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January 4, 2024 64 mins

In Part Two, Robert is joined again by Jamie Loftus to continue discussing Kaiser Wilhelm.

 

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
A 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. Welcome back to Behind the Bastards. I'm Robert

(00:47):
Evans and this is part two of our episode on
Kaiservillehelm the second. Now, before we get into the episode,
because I think it's important that you know about the
bastardry being practiced by the host of this show, I
need to tell everyone that Jamie Loftus is dipping popcorn
into salad dressing. Okay, goddamn monster, I got fucking Okay.

(01:10):
First of all, yes, that is what I'm doing. Well,
I got dragged the last time I was on this
show because I mentioned that I dipped bagels in ketchup
and there was a lot. I said that was fine.
I'm okay with the popcorn dipping into dressing. I am
not okay with support you because I know you have
like taste buds that need more I need I need. Yeah,

(01:31):
oh right, yeah I have not. I have poor people
taste buds. I hope, I hope, very desperately Jamie, that
this makes you less judgmental of the Kaiser, because I
firmly believe that the millions he got killed in the
trenches of Europe and you dipping your popcorn into salad
dressing are equivalent crimes. They're okay, sir, I it's this

(01:53):
is your battle of the somme. This is not ideal.
I would prefer to dip popcorn in soy sauce. There's
no soy sauce here. I go for salad dressing. Dipping
popcorn and soy sauce is your verdune. Here's the thing.
I like to make dry food wet. I can't explain why.
I'm sure there's a very fucked up motivation behind it.
But when a food is dry, I'm like, let's moisten
this up. Let's see what horrible good, horrible it's good, horrible.

(02:18):
I've never been so proud to be your friend, Jamie.
Thank you so much. It actually I feel bad because
I'm sure the solad dressing is stinky. But no. But nevertheless,
I'm ah, there you go, live your truth? Baby? Does
this make you uncomfortable? I was just going to say,
speaking of living your truth, let's talk about what happens

(02:40):
when a profoundly damaged young man becomes the King of
Germany and then gets a chance to live his truth.
I've got his birth chart up. Well, let's figure this out.
Let's do it. What does it say about people of
his astrological sign well, beaving the Imperial German military. Well,
here's the thing. I did his name chart, but that's

(03:00):
a little too complicated. What everyone needs to know is
he's an Aquarius and aquarian leaders you know, they're positive traits.
They're open minded, right, they're creative. He was an artist, right,
they're free spirited. Negative traits really bad stuff across the
board of fur leaders, impulsive, unpredictable, inconsistent, extreme, and stubborn.

(03:23):
So you know it was Foetold. I wouldn't call him
open minded in any way, but a lot of that
tracks that's crazy. I feel like I'll get dragged more
for invoking astrology than i will for dipping popcorn and
salad dressing. I know they're both horrible crimes against humanity,
you know what, to each their own. I'm living a
very vile life over here now. The Reich that kaiserville

(03:47):
Heilm inherited had been built and largely managed by Auto
von Bismarck, and above all else, Bismarck wanted peace. The
system of alliances he crafted for Germany were essentially again
like I said that Era's version of mutually assured distry production.
Starting a war with Germany would mean fighting with Russia too,
and Russia controlled a sixth of the planet's surface. This
was a pretty good system while it lasted. Bismarck was

(04:09):
a monster, but not a dumb man. Knew what he
was doing. But Wilhelm came to power with distinct and
probably agonizing memories of his father's marshal prowess and military victories.
He had been insecure his entire life because of his
arm and the complete lack of praise he received from Henspeter. Likewise,
his wife and Bismarck had succeeded in inculcating a deep

(04:30):
antipathy of his parents and of England in him. Kaiser
Wilhelm the second, A concise life, describes the mind sight
All of this resulted in once the young man came
to power and was given the world's most powerful land army. Quote.
Prince Wilhelm's mindset on the threshold of succeeding to the
throne was characterized by bellicose ambition and contempt for parliaments

(04:50):
and political parties, indeed for civilians in general. Britain must
be destroyed was his watchword, and he was already developing
a passion for the idea of a strong German navy.
But Harris too had to be destroyed, he railed. Wilhelm
was naturally very much in favor of war and hopes
it will break out soon. General walderc noted with Lee
on twenty fifth January eighteen eighty seven, under the latter's influence,

(05:12):
the Prince also advocated war with Russia. That young man
wants war with Russia and would like to draw his
swords straight away if he could. Chancellor Bismarck recorded with
Dismay in eighteen eighty eight, so and to be clear,
he doesn't come to power until he is nearly thirty
years old. Yeah, is that right? So at this point
where like this is no long term tartenty nine, Yeah, yeah,

(05:33):
he's not a lot anymore a juvenile young boy who
wants to have sex with his mother's hand. This is
a grown ass, petty man who wants to have sex
with his who wants to have sex with his mother's hand,
of course. Yeah, yeah. Now, Bismarck was also deeply concerned
about the young emperor's almost violent hatred of Jewish people.

(05:53):
This was the result of the influence of one Adolph
von Stoker, the court chaplain. Now. Stoker was a member
of the Christian Jinn's Socialist movement, an anti Semitic far
right party that also hated Catholics. Wilhelm's parents and grandmother
had all been disgusted by discrimination and had pushed to
end it in their country, But Wilhelm wanted to blaze
a new, much more racist path, and he was supported

(06:14):
in this by the Prussian officer corps, who were also
thoroughly bigoted. The Kaiser and his new allies wanted to
keep the German race pure, stop Jewish immigration, and remove
Jews from positions in schools in public office. Before his ascension,
Bismarck had rebuked the Prince for his support of anti Semitism.
This sparked a passive aggressive battle between the two men.
From vander Kiss's biography of Wilhelm, when Bismarck had articles

(06:37):
published in the official press taking the religious conservatives to
task for using Vilhelm, the latter wrote petulantly to Hinzpeter
that he did not deserve such treatment, as for the
Chancellor's sake, he had for years locked myself out of
my parents' house. And about the same time, Wilhelm drafted
a proclamation to the German princes which was to be
published in the event of his accession. Bismarck told him
to burn it. Sulking, Wilhelm replied that when he came

(06:59):
to the throne, he would have all Jewish influence over
the press. Stopped. Told that this would be a violation
of the Constitution, Wilhelm said grandly that they would have
to get rid of the constitution as well. Sounds like
someone we know, Yeah, yeah, If you look up Kaiser
Wilhelm Donald Trump, there's like a dozen different articles that
different people have written about similarities between the two men.

