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In Our Timeline/Original Timeline, Wilhelm II (William II) was born around twelve years before the unification of Germany and rise of the Second Reich. This boy would become the Crown Prince of Prussia and the German Empire and even become Kaiser. In fact, he would be the last of his kind. His political mistakes with France, Spain, Britain, and Russia caused his and his country's defeat in the Great War. Wilhelm's reign would pave the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler and his eventual fall. Germany would be greatly humiliated twice within thirty years!
Wilhelm's Self-Defeating Strategy
- Wilhelm II's reign as Kaiser was marked by many foreign affairs problems due to his personality. He was quite brash, and he often acted without thinking. Not all of his orders were failures, though. He managed to, for a time, alienate France from the rest of Europe. His earliest defeat in this strategy was the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, six years after he inherited the throne. When Britain and France allied shortly before the outbreak of World War I, the plan was dead. This was one of his only "successes".
- Wilhelm was unlike his father in more ways than one. Frederick III lived for ninety-nine days as Kaiser, Wilhelm lived for more than thirty years. This was true for domestic policy. The late Kaiser had promoted democracy and liberal policies while his son did the opposite. Otto van Bismarck had been a great ally to the Reich since her formation and had been chancellor until his eventual resignation in 1890. Bismarck had been chancellor for eighteen years for a reason, too. Then Wilhelm tried out domestic policy. One day, the Kaiser spelled out his policy to the chancellor. Bismarck had some major problems with it and tried to amend it while still trying to please the ruler. The revision caused him to lose power in the legislature and shriveled his relationship with Wilhelm II. He eventually resigned. This was a major setback in German domestic policy.
- Wilhelm failed most of the time with a potential ally, the United Kingdom. In 1896, he congratulated Transvaal president Kruger for his attacks against the British. His arguments with Queen Victoria shortly before the Boxer Rebellion was a huge setback in an alliance.
But, what if this man had died shortly after birth? What if the man who succeeded Frederick III had a son whom the Germans would call "the Iron Kaiser"?