Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Hohenzollern => Topic started by: Josť on February 03, 2008, 10:56:12 AM

Title: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Josť on February 03, 2008, 10:56:12 AM
On a bio of Wilhelm II there was this passage claiming that when Germany invaded the Netherlands during WW2, Britain offered asylum to the old Kaiser, which he swiftly refused.

On what grounds ? Surely Nazi Germany wouldn't harm the old kaiser (some of his sons had joined the Party, and his 2nd wife was very sympathetic to the cause).

For a country who had refused to the russian IF during WW1 it sounds strange that they would offer asylum to their former enemy.

AFAIK during WW1 british propaganda was aimed to the kaiser, as the source of every evil on face of earth, not to the Tsar
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 03, 2008, 12:03:08 PM
I would think that is was part of a blanket invitation for assylum. The Dutch royal family  went to Britain, as did the Norwegians. If it was indeed offered, I would imagine that it was not seriously expected to be accepted by him. I can't see that he would have been much use to the Brits, and as you mentioned, he had family in the Nazi Party.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 03, 2008, 01:31:42 PM
I suspect the invitation had nothing to do with family values, family attachments, or consideration of William's safety at all. The offer was very likely a strategy to hopefully show that EVEN the former Kaiser is fleeing Hitler, the Germans, and his own family and HAD to accept the good graces of his former death-struggle enemy, the English. Rather than remaining neutral, had William made such a choice, it would have been a public relations coup that would have substantially garnered and strenghtened the already strong anti-German, war-ready British government and citizenry.

If such an offer had actually been made, I think the Brits were wishing and hoping would accept and then the Brits would have made a huge deal out of it. In fact, I would not be surprised if a lucrative deal was not presented to Wiliam for him to accept the assylum offer.

It would also have been a nice slap in the face to Wallis and Edward, which many would have loved to witness.

However, at that time, William was cheering on the successes of the Wehrmacht. The Netherlands surrendered on May 15 and a month later when France lost the war to Germany, William sent a congratulatory telegram to Hitler on the success. So, I don't think William was afraid for his safety nor, at that time, very willing to join the other side in spirit.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 03, 2008, 02:05:10 PM
I tend to agree that family issues would have had little to do with it by that time.
 Propaganda? I wonder.  As Jose mentioned, there were many in the UK who have just as soon seen the Kaiser  shot as given any assistance.
 I LOVE the idea that it might have been a bitchy "slap in the face" to David & Wallis though!
 However, as you said HK,  he [the Kaiser] really had nothing to flee from. His life was almost over and he remained rather comfortable.
  One scenario might have him kidnapped and brought to Britain, but the movie has not been made yet, that I know of. Has it?
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 04, 2008, 08:17:30 AM
This was actually a rather peculiar episode. Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10th 1940, and on that very day he asked his private secretary to arrange for the the ex-Kaiser to be informed that he would be welcome to come to England if he wanted leave the Netherlands before it was occupied. This was a characteristic gesture which would not have been made with any ulterior motive. He had known the Kaiser before the First World War after having been invited by him to attend military manoeuvres in Germany. Whether he had any real expectation that the Kaiser would take up the offer I cannot say. The issue does not seem to have been discussed with anyone else, and the politicians who were entering  the new government would have had far more pressing concerns in any case.

The British government was quite happy to offer asylum to the Tsar and his family during the First World War, it was George V who rejected the idea, fearing that the position of the (constitutional) British monarchy might be weakened through association with a deposed autocrat. In this he showed a rather unexpected vein of ruthlessness, and probably a meaure of panic, underestimating the support that the monarchy enjoyed in Britain. To be fair to him, this was at a time when the Imperial family did not appear to be under any threat and would have been expected to be able to find a home elsewhere. When the family was shifted away from Petrograd by the Bolsheviks and was clearly coming under real danger, the British secret services in Russia were instructed to try to make plans to extricate them, but nothing practical could be achieved. I am reminded of how all the main Western governments were unwilling to offer sanctuary to the Shah of Iran after he was deposed.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Mari on February 04, 2008, 08:56:51 AM
Quote
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and his wife, Empress Farah, left Tehran and flew to Aswan in Egypt.

The couple's three youngest children were flown to the United States yesterday.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/16/newsid_2530000/2530475.stm

Yes, the Shah went to Egypt although I think I read somewhere Africa offered him a haven also.

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Learning on February 04, 2008, 10:29:55 AM
In one of the biographies I read many many years ago, the offer of asylum from Britain to the UK was discussed. It has always remained in my mind as a noble offer and, frankly, a strange one. My understanding is that the Kaiser and his wife at first accepted and that she was thrilled to be going to Britain. However, the Kaiser felt that the Dutch had been very good to him and he wanted to share their sufferings rather than run out on them. His later telegrams of congratulations to Hitler on the fall of Paris were not entirely heartfelt. At least according to the biographies I have read the telegram was meant to help improve relations for his family which was under scrutiny by the Nazis.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 04, 2008, 10:47:56 AM
This was actually a rather peculiar episode. Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10th 1940, and on that very day he asked his private secretary to arrange for the the ex-Kaiser to be informed that he would be welcome to come to England if he wanted leave the Netherlands before it was occupied. This was a characteristic gesture which would not have been made with any ulterior motive.

