Wilhelm II

LaMar Cecil, Author
LaMar Cecil, Author University of North Carolina Press $49.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-8078-1828-2
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Callous, vain, easily bored and exceedingly foolish, Wilhelm II, the last German kaiser, was an isolated narcissist who preferred hunting or yachting on Norway's fjords to affairs of state. His tendency to make momentous policy decisions on the basis of vanity or personal pique alarmed his chief servant, Bismarck, and successive chancellors who were forced to operate within the kaiser's erratic whims. An anti-Semite who was highly suspicious of Catholics and hated socialists and radicals, Wilhelm disliked his mother, finding her Anglomania intolerable, and fought with his father, the Crown Prince. In this enlightening and disturbing portrait--the first half of a two-volume biography--Cecil, history professor at Washington and Lee University, carries the story through Wilhelm's obsessive rivalry with England, a country the kaiser criticized for its colonist ambitions even as he instigated a massive build-up of Germany's army and navy. Photos. (June)
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