(07:21):
I think, for one thing, I think that's I don't
entirely agree with that for a number of reasons. One
of them is that Wilhelm is an infinitely more sympathetic
figure than Donald Trump, right, But there are some similarities,
and that that would definitely be one of them. Oh wow,
there's a whole there's a whole goddamn New Yorker article. Yeah,

(07:42):
there's a ton of articles about the similarities between the
two men. Well, I'm again. Yeah. Vilhelm was fond of
making these sorts of grand threats and pronouncements, like the
one he made against Russia and England. Fortunately, they rarely
resulted in anything. He was easy to talk down, and
he was liable to balk at the last minute from
acting on any of his rhetoric, but the rhetoric itself
had a damaging effect on international relations. Wilhelm deeply worried

(08:06):
the rest of Europe when he made this pronouncement to
the people of Germany after taking the crown. We were
born to each other, I and the army, we were
born for each other and will cleave indissolubly to each other.
Whether it be the will of God to send us
to calm or storm, you will soon swear fealty and
submission to me. And I promise ever to bear in
mind from the world above, the eyes of my forefathers

(08:27):
looked down on me, and that I shall one day
have to stand accountable for them for the glory and
honor of the army. Also, why can't you have sex
with your mother's hand? That should be legal? TTYL. Wilhelm,
now the Kaiser, had no real military experience and no
aptitude whatsoever for warfare, but he felt that he had
to portray himself as a mighty warlord, in part because

(08:50):
his father and grandfather had been mighty warlords. That was
kind of Prussia's whole deal. So to compensate for being
just a dude with a bad arm, Wilhelm collected an
absurd amount of military uniforms. His cousin, the Queen of Romania,
wrote that he changed his uniform several times a day
as a smart woman changes her gown. Now, Vanderkisser, I

(09:12):
know it's about to get embarrassing her, because Vanderkiss's book
goes into detail about just how extensive Wilhelm's wardrobe really was.
In addition to his much cherished foreign uniforms. He had
a full one for every Prussian regiment over three hundred alone,
to say nothing of those of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemberg,
as well as naval and marine uniforms all had their
own individual badges, sashes, caps, helmets, epaulets, shoulder points, belts, swords, lences,

(09:37):
and firearms. The resulting wardrobe and armory had to be
housed in a hall containing huge wardrobes, with a cammerdiner
on duty from morning to night to select the shortest
possible notice any out that he might require. According to
Anne Topham, his daughter's governess, he cut a fine figure
in military dress, but in civilian clothes the effect was
completely lacking. Many German gentlemen lost much appearance when out

(09:58):
of uniform, but none to the extent that their emperor did.
He no longer had any shred of dignity, and curiously enough,
that charm of manner was also bereft of its influence
and merged into what was an offensive wearisome buffoonery. He
was wise, she added, not to appear before his subjects
except in uniform. Oh God, I like, he's just like,
how could I possibly not be a War Hero look

(10:20):
at all my shirts like you're like, yeah, that's not
how that works. Pause, Pizza's here, so we're back. They
received pizza in the room and Jamie and I are
talking about all the articles comparing Kaiservillehelm to Trump, and

(10:43):
one of the things I noted is that like, nobody
ever really defends kaiserville Helm. One of my one of
my weird hobbies is I like to go on YouTube
and I like to find collections of imperial Prussian and
Imperial British and Imperial Russian, like court music, like military
marches and stuff like that, and I like to relive comments.

(11:03):
Very weird. Yeah, well, I like to read the comments
because the comments are filled with monarchists, with people who
like desperately want to return to monarchy in Europe, and
they're all the saddest, dumbest people in the entire world.
And it's it's I like to read their arguments between
each other. But nobody ever defends the Kaiser No, that's good,

(11:24):
that's tical. I mean, commenters will defend almost anything that's
immat Yeah. I like to go to the youtubes. It's like,
oh not the Okay, what am I saying? Okay, where
you're like looking for a specific song, and so you
search it on YouTube and then you accidentally scroll down
to the comments and it's like something that's very depressing
out of nowhere. I forget what song I was looking
at recently, but the top comment was like, my husband

(11:46):
died to this song and it's nice that it's on
YouTube dot com and it was like a dance song.
But anyways, I love comments. There's a story there. Where's
the Wilhelm Hive, where's the will Hive? Yeah, they are
not buzzing because he was really bad at his job,

(12:06):
and even the dumbest people in the world monarchists can
recognize that. Now, as his reign began, the Kaiser fell
under the influence of a number of bad apples. There's
the anti Semite Stoker, who we already talked about. There
was also Count Alfred Voan Waldersey, the deputy chief of
the German General Staff. Now, he was a rabidly pro
war nutfuck who supported an immediate attack against both France

(12:30):
and Russia. Like this was his advice, we just invade
them both simultaneously, right now. Now. When Bismarck heard about
the growing friendship between the Kaiser and Valderc. He is
said to have cried, alas my poor grandchildren. So Bismarck,
being a smart guy, pretty instantly realizes like, oh shit,
this dude is going to plunge the whole continent into

(12:51):
a stupid, stupid war. Boy, was he right? He was
not wrong. Like I said, Bismarck is a very is
a visionary. He's a man, but he's a visionary and
he clearly saw what was going to happen. I hate
when the bad people are smart as well. Yeah, and
they're more effectively bad. Yeah. I mean in Bismarck's defense,
like he was just kind of kind of associopath, but

(13:14):
he wasn't bad. And like, his goals weren't dominate Europe
and put all the Jews in camp. His goals were
insured Germany a place of prominence among nations and stop
a massive European war. And he did gross and manipulative
things to ensure that. But he wasn't trying to like
make the world worse. He wasn't doing chaos for chaos's sake. Yeah, yeah,
he wasn't like a yeah yeah, his goal in the

(13:37):
like he just wants things to not break into a
war and he wants Germany to be popular. Okay, well
he felt yeah, he definitely did, didn't succeed in the
long run. Now, Count Eulenberg, the Kaiser's best friend and
probable crush, also led to the Kaiser's break with Bismarck.
The Kaiser demanded that a Bismarck promote the Count to

(13:57):
the position of Prussian envoy in Munich, which was a
very important job. Now Bismarck balked at giving this job
to an inexperienced friend of the Kings. The conflict between
the two men very much embodied a greater conflict within
German governance. A large chunk of the country, including Bismarck,
wanted Germany to be a proper nation state with rules
and laws and checks and balances. They weren't democrats, and

(14:18):
I don't mean that like the American political since, I
mean like pro democracy, since at least not all of them.
But they didn't want an absolute monarchy where the Kaisers
will determined everything. The Kaiser, on the other hand, didn't
really see why other people should have a say and
how he ran Germany. Now, Bismarck warned the Kaiser that
filling government posts with his buddies would lead to a
situation wherein he couldn't actually trust any of his ministers

(14:41):
to give him good information because they'd all be toadies
at worst, or his friends at best, and in any case,
they wouldn't be trustworthy to actually speak the truth to
him when the truth needed speaking. The Kaiser ignored Bismarck,
and over the next few years the positions of the
ministers and the reich Chancellor. Bismarck's job were demoted to
what role calls royal lab Oh so yeah, yeah yeah.

