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January 2, 2024 81 mins

Robert sits down with Jamie Loftus to talk about Kaiser Wilhelm, the devastatingly cringy Mama's boy who came to rule an empire despite lacking even a single relevant skill.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
All media. Hey, motherfucky's and motherfuck ats. Wow, that's not
how I should introduce this anyway. Hello everybody, Robert here,
and this is our last week of what you might
call him rerun episodes. We are still on vacation here
at cool Zone, having a great time. Actually not on vacation.

(00:24):
We were on vacation, but this is the week where
I have to write so that we can catch up
and have episodes for you all in the new year.
But you know, because I have one more week of
blessed relative freedom, here's another fucking rerun. Enjoy it. I
love you what doing an episode the podcast that I do.

(00:50):
I'm Robert Evans very badly introducing another podcast of Behind
the Bastards, the show where we talk about the worst
people in all of history, and here to help help
me today is one of the best people in all
of history. Jamie Lot. How you doing, Jamie. I'm good.
I'm having a lovely day. I'm too cold. Bruce Deep

(01:12):
ooh too, Cole, Bruce Deep. Are you feeling optimistic and
and and positive about the world. I'm feeling like who
we talk about today is gonna might end up actually
being a pretty good guy. That's a good guy. That's
how I go into every Bastards episode. Now, I'm just like,
you know what, this guy's gonna end up being pretty nice.

(01:33):
I think I might change my opinion on this fella.
I think that I'm going to really have some arguments
in his name. You you might have a couple because
the guy we're talking about today is Kaiser motherfucking Wilhelm. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
your reaction was pretty intense when I told you that
right before the episode. I was, well, I'm never allowed

(01:56):
to know in advance. And then I just and then
I sit down, and it's what fresh hell in terms
of in terms of person, in terms of facial hair,
in terms just in every this is a brutal one
for me, strictly on a facial hair level. You're not
a fan of his Walris mustache, Listen. I respect someone

(02:16):
who makes a choice. Right, he made a choice. You
have to give him that. I will hand it to him.
Much like Robert Pattinson in the Lighthouse, he is making
a choice. Choices don't always work out. This is actually
I think this is one of the first subjects that
I actually like. No affair amount about I took a

(02:37):
I took a in high school. For some reason. My
last two years of high school I only learned about
World War One. That's great, it was. I love World
War One. I mean, I'm I stand and we stand.
You have no choice to stand. Oh the so good.
The trench I love there. We like acted out the

(02:59):
assassination and of Archduke friends Ferdinand. It was a black
one of my favorite assassinations. Of the assassinations. The fashion,
the fashion, the fashion, the trench helmets that didn't stop bullets.
I love them, you know what, you love it. It's
also good an underrated World War I amo, oh yeah, yeah, no,

(03:19):
way better than the sequel. In my opinion, I totally
agree sequel is over hyped. We get it, you know.
I mean, I'll pick Terminator two over Terminator one. I'll
pick Aliens over alien But I'm going to pick World
War One over World War Two every day of the
We're going to pick the Cheeta Girls two over Cheatah
Girls one. And that's a controversial opinion. For those cheating girls.

(03:40):
I know you don't wrong. I'm still I had to
tell you who Ariana Grande was last year, which is
something that it just I still it still shakes me
to my marrow that that happened. Wells are wait, no,
we can't stark the show until you know who the
cheat girls are. You don't know who the Cheata girls are,
but of course I don't. I know, But I'm just

(04:02):
always waiting for girls. They wish they do, wish they
were like the Spice Girls, but they're a band that
was started by well some great novellas for young girls.
But it's it's like Raven Simone. Two of the girls, shit,
yeah right, she's the alpha, and then two girls from
three l W which you also don't know what that is,

(04:24):
and then a fourth girl who has dropped off the
face of the planet. We don't know what happened to her.
The point is it was good. The singles were fine,
and they wore track suits. Oh I do love tracksuits.
I am a big tracksuit fan. I love people in
matching track suits. They wore like complimentary pastel track suits.
And then the second one they go to Barcelona. I

(04:47):
think when it comes to like you're talking about the
fashion in World War One and how good it was,
I hope when we have our next World War that
it's basically the same as World War one, but we're
all wearing tracksuits, like that's that is my dream imagine
the Yeah, World War three will be waged in juicy

(05:08):
couture head to toe like form fitting track suits. Yes,
comfortable waistbands by god. Yeah. I don't want those royal
ten in bombs track suits missing. I want like all
those goddamn belts and like the yeah, the ones that
have like rhinestones on them and that till you don't
know who's on what side. Yeah, yeah, but the color

(05:30):
of the rhinestones. Yeah, it'll be a great war. Yeah.
I think that this is actually going to be the
best World war yet. I feel like we have a
real chance to make it so. But before we start,
before we start another world war, we should learn about
one of the guys who is most behind the First
World War. Yes, Now, one I think it's interesting about

(05:50):
the Kaiser is that, like most of the people we
talk about on the show make a decision at a
certain point to be shitty people who do like horrible, exploitative,
violent things to other people, like they make a choice
to be bastards at some point. But there's also another
less common category of bastards who are just sort of
born into it. They have bastardy, you know, thrust upon
them by the circumstances of their family and the time

(06:12):
they live in Sure, which doesn't like make them mitigate
the evils they perpetrated or remove their agency entirely, but
I think it makes them more sympathetic figures than guys
like Hitler or Saddam who kind of like dove headfirst
into that, right. And Kaiser Wilhelm is like, once you
understand his whole backstory, you're kind of like, yeah, you
were a piece of shit, but like, how could this
story have ended? Well? How could you? Yeah? How could

(06:35):
you have learned? Who would you have learned how to
be a good person from? Exactly? Like how was this
not gonna suck? And that's the story of Kaiser Wilhelm.
Oh that's a good that'll be the name of the biopic. Yeah,
how could this have not sucked? Yeah? Okay, cool? Yeah.
Kaiser Wilhelm was born of the hollenz All Learned dynasty,

(06:56):
a family of German nobles whose history stretches back nearly
a thousand years. To understand where he comes from, we
have to start this episode but talking about his father's
birth on October eighteenth eighteen thirty one. Now this is
long before Germany was a thing. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of
Prussia was born in Potsdam. His father was also named Wilhelm.
All of the men in this story are named fucking

(07:16):
Friedrich Wilhelm. And I don't understand why the numbering works
the way it does. I don't understand any of this.
But they're all named Friedrich Wilhelm. Wait is the numbering
out of order? It's weird. I think it's because of
like their middle names and shit, because they have a
bunch of names other than Friedrich Wilhelm, but they're all
known as Friedrich Wilhelm. Yeah, it's very dumb. The god

(07:39):
I don't like when rich people try to bamboozle me. Yeah,
they don't have to have the same name, God damn it. Yeah,
I would love it if the reasoning for that was
just that the common people like couldn't be trusted to
learn a new king's name. But I know it's something
dumber and more arrogant than that. It's still it's still
like I don't know, like, why are there five hundred

(08:02):
Hollywood agents named Scott and that are all the same man?
You know, it's Oh, that's that's nominative determinism. That's because
if you're born Scott, you get fast tracked into Cia.
You got it. There's a lot of you know, the
Scotts and the Mics, and you know we love them,
but do we can we tell them apart? No, now,

(08:23):
So Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, who is the dad of the
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm will be talking about this episode, entered
the world second in line to the throne of Prussia
after his brother, the Crown Prince, who was also named
Friedrich Wilhelm. His parents had a typically loveless royal marriage.
His father was in love with Princess Elise Radziwill of Poland,

(08:43):
but she wasn't noble enough for a hohenz Allern to marry,
so he had to marry one of his relatives, Augusta,
while vowing that he would never give his heart to her.
So this is how the relationship that leads to Kaiser
Wilhelm starts. Now, as you might expect, familial compromises like
did not make for the happiest of home lives. In
June eighteen forty, King Friedrich Wilhelm the Third died after

(09:06):
forty three years of ruling Prussia, his oldest son succeeded him,
and Wilhelm became the Prince of Prussia. So Kaiser Wilhelm's
dad is now the Crown Prince of Prussia. Okay, so Wilhelm,
the previous Wilhelm his brother, Yeah the he his dad
does his name Wilhelm, right, Yeah, he sure does. He
sure does. His dad dies and his brother who is

(09:28):
the same name as him, and his dad becomes the
king and he is now the crown Prince. How does
that work when it's dinner time? You just shall want
I don't know. I don't know how they told each
other apart. It sucks so much getting it, Like writing
this part sucks because it's just incredibly confusing, Like reading
about royal I don't understand people who like royal families

(09:48):
because it makes me just want to start punching and
never stop. Yeah. I hope that there were some really
disturbing nicknames in the mix. It seems like the only
way that this would work. Yeah, I don't know. So
when he was eighteen, a very right wing general named
Leopold von Gerloch told Kaiser Wilhelm's dad that he envied

(10:08):
the Prince's youth, for he would no doubt survive the
end of this absurd constitutionalism because there were a lot
of democratic movements going through the German states at this point,
including Prussia, which is when they established the Reichstag and
stuff like that, So people are starting to get a
voice in this period. Monarchs, you know, when we talk
about the Kaisers, we're not talking about absolute monarchs. They