Nothing at that high level is done without an ulterior motive, nothing. Particularly from Churchill. He was a supreme political chess player and anticiapted every action and its potential reactions, each designed for his political to do list. The continued distain, as Robert Hall has pointed out, for William in Britain after 22 years would not have been reduced by a German occupation of the Netherlands. In fact, it would seem most people would have thought any discomfort William would endure would be just desserts.

What would William have to fear anyway? Prison? Death camp? Rations? Loss of home? There were plently of opportunities to offer William the conciliatory olive branch over the years, but it never occured, so why at that point? From a political view, it does seem most likely Churchill saw a large benefit in having the former Kaiser "flee" to England and use it for political/social propaganda.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 04, 2008, 11:12:24 AM
I cannot agree about that, I think that Churchill would have regarded it as wholly improper to make a personal gesture like that that and then milk it for political advantage. If this had been a decision reached by the government after a discussion  in cabinet, <i>then</i> I would agree that one should enquire into any possible political motives.

It in interesting to hear that the Kaiser may have at least thought of accepting. Can anyone confirm this or offer any further details? I would be most surprised, though, to learn that his wife really was happy with the idea, since she was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis.

The Kaiser's attitudes to Britain were both confused and complicated, he had a curious of love/hate relationship with his grandmother's country which was subject to considerable fluctuation; it is an over-simplification to say that he ever felt disdain for it.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 04, 2008, 12:00:36 PM
I cannot agree about that, I think that Churchill would have regarded it as wholly improper to make a personal gesture like that that and then milk it for political advantage. If this had been a decision reached by the government after a discussion  in cabinet, <i>then</i> I would agree that one should enquire into any possible political motives.

It in interesting to hear that the Kaiser may have at least thought of accepting. Can anyone confirm this or offer any further details? I would be most surprised, though, to learn that his wife really was happy with the idea, since she was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis.

The Kaiser's attitudes to Britain were both confused and complicated, he had a curious of love/hate relationship with his grandmother's country which was subject to considerable fluctuation; it is an over-simplification to say that he ever felt disdain for it.

thanks for your note, but you misread my post. It was Britain, not William, who I said held the significant disdain for William, and as such would not have felt any compassion just because the German army was possibly approaching.

You have a much greater sense of honor for politicians than I do! :) National leaders actually do not make "personal" gestures the way i am thinking you mean, especially when it affects national policy and security etc. And, he like most all the others milk everything to further their political agenda. There is little to believe from Churchill's bios that would suggest he made any decisions and judgments that were personal in nature or for personal reasons. I do think his personal background and experiences molded his attitudes which led to his dogma, but in his roles in the government, he was all business. He was the quintessential politician and defender of Britain's interests. I could believe Chamberlain would have made such an outreach for purely personal reasons, but not Churchill.

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 04, 2008, 01:23:56 PM
Sorry for the carelessness in reading your post! It's not that I have any undue regard for politicians, but Churchill was not always so calculating in his actions, he was quite a romantic in his way and I can see him as having this offer out of a personal impulse. I don't think he would have regarded it as being of any real significance from the point of view of practical politics. But I could be wrong! It is possible that he may have said something in his war memoirs which may throw some light on the matter.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on February 04, 2008, 09:58:46 PM
This story was first broken in 1959 when a documentary was done. The offer was extended May 12, 2 days after Churchill became PM and the Germans invaded the Netherlands. The Kaiser and his wife were offered the use of an RAF plane to make their way to England and live there. The offer was relayed via Neville Bland, the British minister, to Baron von Nagell, burgermeister at Doorn, who gave his story in the documentary. It wasn't a full-fledge offer of asylum but rather a 'hint', according to the Foreign Office, that if the Kaiser wished asylum he would be received with dignity & consideration. The Kaiser discussed it with Hermine, then declined with 'grateful thanks' citing his bad heart and doctor's orders not to fly. The producer of the documentary, Christopher Sykes, came across the information when examining captured papers of the Kaiser's doctor detailing day-to-day events. Given what happened post-war, Hermine probably came to wish she'd hopped the plane.

On 10 May 1940, Churchill's secretary R.C.S. Stevenson wrote to the Foreign Office that Churchill wondered if perhaps "it would not be a good thing to give the ex-Kaiser a private hint that he would be given consideration and dignity' if he should choose to seek asylum. Giles MacDonogh's bio of the Kaiser stated he would rather be 'shot in Holland than flee to England" and be photographed with Churchill. On 14 May, he was given the salute by the local German commander and photographed speaking to German officers at the gate. This was enough to enrage the post-war Dutch government, who didn't forget the slight to their decades long hospitality, and who impounded Doorn and its contents post-war--of course, the Kaiser was deceased by then.