(15:03):
Throughout eighteen eighty eight and eighteen eighty nine, Wilhelm and
Bismarck's relationship degraded. Things came to a head in eighteen
eighty nine when a bunch of miners in the Ruher
district went on strike for better working conditions. Now Here
Hinspeter had what you would actually say is a positive influence.
As odd as it sounds, Kaiser Wilhelm instantly sided with
the striking workers against their employers. This caused another rift

(15:25):
between him and Bismarck, because Bismarck's again a piece of
shit and a chance they didn't but yeah, the Chancellor
didn't give a fuck about the workers, and obviously cared
mostly about steel production and his friends who ran the companies.
But you know, the Kaiser stood for the working people,
and on May twelfth he charged into a meeting of
the Prussian Ministry of State and declared that Bismarck was

(15:46):
wrong for not acceding to their demands, and declared the
workers were his subjects whom he had to look after.
All right, yeah, this is like, yeah, this is good. Now.
Wilhelm got his way on the Ruher strike for their
frustrating the Reich Chancellor. In the summer of eighteen eighty nine,
he took his yacht out for his first cruise across
Scandinavian waters. This became a yearly tradition, one he kept

(16:08):
up for decades. On his first outing he brought walder
C and Ulenberg with him. The latter was at least
a sane person who didn't support wars of aggression with
the rest of the world, but valder C was a
racist nutfuck, and during their vacation he convinced the Kaiser
that Bismarck was jew ridden and had been conned into
giving control of the Reich's monetary policy to a bunch
of Jews is his crush. No, no, no no, his crush

(16:32):
is a pretty reasonable guy. This is that racist general
who wants him to invade the entire world. The names
are so confusing, Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry, there's a lot.
Walder C is the racist general. Yulenberg is his crush. Now,
so Valderc convinces the Kaiser that Bismarck had been conned
into giving control of the Reich's monetary policy to a
bunch of Jews. This was a lie, but reality had

(16:54):
very little influence on the Kaiser. Now, this month long
annual cruise around the coast of Norway became one of
the kaisers favorite things. And I have to read you
Vanderkiss's description of it because it sounds like the worst
time you could have on a boat. The annual Cruise,
or nord lynd Rice, with its exclusively male company, allowed
him the Kaiser to indulge in practical jokes and boyish tomfoolery,

(17:15):
like applying a foot to the backside of elderly aids.
De camp engaged in physical exercises. Its purpose was originally
to give him a month long break from court life,
but in due course his doctor decided it was counterproductive,
as he was physically and mentally upset by the long voyage, diet,
and exhaustion of various kinds, and it did him more
harm than good. His entourage soon tired of these cruises, bored,
if not repelled by the juvenile atmosphere and behavior of

(17:36):
the Kaiser and some of his officers who loathed every
childish prank and moment themselves, but were too sickophantic to
say so. God, it sounds you're going. It reminds me
of like that documentary where Jim Carrey goes Method, where
you're like, oh, he's just a tyrant. He's been waiting
his whole life to get people trapped in this, in

(17:57):
this enclosed setting to be horrible cool. Well, I'm glad
you did pranks on the set of his You want to?
You want to? You want to go on a month
long prink cruise with the King Boy with the Yeah,
with the King Boy who like has a God, imagine
just having a cruise with him and all of his demons.

(18:17):
That's wild. Oh guarantee you. He never didn't have an
erection and he never knew what it was for. Well,
he's just walking around with a full erection all the time, Like,
do you guys know what this is? Like? Just kicking
people in the butt. I think I was laughing hard
as a wrong kicking old people around what. Okay, Well

(18:40):
he is officially you know, well, I mean he's just
a bad he's a badman. He's a creatively bad man
in this case. Yeah, yeah, yeah, really really punishing everyone
around him in very specific ways. Yeah. Now. In January
of eighteen ninety, Wilhelm told his Crown Council that he
would celebrate his thirty first birthday with two new proclamations,

(19:00):
one to protect working people and limit their labor hours,
and another to call an international summit in Berlin to
improve labor conditions across the continent. So that's pretty cool, right, yeah,
all right, is labor crusader. I'm very surprised that he
is like gunning for labor like this. He well, you know,
one of the good things about Heinz Peters, he had

(19:20):
taken him around to all these factories and mines and
stuff when he was a kid. So the Kaiser had
seen like how tough life was for working people, and
he wasn't He's not like a sociopath or anything. He
had empathy for these people, so he did care about people. Like,
he's not a monster. He does monstrous things, but he's
not a monster. Now, Bismarck thought that the Kaiser's love

(19:43):
of the working people was super dumb. The two fought
over this, and another fight broke out in March of
eighteen ninety when Bismarck entered into negotiations with the leader
of the Center Party. He's like, Dinad, why do you
care about the poors? It's such a bad fuck there.
Look they're the poors man. Come on, of course, what
the foot? What are you going to get on it?
So Bismarck enters into negotiations with the leader of the

(20:04):
Center Party, a guy named Winthorst, and their goal is
to get rid of bigoted, anti Catholic legislation in Germany.
So again Bismarck is trying to fight against discrimination here.
So none of these sides are simple here, right, Bismarck
hates working people but also hates discrimination. The Kaiser fights
for the working man, but gets furious about removing this
anti Catholic legislation because he's a bigot. So they're just

(20:27):
like a stalemate. Yeah. Now he's particularly pissed that this
meeting between Bismarck and the leader of the Center Party
had been organized by Bismarck's banker, who was a Jewish Man. Now,
to the Kaiser, this was confirmation that the Jews were
secretly running his empire via Bismarck. God damn it okay. Next,

(20:48):
according to Kaiser Vilhelm the Second, a concise life, early
in the morning of fifteen March eighteen ninety, there took
place one of the most highly charged scenes ever played
out in Berlin's center of government. The Wilhelmstrasa Kaiser Wilhelm
the Second some of the seventy five year old reich
Chancellor from his bed and upbraided him for receiving Winthorst.
He went on to complain that Bismarck had dug out
a dusty old cabinet order of eighteen fifty two that

(21:08):
prevented the monarch from receiving ministers except in the presence
of the Minister President. He preemptorily demanded that the order
be rescinded, which Bismarck refused to do. Wilhelm later recounted
that Bismarck had become so violent towards him that he
was afraid the Chancellor would throw the inkstan at my head.
After this dramatic quarrel, walderse urged the Kaiser in the
presence of the chief of the military Cabinet, to sack

(21:29):
Bismarck forthwith the present state of affairs was quite untenable,
he argued, and moreover, the Chancellor was too closely allied
with the Jews. Bismarck first sent honk Is like military leader,
and then the chief of the civil Cabinet, Hermann von Luchannis,
to the Chancellor, ordering him to hand in his resignation,
which Bismarck finally did on eighteenth March eighteen ninety. If walderse,

(21:50):
as one can safely assume, expected to take Bismarck's place,
he was in for a bitter disappointment. That same evening,
Wilhelm the Second announced to the commanding generals assembled in
the berlinsh Lass that in order to remit and master
of the situation, he had to issue in order to
the Chancellor, insisting that he submit. So, the Kaiser accepted
Bismarck's letter of you know, he's retired his retirement and

(22:12):
made a guy named Kaprivy, who was a Lickspittle, you know,
the new chancellor, so he forces out the guy who
like the political cartoons in Europe at this time are
like show the Kaiser on a boat kicking Bismarck, the
pilot of the boat off of the ship, and that's
generally how this is seen. Germany has like jettison to