(10:29):
have more power than obviously the British royal family, but
they're not like the czar, like they don't need to
just make yeah yeah, yeah. So Prince Friedrich, the Kaiser's dad,
was actually a fan of the growing democratic movements in Germany.
He was a liberal. He was a very progressive guy.
He believed that the people deserved a constitution that would
guarantee their rights and protect them from like nobles just

(10:50):
wanting to do whatever. Okay, Yeah, the Kaiser's dad's actually
a pretty chill dude. He's not like the other Kaiser's
or prince. He's he's a prince. He's yeah, he's the
crown prince at this point, the prince, which is like
the next in line for the throne. There's a fuckload
of princes, the crown Prince is the one who's going
to be the king next. Okay, yeah, that's the way

(11:10):
it works all over in all the different royal families,
right right, So the Kaiser's dad again, who's also Prince, Wilhelm,
spent a shipload of his youth in England due to
a friendship with the British royal family that was orchestrated
in part by our old pal, King Leopold of Belgium. Oh,
this is actually one of the nice things Leopold did,
because the goal of it was basically, I have all

(11:32):
these If these royal families start fucking and marrying a bunch,
then they clearly will never fight in a war. Wow, Leopold,
what a problem solving. They're like, well, what if this
whole family fucked each other? That would really solve politics?
And he was right for a while there, for a
while there, for a while there. If he if he'd

(11:54):
been to the American South, he would have known that
having a family that fucks each other does not stop
them from shooting at each other. But alas I mean,
the American South once again coming out on top. They're
way ahead of their time in terms of fucking and
also killing their family. Yeah. Yeah. Now, in eighteen fifty five,
Prince Wilhelm was invited to Britain without his parents to

(12:16):
stay with Queen Victoria and her family and proposed to
the Princess, who was also named Victoria, because the British
royal family is just as insufferable as the German Yeah. Now.
Happily enough, it turns out that the Kaiser's dad and
his mom, Princess Victoria, were actually a very rare love match,
which doesn't happen often in royal marriages. Yeah, and they

(12:37):
weren't closely related, which is also great. So. By the
summer of eighteen fifty eight, Princess Victoria was pregnant and expecting.
This was not treated with joy by Queen Victoria. She
considered this horrid news which would all end in nothing.
Because the Princess got sick almost immediately and stayed ill
throughout much of the pregnancy. Queen Victoria was not an optimist. Yeah.

(12:59):
The royal doctors assured everyone that things would be fine,
but the Princess's midwife, Miss Innocent, knew it a single
look that the pregnancy would not end well. Miss Innocent yeah,
named after Pope Innocent. I think, oh, that's what I
feel like. I had a shirt this so that in
junior high different meaning I had miss Innocent, miss independent

(13:20):
after the Kelly Clarkson song. Yeah, miss that was. That's
another pope. Yeah angel one percent devil. That yet another pope.
A lot of popes that you had shareds based off.
He was the He was of the popes, one of
the top, I mean, pretty close to being a complete angel. Yeah.

(13:41):
Now we don't know precisely what went wrong with Kaiser
Wilhelm's birth, but it is certain that the doctors who
managed the birth fucked up in some way. Some of
this is due to the fact that the infant Kaiser
was a breech berth. At that time, in Central Europe,
about ninety eight percent of babies born in breach were stillborn,
so almost all of the babies born this way died.

(14:02):
But obviously the Kaiser had the very best doctors. I mean,
you might argue that his doctors did a great job
of bringing him through a live but no one at
the time said so. The princess would later write of
the bungling way she was treated, and it seems like
what happened is while they were pulling him out of
the birth canal, they basically ripped his left arm off
of his body and fucked it like like did They

(14:22):
didn't sever it, but like ripped the muscles and shit. Ugh,
So he has his arm as fucked up from the
jump now. The princess was confined to bed rests after
the birth for a month, but both she and the
child survived, albeit not without permanent damage. When the birth
was announced to the people of Prussia by a field marshal,
the baby prince was described as as sturdy, a little

(14:44):
recruit as a heart could wish to see. But the
obstetrician told a different story. The infant was seemingly dead
to a high degree. No show. Yeah, that's never described it.
That is absolutely savage take on that infant. Yeah, yeah,
really roasting the baby Kaiser. Jeez. His survival was considered

(15:05):
close to miraculous. And I'm going to quote next from
the book Kaiser Wilhelm, the Second Germany's Last Emperor by
John vanderkist Okay. Three or four days after the birth,
Miss Innocent drew doctor Martin's attention to the baby's left
arm hanging lifelessly from the shoulder socket the father was
told at once. When he asked the German doctors, they
reassured him that the damage was only temporary paralysis, which
would improve with a little gentle massage at first, followed

(15:27):
by exercises at a later stage. This would prove to
be optimistic and untrue. Even as an adult, William's left
arm was six inches shorter than the right. He reminds
me of Nemo, who Robert from finding Nemo the one
that gets found. Oh oh yeah, yeah, yeah he is.
He is, And like Nemo, he grows up to spark

(15:49):
a war that kills seventeen million people. That is Whatsar
hasn't gotten to that movie yet, but that's how the
story goes. Well, they're all about revisionist history over there.
It's a disaster. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Nemo did become yeah,
like a brutal general. He's he's actually people blame global
warming for the whole like coral reef dying off, but

(16:09):
that's simply yeah, it's And also like the Kaiser, super
anti Semitic didn't come up in the movie Lunch, but
really really really far off. If you get the feeling
that they're just cutting away just before something terrible happens. Yeah,
in every scene in that movie, he has a copy
of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion tucked beneath

(16:32):
his good fin Oh my god. Yeah, you know again.
I love fun fat, I love movie trivia. Uh So,
the young Kaiser's hand looked normal when he grew up,
but it is the actual arm in hand itself were
too weak to hold anything much heavier than a piece
of paper. He spent his life hiding it out. Yeah,

(16:54):
it's that's fucking hard. Yeah. Yeah. If you look at
pictures of him, he's always hiding his left arm out
of sight in a coat pocket or like like kind
of up to his side with like a glove on.
And he had gloves that would help like extend the
length of his hand a little bit to make it
look more normal. I've decided I forgive him. Now we're cool. Yeah. Yeah,

(17:16):
you're going to wind up feeling very sympathetic throughout a
significant chunk of this until we get to the parts
of it where he's a giant piece of shit. Okay. Yeah, Now,
as Vanderkiss's book notes, hiding this deformed arm became a
guiding motivation for the young prince. Throughout his life, few
photographs showed his left arm clearly, let alone the hand.
From an early age, the art of concealing it from

(17:37):
the camer lens became second nature to him. At meals,
he could not manage an ordinary knife and fork, but
his bodyguard always carried a special combined one, while the
person sitting next to him discreetly cut up his food
as if to compensate. His right hand had an iron grip,
something he would often exploit as an adult one, greeting
people for the first time with a vice like handshake,
sadistically turning the rings on his fingers inward first, so

(17:58):
as to add to the other person's discomfort. If these
men or women were English, he laughed heartily at their
winses as he made jibes about the male fist. Okay, yeah,
he can getting a bit of a thing. He's getting
a bit. Yeah, I mean, I guess you have to.
It begs the question like, if I had power influence
as a twelve year old with a backbras, would I

(18:19):
have oppressed other people? I don't know, yes, I feel
like probably alteah. Any any furious twelve year old that
feels out of place if they had the it just
no twelve year old to have the ability to He's
the rare one. Yeah. If I had absolute power at
the age of twelve, when I was like like an insecure,

(18:39):
fat kid who didn't know how to be social, I
would have killed millions, millions. What wouldn't I? I know,
like I was a gigantic walking rectangle for most of
my formative years. What if? What if someone could have
suffered for that? Yeah? Exactly? Yeah, Okay. Now, the Kaiser's
hand was not the only part of him injured by

(19:01):
the circumstances of his birth. His neck was also damaged
and his head tilted to the left his entire life.
His left ear was likewise unformed, and he was partly
deaf and had problems with balance as a result of this.
His entire life, he suffered from constant ear infections and
required a series of surgeries, which left him eventually completely
deaf in his left ear and frequently subjected him to

(19:22):
intense pain that probably contributed to his infamous temper tantrums.
There's also a chance that he was born profoundly mentally ill,
with a specific kind of mental illness that is common
among royal families as a result of inbrading. There's no
proof of this, and I kind of think that the
other stuff explains his temper, tantrums and shit more than porphyria.