Churchill and the Kaiser in 1913

(http://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/images/churchill_era/CHPH_1B_32.jpg)
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 05, 2008, 08:45:52 AM
Thank you, that is interesting. He was assured, as one would expect, that he would be received with dignity and consideration; in other words, he would not be drawn into some sort of public circus (e.g. being paraded in front of photographers with Churchill). Since he had been given sanctuary by the Dutch and had been protected by them against extradition proceedings, a German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands could be seen as putting him in a highly awkward postion if he remained, though he probably did not have the delicacy of feeling to really appreciate the point. It was surely unforgivable to allow himself to be photographed chatting to members of the occupying forces. I'm not surprised that the Dutch were incensed.


Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 05, 2008, 11:16:51 AM

On 10 May 1940, Churchill's secretary R.C.S. Stevenson wrote to the Foreign Office that Churchill wondered if perhaps "it would not be a good thing to give the ex-Kaiser a private hint that he would be given consideration and dignity' if he should choose to seek asylum.

thanks Granduchessella; great find! To me, Churchill's phrase "...it would be a good thing..." is telling. I have never seen other evidence that Churchhill ever forgave or buried the hatchet with Wilhelm on any level. What "good thing" could Churchill now be referreing to? I still feel it had to be a ploy to build public support for the coming war, much the same way Einstein's fleeing to the U.S. helped demonstrate that the good people were escaping the nazi horror.

The fact that Wilhelm replied as he did further indicates the unlikelihood that the offer was actually genuinely sincere and without primary political motiviation.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Alixz on February 05, 2008, 10:46:34 PM
Mention has been made that while the government of the UK was in favor of asylum for the Romanovs that George V was the one to "not insist".  England was in a state of social unrest by the time that Nicholas abdicated in 1917 and George was afraid for his own throne.  By bringing the imperial family to the UK, George thought that he would be undermining his own popularity.  Remember the changing of the names from German to British?  So much was going on.

I, too, like the idea of a "slap in the face" to David and Wallis.  I can not imagine what would have happened if David had not abdicated.  He admired Hitler and the progress that was being made in Germany in the 1930s.

It has always been an historical mix up to me (a cruel joke) that the Kaiser, who lobbied for and declared war and should have been found at fault was the only person (except George V) who survived to old age and lived a fairly comfortable life.  To an extent he was "protected" by the Dutch.

And when the Shaw was deposed the US took in his family and ultimately the Shaw.  If I remember correctly, he needed hospitalization or surgery or something like that and he came to the US for that.

The US took in Emelda Marcos and her huge shoe collection when she and her husband fled the Philippines.  I have never quite understood that one.

Winston was a willy old soldier (actually a reporter during the Boer War) and politician.  I wouldn't put anything past him.  It is said that he may have "staged" the sinking of the Lusitania in order to bring the US into the Great War. If that has any truth to it, then his invitation to the Kaiser could have been another "staged" event for political reasons.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 06, 2008, 03:43:43 AM
Churchill may have been a wily politician, but it is another thing again to accuse him of conspring to cause the death of British and American people for political purposes. It as likely that he 'staged' the sinking of Lusitania as that Prince Philip arranged the assassination of Diana. Before throwing around accusations of that kind, one should on reflect on whether one really believes that such people have the moral standards of a mafia chief or fascist dictator!
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Alixz on February 06, 2008, 08:05:11 AM
I am not "throwing around" accusations.  Only posting what I have read and I am sorry not to have sourced it.

But in the account that I read/heard, Churchill was accused of withdrawing the ships that would have protected the Lusitania.  Not so much as planning to have the ship be sunk, but making it more likely.

Also, and again I should source, the route that the Lusitania took was through waters known to be patrolled by the German u boats.  She should have taken another route or been better protected.

And remember, too, that no one ever expected that the ship would sink so fast.  As I recall, it went down very fast therefore not giving the passengers enough time to get to the life boats and abandon ship.  That is why it was accused of carrying ammunition which the passengers DID NOT know about.  The ship simply blew up with a force that no one expected.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Vecchiolarry on February 06, 2008, 09:23:43 AM
Hi,

The Kaiser was very lucky that Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government 'took him in'......
I've always wondered if they told him - "Just shut up and don't cause any problems or we'll ship you off to Indonesia".......

As for The Czar and his family, they could have been evacuated to Malta.  After all, that's where The Dowager Empress and other Romanovs went first in 1919.
And, no one had any problems with shipping the Habsburgs off to Madeira - out of the way.....

Larry
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 06, 2008, 10:29:30 AM
Churchill may have been a wily politician, but it is another thing again to accuse him of conspring to cause the death of British and American people for political purposes. It as likely that he 'staged' the sinking of Lusitania as that Prince Philip arranged the assassination of Diana. Before throwing around accusations of that kind, one should on reflect on whether one really believes that such people have the moral standards of a mafia chief or fascist dictator! There is a good discussion of the wilder theories about the Lusitania incident here:
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=49

Causing the death of innocent people for political or in time of war happens all the time. Adagietto, I do love your high opinion of the human condition, but money and power tarnish that shiny image on a regular basis all through history. It has been highly discussed by historians and politicians that the Lusitania was a set up; and we may never know the real truth. But, clearly the likelihood that it was a set up is a very real possibiltily; and I happen to believe it. Not at all different than the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the clear evidence that Roosevelt had ample warning/knowledge but failed to act in a timely and effective manner to deal with the looming attack...in order to have a strong premise for war.