(22:32):
its pilot in favor of the dumbest monarch in Europe,
the man. What a choice? What a choice? All right,
it's not great, it's not great. I mean, there's no
winning scenario, but they did seem to choose the losing
er of the team. They definitely chose the losingest scenario. Yeah,
but you know what's not the losing scenario, Jamie, tell

(22:54):
me the products and services that support this show. Oh,
it's true. I love each and everyone, especially the dick Pills,
the dick Pills especially, And one of the Behind the
Bastards guarantees is that no more than seven percent of
our sponsors contributed to the outbreak of hostilities in World
War One. Wow. Okay, so that's a guarantee no other

(23:16):
podcast will give you. That's a little wiggle room. That's nice,
that's nice. Up to seven percent Okay, I'll crunch those
numbers and then cancel you later. All right, here's some
ANTSCS Now with Bismarck out Kaiser Wilhelm was the unquestioned

(23:38):
chief power in Germany, and this was not a good thing.
Phil Helm was bad at every aspect of the job,
particularly diplomacy, and he haven't been for years. It had
been for years. It was not a shock to anyone.
Oh okay, yeah, Now, he was convinced that his relation
to the other crowned heads of Europe and his personal
charisma would allow him to negotiate well with other nations.

(23:59):
The orchard summarizes his talent for this part of the
job thusly quote. He called the diminutive King Victor Emmanuel
the third of Italy the dwarf. In front of the
king's own entourage, he called Prince later Czar Ferdinand of
Bulgaria Ferdinando Nasso on account of his beaky nose and
spread rumors that he was a hermaphrodite. Since Philhelm was
notably indiscreet, people always yeah, Since Wilhelm was notably indiscreet,

(24:24):
people always knew what he was saying behind their backs.
Ferdinand had his revenge after a visit to Germany in
nineteen oh nine, during which the Kaiser slapped him on
the bottom in public and then refused to apologize. Ferdinand
awarded a valuable arms contract that had been promised to
the Germans to a French company instead. One of the
many things that Wilhelm was convinced he was brilliant at,
despite all evidence to the contrary, was personal diplomacy, fixing

(24:48):
foreign policy through one on one meetings with other European
monarchs and statesmen. This is one of the reasons people
compare him to Trump a lot. In eighteen ninety he
let lapse a long standing defensive agreement with Russia, the
German empires vast and some I'm threatening eastern neighbor. He
judged wrongly that Russia was so desperate for German goodwill
that he could keep it dangling. Instead, Russia immediately made
an alliance with Germany's western neighbor and enemy, France. I

(25:10):
don't like him single negotiation. That's nasty, it's bad. Wipe it.
Wilhelm decided he would charm and manipulate Zar Nicholas the Second,
a ninny and a whimperer, according to Wilhelm, fit only
to grow turnips into abandoning the alliance. In eighteen ninety seven,
Nicholas told Wilhelm to get lost. The German Russian alliance withered.

(25:30):
So he comes to power and within a couple of
years scraps the alliance with Russia and Russia immediately allies
with France, which means that Germany is now surrounded on
both sides by enemies. So he went from Germany's entire
flank to the east being totally protected by a military ally,
to the nation being surrounded. Jesus, he's so benefit. Yeah,

(25:54):
it's crazy how I did like the speed at which
he's bad at it too, Like he's not even a
slow burn, Like, ah, I do something shitty everyone Like
he's just like expeditiously ruining everything. No, he is a
more stupid, faster guy, very much so, the worst kind
of person. Okay, Now, one good thing you can say

(26:15):
for the Kaiser is that he was better than most
modern governance that promoting gay people to positions of high authority.
The downside of this is that these guys were all
his friends and sycophants, and he almost certainly had no
idea they were gay. His best friend Yulenberg of course
occupied high positions in the Reich, but there were too
many rumors about him for him to be made chancellor.
There were a number of like they were like trials
and like news stories that would come out. So the

(26:38):
Kaiser promoted a dude named Bulah for the job. A
letter Bulou wrote in July eighteen ninety six shows that
things within the German government had degraded exactly the way
Bismarck predicted they would. Quote, I would be a different
kind of chancellor for my predecessors. Bismarck was a power
in his own right, a pepin a Richelieu, Caprivi and
Hohenlow regarded or regard themselves as the representatives of the

(26:58):
government into a certain extent of the parliament in relation
to his majesty. I would regard myself as the executive
tool of his majesty, so to speak, his political chief
of staff with me. Personal rule in the good sense
would really begin. I'm picturing this as like an Instagram caption. Yeah, yeah,
Buloh would have been tweeting sycophantically about his boss in

(27:19):
this modern era. But he's like he comes to power
and immediately promises I'm going to do everything the Kaiser says,
and not represent the rest of the government in any way.
Like that's his promise. Wow, and he thinks that's a
good thing now s In an eighteen ninety eight letter
to his mother, Kaiser Wilhelm exalted in his ability to
gradually wear down the government of Germany into acting as
just an extension of his ego forever and ever. He

(27:42):
exulted in a letter to his mother in eighteen ninety eight,
there is only one real emperor in the world, and
that is the German, regardless of his person in qualities,
but by right of a thousand years tradition, and his
chancellor has to obey. Oh God, leave your if nothing else,
lee of your poor mother alone. Now Eulenberg, who'd put

(28:04):
Bulo up for the job because Ulenberg there were too
many rumors about him being gay, wrote the new chancellor
this advice for working under Kaiser Wilhelm. And again I
have to remind you this man loves Wilhelm right well,
I mean you. Wilhelm the second takes everything personally. Only
personal arguments make any impression on him. He likes to
give advice to others, but is unwilling to take it himself.

(28:26):
He cannot stand boredom, ponderous, stiff, excessively thorough. People get
on his nerves and cannot get anywhere with him. Wilhelm
the second wants to shine and decide everything himself. What
he wants to do himself, unfortunately, often goes wrong. He
loves glory. He is ambitious and jealous. To get him
to accept an idea, one has to pretend that the
idea came from him. Never forget that his majesty needs

(28:48):
praise from time to time. He is the sort of
person who becomes sullen unless he has given recognition from
time to time by someone of importance. You will always
accomplish whatever you wish, so long as you do not
admit to express your appreciation. When his majesty deserves it,
he's grateful for it, like a good clever child. If
one remains silent when he deserves recognition, he eventually seens
malevolence in it. We too, will always carefully observe the

(29:09):
boundaries of flattery. I mean, who among us has not
worked for someone exactly like this? Absolutely? Yeah, I was
working for someone like this two weeks ago. Yeah, Hollywood
is thirty percent people like this thirty percent Wilhelm. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
oh god, I mean, but the fact that that's like
one of his closest friends. He's like, yeah, he's an

(29:30):
absolute night. Mary's the worst person I know. But also
he's my closest friend, so you know, I love him. Yeah,
and the health insurance is great, so put up. Yeah. Now,
wil Helm had a bad reputation for basically sighting with
whatever the last person he talked to had said. Since
a number of his generals were warmongering racists, this was problematic.

