Author Topic: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2  (Read 58300 times)

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Offline Kitt

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2013, 08:38:33 PM »
Several years ago I went through my grandfather's photos for a family scrapbook.  He had emigrated from Germany in 1911.  One of his treasured photos was one of Kaiser Wm. II.  Just an official  one of the Kaiser in uniform.  My family thought I was nuts, but I put in Grandpa's section.  I am glad I did. I guess he never forgot the Kaiser.
All the best, Kitt

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2013, 08:04:23 AM »
Several years ago I went through my grandfather's photos for a family scrapbook.  He had emigrated from Germany in 1911.  One of his treasured photos was one of Kaiser Wm. II.  Just an official  one of the Kaiser in uniform.  My family thought I was nuts, but I put in Grandpa's section.  I am glad I did. I guess he never forgot the Kaiser.
All the best, Kitt

The conventional and engrained view of the WWI and post WWI period in Anglo-American culture understates and dramatically overlooks the significant ethnic German sub culture of the period and the positive ties new immigrants retained until they were all but forbidden to do so. Kaiser Wilhelm and his family, particularly his wife and daughter were extremely popular during the belle epoque. My grandparents had pets named after the Kaiser and in fact kids were often nicknamed "Kaisy Bill" in ethnic German families. Another example, at the Germania Club in chicago, Kaiser Wilhelm and his family were prominently featured in photographs at the entrance. Depending on the age of your Grandfather when he arrived in the USA, his memory of the Kaiser and life in Germany was very likely more positive than negative, and his emigration was due to greater work opportunities than opposition to Wilhelm.

HerrKaiser

Offline Kitt

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2013, 09:24:03 AM »
Exactly.  In 1911 he had many more opportunities as a baker here.  The Kaiser Bill stuff was fine until WWI. My grandparents were to be married close to when the US entered the war.  Their wedding was severely curtailed and the whole local German community went very low key.  The way Grandma and Grandpa explained it, no one wanted to display their German ethnicity in public.  My grandparents were fluent in English, but my father and aunt as small children only spoke German. Then they were abruptly immersed in English.  That immersion was so deep that we as grandchildren were not taught German within the family.  I can read some and understand some when I hear it though. That happened to several of my friends with German backgrounds.

Depending on the age of your Grandfather when he arrived in the USA, his memory of the Kaiser and life in Germany was very likely more positive than negative, and his emigration was due to greater work opportunities than opposition to Wilhelm.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #48 on: August 13, 2013, 02:58:44 PM »
Kitt, your family's experiences were similar to almost all ethnic-German families across the USA after 1914. My grandfather was forced to change his name in order to keep his job. He went from Heinrich Rosengarten to Patrick Rose. This was commonplace and quite sad. Even before the war, German immigrants (perhaps other ethniciites as well) were processed by immigration officials who force-changed their names. I know of a family whose ancestors arrived at Baltimore with the name of Waldenburg. The immigration officer instructed them that their new name was Johnson...take it or go home.

German farmers in Iowa were routinely attack by the KKK--yes, the KKK in Iowa--during the war with the purpose of searching the properties for hording, assumed to be destined for Germany. I know of one case where the farmer was murdered. This history is essentially undocumented and past down as word-of-mouth because no one cared back then or now. I think it is a good reminder of social injustices that so many wrongly think got their starts in the 1960s.

The anti-German craze even went to the extent of "biting off the nose to spite the face". The biggest industry in the nation as the 1920s came in was beer production and sales. Ethnic German brands controlled over 80% of the market share. The strong anti-German movement and lobby used their might and the German dominance of the beer industry to build the case for prohibition. It was probably the single greatest reason why prohibition was made into law.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #49 on: August 13, 2013, 03:46:01 PM »
My grandfather emigrated from Berlin as a boy in the early 1880s . His father, my great-grandfather (urgrossvater?), ran an inn on the Havel river. My grandfather Paul remembered seeing Wilhelm when the future Kaiser was in his early twenties. He was on military  parade at Potsdam. Grandfather mostly remembered Wilhelm's withered arm.

Within my family not much is known of the reception they received here. They entered the US at New York, possibly Ellis Island, though not necessarily. And though our name  was (is, let me tell you) thought to be hard to pronounce and spell, fortunately there was no move to change it.
Rodney G.

Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2013, 09:45:46 AM »
I'm not a fan of Wilhelm, but it was a great mistake for Amerika to say that for peace the Kaiser must go...
14 Points... Wilson was such a liar..

Offline edubs31

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2013, 12:09:50 PM »
I'm not a fan of Wilhelm, but it was a great mistake for Amerika to say that for peace the Kaiser must go...
14 Points... Wilson was such a liar..


Summarizing his 'Fourteen Points' which of these do you disagree with? And which would you go so far as to consider "lies"? I take issue with #6, question #9, and realize that while well intended #14 was destined for failure. Otherwise...

