Kaiser Wilhelm II: Germany’s Disastrous Last Emperor

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Duration 01:06:03

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, where he has won multiple teaching awards and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. A native of Chicago, he earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Liulevicius has produced nine recorded lecture series on topics including: turning points of modern history, global explorers, espionage, World War I, diplomacy, dictatorships, the history of Eastern Europe, and Communism. He is the author of two books on German relations with Eastern Europe.



How could a reign that started with such hopes and energy go so wrong? In this talk, Professor Liulevicius will follow German Emperor Wilhelm II, grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria, and a young man of drive and ambition. From 1888, his risk-taking foreign policies led Germany into isolation and led to the First World War in 1914, which produced German defeat, the loss of Wilhelm’s throne, and his humiliating exile. This is a cautionary tale of how an intelligent, talented personality could unleash disaster.



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Sharon Rae Richen

A detailed look at power amuck

Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius gives an overview of the ambitions of Kaiser Wilhelm the second as one impetus for the build up toward World War One. The kaiser is a member of a long-ruling family and therefore removed from reality by many barriers. He also wants to make his mark as at least as smart a ruler as his grandfather, the first emperor of the German Empire. Wilhelm the second’s lack of self-control, his intelligence without wisdom and the war machinery building up in his modernizing country lead to the disaster. This look at one man who helped create a world war is important for those who want to understand the dangers in our time. We can look at several countries in our world where there is one man exercising power without brakes.

2 years ago
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