(29:50):
In eighteen ninety six, the Kaiser impulsively sent a congratulatory
telegram to Paul Krueger of the Transvaal Republic South Africa
for his victory over a British raiding party. This is
like in the Boer War period. Now, the Boers are
a Germanic people and there was great sympathy for them
within the Reich. But England was the world's pre eminent
naval power, and by sending this message, the Kaiser provoked

(30:12):
rage from a country he really needed to keep on
his side since he'd already alienated Russia. So that's not
a great move like reaching out to the enemy of
the greatest naval power. In the world being like, good
job killing some of their guys, Like it doesn't play
well in England again, petty petty dumb, petty dumb. Now,

(30:34):
there were numerous other insults and slights like that. He
was the Kaiser for like twenty six years before the war,
and this shit happened constantly. I'm just gonna you know,
I'm giving you a couple of examples, so you know
the sorts of shit he was up to. Bit by bit,
Wilhelm alienated basically all of Germany's allies. His advisors and ministers,
men like Bulou and Ulenberg, proved unable to do anything

(30:54):
but praise the Kaiser and hoped to calm him down
and reduce his impulsive swings. They were often unsuccessful. In
nineteen hundred, the Boxer rebellion in China led to the
capture of a number of Europeans, including Germans, in the
city of Peking. Most of Europe's great powers dispatched soldiers
to deal with the situation. The Kaiser was late in
doing so, and his men arrived too late to participate

(31:15):
in the fight. But before they left, the Kaiser insisted
on addressing them personally with a speech that made him
the laughing stock of Europe. It ended like this, should
you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated. No quarter
will be given, Prisoners will not be taken. Whoever falls
into your hands has forfeited, just as a thousand years
ago the Huns under their king Atilla made a name
for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty

(31:36):
in history and legend. May the name German be affirmed
by you win such a way in China that no
Chinese will ever again dare to look cross eyed at
a German. Now you've heard of like how the Huns,
like Germany were referred to as the Huns in like
World War I propaganda by the British and the Americans
and stuff. Mm hmm. This speech is why the Hun

(31:56):
speech is what people call it. So they were just
getting They were just like roasted filim indirectly exactly, but
pretty directly. Actually, yeah, I guess that's not even a subtweeen,
because like this is seen as really silly. For one,
thing like beating China in this period was not something
to brag about, Like the European powers had machine guns
and like modern battleships and military tactics, and the Chinese

(32:20):
military just did not, and so it wasn't really a fight. Also,
the Germans arrived too late to participate in the fight,
so this was both seen as like a manchild pretending
to be a warrior, but it was also seen as
deeply worrying by the crownheads of Europe the other leaders
of the European powers, because the Kaiser had Europe's most
powerful army, and it's not comforting to hear him say this. Shit.

(32:42):
It's like somebody with a huge gun collection talking about
how he could carry out a school shooting if he
wanted to. Oh, he'd be like, oh fuck, yeah, this
might this is a problem. Maybe I should call the police,
but of course there's no police to call on the Kaiser. No,
don't you love when someone's above the law, And therefore,
yeahs of people have to die, millions, but yeah, I'm sorry, yeah, millions.

(33:07):
The nation's worth okay. Now, speaking of the army, they
were the only ones who really gained in power during
Wilhelm's reign. He had a habit of promoting generals to
ministerial positions. He liked being surrounded and consulted by them.
His appointees included General Alfred von Schlieffen, a military tactician
who developed an elaborate plan for how Germany could beat
both Russia and France in a European war. Wasn't it

(33:28):
like a five year plan? It was? Or what was
the duration? It was very quick. Happened in a matter
of months. So basically the idea was that you've got
you're surrounded now because Wilhelm fucked up and made Russia
an enemy, so Germany has to fight both Russia and
France at the same time. So Schleifen's idea was that
the vast majority of the Germans army, like two or

(33:49):
three million men, would invade and conquer Paris very quickly,
and then you know, a small chunk of the German
army would hold off the Russian army in the east
until the rest of the army could be read up
and sent by rail to go fight the Russians. The
only way for them to beat France quickly was to
bypass France's fortresses and like like defensive line on the

(34:11):
German French border and invade through Belgium. Now, this would
necessitate Germany break like basically Belgium's a neutral power. So
this would like necessitate Germany launch a war of aggression
against a neutral power, and Britain had an agreement with
Belgium that they would defend them from this sort of thing.
So basically the nature of the Schliefen Plan essentially guaranteed

(34:33):
that Britain would get involved in a war between France
and Germany. Okay, so it's not a great plan. It's
a very detailed and elaborate plan, but it's not a
good idea, and it's just like article. He's like, all right,
here's what I want to do, and everyone's like, well,
at least he came up with a plan. I mean,

(34:54):
you could argue that it was the best possible plan
in the impossible situation that the Kaiser could get German. No, no, no,
But like, like, if you have to try to beat
Russia a sixth of the world, and France, the second
largest military power in Europe, simultaneously, there's really no good
way to do that. And in Schliffen's defense, this actually

(35:17):
came very close to working. Like Germany almost won World
War One very early on. They didn't in everything else
that happened. Have you had a cumber Schleifen's defense. In
this way, it's more just pointing out, like I think
it's important to note how powerful the German army was.
The German army essentially on its own because Austria Hungary

(35:37):
was useless and their allies, the Italians, turned their backs
on them almost immediately. So Germany on their own conquered
a huge chunk of France, beat Russia, beat Romania, and
conquered the majority, like almost won a war against the
entire world. And that's the force that this guy inherits,
this like young man with anger problems. Yeah, so it's

(35:59):
it's less like a guy with a gun collection and
a guy with a new collection, like he's he that's
the power of the army that he gets as birthright right,
which maybe means you shouldn't get armies by birthright. Now
there's something to think about. Yeah, hold on a second, Yeah, yeah,

(36:20):
So it's a bad it's a bad idea. So basically,
this Schleefen plan means that by the necessity, there would
be no defensive wars for Germany under the Kaiser. So
another general close to the Kaiser was helm With von Moltke.
Moltke was one of the relatively few people who was
brave enough to criticize Kaiservillehelm to his face. The cause
of his ire in the first caise was the annual

(36:43):
German war games, particularly the fact that every year they
were arranged so that the Kaiser would win no matter
what he did. Von Moltke was convinced that the next
European war would be an enormous, bloody affair consisting of
millions of men in entire nations at arms. He did
not think set piece war games like Germany, we're adequately
preparing her for this sort of conflict. And I'm going

(37:03):
to quote a passage now from von Moltke's memoires, and
this is him talking to the Kaiser. And when I
now look at the strategic war game plans which are
put before your Majesty year after year, regularly ending with
the taking prisoner of enemy armies consisting of five or
six hundred thousand men, and that too after only a
few days of operations, I cannot avoid the feeling that
this in no way meets the conditions of war. I

(37:24):
cannot engage in such wargames. Your Majesty knows yourself that
the army is led by you regularly encircle the enemy,
and in this way allegedly in the war with one blow.
In my opinion, these results can only be brought about
by forcefully distorting circumstances in such a way that the
basic principle that the wargames should be a study for
real war and should take into account all the friction
and obstacles that arise in war is not met. This