1) Reliance on open diplomacy rather than secret agreements
2) Freedom of the seas
3) Free trade
4) Reduce the military forces and/or weapons
5) Readjust the colonies fairly
6) The allowance for Russia to self-determine its own government
7) Respect for Belgium's Integrity
8 ) Restoration of French Territory
9) Italy receives territory based upon ethnicity
10) Austria-Hungary receives fair development opportunities
11) Independence for the Balkan states
12) Self-determination for the peoples of the Ottoman Empire and free passage through the Dardanelles
13) Independence for Poland
14) The formation of a League of Nations to guarantee independence for all countries, large and small

It's really the French you should be taking issue with, not Wilson and the Americans. Wilson's speech and the eventual Treaty of Versailles had significant differences. The most notable being the 'War Guilt Clause' that was not even mentioned or pushed for by Wilson, but none the less added at the urging of France to the lay the blame for the war and the responsibility of reparations at the feet of the Germans. If WWI had been settled by a treaty strictly adhering the Wilson's Fourteen Points the history of Europe over the next quarter-century could have been materially different.
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Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2013, 12:32:22 PM »
Wilson was a liar.
What had happened at Versailles had nothing to do with the 14 Points for which had Germany lay down its weapons.
Wilson’s response, in notes of October 14 and 23, made it clear that the Allies would only deal with a democratic Germany, not an imperial state... (strange, wasn't the UK also an imperial state...?)
Amerika supported the french in all they wanted. It was right that the Netherlands didn't hand over Wilhelm.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 12:35:52 PM by Marie_Valerie »

Offline edubs31

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2013, 04:03:25 PM »
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What had happened at Versailles had nothing to do with the 14 Points for which had Germany lay down its weapons.


I agree as I indicated above. But explain to me then why you're so critical of Wilson and his statements regarding post-war peace? Isn't it the terms of the Treaty itself that so rankled German pride?

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Wilson’s response, in notes of October 14 and 23, made it clear that the Allies would only deal with a democratic Germany, not an imperial state... (strange, wasn't the UK also an imperial state...?)

A fair amount of hypocrisy I grant you, but then England already had a reliable track record of dealing with this sort of thing, and did not face the same sort of political turmoil that had engulfed Germany and Russia. Wilson and the allies simply lacked confidence in a German government where the Kaiser was still at the helm. Whether they had the right to force Germany's hand on this issue is source for debate, but certainly one can understand their skepticism. Consider the following...

By 1917 Wilson was forced with the difficult decision of either keeping America officially neutral or entering the war on the side of the allies. The only way Wilson, who gained reelection in 1916 largely because he kept America out of Europe's awful mess, could convince the country to enter the war was to sell the people on it's lofty aims and moral imperatives. Wilson was talking about peace and postwar reconciliation at a time when Britain, France, Italy, etc, were keeping mum on the issue of critical importance.

Germany was crumbling from within, and after disastrous losses on the battlefield and upheavals in the government newly appointed Chancellor Max Von Baden stubbornly rejected admitting defeat and signing off on a peace deal until his country had the opportunity to recapture some of its lost territory and save some face. Von Hindenburg meanwhile saw the situation more clearly, and feeling pressured to do so Von Baden again wrote Wilson expressing his openness toward a peace deal. Wilson and the allies were naturally skeptical prompting the demand to deal only with a democratically elected regime. Ludendorff dismissed of this and the fighting continued until Germany finally collapsed from exhaustion within weeks.

It was a miscalculation on both the part of Wilson and the German high command, but I wouldn't consider the foundation of peace to rest on lies and deceit. Wilson was far more amenable to German pleas than his allied partners. He also was angered by the rejection of his peace deal, deemed acceptable by Germans but denied by their government, and therefore turned up the heat.

Lets flash forward about a quarter century. Lets say serious discussions for peace with Nazi Germany has arisen in the fall of 1944. The allies were closing in by this time, their army was on the run and the government growing desperate. Would it have seemed reasonable for the allies and President Roosevelt to negotiate a peace with Germany that included Hitler (or an ideologue disciple) remaining Chancellor of and leader of a newly reformed Reichstag? I dare say no!
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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #54 on: August 15, 2013, 07:57:36 AM »
Unfortunately, Wilson was weak. To give him some positive upside, he was less of a liar and more of a ball-less, powerless, impotent leader who allowed Clemenceau and Lloyd George to dictate terms and essentially ignore his inputs. Wilson's name is all over the terms of the Armistice that was never implemented in the manner or spirit of its creation and content. Hence it appears as if Wilson was a liar and cheat. However, Clemenceau is the ultimate culprit in the end-of-hostilities debacle of lies, blackmaiil and extortions. He, and George, rolled completely over Wilson, and Clemenceau's behavior toward Wilson is particularlyl egregious considerising Wilson rescued him and his nation from sure defeat or at least a far less French-dominated peace.

Probably the most interruptive and destructive actions that led to the post-hostilities disasters was the communist-inspired revolution in Germany. While the Bolsheviks were officially seen as not acheiving leadership or guiding post war decisions, their insidiousness was a strong influencer of political results. Of course, Clemenceau capitalized on this additional blow to internal German stability which allowed him to further enact his agenda of vengance, reparations, and war guilt. Wilson evolved into little more than an interested bystander.

