Talk:Wilhelm II, German Emperor

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Harden-Eulenburg affair

Why is there no mention at all of the Kaiser's likely bisexuality, in particular the Harden-Eulenburg Affair, which in Wikipedia's own words is "considered the biggest domestic scandal of the German Second Empire"? (talk) 11:51, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

First of all, why is everyone on Wikipedia so obsessed with accusing every single Prussian King of being homosexual? Not only does it make no sense that they all were, but also, this obsession is really something that feels out of place to me in the 21st century. All that aside, there is no indication whatsoever that the Eulenburg Affair points to a possible homosexuality of Wilhelm. No serious historian today would make that assumption. Zwerg Nase (talk) 12:26, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Every modern serious study addresses the issue of Wilhelm's sexuality in some form. e.g Kaiser Wilhelm II New Interpretations: The Corfu Papers published by Cambridge University Press: "The view of Wilhelm II as a repressed homosexual is gathering support as the Eulenberg correspondence and similar new evidence is studied and digested. It is a view which certainly helps explain several of the peculiar characteristics of the emperor and- some would say - of his empire….Nevertheless, repressed homosexuality…was surely not the most basic fact of his life. The disturbance lay deeper, at a more primitive level." p48-50.
However, aside from this, the Harden-Eulenberg affair needs to be in the article in some form because it was one of the biggest scandals of Wilhelm's reign - probably the biggest. And like the Kotze affair (äre) which is also unaccountably missing from the article, damaged the reputation of Wilhelm and popularity of the monarchy. Their omission is akin to leaving out Watergate from Nixon's article. Eulenberg was his closest friend for God's sake: the impact of the scandal on his public image was immense. I'm presuming at least one or both had been in the article earlier but possibly written in a non-neutral tone guaranteed to incite bigots and/or mad monarchists. They need to be mentioned for historical accuracy. Engleham (talk) 13:12, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
I will include all the affairs once I get to a do-over of this article, which will probably be towards the end of the year. However, if anyone can do it before that, feel free to start :) Zwerg Nase (talk) 15:36, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
I've added three sentences on the Eulenberg scandal: its most important impact was, of course, the change it created in foreign policy. Have also added one sentence on the Kotze affair. Engleham (talk) 17:17, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
The Harden-Eulenburg affair should be mentioned in the lede as it began in 1908 at the same time as his Telegraph interview. (Jdkd44 (talk) 19:59, 9 September 2016 (UTC))
@Jdkd44: No it did not. It began in November 1906. Zwerg Nase (talk) 14:13, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Whatever was written on the Eulenburg affair appears to have been removed again for unclear reasons. While the Daily Telegraph affair was damaging for Wilhelm's personal prestige, the Eulenburg affair undermined confidence in the whole ruling elite of the German empire (so much so that Harden later regretted his role in publicizing it). It should be included, and prominently as well.--Ilja.nieuwland (talk) 17:51, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Ribbentrop's father was sacked from a government job for saying the Kaiser was gay. Valetude (talk) 23:57, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

Documentaries and Films

Under this section heading, proposed addition: Christopher Plummer plays an elderly Wilhelm II in exile, in the 2017 film The Exception. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:31, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

  • Another one: Rainer Sellien in the 2014 BBC Two miniseries 37 Days, in which Wilhelm II plays a major role. ElGaith (talk) 07:14, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
Suggested entry, per the above: "Rainer Sellien portrayed Wilhelm II during the immediate lead-up to the First World War in the 2014 BBC Two miniseries 37 Days." ElGaith (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

Miners' Strike, Labor Conference, Dismissal of Bismarck

In my opinion, some editor should modify the article to include information about the miners' strike and about the Labor Conference-factors that contributed to the break with Bismarck and to his dismissal.

In May 1889 there was a widespread strike in the Ruhr. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck wanted to use the army to disband the strikers and force them to return to work. At first the Kaiser agreed with these measures, but then he recognized that the workers had valid grievances and decided that major labor reforms had to be implemented. The following passages are from Emil Ludwig, Wilhelm Hohenzollern, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York (1927) [translated by Ethel Colburn Mayne].

"He was soon to have his first opportunity of acting upon his humanitarian principles. Over a hundred thousand miners in the Ruhr came out on strike for higher wages. In the moment when Bismarck was laying before the Cabinet some strong emergency measures, there appeared, suddenly and unannounced, the Emperor in Hussar uniform and blustering mood proclaiming: 'The directors and shareholders must give in; the men are my subjects for whom I am responsible. Yesterday I warned the Chairman of the Committees in the Rhineland, telling them that if the industry doe not at once grant an increase in wages, I shall withdraw my troops. Then, if the owners and directors have their villas burnt down and their gardens trampled on, they will sing a little smarter!'" [pp. 81-82]

In January 1890, the Kaiser decided to convene a Labor Conference.

" ... Two proposals, of which one is written by the Emperor's own hand, are read aloud by Bötticher. [...] Protection of the working-man, no work on Sundays, no child labor: mere common sense. After the reading the Emperor speaks: 'The employers have sqeezed the men like lemons, and then let them rot in the dung-heaps. And so the working-man has come to reflect that he is not a mere machine, and claims his share in the profits created by him. But his relation to the employer must be that of a colleague. These strikes are proof that there is no sympathy whatever between the two parties; hence the increase in Social-Democracy. The modicum of truth that underlies that teaching will be forgotten, and the anarchists will gain the upper hand. Just as a regimental company goes to pieces if the captain takes no interest in it, so it is with industry, In the next strike the men will be better organized and more exacerbated; then there will be risings, which we shall be obliged to shoot down.

"'But it would be terrible if I had to stain the first years of my reign with the blood of my subjects. Everyone who means well by me will do his outmost to avert such a catastrophe. I intend to be le roi des gueux! My subjects shall know that their King is concerned for their welfare. ... We must oppose International Social-Democracy with an international compact. Switzerland did not succeed in that. But if the German Emperor convokes a similar conference it will be quite a different affair. ... And so I have spent two nights in framing these proposals. I propose to have drafts, based upon these, of an edict worded in a spirit of warm goodwill, so that I may promulgate it on the day after to-morrow, which will be my birthday.'" [pp. 91-92]

In March 1890 the Labor Conference convened in Berlin, and the Kaiser gave the opening address. Many of his proposals were incorporated in the Workers Protection Acts of 1891 (Arbeiterschutzgesetze).Italus (talk) 22:04, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

"the greatest criminal in history" quote

I propose that this quote should be removed because 1. this is only attributed to Wilhelm II 2. there is no source 3. no verifiable source exist, because no historian has ever provided a reliable source to this unsubstantiated hearsay.Suomalainen konformisuus (talk) 12:40, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

As far as I understand it, the Ashton & Hallema source covers that statement. Zwerg Nase (talk) 13:18, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
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