I'm sorry, and hopefully not too jaded, but the moral standards of most people at the very top (business, politicos, mafia chief, fascist dictators and presidents and prime ministers, sports heros, etc etc ) frequently gets watered down to a common denomintator...win at any cost.

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Ilias_of_John on February 12, 2008, 01:50:06 AM
Adagietto,
 I am afraid I have to remind you of the FORCED repatriation of some fifty thousand Russian White officers to the USSR after WW2.
They all went to their deaths because Stalin saw them as a threat, and demanded the Allies return them, by force if necessary.
I am led to believe that Churchill knew precisely what would have happened to them, as he knew what the Russians had done to the entire Polish Officer corps.
From memory, the only General officer to attempt to stop the repatriations was Patton, Montgomery,Eisenhower, Bradley and all others just let it happen.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betrayal_of_the_Cossacks
A pity really, wouldnt you agree?
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Ilias_of_John on February 12, 2008, 02:54:31 AM
In terms of Churchill being the master political manipulator,
I will also draw your attention to the changing of allegiances with the Yugoslav communists,as opposed to the Royalist Chetniks and Serbs, the backing of the Greek Communists, as opposed to the Royalist Goverment forces and then changing back to the Royalists in 1945.
Mind you, I am an Australian who remembers the Gallipoli debacle that he orchestrated, and my parents were born in Greece, and my father and father in law both remeber the civil war that ensued.Greek against Greek,British paratroopers fighting in the streets of Athens etc etc etc.
So you could say that I am slightly biased.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 12, 2008, 04:12:52 AM
I nver denied that Churchill was a political manipulator; the fact is that any war leader would have had to get his hands dirty fighting a conflict like WW2, especially when someone like Stalin was one of his main allies. The Cossack episode leaves a highly unpleasant taste; I know a good deal about that because a member of my family got caught up in it. Your account of Churchill's attitude to Greek affairs is misleading, he did not change his allegiance from one side to another, but he was obliged to take account of realities on the ground. By 1944 the Communists had formed a state within a state in the mountainous areas of C. and N. Greece, but although Churchill had little confidence in the Greek King, he was consistently determined to prevent Greece from falling into the hands of the Communists, and gained an agreement from Stalin in 1944 that Greece should fall into the British sphere of influence rather than the Russian. And Stalin did in fact refrain from meddling there as he might  have done. The civil war in Greece was just that, a civil war between communists and anti-communists, it was not provoked by the British; the British naturally favoured the anti-communists, and in Athens (though only there) British forces become directly involved in fighting against ELAS; personally I cannot think it undesirable that Churchill should have devoted so much effort to preventing Greece from falling under Communist control. In Jugoslavia it was Tito rather than the royalists who increasingly provided the most effective resistance; Churchill attempted to prevent Jugoslavia falling wholly into the Communist camp by proposing that should be a region of shared Russian/ allied influence, but this came to nothing as everyone knows.

The whole Gallipoli episode has become so shrouded in myth that I simply cannot be bothered to discuss it here. One has to make some effort the initial nature of Churchill's proposals, and how the plans subsequently evolved in the face of varying influences and inputs (since Churchill did not of couyrse have complete control over the process). Simply to demmonize Churchill and the miltary leaders does not aid the process of understanding.

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Ilias_of_John on February 12, 2008, 05:44:55 AM
All battles are covered in myths  I'm afraid!!
Anyway, in war all leaders take account of realities on the ground, you're right!  It's just that Churchill was so good at cutting people and sides loose, whenever it suited him.  The fact that Stalin never directly meddled in Greece was because he had been bought off by Churchill and co with carte blanche control of Eastern Europe, which got us all into the mess of the cold war!
As for Gallipoli, Kitchener sent an incompetent (Hamilton) to command, with no plan, no set force, and no bloody idea. Turkey was neutral, although in the German sphere,  was invaded,  forced to defend herself,  firmly pushing her closer to the Germans,  creating another sphere of operations, all for what?
To give the Tsar the city of Constantinople and access to the Mediteranean.

If Churchill had actually thought things through, the entire debacle would not have happened, which ponders the question would the Ottoman Empire have survived a tad longer?
A tit bit of history now.
The Greeks offered a Greek Army to the Allies  for the Dardanelles campaign, they wanted to March on Constantinople from Thrace(overland).
The Allies, presumably with the fulll knoweledge of Winston, rejected the offer, knowing that the Greeks wanted Constantinople for themselves. Hence, the city was not captured and the campaign was a farce.
I'm sorry about your relative and the Cossack thing, if you want tell us about it!
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 12, 2008, 09:44:10 AM
Thanks for the commentaries that I think they lead nicely back to the point about the disingenuousness of Churchill's offer of asylum to William if it were to be classified as purely friendly and humanitarian.

Politics in peace time is filled with lies, misrepresentations, character assassination of opponents etc. In war, multiply that times 100 or more. And then give the "winners" (if there really are any) carte blanche to dictate historical record, and you end up with situations that provide researchers and academia decades/centuries of facts to unwind.

Ilias is right that the policies of Churchill left a long term mess that fertilized the evolution of the middle east and eastern European crises of today.