(37:47):
kind of wargame, in which to a certain extent your
Majesty's enemy is at your mercy with his hands tied
from the outset, must give rise to false ideas which
can only be pernicious when war comes. But in my
view this is not the worst part of it. I
hold it to be even more disturbing that the distorted
wargames have the effect of destroying their interest. For the
wide circle of officers involved, everybody has the feeling that

(38:07):
it doesn't matter what you do. A higher destiny controls
the business and brings it one way or another to
the desired conclusion. Your Majesty will have noticed that it
becomes increasingly difficult to find officers who want to exercise
command against you. This is because everyone says, I'll only
be wiped off the map. However, what I complain about most,
and what I must say to your majesty, is that
because of all this, the officer's confidence in their supreme

(38:30):
commander is severely shaken. The officers say that the Kaiser
is much too clever not to notice how everything is arranged,
and that he shall turn out to win, so that
must be the way he wants it. Now. The Kaiser
expressed shocked to Moltka that things had been arranged this way,
and claimed to have no idea that the wargames he
took part in every year were rigged. I honestly believe that. Yeah,

(38:50):
I think he's just diluted. Yeah, I think that he.
I mean, it's like, given his upbringing and the fact
that just no one has ever pointed anything out to
him in his entire life, it tracks that he's like,
wait a second, I'm not fucking the coolest person that's ever.
I'm not the best military leader in history, especially at
this point where he's been in charge for so long too,

(39:12):
like known as negdam in decades. Yeah, not since Henspeter,
Yeah exactly. Uh yeah, that a great thing. Now. From
an early age, Wilhelm the Second had been obsessed with
warships like most boys, but unlike most boys, he came
up to own a nation and he was able to
indulge in his obsession with naval boats. This quickly became

(39:34):
a problem. See England's thing was being the best at
having a navy. Since they were a tiny country with
a very tiny army, the Royal Navy was really the
only thing that ensured Great Britain's safety. Germany was the
unquestioned military master of Europe, and the only reason that
Britain didn't worry more was that they had naval supremacy.
But in eighteen ninety seven, Wilhelm made an admiral named

(39:56):
Alfred von Turpetz the Secretary of the Navy. Now, his
reasons for this were simple. Turpets was good at praising
the Kaiser and making him feel included in naval decisions.
Turpets had realized on their first meeting that the Kaiser
quote did not live in the real world, and had
discovered that he could very easily manipulate the Emperor by
painting a lurid picture of a gallant and unstoppable high

(40:17):
seas fleet. In eighteen ninety seven, the year after the
Kaiser's disastrous Krueger Telegram, where he praised people for killing
British soldiers. Germany passed its first naval bill, announcing a
massive expansion of the fleet, coming a year after the
Kaiser praised one of Britain's enemies for defeating her soldiers.
This was not seen as a friendly move all right.

(40:39):
According to John Setier, a professor at the University of Virginia,
quote the Kaiser often indignantly denied that Germany was challenging
Britain's domination of the seas, but there is clear evidence
that this was in fact the aim of Admiral Alfred
von Turpetz, who he had made Secretary of the Navy
in eighteen ninety seven. When in nineteen oh four Britain
settled its outstanding disputes with France, the Kaiser, at Beulou's suggestion,
went to Tangier the following year to challenge France's position

(41:01):
in Morocco by announcing German support from Iroccan independence. His
hopes of thereby showing that Britain was of no value
as an ally to France were disappointed at the nineteen
oh six Algiers conference, in which the Germans were forced
to accept French predominance over Morocco. In nineteen oh eight,
William caused great excitement in Germany by giving, after a
visit to England, a tactless interview to the Daily Telegraph,

(41:22):
telling his interviewer that large sections of the German people
were anti English. He had sent the text beforehand to Bulah,
who had probably neglected to read it, and who defended
his master very lamely in the Reichstag. This led Wilhelm
to play a less prominent role in public affairs, and,
feeling that he had been betrayed by Buloh, he replaced
him with theovald On Bethman. Holwig Bethmann's attempts to reach
agreement with Britain failed because Britain would not promise neutrality

(41:44):
in a war between Germany and France unless Germany would
limit its fleet. This, the Kaiser, interprets, refused to do. So.
There's a chance to stop Britain from coming in against
Germany and World War One, but he has to not
build a shitload of boats. And the Kaiser really wants
a sh shitload of toy boats, I mean, and he's
one and again you can track that way. The fuck bag. Yes,

(42:07):
man loves his boats. He loves his fucking boats. Jesus. Now,
that Moroccan crisis that was talked about in the quote
above very nearly resulted in World War One breaking out
in nineteen oh six, and in that case, the Kaiser
and everyone were lucky that cooler heads were able to
pull Europe's fat out of the fire. But the fact
that things had gotten that close was evidence that the

(42:28):
Kaiser's utter lack of competent ministers and gut focused foreign
policy was basically the world's deadliest game of dice. The
series of bad decisions that would lead the world into
blood soaked calamity started in nineteen oh nine, when Austria
Hungary announced the formal annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These
provinces had been administered by Vienna since eighteen seventy eight,

(42:49):
but they were formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. When
the Young terp Rebellion swept the Ottoman Empire and imposed
a constitution on the Sultan, Austria Hungary saw it as
a chance to write what they saw as a historical wrong.
Now the Ottoman Empire was allied with Germany, and that
alliance was one of Wilhelm's very few successes, but the
Kaiser was unhappy with the Young Turk Revolution because the

(43:10):
constitution they forced on the Sultan was made an imitation
of Great Britain, and Wilhelm took offense to this, backing
Austria Hungary in This was an odd decision, especially given
the fact that one of Wilhelm's later schemes was to
try and win the Muslim world over to his banner.
And we're going to talk about that. But before we
talk about how Kaiser Wilhelm tried to win over the Muslims,
let's talk about how these products and services are going

(43:32):
to try to win over your dollars. A smooth transitions usual, Robert,
maybe maybe my best. Yeah, products, we're back. Huh. Now
we're talking about Kaiser Wilhelm's attempt to make all the

(43:52):
Muslims love him. That may seem weird, but there's logic
behind it. See, the British Empire ruled a huge chunk
of the Muslim world. French Empire did as well, and
most of those Muslims were unhappy with this fact. If
Wilhelm could earn their loyalty, he thought it would provide
him with another weapon to use against England. Friendship with
the Ottomans also helped counter Germany's isolation, which was only

(44:14):
a thing because Wilhelm sucked at diplomacy. In nineteen oh five,
he said, this and the present very tense circumstances, when
we stand almost alone in the face of great coalitions
which are being formed against us, our last trump card
is Islam and the Mohammadan world. So Wilhelm saw the
young Turks and their Anglo friendliness as an attack on
his hard won courtship of their empire, so he threw

(44:35):
them under the bus to support Austria Hungary's ambitions. This
trend of supporting Austria Hungary, regardless of what it did,
would prove to be all of Europe's undoing, As Rolls
Biography notes, from then onwards, Kaiser Wilhelm ardently supported his
allies initiative, and as usual overshot the mark in his
martial enthusiasm, and the possibility of war between Austria Hungary
and Serbia loomed, he exclaimed, if only it would start.

