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William II

(1859—1941)


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Otto von Bismarck (1815—1898) Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, Prussian minister and German statesman, Chancellor of the German Empire 1871–90

William I (1797—1888)

Alfred von Tirpitz (1849—1930)

Paul Kruger (1825—1904) president of the Transvaal

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(1859–1941)

King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany (1888–1918). A grandson of Queen Victoria and of William I of Prussia, in 1890 he forced Bismarck's resignation and embarked on a personal ‘new course’ policy that was regarded abroad as warmongering. He supported Tirpitz in building a navy to rival that of Britain. On the failure (1896) of the privately financed raid on the Transvaal led by a British colonial administrator, Dr. Jameson, he sent a congratulatory telegram to the Boer leader, Kruger, which offended public opinion in Britain. He made friendly overtures to Turkey and dangerously provoked France in the Morocco crises of 1905 and 1911. His support of Austria‐Hungary against Serbia (1914) led to World War I, although his personal responsibility for the war is less than was once thought. He played little direct part in the war and in 1918 was forced to abdicate.

Subjects: World History.


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