(19:44):
I think it was the name of the illness, but
it's possible he had like a brain thing going on
to got it now. In short, the prince who would
one day become the Kaiser came into this world with
very serious difficulties to overcome, even for a child born
as wealthy as a child could possibly be born. Right,
His father, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, was a decent guy and

(20:04):
handled this with love and support, but his grandfather, who
was the Kaiser, was said to have noted that he
wasn't sure if he should even congratulate his son on
the birth of a defective prince. Oh, and like one
of the German generals who's around when the Kaiser's like
a little kid, is like no one with a fucked
up arm should ever become the Kaiser, Like you shouldn't
even be alive. So like this is not his parents

(20:27):
are really good and really loving, but like he also
grows up in this very unforgiving culture that cannot tolerate
physical imperfection, right, I mean, and being I feel like
especially for like young Oh god, just an emasculated twelve
year old. Is there anything with more more potential for danger? Yeah? No,

(20:47):
not really no. So the princess was a devoted and
loving mother. In a letter to his grandmother, Queen Victoria,
the kid who would become Kaiser Wilhelm was Queen Victoria's
first grandchild, right so. In a letter to his grandmother,
his mother wrote, your grandson is exceedingly lively, and when awake,
will not be satisfied unless kept dancing about continually. He

(21:08):
scratches his face and tears his caps and makes every
sort of extraordinary little noise. I am so thankful, so happy.
He is a boy. I longed for one more than
I can describe. My whole heart was set upon a boy,
and therefore I did not expect one. So could is
very deeply loved and has you know kind of your
best case scenario for parents in this period of time?
Oh yeah, like, sure he was a preached birth, but

(21:29):
at least he wasn't a girl child. We would have
hated that. Well, you know, I think I don't get
that feeling from her. I get the feeling more that
she just like number one, like one of your jobs
as a princess in this period is to like give
birth to an air Like they had daughters, and she
treated the daughters well like they like they weren't like,
didn't hate their daughters. That's it. Yeah, Well, there's just

(21:51):
a lot of shit built up around having a son
to continue the line, and the fact that her first
child was a son like that takes a lot of
the pressure. Well that's good for her her because then
people stop giving her shit exactly. I think that's a
big part of why she feels that way. It's also
you know, like even today, like my friends who get
married have expressed preferences like, oh, I hope it's a boy.

(22:12):
I hope it's a girl for whatever whatever thing they
want to do with the kid. Like I don't get
the feeling that like she was being shitty by saying that,
which you do when you hear about the czar. Well, no, yeah,
there it's weird, Like the czar their first kid was
a girl, and like his bizar, like his his wife
wrote to him that like, oh, I'm so sorry basically

(22:34):
that I wasn't able to provide a son. And he
was like, no, no, it's fine. We have a son.
The son belongs to Russia. This daughter, you know, is ours,
so we get to really just like spoil her and
enjoy having a child, and we'll we'll have the son later.
So I don't know, you get a mix of reactions
from the royal fans far as Yeah, as far as
that situation goes, I guess that's one of the better
ways it could shake. Yeah, all right, yeah, cool. So

(22:57):
we know a lot about the life and particularly the
childhood of the Kaiser, more than we know about the
life and childhood of literally anyone else I've ever talked
about on the show, because he was born to be king,
so every scrap of correspondence from his parents and his
teachers and his relatives about him and from himself has
been saved and is in archives. So it's fair to

(23:18):
say there's more detail on the early life of this
guy than any other person I've covered on the show,
which is probably why I'm more sympathetic about this guy,
because when you have that much detail to draw on, like,
it's hard not to feel some sympathy for care when
you know that much about a kid's miserable childhood one way. Yeah, exactly,
that's tough. Yeah, Nemo, that's why they made finding meme,

(23:39):
That's why they made finding names with a monster there.
He lost his mother young, he got he got kidnapped
by the ocean, and he had a he had a
difficult fin. So we should forgive him for his sins. Yeah,
for his rabbit anti Semitism. I mean, I can't say
it enough. It's really impossible to owe emphasize. So Prince

(24:03):
Wilhelm was baptized on March fifth, eighteen fifty nine. Queen
Victoria was unable to attend and was represented by Lord Ragland,
the British commander during the Crimean War and one of
the guys in charge of the Light Brigade. He's that dude.
So that's who like represents his grandmamma at the at
the at the baptism. Well that's nice. Yeah. In general,

(24:24):
the future Kaiser had a very British upbringing. His nurse,
Missus Hobbs, was English. His chief doctor, Sir Benjamin Brodie,
was also British. The most British as names I've ever heard. Yeah,
very Yeah, this kid is half British. You have to
remember that because like his mom is an English princess.
His grandmother is the fucking literal Queen Victoria, and he

(24:46):
has he's raised by like he grew up without it.
He spoke English perfectly with almost no accent. You can
listen to speeches by this guy in English and yeah,
you can barely notice the accent. So posh. Yeah, it's
impossible to overstate how intermarried and intermingled. The royal families
that helped launch World War One were Prince Wilhelm, the

(25:08):
guy who became the Kaiser, was also the Prince of
Orange and in line for the throne of England. His
current like great grandson who's alive today, is one hundred
and seventieth in line for the British throne. Over in Russia,
the tsar's wife was a German princess, and the Czar
and the Kaiser were cousins. All of the monarchs in
charge of the primary belligerence in World War One shared

(25:29):
grandparents and aunts and were cousins and had grown up together.
Those are my favorite letters I wish I haven't like
it's been like almost ten years now, but like the
reading through the letters between cousins where they're like, are
we gonna start a war, like are we gonna are
we going to get all these people killed? Yeah? So fuck,
it's so bizarre being like what if I could just
write my cousin Tammy and be like, so, like how

(25:51):
attached are we to people? How much do we like
four to six million of our young men, Like just
do you feel able to just it's so bizarre knowing
that their cousins that like, for the most part, know
each other, like, it's just very weird. Yeah, and love
each other. Yeah, yeah, we'd where like there's those like

(26:14):
the letters between Wilhelm and this and the are they're
so bizarre. It's just yeah, yeah, you know what's not bizarre, Jamie,
what Robert the products and services that support this podcast
with their advertising patron I love a product and I
love a service. Well here's both. Okay, we're back. Oh

(26:43):
what a nice product or service? Though? Is just described?
It was nice. Now let's get back to talking about
Prince Wilhelm's misshapen arm. But his plot Finn won't swim right. Yeah,
his damaged arm was a matter of serious concern for
the Royal family or Prussian at this point, royal family.

(27:03):
His nurse rubbed massage oil on it daily to try
and stimulate growth. Wilhelm's doctors ordered that his arm be
tied to the side of his leg for an hour
a day in order to try to force it to
grow normally. Oh my god, he is a back brace
for his arm. Oh we were getting to the back brace.
Oh yeah, yeah, Now the infant prints had almost no
feeling in the limb and barely noticed most of this.

(27:26):
While most of his treatments were ineffective but benign, some
were really brutal. And I'm going to quote now from
the book Kaiservillhelm the Second A Concise Life by John Roll. Okay,
When the infant was six months old, Professor Bernhard von
Langenbeck of the Charite Hospital in Berlin prescribed animal baths
twice a week. Wilhelm's left arm was inserted into the
body of a freshly slaughtered hair for half an hour

(27:48):
and the hope that the wild animal's warmth and vigor
would be transferred to the arm. No, this stuck him
arm deep in a dead animal. No, why it was
a baby. You're just like, how is how would this
grow up to be a good person? This is like
biblical curses. They're fosting upon a baby, shove a fresh

(28:08):
bloody corpse on the literal infant child's arm for an hour.
How does that not talk about it? I hate there's
someone in the room like, We've got to make sure
that this is remembered, because what if it works? What
if it works? If he's the best king ever? I
mean science, We're going to do about science and the
utal and does it's never gone wrong? Amazing? Oh god,

(28:31):
that's again brutal. He's the Prince of Pruscius. So this
is like the best doctor you can get at the time.
And the country Germany at this point is renowned as
having some of the best doctors on the world. That's
really like the height of medical science. What is it?
Does everyone else? You know? Honestly, I would rather die
at twenty four than have that be my medical regimen.

(28:53):
I would rather have died years ago. It's terrible. Now.
Perhaps the most damaging treatment came at the direct orders
of Queen Victoria. And I'm gonna quote now from John
Vanderkist's biography, Queen Victoria's a piece of shit, by the way,
Just as it heads up, I did the I went
to England over the summer brag and we did the

(29:15):
Buckingham Palace tour because I just didn't. I just wanted
to see what it was like. And the oh, the
revisionism aunt like, there's no mention of Wilhelm. There's no
mention of you know, it's just too messy. They're like,
she was really nice, she hated when her husband died.
Thanks for the forty dollars. Yeah, yeah, Well here's a

(29:37):
little bit more about Queen Victoria. Hit it. The princess
we're talking about Kaiservillhelm's mom doated on babies, and within
a few days of his birth, she had started breastfeeding him,
to the revulsion of her mother in law. Knowing Queen
Victoria's views on the subject were it won with hers,
she the mother in law wrote to the Queen asking
for her approval and putting it into this odious habit.