(44:58):
He was fully aware of the danger that your he
could be drawn into a war against France and Russia.
By a Bulkan conflict. Thirteen years earlier, on November eighteen
ninety five, Philhelm the Second had assured the Austro Hungarian ambassador,
Count Ledislaw Vaughan. I'm not going to try to pronounce
this fucker's name. The Austria Hungarian ambassador quite plainly that
he would stand at Austria Hungary's side with all the
forces at my disposal, without any further inquiry as to

(45:21):
whether there's any cause for war that exists in our
accordance with our Treaty of Alliance, Your all highest Sovereign
Franz Joseph, may be quite sure that if at any
moment the position of Austro Hungarian monarchy is at issue,
my entire fighting forces will be immediately and unconditionally at
his disposal. So the Kaiser gives Austria Hungary a blank
check to do whatever they want, and it's this would

(45:42):
wind up probably being the key mistake most responsible for
plunging Europe into the First World War. Yeah yeah, seems
to be the popular opinion. Yeah yeah. When Archduke Franz
Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian partisan in the summer
of nineteen fourteen, it made Austria's war against Serbia inevitable.
Russia was bound to come to Serbia's defense, and the

(46:02):
Kaiser had repeatedly promised loudly and publicly to back Austria
Hungary in any such war. Now, there'd been another Balkan
crisis in nineteen twelve and thirteen that had almost led
Europe off a cliff into war, but again cooler heads
had talked things down this time. However, in nineteen fourteen,
there were fewer cooler heads available. For one thing, the
Kaiser's best friend, Julenberg was no longer in the picture.

(46:25):
A complex blackmail plot, orchestrated in part by pro war
elements in the German government, had been executed against Ulenberg.
The chief cause for this was Ulenberg's pacifism. Once he
was out of the picture, the Kaiser had no friends
close to him who actually cared about him as a
human being. Ulenberg was a lickpittle, but he was a
lixpittle who legitimately had Whilhelm's best interests at heart and
didn't want a war. Sorry, can you unpack the term lickspittle? Yeah,

(46:49):
he's a sickophant. He's somebody who just is going to
praise the leader and not going to question them too much.
Is that your word or is that someone else? No? No, no, no, no, no,
that's a common word. Yeah, I learned it from the
I learned it from the Simpsons, says oh, okay, well fine.
Now with Yulenberg gone, the Kaiser's next best friend was
Prince max Egon of Baden, who was closely related to

(47:12):
the Emperor of Austria Hungary, which of course had drawn
the Kaiser close to the Austrian royal family, which made
him make more and more dumb promises. I'm simplifying things
here by quite a lot because we only have so
much time. But I think this paints the essential picture
of what went on to bring Veilhelm to a point
where he was willing to make these bad, bad, bad calls.
I mean, it is kind of remarkable just hearing it
all out in order, Like how long a massive conflict

(47:36):
was avoided? Like that's yeah, there's been there's so many
close scrapes before something actually starts yep, yep, yep. And yeah,
there were a lot of other things going on. One
of them was cold, ugly math. The German general staff
had this fabulous plan cooked up by Schleief and to
win a two front war in Europe, and they'd kept
careful tabs on both the Russian and French armies, and

(47:56):
they had calculated that nineteen fourteen was basically the best
year possible for them to have a war like this
if it was inevitable, which they thought it was because
both nations had started revamping their field armies. So this
exact sequence of events that led to the outbreak of
hostilities in World War One is too long a story
to fit in at the end of an episode, and
Heiser Wilhelm's exact level of blame is heavily debated to

(48:17):
this day. Rolfe's book paints him as an eager belligerent
wringing his hands in anticipation. He was not excited for
war precisely, but he was excited for a major diplomatic
victory that would humble Russia and Britain without a shot
being fired fighting. Yeah, exactly. He understood flightding might result,
and he was willing to take that risk, but he
didn't want it to come to that. He attempted to

(48:40):
mediate between Austria and Serbia and was briefly optimistic of
peace once the Serbians yielded to most of Austria's demands,
but then his ally decided to go to war anyway,
and the Kaiser backed him. Still now, Vanderkiss's biography paints
a more reticent picture of Wilhelm. His belligerent words and
threats of violence were the same sort of impulsive passing
fancies that had steered him his entire life. He was

(49:00):
a rich kid with poor impulse control, but he ultimately
didn't want war, and when it came, he was horribly
anxious over the whole affair. Writing years later, Beulah recalled
no German and above all, no English pacifist was filled
with a profounder or more honest love of peace than
was William the Second. It was his own and our
misfortune that his words and his gestures never coincided with
his real attitude in the manner when he boasted or

(49:22):
even threatened people in words, it was often because he
wanted to allay his own timidity. I think that's right. Yeah,
Like he's an awkward, sad, insecure kid who winds up
boasting and threatening because he doesn't he's fundamentally insecure, and
because he's a crowned head of a nation it helps
lead to war. I feel like, Yeah, that does seem

(49:44):
like kind of the story of World War One in
a lot of ways, where it's like the you know,
the social conflicts are generally directing stuff, but then the
fucked up inbred leaders. Are you able to be manipulated accordingly? Yeah?
You know. There was a big debate and has been
for it still continues as to who is responsible for

(50:05):
World War One. The nation of Germany was forced to
take responsibility in the Treaty of Versailles, which was not fair.
Germany and the Kaiser are not mostly responsible for World
War One because there's so much blame to be shared
by different nations. But you could make a strong case
that the single individual with the largest share of the
blame is Kaiservillehelm the second you can make that case. Yeah,

(50:27):
I mean, and it was like he was It feels
like his whole life is setting him up to do
this level to fuck up. Yeah, exactly. You can see
it coming from so far away. It's infuriating. Yeah. Now,
once war was joined, the Kaiser was hopeful that it
would be a short, relatively bloodless affair and would leave
the overall map of Europe relatively unchanged. He's not a

(50:48):
Hitler type guy. He doesn't want to conquer France, and
he doesn't want to own and hold Belgium forever. He
wants to move through Belgium and then eventually leave. He
wants to beat France in a war and then sign
a treaty with them, take a little bit more of
their life and maybe, but he wants France to still exist.
He doesn't really want to destroy England as a nation.
He doesn't want to conquer. He doesn't want to conquer

(51:08):
the entire world, you know. No, he just wants to
suck his mom. He wants to fuck his mom, and
he wants to be seen as a military hero. I mean,
don't we all in a way? Yeah now? Yeah, we
all in a way do yeah. Now. Wilhelm believed he'd
be able to arrange peace when it was necessary at
basically any point, by just working things out one on

(51:29):
one with his royal cousins. He noted that mere democracies
could never make a peace conference work because war was
a royal sport to be indulged in by hereditary monarchs
and concluded at their will. This was part of the
idea about war at the time, which was that war
between kings never is that bad because kings are all
friends at the end, and you know, our soldiers will

(51:51):
kill each other for a while. But I don't want
you to lose your crown. I don't want things to
be that bad for you. We're just having a spat
and you know, once this is concluded satisfactorily, we can
go back to being friends. This is Bill Help's idea
at the start of this. Yeah, well because he's yeah,
because he's like talking with his cousins, like exactly, it's
like being yeah, with just no awareness for the fact