As much as I feel remorse and anger over what he pushed for and authorized in terms of the genocide in Germany during the terror bombing and ethnic cleansing that took place from early 1945 onward, it is interesting to see how those horrible policies and actions (which today would be protested heavily and the perpetrators tried as war criminals) along with similar ones in Japan led to two nations (Germany and Japan) that are and have been arguably the most exemplory democracies, human rights advocates, and non aggressive nations for the past 63 years.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 12, 2008, 01:03:38 PM
It is true that Turkish neutrality might perhaps have been secured if the allies had played their hand more cleverly, but that opportunity had been lost long before the Gallipoli campaign; Russia had declared war on Turkey at the beginning of November 1914, and France and Britain had folllowed suit soon afterwards. Churchill (and Rossevelt) did not give Eastern Europe away to Stalin, he took what he could get; Churchill (not always with the best of support from Roosevelt) did his best to play a very weak hand, but such assurances as could be obtained about self-determination etc. in the 'liberated' countries were entirely worthless in the face of Stalin's will to engineer the installation of communist governments. To blame Churchill for the origin of the iron curtain and cold war is simply perverse. The mass bombing of civilian targets was a practice that was accepted and followed by all sides during the Second World War. As for this nonsense about the winners dictating the historical record, that rather overlooks the fact historians from the defeated nations are capable of thinking and writing for themselves (and in the case of West Germany and Italy, in an atmosphere of freedom for decades too); also, the widest spectrum of opinions has been represented among the historians of the victor nations, ranging from the extreme left to apologists for fascism.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 12, 2008, 02:02:18 PM
It is true that Turkish neutrality might perhaps have been secured if the allies had played their hand more cleverly, but that opportunity had been lost long before the Gallipoli campaign; Russia had declared war on Turkey at the beginning of November 1914, and France and Britain had folllowed suit soon afterwards. Churchill (and Rossevelt) did not give Eastern Europe away to Stalin, he took what he could get; Churchill (not always with the best of support from Roosevelt) did his best to play a very weak hand, but such assurances as could be obtained about self-determination etc. in the 'liberated' countries were entirely worthless in the face of Stalin's will to engineer the installation of communist governments. To blame Churchill for the origin of the iron curtain and cold war is simply perverse. The mass bombing of civilian targets was a practice that was accepted and followed by all sides during the Second World War. As for this nonsense about the winners dictating the historical record, that rather overlooks the fact historians from the defeated nations are capable of thinking and writing for themselves (and in the case of West Germany and Italy, in an atmosphere of freedom for decades too); also, the widest spectrum of opinions has been represented among the historians of the victor nations, ranging from the extreme left to apologists for fascism.

To deny Churchill has culpability for the post WWII eastern european disaster is perverse, imo. It was Churhill himself who endeared the phrase 'iron curtain' and made no bones about the fact that the agreements at Yalta in which he acquiesced to Stalin led to the half century debacle. It was an easy, clean means to an end to hostilities and avoided the inevitable difficulties for having been in bed with the devil. Admittedly, it is hard to deterine which devil to side with at times, but all western nations paid a price for the faux peace for 50 years. The effects that linger even after the 1990 communist overthroughs will persist for years more.

As for claiming there is no victor bias in the histories that are featured in academia and most political forums, huh? This is simply absent of reality. It takes centuries in some cases to adequately review, adjust, and effectively infuse more balanced and accurate documentations following heavly conflicts and even minor political or social issues.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Ilias_of_John on February 13, 2008, 06:54:14 AM
Any one know anything about Prescott Bush and the Nazi economy?
I just read an article which I have posted below, which makes some interesting observations. and it ties in with the converastions we are having about leaders and manipulators.
Please read but dont yell at me if you disagree, I am just the messenger and I hate getting shot.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 13, 2008, 12:44:57 PM
don't worry, no one is shooting anyone other than via electronic claws that periodically appear through your monitor! :)

Interesting article. Tons of American business people were involved in the German economy during the 20s and 30s and even into the war. President Kennedy's father, Joe, was one for sure. The linkages between business and polictics hasa always made for strange bed fellows, but if the Anti Defamation League is comfortable with the manner in which P Bush conducted his business, then I am as well. The Simon Wiesenthal Center and anti Defamation League do not let suspected wrong-doers off the hook. Remember how Arnold Scwarzennegger was labeled a "nazi" by his opponents due to the fact his father was a party member? The Wiesenthal group came to his defense.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on February 13, 2008, 06:45:10 PM
The article is from 2004. Given the poisonous state of politics and President Bush's extreme unpopularity, if there was anything substantial to this story I'm sure it would've been gone over with a fine-tooth comb. As was noted, the Anti-Defamation League (who is not one to let people off the hook lightly) don't see anything here to get worked up over.

I'd really like to keep this on-topic (the Kaiser and Britain) though--US politics can always whip up pages of responses.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Alixz on February 14, 2008, 10:15:54 PM
I have always said the "history is written by the victors".  I know that is not a popular opinion with some on this forum, but I do agree that it sometimes takes years to clear away the fog and get to the real story.