(29:57):
Much to the young mother's disappointment, her baby was comply
handed over to a wet nurse whose milk irritated his
bowels and caused regular stomach upsets. So the Queen of
Prussia and Queen Victoria both hate breastfeeding because they think
it's a gross commoner thing to do, and so they
make somebody whose milk makes Kaiser Wilhelm sick breastfeed the baby.
You know what, My mom did the same thing, except

(30:18):
with formula. So you know, my mom was just like,
I'm you stay away from me. Here's some NESI, here's
some nessli chemicals. Good luck with your life now. Years later,
his grandmother, the Empress Augusta, his other grandmother, would lie
to Kaiser Wilhelm and tell him that his mother had
refused to breastfeed him because she found his arm disgusting. Oh,

(30:40):
but his mom was nice. Oh that's his mom was nice.
She's just a bitch who hates his mom and is
like he's like I said, how does this kid not
grow up fucked up? Like I don't like I don't
like women on I don't like women on woman conflict.
It's not fair. We don't need it. It makes me upset,
although it might did that though to my mama. Yeah,

(31:03):
and it's it's less damaging when the babies that are
getting like manipulated by the fucked up people aren't growing
up to be the emperors of Germany. Yeah, oh it's
it's not. I mean, just regular fucked up people are
the best. Yeah, we do enough damage as it is. Yeah,
don't give anyone any power. Nobody turns out great. No,

(31:24):
everyone's a disaster. Like every now and then, every now
and then you get a Danny DeVito, but most of
us don't turn out. We're obsessed with Danny DeVito. I
love Danny. What about Billy Zayin. I don't know anything
about Billy z an Is he nice? He's nice? Good?
Good for Billy's aye? Everyone. Let's replace Congress with Danny

(31:45):
DeVito and Billy You know what, the only two white
men we can support at this point. Yeah. Now. In
eighteen sixty, when the Prince was one year old, his
doctors began giving him daily electromagnetic therapy, applying constant galvanic
current to his net for hours every day to attempt
to stimulate blood flow in his arm. Electrocuting the infant

(32:05):
Kaiser for hours a day did not work either. No kidding, God,
it's just like your child has a disability. We're four
pages in and we haven't stopped talking about the fucked
up ways they damaged this kid trying to heal his arms.
We feel so God, it is hard not to feel
for a you like that's a lot to deal with. Hell,

(32:29):
your family's electrocuting you because they find you to be gross.
That's a nightmare. That's a cross to bear that it
certainly is. On January second, eighteen sixty one, King Friedrich
Vilhelm the fourth died and Princevillelm's grandfather became KAISERVILLELM the First.
He was sixty three at the time. Two years later,

(32:51):
in eighteen sixty three, when the Prince who would become
the Kaiser that we're talking about, I know this is confusing.
I'm going to call, like when I say King Frederick
Wilhelm fourth, he's also a Kaiser Wilhelm. I'm only gonna
call the Kaiservillehelm from World War One that we're talking
about this episode the Kaiser for the sake of like
making this make sense. Sure, So, when the future Kaiser

(33:14):
was four, his doctors presented him with a terrifying and
barbaric machine designed to help him treat another one of
his ailments see four years after birth, Wilhelm had developed
torti collis, caused by the healthy muscles on the right
side of his neck pulling his head downwards in that direction. Oh, now,
this would obviously be way too visible an ailment to
possibly let the King of Prussia have the future King

(33:37):
of Prussia have. So to treat this, his doctors prescribed
him what his mother called a head stretching machine that
sounds safe, sounds He had to worry an hour a
day every day, and in a letter to Queen Victoria,
the prince's mother described it thusly, a belt around his
waist to the back of which an iron bar is affixed.

(33:59):
The bar leads up the back to something which looks
exactly like a horse's bridle. The head is then fixed
in this and positioned is desired by means of a screw,
which is just the iron bar. Ah. Why this is Oh,
I feel I'm sad, Robert, this sucks now. The young

(34:19):
prince eventually went through facial surgery to correct this, which
alleviated the problem at the cost of some permanent disfigurement.
He was also subject to an arm stretching machine, which
was used on him for years and was similar to
the next stretching machine. These are medieval torture devices. This
is not helpful. Yeah. The thing that actually did help

(34:40):
his arm to grow somewhat was a course of regular gymnastics,
which oh stuff worked, figure just actual exercise. Yes, that
one didn't seem to help there. It's so I'm like,
I mean, these these these doctors have to have at
least the foresight to give the arm stretching machine a
confusing name so you don't notice it's an arm stretching machine. Yeah,

(35:04):
I mean, I've only hearder referred to as the arms
stretching machine, but it probably had a fun German nickname,
a doctor sue sounding thing. Yeah. Yeah. Now, in spite
of all this horror, Wilhelm's early childhood was considered. He
remembered it at least as fairly pleasant. His mother and
father were both doting parents, which was unusual Imprussian families
of that era. He was the baby of the global

(35:25):
royal family and for a time Queen Victoria's favorite grandchild.
Starting in eighteen sixty three, he began to regularly visit
his aunts and uncles and cousins in Great Britain. John
Vanderkiss describes him as a spirited child. Quote, on his
way to Saint George's Chapel, Windsor, he threw his aunt
Beatrice's muff out the carriage window. Beatrice was only five

(35:46):
years old at the time and in no position to
exercise any authority over him. Queen Victoria's youngest child, she
wasn't always remained for her mother's baby, a name her
nephew soon picked up. When she told him petulantly that
he must address her as an aunt, he snapped back,
aunt baby. Then bored during the long marriage service, while
most of his relations were shedding emotional tears, he pulled
his dirk, which is a knife, from his stocking and

(36:07):
threw it noisily across the chapel floor. When his young
uncles Arthur and Leopold remonstrated with him, he bit them
in the legs. What a sweet kid, I mean, I
gotta love that he bites King Leopold of Belgium, the
slaughterer of the Congo, in the leg for yelling at
him for throwing a knife during a wedding, Which is awesome.
That actually does sound like what you would have done. Yes, I,

(36:33):
little knife thrower, have bonded over knife throwing. I love
throwing knives. If I anytime I get really drunk, I'm
gonna throw knives. I you know, I know that to
be true. Yeah, it's great. I think I also had
a shirt that said aunt baby. In middle school, there's

(36:54):
a lot of these phrases are bringing or bring back
some memories. Aunt baby, that's actually a sick burn, for
that is a sick bird. He was. He was not
not witless. Quick Yeah, that's quick for like a four
year old too not bad to be like aunt bait.
Fuck you on, baby, baby, I can't I have no
punch ups. That's great, hell yeah kid now. In eighteen

(37:19):
sixty four, the Prince's father, who was the Crown Prince,
fought in the Prushio Danish War and returned home a
war hero. The future Kaiser's father would again win laurels
in the Franco Prussian War of eighteen seventy one, which
is what led to the establishment of the German Empire.
Some of the Prince's earliest strong memories, the future Kaiser's
strong memories where his father sending back captured battle flags

(37:40):
and glorious reports of conquest from the front lines. So
he grows up like with some of his earliest memories
being his dad being a legitimate war hero, Like he
was really close to the front, obviously not in as
much danger as an infantrymen, but he was like participating
in battles and leading troops in combat and stuff. Okay,
So as he grew into an lessent, the young Prince

(38:01):
gradually overcame many of his physical limitations. He learned how
to swim and row, and was quite good at it.
His grandmother, Queen Victoria, was ever on the watch for
signs of pride from her first grandchild. She told the
Crown Princess to bring him up simply, plainly, and not
with that terrible Prussian pride and ambition which grieved dear
Papa so much, and which he always said would stand
in the way of Prussia taking that lead in Germany,

(38:22):
which he ever wished her to do. If only the
Germans were more British, if only the Germans were were
more humble like us. All we did was conquer a
quarter of the world's land surface, unlike these arrogant Germans
notoriously chill and tolerant British. Yeah yes, yeah, now. The

(38:44):
Prince's parents seemed to have listened to this advice. Starting
in mid eighteen sixty six, when the future Kaiser was
seven and starting school, George Hinspeter was chosen to be
his tutor. Now Hinspeter was a Calvinist, which means he
believed that only a predetermined elect few ever got to heaven,
and the vast majority of humanity was destined for hell
no matter what they did. As you might expect, he

(39:05):
was a gigantic dick. He also looked exactly like the
dude who played Taiwin Lanister on Game of Thrones, Like
if Sophie looks up his picture, like exactly like him.
It's really weird now. Hinspeter's educational program involved twelve hour
days of mixed study and exercise. It was, in his words,
based exclusively on a stern sense of duty and the
idea of service. The character was to be fortified by

(39:28):
perpetual renunciation, the life of the prince to be molded
on the lines of old Prussian simplicity, its ideal being
the harsh discipline of the Spartans. Now it's here I
should say a few words about Prussia. Prussia no longer
exists as a state, or as a political entity in
any way. Prussia's disillusion was one of the British requirements
for the end of World War II. Prior to that,

(39:50):
Prussia was the most powerful German state, and the source
for all of our modern stereotypes of Germany and Germans
as disciplined, sterned, humorless, and militaristic. The Prussian military was
one of the chief military forces in Europe for centuries
and became world famous for their discipline and skill. During
the US Revolutionary War, a Prussian nobleman, Baron von Steuben,

(40:11):
built the entire American military from scratch. The core of
our military's organization to this day is still based along
Prussian lines, So it makes sense that the young prince
would be raised in a strict, militaristic, spartan way. Ok.
But while Prussian discipline made for an effective military, it
also made for profoundly damaged young men, which is why

(40:34):
we got two yeah Hinspeter declared that the growing Wilhelm
could never ever receive any kind of praise, approval, or
encouragement for any reason. He was ordered to eat dry
bread for breakfast. When he and his siblings hosted their cousins,
they were required to give them cakes and cookies without
eating any sweets for themselves, no matter how well yeah,