I agree with Marie Valerie that The Netherlands did the right thing in not turning over Wilhelm. In fact, and in hind sight, the right thing to have done would have been to support his retaining his title and position, even as a figure head, while creating the obviously much needed new form of government.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #55 on: August 15, 2013, 08:49:10 AM »
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Unfortunately, Wilson was weak. To give him some positive upside, he was less of a liar and more of a ball-less, powerless, impotent leader who allowed Clemenceau and Lloyd George to dictate terms and essentially ignore his inputs.

He was the first modern American President (with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt) to fully grasp the importance of America's role on the world stage. His actions helped shaped our foreign policy for decades afterwards. If that makes him "ball-less" and "impotent", what do you call the isolationist Republican congress led by one Henry Cabot Lodge?

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Hence it appears as if Wilson was a liar and cheat. However, Clemenceau is the ultimate culprit in the end-of-hostilities debacle of lies, blackmaiil and extortions. He, and George, rolled completely over Wilson, and Clemenceau's behavior toward Wilson is particularlyl egregious considerising Wilson rescued him and his nation from sure defeat or at least a far less French-dominated peace.

Possibly. But then the US had never engaged in a foray of this kind. And what's more it was still mostly their continent, their issues, their war, and their peace at stake. France and England had been doing battle for three years before America officially got involved. And when we did Wilson made it clear that we were to keep a separate army, with separate objectives. It would be hard to do this and then turn around and expect to dictate the terms for everyone at the end of the war, no?

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Achieving leadership or guiding post war decisions, their insidiousness was a strong influencer of political results. Of course, Clemenceau capitalized on this additional blow to internal German stability which allowed him to further enact his agenda of vengance, reparations, and war guilt. Wilson evolved into little more than an interested bystander.

This is true and I don't disagree. But then Germany attempted to capitalize on the chaos going on inside of Russia by aiding the revolutionary cause. Slightly off topic I realize, but what goes around comes around...

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I agree with Marie Valerie that The Netherlands did the right thing in not turning over Wilhelm. In fact, and in hind sight, the right thing to have done would have been to support his retaining his title and position, even as a figure head, while creating the obviously much needed new form of government.

I also agree with the two of you here. I'm simply suggesting that this falls into the hindsight is 20-20 category and not an indication of brutal negligence by Wilson and the allies. I'm also suggesting that the allies were justified in their skepticism of Germany's intentions...and considering what Germany's track record would end up being over the next quarter century, can you really blame them?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2013, 09:13:32 AM »
I don't know why edubs31 mentions wwII here.
Without Versailles there would be no wwII.

This has nothing to do with Wilhelm II. and that he was forced out of his country by the allies.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #57 on: August 15, 2013, 01:29:10 PM »
Wilhelm  Ii, though the bogey man of WW1, was a very different figure from Hitler.  I think he was in part a victim of his bogey man reputation, but that he also did himself no favours by fleeing to Holland. But when every other monarch in Germany was abdicating, then there was really no chance of retaining the monarchy. I agree entirely that a constitutional monarchy would have been the best solution, and could have prevented the 'loyalty vacuum' which was part of the milieu in which Nazism flourished.

Ann

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2013, 02:59:45 PM »

Quote
I agree with Marie Valerie that The Netherlands did the right thing in not turning over Wilhelm. In fact, and in hind sight, the right thing to have done would have been to support his retaining his title and position, even as a figure head, while creating the obviously much needed new form of government.

I also agree with the two of you here. I'm simply suggesting that this falls into the hindsight is 20-20 category and not an indication of brutal negligence by Wilson and the allies. I'm also suggesting that the allies were justified in their skepticism of Germany's intentions...and considering what Germany's track record would end up being over the next quarter century, can you really blame them?

Track record? From 1871 to 1914 Germany particiapted in three wars. Great Britain 16. France 15. Great Britain actually did build an empire that "conquered the world" with domination over 23% of the world's population and about an equal control over land mass. I don't think if looking at track records, one could reasonably think the two major allies were gentle, peaceful, and non-aggressive.
HerrKaiser

Offline edubs31

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Re: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Part 2
« Reply #59 on: August 15, 2013, 04:29:16 PM »
HerrKaiser) You're misunderstanding what I'm referring to. When I say "track record" I'm comparing Germany's semi-autocracy to England's Constitutional Monarchy and their move toward parliamentary style government, and the French Republic. So Germany's political track record in terms of their government was naturally worse in the eyes of the United States.

Marie Valerie) My WW2 example above was just that, an example. I could have gone with a US Civil War example but I figured using WW2 as an extension of the First World War and Germany's involvement  made a lot more sense for comparisons sake.

I also was not making an ideological comparison between Hitler and the Kaiser, I compared them only as German heads of state on the losing side of a war and despised by the allies. In this example I juxtaposed Germany's military situation in 1918 as being similar to their situation in 1944.



Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...