...have the mask of Christian peaceableness torn publicly off her face...Our consuls in Turkey and India, agents, etc., must inflame the whole Mohammedan world to wild revolt against this hateful, lying, conscienceless people of hagglers; for if we are to be bled to death, at least England shall lose India.
    • Marginal note in a telegram from the German ambassador in St Petersburg, Count Friedrich von Pourtalès (30 July 1914), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 121.
  • You will be home before the leaves fall from the trees.
    • Addressing German soldiers departing for the front in WWI (August 1914), as quoted in The Chanak Affair (1969) by David Walder, p. 21
    • Variant: You men will be home when the leaves fall.
  • Ich kenne keine Parteien mehr, ich kenne nur noch Deutsche!
    • I know no parties anymore, only Germans!
    • Speech for the Reichstag (4 August 1914)
      • Quoted in Verhandlungen des Reichstags, Stenographische Berichte, 1914/16, Bd. 306, 1f.
Where my Guards appear, there is no room for democracy.
  • The population of Belgium...behaved in a diabolical, not to say bestial, manner, not one iota better than the Cossacks. They tortured the wounded, beat them to death, killed doctors and medical orderlies, fired secretly...on men harmlessly standing in the street - in fact by prearranged signal, under leadership...The King of the Belgians has to be notified at once that since his people have placed themselves outside all observance of European customs - from the frontier on, in all the villages, not only in Liege - they will be treated accordingly. Conditions for Belgium will become immensely more difficult.
    • Marginal note written on a message from the Belgian government (9 August 1914), quoted in John Horne and Alan Kramer, German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial (London: Yale University Press, 2001), pp. 18-19.
  • [I myself will] never acknowledge an Englishman again for the rest of [my] life, nor wear an English Order on [my] chest. The fellows must be brought to their knees.
    • Georg Alexander von Müller's diary entry (16 September 1914), quoted in Georg Alexander von Müller, The Kaiser and His Court (London: Macdonald, 1961), p. 33.
  • I shan't give this up again, I swear to you.
    • On a visit to Flanders in Belgium which was under German occupation, said to Rudolf von Valentini (20 October 1915), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 424, n. 1.
  • Agreed, reject...This is the end of negotiations with America, once and for all! If Wilson wants war, let him provoke it and then have it.
    • Minute in response to a memorandum by Henning von Holtzendorff (18 March 1917), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 306, n. 3.
  • Where my Guards appear, there is no room for democracy.
    • Speech to representatives of German political parties (20 July 1917), quoted in Michael Balfour, The Kaiser and His Times (London: Penguin, 1975), pp. 379-380.
  • The victory of the Germans over Russia was the pre-condition for the revolution, which was the pre-condition for Lenin, who was the pre-condition for Brest! The same applies in the west! First victory in the west and collapse of the Entente, then we shall make conditions which they have to accept! And they will be framed purely in accordance with our interests.
    • Marginal note written in early 1918 before the Spring Offensive, quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 610.
  • I will take the Duchy of Courland, I, the victor by the strength of my sword, but not from the hand of the assembly.
    • Georg Alexander von Müller's diary entry (19 March 1918) before German Spring Offensive, quoted in Georg Alexander von Müller, The Kaiser and His Court (London: Macdonald, 1961), p. 343.
  • The battle is won, the English have been utterly defeated.
    • Georg Alexander von Müller's diary entry (23 March 1918) after the first German successes of the Spring Offensive, quoted in Georg Alexander von Müller, The Kaiser and His Court (London: Macdonald, 1961), p. 344.
If a British parliamentarian comes to sue for peace, he must first kneel before the imperial standard, for this is a victory of monarchy over democracy.
  • If a British parliamentarian comes to sue for peace, he must first kneel before the imperial standard, for this is a victory of monarchy over democracy.
    • Remarks made after the first German successes of the Spring Offensive (26 March 1918), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 618.
  • [Peace] is completely impossible between Slavs and Germans...Peace with Russia can only be maintained by fear of us. The Slavs will always hate us and remain our enemies! they are only frightened of a man and they only respect him if he hits them hard! S. [see] Japan! So it will be with us, too! The Entente, if it wants, and if my diplomacy is too stupid, can always do what it likes in Russia - it has driven it into war; but our preponderance in the German area is necessary to keep Russia away from our eastern frontier once and for all; no peace with Russia, however favourable, will give us that!
    • Marginal note to a memorandum written by Hellmuth Lucius von Stoedten (May 1918), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 580.
  • Either Germanic ideals or Anglo-Saxon ones must prevail. Justice, freedom, honor, and virtue will triumph, or the worship of money. There can be only one victor in this struggle. German ideals are at stake!
    • Speech in the aftermath of the Spring Offensive (18 July 1918), quoted in Fritz Fischer, World Power or Decline (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1974), p. 92.
  • I see that we must strike a balance. We have nearly reached the limit of our powers of resistance. The war must be ended.