(40:56):
this guy's this is so fucked up, This is like
calculated shit, yeah yeah, yeah, No matter how well Princevillehelm performed,
George Hinspeter never gave him so much as a kind word.
The impossible was expected of the pupil in order to
force him to meet the nearest degree of perfection. Naturally,
the impossible goal could never be achieved logically. Therefore, the

(41:17):
praise which registers approval was also excluded. God, yeah, just
with a whole love from your child. And see that's
such a ugh God, why did I feel like sometimes parents?
I mean again, if this is just like every bad
parenting technique turned up to an eleven for no reason. Amazing,
how many different bad types of parenting he receives from

(41:41):
really everyone but his parents. But he's got carried so
many sets of stop us. Yeah, God, that's so brutal. Yeah,
they're like, oh, watch your cousin Edith Pieza. I feel
like that happens to kids sometimes as punishment, you know,
you're like, oh, look, everyone's gonna get birthday cake, but
you whatever, you shit on the floor, so you got
to eat a cracker. And some of those people grow

(42:03):
up to be shitty managers at a sonic. But since
they don't have them, they don't inherit the German military,
so it's not a huge problem. There's a version of
Wilhelm had he been from you know, like from a
normal class of person, where he would have just been
a perfectly happy manager of a lids that didn't talk
to his family that much. No, no, and he would

(42:25):
have denied his employees lunch breaks for shitty reasons because
he's got some hurt in his heart. Yeah, the damage
would have been contained, right, right, Not that we condone
this behavior from Lydd's managers, we don't. But I prefer
people like Wilhelm become Lydd's managers than Imperial German Army managers. Okay, okay,

(42:47):
I'm listening. Yeah, yeah, Now, every Wednesday and Saturday, hens
Peter and Wilhelm would visit museums and art galleries. They
would also visit factories, foundries, workshops, farms and the like.
The goal was to show the would be what life
was like for the manual laborers who actually built his country.
To Hinspeter's credit, he also wanted the royal family to
gain an understanding of social inequality and the suffering of workers.

(43:10):
Wilhelm was required to remove his hat and deliver a
thankful speech at every place of business they visited after
their tour. So Hinspeter did a lot of the job
of raising Wilhelm, and that had positive and negative echoes.
As we'll see. One of his big demands was that
the prince develop and express an opinion of every single
person he met. This was part of Hinspeter's plan to
get the young man to express his views at all

(43:32):
times so that he would not be dominated by his
advisers in the future. This one would wind up backfiring
on the entire planet. No Now, as he grew into
a young boy, Queen Victoria noticed some unpleasant changes taking
over her darling grandson. He is inclined to be selfish,
domineering and proud, but I must say they are not
his own faults, as they have been hitherto more encouraged

(43:53):
than checked. Hinspeter taught Wilhelm to ride a horse by
letting him fall off of it repeatedly, ignoring the Prince's
tears and forcing him back on the horse for weeks
until he got good at writing one handed, and he
was said to be an excellent horseman. So he learns
how to one handed ride a horse. It's almost like
they should have just let him learn how to do
things with one hand the entire time, rather than the
torture machines. Rather than the evil torture machines, Jamie, your

(44:17):
anti torturing baby's agenda has been clear for quite some time,
and I think you might be biased on this. Think
you know what, it's true. And people have been calling
me out a lot. They're like, no, but what if
we did torture the babies. How will you know until
you've tried it? How will you know until you've tried it? Right?
And that's fair. I haven't tried it yet. Yeah, well

(44:39):
sure of course, yeah, yeah, Well who are they going
to tell exactly what are they going to do? Because
they can't speak English. I'm about to get a kitten,
so you know it's going to be there. There is
a specific type of torture that you have to do
to young kittens if you want them to be affectionate,
which is that you mean from a very young age?
Do you know what the ca gun is? The cat gun?

(45:02):
It's when you hold your cat like a gun, with
its back legs as the handle and its front legs
like a foe grip, and you pretend it's a little
machine gun. If you do that from the time that
they're at what if you do that when they're a kitten,
then they grow up just knowing that people are going
to pick them up and fuck with them, and they're
fine with it. You know. You hold it with anything
that you hold with two and you're like, you know,

(45:23):
like a machine guns, machine gun, you pretend it's yeah,
it just feels natural and right. I'm bringing you to
the hospital, Robert. It's it's how you raise a baby kitten,
and then they grow up being very affectionate. Yeah, because
they just know that people pick them up and do
weird things to them and it's fine, that's nice. I

(45:44):
almost dressed my dog up like a gun for Halloween,
but I didn't want it to be interpreted as political,
so I changed it to a knife. Your radical pro
knife agenda has also been clear for some time. I
have been in favor of knives. Look someone in the eye. Look,
I just want icon now. When Ilhelm was ten in
eighteen sixty nine, he was awarded the Order of the

(46:05):
Black Eagle, a Prussian chivalric award that was supposed to
be very prestigious but kind of loses its luster to
me when awarded to children. He received fucking hundreds of
awards and orders in knighthoods and dukedoms over the course
of his life. We're going to ignore basically all of them,
although his biographies always note whenever he was given a
new one. He was also inducted into the first Infantry

(46:26):
Regiment of the Guards and made a German officer when
he was ten years old. So yeah, he's in the
military from a very young age, and he's continually gifted
more military units and made honorary member and commander of
different military regiments in the Prussian Army over the course

(46:46):
of his childhood. This is like getting micromachines was for
me right right become They're nice to have, but eventually
they become meaningless. Yeah, he loves he loves these. Yeah,
he loves his military unit, sure, made up of real men.
In eighteen seventy France and Prussia went to war. Prussia

(47:12):
one in Germany was born from here on out, the Kaisers,
the Kings of Prussia, were kings of the entire German Empire.
Now there were like twenty two other kings in Germany,
but the Kaisers were like the chief kings of all
of them. So that's the story. As we go in
to our second AD break, still, LI think we're all
kind of on the future kaiser side at this point.

(47:34):
I like that, Robert, you choose moments to go to
ad breaks where I feel I'm at the peak. I'm
on the edge of my seat and my hand is
on my wallet as well. Yeah, that could have done
another way, but it went wallet. You know, you have
a weird habit with that wallet of holding it out
before ad breaks. Yeah, my hand's trembling. I'm helpless in

(47:57):
the face of capitalism. I need the products. I need
the serve. Pull out your credit cards, everybody, ignore what
the actual products are and just immediately buy them without
a thought. Don't even put in the discount, Cook, don't
even put in the discount. Well, no, do because then
we get Then it helps us. Oh sorry, Robert, it's
good for the show. Fine, I do. Here they go,

(48:26):
We're back. We're back. So, after eighteen seventy one Franco
Prussian War happens, the Prince's mother, the Crown Princess, who
was you know, British and not Prussian, was very concerned
about all of the war focus in her son's childhood. Again,
she wanted relations between Britain and Prussia to be good,
and she knew there was always a chance that there

(48:47):
would be war between them, So she was very concerned,
like everyone in Europe about prussia militarism, and she didn't
want her son to say, grow into a man whose
ambition helped Europe plunge into a war that killed seventeen
million people. She didn't want that to happen a for export,
I guess ay for effort. At least it occurred to
her that it might happen. Oh, this could be a problem.

(49:08):
So she sent the future Kaiser off to Germany in
January of eighteen seventy one to remove him from Prussia
in these negative military influences for a while now. That month,
she wrote to Queen Victoria about her son's pleasant, amiable ways.
She admitted that he was not possessed of brilliant qualities,
nor any strength of character or talents. But he is
a dear boy, and I hope and trust he will

(49:29):
grow up into a good and useful man. I've described
a lot of my boyfriends that way. I think I'm
just like he looks like shit, he like can't seem
to stay clean for some reason. But you know, he's nice.
I don't know. Grew I spill one day, grow up.

(49:52):
I'm trying to raise him as best I can, of course. Yeah,
so you know I get it. I get it. Yeah,
now the bar Yeah, and you know, at some point,
you know, the Kaiser read these letters his mom wrote
about him to his grandmother, which has to have done
some damage. Yeah that sucks if you like, that's like

(50:12):
going into your mom's text and finding out how disappointed
she actually is. You're like, oh, yikes, Okay. Now the
Prince loved his time in England. He spent a lot
of it making butter and cheese at the Royal Dairy
and looking over Britain's incredible collection of old wooden ships,
normal things. He really liked England. He was set for

(50:32):
most of his life. He said that he would be
happier as an English country gentleman than as the King
of Prussia. It was probably true. I was like that
tracks yeah, yeah, yeah, we all wish that had been
the case. Well, honey, you and the baby. In eighteen
seventy four, fifteen year old Prince Wilhelm started classes at
Castle Polytechnic, a public school. Now, this was hugely controversial

(50:56):
among and by public school, I mean in like the
sense of only rich noble kids got to go there,
not in the sense of everybody from all walks of
life went there. But they weren't royals, they weren't like aristocrats.
It wasn't like excluicy enough. Yeah, yeah, And this was
very controversial among his family, many of whom were horrified
of the idea of a noble child competing against commoners