However, if Oscar Wilde can make the claim and I can use it in my signature, then I guess I am not the first or only one to think that way.

It is too bad that Kaiser Wilhelm II was handicapped at birth and then raised in a society that valued, above all, physical prowess and strength of body.  Being the first grandchild of Queen Victoria, England should have been a "second home" to him, but the Junkers and the Bismarks played upon his inferiority complex and turned him away from the three people who could have made history so much different.

Those three being Queen Victoria, and Wilhelm's parents Vicky and Fritz.

I know that we have said that Churchill's offer of asylum to the Kaiser during WWII was weak at best.  Why would he even believe that Wilhelm would need asylum?  Since Wilhelm's son was a member of Nazi party and Wilhelm himself kept pretty much out of politics after his abdication, it feels as if he would be a minor player in the struggles of Germany in 1939.

I remember, too, that is was Nevil Chamberlain who came away from a meeting with Hitler having given away so much on the assumption that Hitler would then stop his invasions.

Chamberlain left a big mess for Churchill to clean up.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on February 15, 2008, 09:39:01 AM
I think it's important to clarify whether Churchill actually offered asylum. According to the papers of his secretary that I quoted, it doesn't seem an actual, formal offer was made but rather a communication letting the Kaiser know that he would be welcomed and treated with dignity if he chose to come to the UK and assistance (in the form of an RAF plane) if needed. It seems one step down from actually granting formal asylum.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Alixz on February 15, 2008, 09:59:38 PM
GDE -  then it would seem that again, "his majesty's government does not insist".  Not much changed from one war to the next.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 16, 2008, 06:51:52 AM
It seems that the offer was a personal initiative from Churchill; if the Kaiser had accepted, the British government would naturally have confirmed any terms offered by Churchill; in the current situation, this would have been a wholly marginal issue on which little attention woulfd have been wasted.

As to blaming Churchill for the post-war division of Europe, Stalin was in a position to determine what happened in the countries occupied by Soviet troops, and the allies were negotiating from a very weak postion in that regard; they tried reach as favourable agreements as they could at Yalta etc., but they cannot be reasonably accused of having given Stalin any lands that the Red Army had occupied. Does anyone seriously believe that Churchill and the allies would not have wished Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia to become Western democracies after the end of the war? But the most that they could do was to try to get Stalin to give (generally valueless) assurances about alllowing free political processes, and to try to reach agreements about the divison of spheres of influence. In the final resort, the only thing that the allies could have done to prevent the installation of subservient Communist regimes in the areas controlled by Russia would have been to declare war on Russia!! An eminently practical option. It is easy to indulge in fantasies about these matters from the far side of the Atlantic, but nobody in Europe (except perhaps a few far-right revisionists) would ever claim that Eastern Europe was willingly and voluntarily surrendered to Russian control.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 16, 2008, 01:27:43 PM
Well, aside from your notion that Americans live in a fantasy world about European history (and by the by, a history that TWICE in the 20th century would have taken a vastly different path had you-know-who not bailed the continent out), the logic that the soviet "occupied" areas was a fait d'accompli begs the question why then was the German occupation of Poland not so? The soviets were in eastern Europe NOT to occupy, rather to liberate. General Patton was strongly in favor of utilizing the remaining Wehrmacht to go onward to confront the Russians, but he was sorely put down, dismissed. There is no revisionistic aspect to the fact that the willingness of Churchill, mostly, along with Roosevelt to deal properly with the Russion occupying threat was minimal and chose to simply let it go in order to polictically get the best end of hostilites and a "win" to go home with. There "win" was a huge loss to eastern europe, the price of which is still being paid.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Ilias_of_John on February 16, 2008, 09:07:09 PM
Patton was a it of a psychic wasnt he?
He knew what the Soviets were up to, and was willing to publicise it. He got put down by Eisenhower if memory serves me correctly.
He also foertold Eisenhower's run for the Presidency and McCarthur's demise.He obviously knew how international politics worked. A shame he died from that car accident really!

 I remember he was fuming when he wasn't allowed to beat the Russians to Hungary even  though his troops were only 80 miles away, that would have prevented an SS massacre.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 17, 2008, 09:11:50 AM
If the 'Soviets were in eastern Europe NOT to occupy, rather to liberate', there would have been no 'Russian occupying threat' for Churchill and Roosevelt to deal with, - or fail to deal with! The claims of the Russians to be liberators would be a good deal more convincing if they had not sat on the opposite bank of the Vistula while the Germans were crushing the Warsaw uprising. After their experience in 1940, it is understandable that they should have wished to ensure that there were compliant regimes on their western borders. I was not meaning to be rude about Americans (indeed I am part-American myself), but this claim that Churchill or the allies deliberately surrendered Eastern Europe to Russian control is simply one that one encounters in Europe outside far-right circles. Nor, in my experience, is there any very marked difference in the way in which British historians and German historians interpret the general course of European history during the last century (although there are of course divergent personal interpretations of various issues). If there were really a victor-imposed orthodoxy, many aspects of Churchill's actions would hardly be a subject of so much controversy! Though funnily enough, it is Americans who are most liable to be shocked by criticism of Churchill. He had a far clearer appreciation, by the way, of the Russian threat than did Roosevelt.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 18, 2008, 03:50:43 PM
As for this nonsense about the winners dictating the historical record, that rather overlooks the fact historians from the defeated nations are capable of thinking and writing for themselves (and in the case of West Germany and Italy, in an atmosphere of freedom for decades too);

I note the point above to draw attention to the fact that while it may appear the defeated nations are capable of thinking for themselves, you have to realize it is ILLEGAL in Germany to question, adjust, or research the period of the Third Reich. The history is done; and they cannot think for themselves in this regard.