    • Remarks made at the meeting of the German warlords at Advanced General Headquarters at Avesnes (11 August 1918), quoted in John Terraine, To Win A War: 1918 The Year of Victory (London: Cassell, 2003), p. 121.
  • I haven't had a wink of sleep since I left Wilhelmshohe. I'm gradually cracking up. The troops continue to retreat. I have lost all confidence in them.
    • Georg Alexander von Müller's diary entry (9 September 1918), quoted in Georg Alexander von Müller, The Kaiser and His Court (London: Macdonald, 1961), p. 343.
  • The war has ended - quite differently, indeed, from how we expected. Our politicians have failed us miserably.
    • Reaction to Hindenburg and Ludendorff's advice that an armistice must be requested (29 September 1918), quoted in Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1967), p. 634.
  • Well, this is a strange reversal of the situation. The English are at loggerheads with the Americans. The Lansdowne Clique has coalesced with the Labour Party to obtain a swift acceptable peace for Germany. It seems that Lloyd George put pressure on him to this end. On the other hand we know that the Paris Senate has said that it will not come to the conference table to sue for peace but pursue the war with every means in its power. After your report I'll read you a confidential letter I have received from an gent in Holland...The agent...points to a possibility of coming to terms with England, which is obviously perturbed by American numerical superiority, and thinks we should have done better not to make peace overtures to America but to England...An agreement with England, to include a treaty with Japan to fling the Americans out of Europe. A European Monroe doctrine therefore to which I outlined to Hintze at Spa as the policy to be followed in future.
    • Georg Alexander von Müller's diary entry (29 October 1918), quoted in Georg Alexander von Müller, The Kaiser and His Court (London: Macdonald, 1961), pp. 416-417.
  • The deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a people in history, the Germans have done onto themselves. Egged on and misled by the tribe of Juda whom they hated, who were guests among them! That was their thanks! Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil! This poisonous mushroom on the German oak-tree!
    • Letter to General August von Mackensen (2 December 1919), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 210.
  • The Hebrew race are my most inveterate enemies at home and abroad; they remain what they are and always were: the forgers of lies and the masterminds governing unrest, revolution, upheaval by spreading infamy with the help of their poisoned, caustic, satyrical spirit. If the world once wakes up it should mete out to them the punishment in store for them, which they deserve.
    • Letter to Poultney Bigelow (14 April 1927), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 210.
For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.
  • For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.
    • In regard to Adolf Hitler's anti-Jewish campaign, after Kristallnacht (November 1938); as quoted in Our German Cousins : Anglo-German Relations in the 19th and 20th Centuries (1974) by John Mander, p. 219.
  • [The English ruling classes are] Freemasons thoroughly infected by Juda. The British people must be liberated from the Antichrist Juda. We must drive Juda out of England just as he has been chased out of the Continent...Juda's plan has been smashed to pieces and they themselves swept out of the European Continent! [Europe is] consolidating and closing itself off from British influences after the elimination of the British and the Jews!
    • Letter to Alwina Grafin von der Goltz (July/August 1940), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 211-212.
  • [The war is] a succession of miracles! The old Prussian spirit of Frd. Rex, of Clausewitz, Blücher, York, Gneisenau etc. has again manifested itself, as in 1870-71...The brilliant leading Generals in this war came from My school, they fought under my command in the [First] World War as lieutenants, captains or young majors. Educated by Schlieffen they put the plans he had worked out under me into practice along the same lines as we did in 1914.
    • Letter to Poultney Bigelow (14 September 1940), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 211.
  • The hand of God is creating a new World & working miracles...We are becoming the U.S. of Europe under German leadership, a united European Continent, nobody ever hoped to see. The Jews [are] beeing thrust out of their nefarious positions in all countries, whom they have driven to hostility for centuries.
    • Letter to Margarethe Landgraffin von Hessen (3 November 1940), quoted in John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and his Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 212.

The Growth of Nationalism (1992)[edit]

Quotes from The Growth of Nationalism : Germany and Italy 1815-1939 by Ronald Cameron, Charles Robertson, and Christine Henderson
  • The fleet is necessary to show that Germany is as well born as Britain.
  • Let me assure the Sultan and the three hundred million moslems... That the German Emperor will ever be their friend.
    • On the Sultan of Turkey, while on the railway to Baghdad
  • You English are like mad bulls — you see red everywhere! What on earth has come over you, that you would heap on us such suspicion as is unworthy of a great nation... I regard this missaprehension as a personal insult... You make it uncommonly difficult for a man to remain friendly to England.
    • To the Daily Telegraph on his attitude towards Britain.

External links[edit]

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