(51:19):
for grades. But hins Peter thought it would be good
for the prince, he knew was not all of that
bright to be humiliated by getting bested by his social inferiors.
For some reason I do not grasp, he thought that
this would push the prince to develop a sense of
superiority over common people. Like it's one of those things
where at the start where he's like, oh, you want
him to realize that he's not the smartest person in
the room. Okay, this could actually be really healthy. Oh no,

(51:41):
you want him to get a sense of superiority of
people over learning that they're better at school than him.
How did this track to you, Peter? I get it.
It tracks to me because it's just I feel like
that's like a way for Wilhelm to realize exactly how
powerful he is. He's like, Oh, I'm dumb is rock
and it doesn't fucking matter. I'm still finally like how
much smarter someone is than me, I'll just have him

(52:03):
fucking killed. Maybe, yeah, that may that may have been
kind of the reasoning there. I don't like that, I
get it, but I think I guess. Yeah. Now, at school,
Wilhelms started his days at five am and didn't end
them until nine pm. So this is this is a
brutal school schedule. He was a decent student, he got
okay grades, but he was not exceptional. His best friend

(52:23):
at Castle was Siegfried Sommer, a Jew in top of
the class. Now this is noteworthy because, as we'll cover,
the Prince grew into probably Germany's second most anti Semitic
leader of all time. O. Wait, who's number one? I'm
kidding Okay, Now, he's not number one at anything, he's

(52:45):
number two. And fairness, I will say this in fairness
to the Kaiser, there is a big gap between two
and one in most anti Semitic German leader the contest.
There's a sizable gap between the two. This is Jojo
rap it. Yeah, I can't wait to see that. And
you say that is it good? Yeah, I saw it

(53:05):
the other day. I liked it. It looks good. I
just haven't had a chance to get down to the theater.
It's fun, it's it's a romp. Jamie says, it's a romp.
Check it out, people, itsicha plays Hitler. I'm so. I'm
so easily bothered by like child actors. And they got
a good one. No, I hate most children. They're okay, well,

(53:26):
let's take us to the next level. It's good. It's good, though.
I liked it. Yeah, Now is probably the right time
to talk about the prince's bizarre feelings towards his mother. Now,
Freud would tell us that it's not unusual for young
boys to have a childish sort of infatuation with their mother.
But even by Freudian standards, Wilhelm was fucking odd. I mean,

(53:49):
it's not that she's the only person that was nice
to him. Yeah, I'm still gonna say this is I'm
just gonna read this quote from the biography Kaiser Wilhelm
a concise life, and you can tell me what you
can help analy Okay, This is a long one, Jamie,
and there's a lot to unpack here, isn't it horny.
I let me just read the quote and we'll discuss it, okay. Quote.

(54:13):
In the winter of eighteen seventy four or seventy five,
Wilhelm began a series of letters to his mother in English,
naturally recounting a recurring dream. He was having letters that
are remarkable not only for their evidently incestuous character, but
also for their fetishistic emphasis on her gloved left hand.
A poignant cry for unconditional acceptance in love, if ever
there was one. I have got the little secret which
is for you alone, viz. A peculiar dream. He wrote

(54:36):
to Vicky, his mom, on March eighteen seventy five, shortly
after her visit to Castle for his sixteenth birthday. I
dreamt last night that I was walking with you in
another lady and walking you were discussing who had the
finest hands, whereupon the lady produced a most ungrateful hand,
declaring that it was the prettiest, and turned us her back. I,
in my rage, broke her parasol. But you put your

(54:56):
dear arm around my waist, led me aside, pulled your
glove loved hand off your dear left hand, which I
so often kissed at castle, and showed me your dear
beautiful hand, which I instantly covered with kisses. Wilhelm hoped
that his dream would become reality. I wish that you
would do the same when I am at Berlin alone
with you in the evening, and he continued, craving reassurance. Pray,

(55:17):
write to me what you think about this dream. It
is quite true as I have written it, you say.
I always think of you, my dear mamma. I sometimes
dream of you. I am so glad that soon we
will sit together in your dear library and sit together.
But this dream is alone for you to know, he insisted.
Several days later, the dream recurred. I am very glad
that you liked my little secret about your dear hands.

(55:38):
Since then I have again dreamt about you. This time
I was alone with you in your library when you
stretched forth your arms and pulled me down to your
chairs that my head rested on your left arm. Then
you took off your gloves and laid your hands gently
on my lips for me to kiss it, asking me
at the same time if I remember dreaming about you
I instantly seized your hand and kissed. Then you gave
me a warm embrace, putting your right arm around my
shoulder and neck, and got up and walked round the

(56:00):
rooms with me. No, no, no, that's odd, right, So
that's peculiar. He's just like writing his mom being like,
I want to fuck you? Is that okay? I want
to I want to fuck your hands. Well that's well,
I think, well that's like very telling, right, that he's
like fixated on hands and arms. That makes sense because

(56:22):
everyone like it's obsessed about. Of course, that this man
becomes this like erotic fixation left a left hand fetish
if you will, Oh, that's just like baby boy, put
it in your journal and then light it on fire.
Do not send it, burn that fucker. Yeah, send to

(56:43):
mama and wait so waits So we there was h
He sent a letter and then presumably got a reply
that was like, yeah, tell me more. Yeah, we're going
to get into that a little bit. Now. I've read
a few biographies of Wilhelm, and most of them mention
this weird fixation, but they kind of breeze past it,

(57:04):
like they'll note it was weird, but they don't go
into that much detail. Ralph's book is the one I
found that really does the best job of highlighting how
fucking peculiar this all was. I'm going to continue quoting here. Yeah,
I mean the hand fixation's very telling. Yeah. Yeah, he
could hardly wait for his dream to be fulfilled. In
eight days, he wrote, we will go to Berlin and
then what I dream about we will do in reality

(57:25):
when we are alone in your rooms without any witnesses. No,
this is the second secret. He's like fourteen or fifteen,
he's yeah, he's like a little horny teens. For mama, Oh, okay, kiss, sorry,
keep eying. This is the second secret. For you. Pray,
write to me what you think about it, and promise
to do so really as you did in my dream

(57:47):
to me, for I do so love you. The Correspondent's
continued in this vein for several months. In May eighteen
seventy five, he urged his mother again to keep your
promise you gave me at Berlin. Always give me a
loan the soft inside of your hand to kiss. But
of course you keep this as a secret for yourself.
Over to him. Yeah, definitely, he's like, your left hand

(58:09):
is a pussy, like that's his energy. Okay, so yeah,
we keep going. Wow. With less than four weeks to
go before the holidays, he wrote, thanking her for her
most recent letter. How glad I was to see the
promise written down that I could kiss your hands as
much as I liked. Be sure of it, I shall
do it shortly before their reunion. Willhelm could hardly contain
his excitement, calculating that it was now only days or

(58:31):
eighty four hours, or in five forty minutes or in
three hundred and two four hundred seconds before he would
be able to embrace his mother again in Potsdam and
kiss her sweet beautiful hands. Yeah hands, Robert, Yeah, the
man likes man loves his mom to touch mommy's hand.
I well, here's my question. What is she replying to this?

(58:54):
Because it doesn't sound like she's saying, please stop talking
about fucking my hands. I think we can forgive the
Crown Princess for not knowing how to respond to her
teenage son's sexual obsession with her hands. I'm just trying
to get a feel for like, is she weirded out
by it but doesn't know how to handle the situation,
or is she like this is cool she's weirded out,

(59:15):
she says. You know. At first she's like, okay, yeah,
you can kiss my hands, and she tries to like
move the letters along to something more normal. She tried to,
and then she tried politely ignoring it. She would return
his letters to him with like the spelling corrected and stuff,
correcting his grammar and stuff, and not really how he
wants to fuck herate, like, if you're gonna suck my hands,

(59:36):
say say it right, Yeah, we can safely say. She
felt very strange about it, and eventually she did what
she thought was the responsible thing and pushed her son
away just a little bit to try and like get
some distance boundaries. Yeah, he found this deeply painful. This
led to a start of a split between mother and son,

(59:57):
which many, like people who like write about the Kaiser,
have seen as the seeds of the split between Germany
and Britain. As the future Kaiser began to push back
against the British site of his ancestry since his mother
was British, so well, it's significant repercussions. I mean, you
can't blame her, she said, like what do you do?