The reason "Nor, in my experience, is there any very marked difference in the way in which British historians and German historians interpret the general course of European history during the last century" can be said by you, adaggieto, is due to the overt and lasting dominance British/American/French based history has been rooted in all discourse.

I've seen the charge of "revisionist" used as a demeaning, almost hateful epithet. I'm all for revisionism if it brings to bear truths untold or data previously unearthed. The Native American history of the U.S. for decades and decades was riddled with beliefs that the native populations were savage murderers, ingnorant, no culture, etc, etc. The heralded U.S. government policy was 'the only good indian is a dead indian.' Well my friend, it was "revisionists" who began the effort to re-educate the population with a truer and more accurate understanding of that period of history and all that went with it. There were no laws passed in teh US. to NOT refute what had been locked in as "truth" as if spoken by God.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 19, 2008, 05:16:37 AM
Accusations of 'revisionism' can indeed be used to try to stifle the questioning of orthodoxies, but I think one can justifiedly use the term to describe certain strains of pseudo-historical writing; I was referring specifically to the kind of far-right historians who try to claim that no Jews (or very few Jews) were killed in the concentration camps, and that Hitler's war was purely defensive in nature etc.

The situation in Germany with regard to research and reflection on the history of the Third Reich etc. is far more complicated and far less constrained than you suggest. The fact that there are holocaust denial laws in Germany does not mean that it is illegal in Germany 'to question, adjust or research the period of the Third Reich'; there has been any amount of serious research on the period in Germany, and there are also joint research programmes in which German historians work alongside historians from other nations. If there were really such limitations on the freedom of action of German historians, they could easily work and publish in other countries (there is free movement within the EU). If certain trends of thought are not respectable in Germany, this has not something that has been imposed on them by the former victors, but has resulted from the Germans' own efforts to come to terms with certain unfortunate aspects of their own history. And they deserve every respect in that regard, one only has to compare attitudes in Germany to those in Japan, where the majority of people have never really come to terms with comparable aspects of their historical aspects of their historical record (e.g. massacres and brutal repression in China). Other trends of opinion in Germany that are more sympathetic to the nationalist/ far-right/ miltaristic currents are not, and cannot be, wholly suppressed. One might consider, for instance, the views expressed in this internet forum:
http://www.nexusboard.net/index.php?siteid=6365
The sentiments - and resentments - that one finds there are probably more widespread than one might gather than from what one reads in the 'respectable' German media; but the level of discussion strikes me as being lower than what one generally encounters in the mainstream. If there is a prevailing (and admittedly, occasionally rather stifling) orthodoxy among academic historians, it is not a British/American/French orthodoxy but a liberal orthodoxy which has native roots in Germany as much as in any other European country. Since all forms of nationalism are viewed with considerable suspicion within this tradition, it cannot be accused of having fostered victor-nation national myths, or having adopted an uncritical attitude to the war-record of the victor-nations (e.g with regard to mass-bombing). In Europe nowadays, people just have no appetite to view the history of the continent in terms of competing national narratives.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 19, 2008, 11:22:53 AM
In Europe nowadays, people just have no appetite to view the history of the continent in terms of competing national narratives.

ie...don't ask, don't tell. I guess if Americans had "no appetite" for its "competing national narratives" on the histories on native peoples, the natives Indians would still be targets for the vile hate dumped on them in the 19th century.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 19, 2008, 11:53:02 AM
That is hardly fair; it is not that the whole range issues should not be - and are not - raised and examined, it is that European historians are less inclined nowadays to interpret them in the framework of exclusive and competing national narratives. So I cannot agree with you when you suggest that the lack of a fundamental division between German and (say) British historians on the interpretation of the events of the 30's and 40's is a consequence of the imposition of victor-nation narratives.  If a more balanced view is now taken of the history of the American native peoples, it is because they longer viewed as bit-players in an over-arching white American national narrative (of manifest destiny etc.), it is not as a result of the construction of a competing narrative of the same kind.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 19, 2008, 02:30:07 PM
Well, I am not sure the point is unfair. If you are correct that "European historians are less inclined nowadays to interpret them (issues on historical fact) in the framework of exclusive and competing national narratives", then it is a fait d'accompli that we get the facts as locked down from the 1940s onward. It is clear from the dialogue that there is little room for debate on the standardized version of this period. Who then is going to edit encyclopedia Britianica, which is a solid basis to what most anglo speaking school children have as a resource?

Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War is an absolute contradictory example to your opinion, and ferguson is a highly regarded professor at Harvard who has many such theses. But to live within the bounds you suggest are appropriate, his work would be trashed. In fact, so much of thought and discourse is controlled by the power base of yes, the winners' circle, Ferguson has actually garnered little attention.