(01:00:18):
What do you do you do? Someone shut up about
wanting to kiss your hand like that. Yeah, God, what
it's predicament. That's what a predicament. And then you think
back of like, well, maybe if everyone wasn't complaining about
this kid's hands his whole life, he wouldn't have this weird,
horny hand thing. And again, this is why you shouldn't

(01:00:41):
have kings or leaders with any kind of significant amount
of power like this, because like they grow up with
like this weird hand thing is something that like, you know,
Wilhelm couldn't help, but he felt that way. It was
where like he was like, this was going to happen.
His mom kind of drawing away from him wasn't unreasonable,
having really complicated feelings about England as a result of

(01:01:03):
this wasn't unreasonable. But power, with the German Army as
his inheritance, so it became an issue. You just have
too much to lash out with. You can't just like
take your mom's car, Like, yeah, god, I think that
so far, the villain of this story is power. I
know it'll be exactly but right now, but it's still

(01:01:24):
mostly power, even though like there are points at which
he does make choices that make him into a villain.
The primary villain is still power. If he had just
been a normal dude and like, gotten some fucking therapy,
I get the feeling, just knowing kind of everything about
his life. I get the feeling with a competent therapist.
He could have been a decent man who would have

(01:01:46):
raised a relatively healthy family and like, not damaged. He
would have been a perfectly like, you know, in in
offense of like whatever, guy. He just would have been
a guy. I don't think he was. He inherently moved
to commit acts of horrible evil, but he did. And
yet yeah, yeah, Now Wilhelm reached adulthood and did the

(01:02:09):
normal things that Prussian kids did. At that point, he
joined the military, He went to military school, he got
command of his first military units. Now he was noted
by everyone as having no real ability to focus on
the finer points of strategy and tactics, but having a
deep and abiding love of making men march around in
fancy uniforms. It became instantly apparent that the prince would
not be the great warlord that his father was. Now,

(01:02:31):
on the twenty seventh of March eighteen seventy nine, Wilhelm's
eleven year old younger brother Waldemar died from diphtheria along
with one of his aunts. Wilhelm had been jealous of
the little boy, who was widely seen as his parents' favorite,
but he was a dutiful mourner for his brother and
held an all night vigil at the coffin. He described
the family pain as deep and cruel beyond words, which
is a reasonable way to react to the death of

(01:02:52):
an eleven year old sure, But a few months later
Wilhelm was back to acting like a dick to his mom.
His little brother had owned a cat, which his mom
had adopted once he died, and she loved the animal,
and it clearly gave her some comfort in the absence
of her beloved boy. While they were out vacationing, the
housekeeper of one of their vacation homes shot the cat,
cut off his nose, and hung it up against a tree.

(01:03:14):
Can did this because it was his job to ensure
the pheasant population of the property stayed healthy so the
nobles could hunt. Wilhelm's mother and sisters were horrified, but
the prince defended the keeper, saying the cat murder had
been laudable zeal in the pursuance of his duty. So
we're seeing as he grows into a young man. This
guy has some emotional depth issues, some difficulty understanding why

(01:03:36):
certain things are horrifying to other people. Good now, good, Yeah,
I'm just like feeling for his mom of just like, oh,
mom obsessed with me and he won't stop mutilating animals. Yeah,
what do I do it? Even though her son didn't
do it. The guy who killed the cat mutilated it
to scare off other cats. Oh okay, that's still not okay.

(01:03:58):
But okay, it's not okay. It is pretty normal. Like,
you know, I have friends and family with farms, and like,
if you kill a coyote on your farm and you
have livestock, it's not abnormal to like hang the corpse
of the coyote up to scare off other coyotes to
protect your cows and shit. Like It's something that people
do when they're trying to maintain a population of prey animals.
Very game of Friends. Yeah, it's fucked up, but it's

(01:04:21):
like it's also like life in the rural world. Although
killing somebody's pet cat to protect a pheasant population, I
would argue, is not the healthy way to deal with that.
Maybe keep the cat indoors. It's yeah, like there was
a clear solution to that, and it was like a
pack of Yeah, it's not like a pack of wild wolves. Like,

(01:04:41):
there are other ways that this could have been handled.
The worst case scenario is that there were a couple
more cats around. Yeah. Oh boy. Now, as a young adult,
Wilhelm fell madly in love with his cousin Ella, but
Otto von Bismarck was not a fan of the pairing. Now,
Bismarck is a guy will probably we do an episode
on at some point. He's one of the most important

(01:05:02):
people who's ever lived. He was the actual mind behind
the formation of the German Empire. He engineered the Franco
Prussian War, and is again probably the single man most
responsible from making Germany a thing. We did a whole
unit on that motherfucker. Yeah, he's a very important, influential guy. Yeah,
he's an influence and yeah, as he's a dick, but

(01:05:23):
he's also he's also very smart and very capable. Yeah,
Like he's not one of these powerful people who's also
an idiot. He knows what the fuck he's doing. Now.
The Kaiser Prince, Wilhelm's grandfather was the monarch of Germany.
But Bismarck made a lot of the critical decisions. He
was kind of the he was kind of the it's
not fair to compare Prince Wilhelm's grandfather or father to

(01:05:46):
George W. Bush, But Bismarck is kind of like a
Dick Cheney type, you know, the power behind the throne. Yeah,
and Otto von Bismarck was worried that Ella was too
closely related to Kaiser Wilhelm, so he he didn't, you know,
let that relationship come to pass. So Kaiser saw this
as Ella rejecting him, and he wrote to Hinspeter that

(01:06:07):
he thought his fucked up arm had made him unlovable,
which was a normal thing for him to feel, considering
that his grandmother had told him that his fucked up
arm made him unlovable. Now, thankfully there was another princess
waiting in the wings, Donna Augustenberg. She was a low
rint princess, basically the Safeway Select equivalent of a Hollands
Aalern the family of the Kaisers. She was yeah, yeah,

(01:06:31):
she's not like a high level princess. But Bismarck liked
that she was not closely related to Wilhelm. He called
her a Holstein cow and thought that she would inject
fresh blood into the hahens Allern line illness. That's description
of her. But I'm not super into that, okay, but

(01:06:52):
good to know now. When the marriage was announced, Hinspeter
was a static that his dearly beloved problem child was
going to marry someone who understands him and sympathizes with
him in his weaknesses. Kins Peter was on record as
saying that Wilhelm needed people around him who gave him
unconditional love and admiration because he just couldn't exist without it. Sure,

(01:07:15):
And one of the weird notes is that, like, I
think we can all look at how heins Peter had
him raised as like profoundly abusive, but Kaiser Wilhelm loved
hins Peter till the day he died, and wrote him
letters up until the older man's death, like almost on
a daily basis, he would write, like desperately seem to
crave this man's affection and approval. It's like devastating, Yeah, yeah,

(01:07:40):
it's fucked up man, this kid, Like how does that?
There's no way this guy ends up healthy, you know.
And again it's like if you're just an irregular person
with daddy issues. You're just one of the many daddy
issues with power who people are gonna die? Real problem. Yeah,
now this gets at one of the things I think
is wildest about the very idea of a monarchy. When

(01:08:01):
you really look into the letters everyone around the future
Kaiser was writing, as both Rolf and Vanderkiss, the main
biographers who were sources for this episode, did. It's obvious
that one hundred percent of the people who knew Willhelm
when he was young knew ahead of time that he
was going to be a terrible Kaiser. The best anyone
would say about him was that he could be sweet
and charming, but nobody thought he was gifted in any

(01:08:23):
intellectual capacity. As he grew older, his family wrote increasingly
about his startling arrogance, his inability to take advice or criticism,
and his frequent tendency to snap into blind rages. So
everyone's like, oh, this guy shouldn't be king, but he's gonna.
But he's boy, that'll suck. When that inevitably happened, it's

(01:08:44):
a shame. There's no other possible thing we can have
than a monarchy. Oh well, too bad, Jesus Christ. Okay,
all right, yeah, that is I mean that does make
me slight. I mean, obviously we're in a terrible version
of democracy, but like, at least some things aren't inevitable
from that far away. No, it's an iterative sort of thing. Yeah. Now,

(01:09:10):
the prince's parents hoped that the marriage would have a
soothing effect on his worst characteristics, but unfortunately, his wife, Donna,
was what one biographer describes as a reactionary bigot whose
small minded views only reinforced his own oh whis yeah
to make matters worse, She despised the British, which helped
push Prince Wilhelm further away from his mother. She was
against liberal politics and the growing mood towards democratization and

(01:09:34):
in Europe. She treated the Crown Prince and Princess Wilhelm's
parents coldly and further pushed them away from him. Wilhelm
started referring to his family as the English colony and
complained that his father treated him as if he were
a dumb child. Now Otto von Bismarck also took advantage
of the growing rift between Wilhelm and his parents. While
the Crown Prince wanted Germany to draw closer to England.

(01:09:55):
Bismarck was deeply suspicious of the British. He'd spent his
entire life building an intricate series of alliances that he
believed would render Germany essentially impossible to invade. Under Bismarck's guidance,
the German Empire had forged a strong defensive pact with
Russia and Austria Hungary. This meant that roughly eighty percent
of Europe would be on one side Germany side if
a war broke out, which would essentially make it impossible

(01:10:17):
to have. Nobody's going to go to war with you,
Like the Russian Empire at this point is one sixth
of the world's land mass, so like, and Germany has
by all accounts the best army in Europe, So nobody
is going to war against that. Like, it's just impossible.
Nobody would make a decision that stupid and azaes and
they're all cuzos. Yeah, but Bismarck doesn't have much faith

(01:10:39):
in royal diplomacy, which would prove to be wise. He
had faith in if we have Essentially this is the
nuclear arms race of its day, is having an alliance
that no one could dare to fight, and so that
was Bismarck' strategy, like, well, as long as we're in
good with Russia, nobody will fuck with us, and that
ensures peace in Europe. And he's right, as long as
Russia is allied with Germany, there are no wars between

(01:11:01):
European states and like a mass scale. Now there are
some very persistent rumors that Wilhelm was homosexual. It seems
more accurate to say that he might have been bisexual. Okay,
he fell in love with a guy named Yulenberg, another noble,
who Wilhelm described as my bosom friend, the only one
I have. Now it's very unlikely either boy ever consummated

(01:11:24):
their attraction, but for years they were inseparable. In his
biography of Wilhelm, Emil Ludwig wrote that Ulenberg was the
first to open the gates of the garden of romance
to the young man who had been forced into the
part of hard bitten Prussian prints and was now taking
leave of an adolescence poor alike and love and the
dreams of youth. God, so it's really hard not to

(01:11:46):
feel for this guy, like he's it's rough man. Yeah,
he's got a lot of forces working against him. It's
oh it's not. Oh yeah, he's disabled bi sexual abuse victim. Yeah,
that he and his boyfriend should just move away. Yeah.
Oh if only they'd gotten a house in Paris or

(01:12:06):
something together. Oh so nice that painted pictures. Yeah, yeah,
and he was Wilhelm had like some aptitude for art.
He was described by someone as a gifted artist who
never found his art, so like, he was good at
a bunch of different things, but he never really well, No,
because Hitler was shitty at it, like Willhelm. You get

(01:12:28):
the feeling if he'd like gotten some actual if it
had been made a real like, if people had made
a point of really giving him some serious art training,
he would have figured out what he was into. It
could have been really talented. What if this was the
point where you found out that I actually thought Hitler's
art was really good, that he like, oh yeah, like yeah, no,
Hitler is a terrible artist. Obviously, Jamie Loftus has a Hitler.

(01:12:51):
I mean, I'm not gonna lie I would actually love
to have an original Hitler just for talking about it. Yeah,
but I love haunted things. I do love Hanton thing.
That's very absolutely Oh my god. Yea, so he would
but he was like he was a better artist, you know,
I just he seems to have been good. He just
never quite like found something that he was really into,

(01:13:13):
throwing his whole interests behind. And obviously he had to
be the Kaiser, so there was a lot of other
shit on his same time for painting when you're the
ki No time for painting when you're the cut. Some
time for painting, but not enough right now. Bismarck saw
Wilhelm as a pliant, muldable dummy he could direct in
whichever direction he chose. The key for Bismarck was to
deepen the rift between the Prince and his father. In

(01:13:33):
the mid eighteen eighties, he went behind the Crown Prince's
back and made the future Kaiser the chief envoy of
the German Empire. Now this by all right should have
been his father's job, but Bismarck worried the Crown Prince's
English sympathies would look bad to the Russians, since Russia
and England had just fought a war over the Crimea,
so he pushed Wilhelm into the role. Wilhelm's father complained
that this was a terrible idea in view of the

(01:13:55):
immaturity as well as the inexperience of my eldest son,
together with his tendency towards over barness and self conceit,
I cannot but frankly regard it as dangerous tool how
him at present to take part in any foreign affairs.
Woo Yeah. Yeah. Prince Wilhelm was a terrible diplomat. His
arrogance came off badly, and he had a nasty habit
of insulting the world leaders he talked to. He botched

(01:14:18):
his first meeting with the Russian Tsar by basically giving
him approval to conquer Constantinople, something the Czar didn't think
he needed. Approve he didn't need to get from an
upstart boy who wasn't even kaiser yet. No. Yeah, God,
what a dufus. Yeah. So the Prince's career did not
start with great promise, but at least he was everyone knew,

(01:14:40):
everyone knew was happening. Yeah, I will say, though he
enjoyed some fringe benefits of the gig as envoid to Russia.
According to Vanderkist's book quote, he relished the attention paid
to him as chief envoy of the German Empire, and
he was deeply impressed with the bearing of the young
infantry recruits on parade at the Winter Palace. Nevertheless, he
betrayed rather more than he when he wrote in the

(01:15:00):
Tale about the physical appearance of the soldiers a very
nice looking lot, though the fact that hardly any of
them had any hips made their white capes look as
though they had been poured into their slim bodies. He
doesn't understand when to like, not be horny over shit.
You're over sharing, man, may he's horny on Maine all
the time. Jes b. Yeah, he's like, yeah, at least

(01:15:21):
make a like a fake account, don't. Yeah, Pola Mitt
Romney write these under another name. He is being horny
on the main it's so such a bad look. Oh,
I mean, like I'm fine with it, Like no judgment, bro,
but like, don't judge it. Don't be horny on the main. Yeah,
you are being horny in your official job as international diplomat,

(01:15:45):
which is probably inappropriate. That's the line. That's the line, Wilhelm. Now.
Wil Helm also had mistresses, but he was no better
at managing them than he was at managing international diplomacy.
In eighteen eighty six, he arranged to have two of
his mistresses follow his train at a birth lynn and
meet him in a small village in Austria. The women
did so, but when they arrived, he refused to reimburse

(01:16:05):
them for their travel costs and a should know now
that he was the wealthiest man in Germany. I yeah,
I mean, I said, well, that's just dating a rich guy. Yeah, yeah,
like the going to be great. And then then it
turns out that they're they're fucking mean misers. Yeah left, yeah. Yeah.

(01:16:25):
The women left in a rage, and one of them
stole one of the Prince's monogrammed cuff links, so she
displayed around town to prove that she had with the prince.
When the Kaiser realized this, came I flew southwest for this,
take this ship and runs that day. Now, when the

(01:16:47):
Kaiser realized this, he begged them to come back, and
he offered to pay for their travel costs. They returned
and finally foun now ensuing. Yeah. The ensuing threesome was
so loud that it woke up other guests in the hotel.
People could actually hear them talking post coitus. A number
of random Austrians heard the future Kaiser complaining to prostitutes

(01:17:10):
about his parents. He called his dad a conceited popularity
seeker under Jewish influence. He also loudly insulted Austria, his
nation's closest ally, as rotten, close to dissolution. God called
the Austrian He called the Austrian people useless, pansies and gormands,
no longer fit for life. I hope that the sex

(01:17:31):
worker has got like an emotional support bonus. You know,
it's like, that's not what you well. He made one
of them pregnant and she blackmailed him and she got
a shitload of money out of it. This guy's a loser.
Take his stub there. Oh, word of all this got

(01:17:51):
back to the Austrian crown Prince, which sparked another international incident.
This all voted particularly ill for the future. In the
space of a year, the young prince had insulted both
of his nation's chief military allies, the Emperor, his grandfather
was ill and near death, and right as his grandfather
starts dying, his father also gets sick, which would prove

(01:18:11):
to be throat cancer. So none of this bodes well
for the future of peace in Europe. Right, They're like,
oh no, the fuck up is the only one who
will live. Okay. In eighteen eighty eight, the Emperor died
and the Crown Prince became Kaiser. The Crown Prince, you know,
the Kaiser's the future. Kaiser's dad. He would only rule
for ninety nine days, and he was very ill for

(01:18:32):
all of them. By the time he died on June fifteenth,
eighteen eighty eight. Now Crown Princevillehelm had already been taking
on and botching many of his dad's duties. That same day,
Kaiservillehelm ascended to the throne of the German Empire. So
in part two we're going to talk about what happened
once he was in charge. All Right, it's time is over, Jamie.

(01:18:53):
You got some pluggables to plug. I got some pluggies.
I'm releasing a podcast on Thanksgiving call My Year in
Mensa is about what the title is about. It's Apelled
my Ear and mensa, How I got in and how
I almost got bullied out. Uh. And then you can
listen to the Bechdel Cast every week. Uh. You can

(01:19:14):
follow me on Twitter at Jamie Lofts Help. And that's
what you can do. That's what you're able to do.
At this time. Now you can find me on Twitter
and Instagram at Bastard's pod. You can find me personally
on Twitter at I write okay, where I am not
horny on Maine because that's inappropriate, especially with all of

(01:19:34):
the diplomacy I have to do with the Russian Army. Right, Yeah,
I mean would make you a terrible kaiser. It would
make me a terrible kaiser. And my whole job is
to become a very good kaiser. Yeah, your Fensta is
horny as hell. Yes, Oh my god, it is nothing
but thirst posting shameless. I muted it now, Jamie, what

(01:19:58):
is a Fensta? I'm gonna jump off the balcony. I
cannot possibly explain to you what a Finsta is. It's
a fake Instagram. That's where you it's where you do
your horn I don't actually have one, which is what
everyone who has one says. But but it's like where
you post, uh, you know, you post you know the
illusion on the main right, You're like, I'm so happy,

(01:20:22):
everything's great, and then you post depression memes and thirst
posts on the fin staff. Oh that's where you're like
your your your you know, two extremes. See, I write
my thirst posts on a sheet of paper, and then
I cut my finger and block them out with blood,
and then I burn them in a bonfire at night

(01:20:42):
in order to wipe away my shame in front of
God and the heavens. I know, but unfortunately that is
a spell. That means it's in a book somewhere far away.
So your thirst posts are uh, they're they're documented somewhere.
You shouldn't drop blood on it. That that's that activates
the curse. Damn it. I'll send you some more. If

(01:21:03):
you want to activate a curse, buy some t shirts
from teapublic dot com. All of our shirts come cursed,
so that's good. The episode's over, okay. Behind the Bastards
is a production of cool Zone Media. For more from
cool Zone Media, visit our website Coolzonemedia dot com, or

(01:21:25):
check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you get your podcasts.

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