I do know many German academicians and high level business people. They shrug their shoulders, in large part, and willingly accept the 'whatever they want to say' attitude because they know that putting forth a different set of facts or interpretations is verboten and they would be considered 'revisionists'; and that to most of the world means they believe there was no holocaust. Even the outrage expressed of the highly regarded (in some circles) film "the Downfall" is exemplory of the desire to keep the immediate post-war emotions as peeked as ever. 'how could you dare to show hitler as even a bit of a human?'

It seems pointless to debate this. But, I would pose one last question since the histories we are considering are up to the January/februrary period 1945. Had the allies been repulsed in the battle of the bulge and the russians stopped at the Oder and peace treaties signed leaving Germany and its government essentially in tact, do you really think the historical record of the war would still match?

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 21, 2008, 08:15:53 AM
Sure, let's agree to an armistice, especially as all this doesn't have much to do with the Hohenzollerns! Strangely enough, I was watching a recording of 'the Downfall' just a few days ago, and thought it was superb in every way. I hadn't realized that it had caused any controversy in Germany. The portrayal of that claustrophobic world within the bunker seemed to accord very well with the portrayal in H.R.Trevor-Roper's "Last Days of Hitler".
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 21, 2008, 02:08:15 PM
If you like claustrophobic scenes, try to see "Das Boot". You'll squirm with need to open the windows.

Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on February 21, 2008, 02:21:06 PM
They showed it (I think a television version which was longer than the cinema version) on British TV; fantastic stuff. Ages ago I went round an old WW2-type submarine and have never been able to understand how anyone could endure being depth-charged in one of those things without going utterly crazy.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Kurt Steiner on April 27, 2008, 10:13:09 AM
Is there any picture of Wilhelm II and George V together? Sheer curiosity, you know...
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on April 27, 2008, 12:33:24 PM
Not many, as far as I know. This is the best I can do:
(http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r163/linschoten/Royal/agw1.jpg)
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: HerrKaiser on April 28, 2008, 09:54:20 AM
George V looks like the twin of Prinz Henry. Most have always linked George and NII as being look-alikes, but Henry and george were much more close, imo.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on April 28, 2008, 02:02:36 PM
There are a fairly good number--the funeral in 1910, the wedding of Victoria Louise in 1913, a trip that George took as either Prince of Wales or Duke of York, the 2 monarchs in England for the unveiling of Queen Victoria's statue, the Kaiser's visit to England during EVII's reign (where the group was photographed at Sandringham), the larger group shot of royals that were in England for the wedding of Louise of Orleans, etc....
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Kurt Steiner on April 28, 2008, 02:53:51 PM
Now you mention, Grand Duchess Ella...

(http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/windsorhistory/royalfunerals/images/edwardVIIfuneral08.jpg)
During Edward VII's funeral.

from http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/windsorhistory/royalfunerals/edwardVIIfuneral.html

Thanks a lot, Adaggietto!

Here, in the thread dealing with Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick, we can find a picture of the wedding banquet, which depicts Wilhelm II, George V and Nicholas II. It's so sad that it was their last time together and they didn't know it. It's page two, reply 26, by the way:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=327.15

(who else but our delightful Grand Duchess Ella could be the poster?  ;))
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Kurt Steiner on April 29, 2008, 04:48:46 AM
By the way, in the picture of Adagietto, is Alfonso XIII of Spain sitting on the left side, next to George V? I would say so, but I'm not quite sure.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on April 29, 2008, 10:08:52 AM
Yes, it's Alfonso, George V and, if I remember the full photo correctly, his uncle Frederick VIII next to him. Behind him are (just out of photo frame) King Haakon of Norway, King Manuel of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm and George I of Greece.
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on April 29, 2008, 04:27:56 PM
I can provide a couple of pictures of Viktoria Luise's wedding (not photos of course) that show the Kaiser with George V (in the pale uniform on the right):

(http://inlinethumb63.webshots.com/25022/2455359360100532270S600x600Q85.jpg)

(http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/23677/2836243050100532270S600x600Q85.jpg)
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on April 29, 2008, 08:28:55 PM
(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/ebay4011.jpg)

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/ebay1110.jpg)

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/3665.jpg)
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on April 29, 2008, 08:29:47 PM
(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/ebay1311-1.jpg)

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/_wilhelmii_51.jpg)

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/br122.jpg)
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Adagietto on April 30, 2008, 03:33:38 AM
Great pictures. Do you know when the ones of them together in the carriage were taken?
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: Kurt Steiner on May 01, 2008, 04:36:10 AM
Yes, it's Alfonso, George V and, if I remember the full photo correctly, his uncle Frederick VIII next to him. Behind him are (just out of photo frame) King Haakon of Norway, King Manuel of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm and George I of Greece.

Thanks a lot, Grand Duchess Ella!!!
Title: Re: The Kaiser and Britain
Post by: grandduchessella on May 01, 2008, 11:21:36 AM
Great pictures. Do you know when the ones of them together in the carriage were taken?

I think it was in 1913 but I'd have to double-check.