(52:12):
that there is a rest of the world of this effects. Yeah,
and this is not how things worked out. And World
War One was instant no, no, no, like a quarter
of a million Germans die in the first week of fighting,
Like it's like hundreds of thousands of people are dead
as soon as the fighting starts. Yeah, and the Kaiser,

(52:33):
you know, as the situation grows more serious, the Kaiser
is very quickly sidelined by his generals. He actually had
almost no role in the conduct of the war throughout
the vast majority of it. It was basically ceremonial. You know,
he'd address factory workers and soldiers, and he spent a
lot of his time on vacations at his farm. Germany
increasingly became a military dictatorship, and by the end of

(52:54):
it the Kaiser was as much of a figurehead as
the King of England. And of course, when the war
ended in yeah, when the war ended in German defeat
in seventeen million deaths, Wilhelm the Second was forced to
abdicate and flee the country. He spent the rest of
his life in Dorn in the Netherlands, living the quiet
life of a country gentleman in a global pariah, until
his death in nineteen forty one from being old as

(53:15):
shit in the end, I think the best epitaph for
this man was written by journalist Charles Lowe, a foreign
correspondent for The Times. He called Wilhelm quote the chief
creator of the war spirit which he found it impossible
to exercise or resist, and was thus, so to say,
devoured by his own offspring. For at the last moment,
when shrinking from the results of his own creative handiwork,

(53:35):
he allowed the sword, in his own phrase, to be
thrust into his hand, which was just as much as
if he had drawn it of his own accord, thus
proving himself to be a weak willed and criminal ruler,
the most nefarious of his kind whoever sat upon a throne.
There it is that hand comparison again. I'm sorry, you
hate to see it. You hate to see it. The
hand is all comes back to the fucking hands. Oh,

(53:57):
always back to hands with this guy. Well, yeah, what
what a coward that was set up to be of
a fucking loser that would cost millions of people their lives. Yep, yep, yep.
And that's why monarchists are the dumbest people in the world. Yeah,
they're horrible in there, and I and I hate that.

(54:19):
There's usually an end to feel kind of bad for them,
because you're like, oh, you're well, why would you not
be horrible? Why? Oh would be good? Monarchs like monarchs themselves?
Like I absolutely you have to have sympathy for a
guy like phil Helm because like, fuck man, there's no
good ending to this story, right, But like the people
who want to go back to having a monarchy, I

(54:39):
baffles me. I can't figure out. I'm like, do you
just like tabloids, like where you like fancy costumes? That's
what this shit's about I mean, like you can still
have that. There's a lot of people that will wear
a lot of fancy. You should just start watching drag Race.
If you're a marcust just start watching drag Race. You'll
get You'll get what you want. And so are you.

(55:01):
I got sorry? No, no, I guess that's the end
of my call to action for the monarchists. Has your
level of sympathy or feeling about Kaiservillehelm changed it all
over the course of these episodes, I honestly my sympathy
for him went up, Like I knew, I knew, I
knew that everyone, you know, all all the monarchy like

(55:24):
that were involved in the beginning of World War One
were dumb as rocks, you know, but dumb as a
bag of dead horses. But the but the specificity of yeah,
like how how that how they even got that far?
Is Oh, it just sucks. It sucks. I you know,

(55:44):
he just wanted to his mom to be in love
with him. He just wanted to fuck his mom's hand
and get a medal. I feel for her, and I
feel for Germany and that, yeah, God that I'm feeling.
I'm not feeling as like indignant and angry as I
usually am at the end of this. I'm just feeling empty.

(56:07):
I feel like a husk, Robert, Yeah, absolute husk right now.
I watched an interesting movie on Netflix last night called
The Exception, which is based on a book called The
Kaiser's Last Kiss, and it's it's a fictional story about
a German SS officer who is the head of Wilhelm's
bodyguard when Germany conquers the country where he's staying at

(56:30):
the start of the Second World War. And it's also
about this like British spy and it's the The movie
is more sympathetic towards Wilhelm than I think the book is.
The I wrote the book like it has a very
deep knowledge of the man. So really it's a fun
It's an interesting book that I think gives a good
a very fair like accounting of the man's personality and

(56:54):
doesn't make him into a demon or a good guy. Okay,
he's just like. One of the phrases that it says
about him is that he was half genius and half child. Yeah,
and says he's there's another Do we feel he was
a genius in any way? Is that? Is that? Do
we give him that? I don't. I didn't see that.

(57:14):
I didn't see it. Yeah, I didn't see it. There
were some parts like his his understanding of labor rights
and like the like that sort of thing, like he
was really good about certain things throughout his reign, but
he was on the whole not a good leader, but
he was he was in Like the point this guy's
making is that the things about him that he wasn't

(57:35):
smart about led him to make a lot of his
worst decisions, like that mustache, Like I mean mustache. Yeah,
when you're full of yes men, you know, when you're
surrounded by yes men who won't tell you you're dumbest shit,
you end up with that mustache and that life. Yeah, yeah, yeah,
there's there's there's a lot of good quotes in that book.
I I'm reading the book right now and it's fun.

(57:58):
So maybe check that out if you want more Kaiser
Vilhelm in your life. That's a hard he if you'll
pardon the phrase, he drew a rough hand in life.
Oh don't say, don't mention hands in front of him.
He loses it and then he played that hand for shit,

(58:20):
O god, and then he's just like shaking his operational
fist at the sky. You hate to see it. He
might be the worst at a job that anyone's ever been. Yeah,
like really really bad. Why you shouldn't just be given
the most consequential jobs, not a job that should have existed. Nope,

(58:42):
certainly not. And you get the feeling. If he'd been
a ceremonial monarch like the King of England is today,
he'd have been great at it. He loved marching around
and wearing uniforms outfits an Instagram monarch. Yeah, he would
have been very happy if he'd never had to make
a real decision. He if he was just posting fit
checks every day, like he would be happy as a

(59:05):
little clam first posting about the Russian Army. Fine about
his mom, Yeah, just another pick of me and mamah.
Yeah no, but uh, you know, you know, monarchists, you're idiots,
You're dumb, You're unnoticed, dumb. See you in the comments section. Yeah,

(59:27):
we're gonna really bring the monarchist listeners to behind the
bastards out of the words for folks. Me. Yeah, it's
one of those things. I had this opinion before I
started doing this research that kings were basically the same
as dictators, and I don't feel that way anymore, in
part because of all this reading about how hopelessly everyone

(59:48):
watched this guy slouch towards being in power and couldn't
stop it, which like a dictator sees his power generally
and like there's not really a question about it, like
they take the pow and even if everyone, like a
lot of people know they're bad at it, like they
take it. Whereas with this everyone's like, yeah, this guy's
going to be a disaster, too bad, there's nothing to
do about it, right. That's the thing is it seems

(01:00:10):
like if he had had been if he had been
given a way out or that wouldn't have resulted in
eternal shame upon him and his family, he absolutely would
have taken it if he could still have been the Kaiser,
but not have had to make maybe I don't know,
maybe a prince. He just wanted to be a fashion king. Yeah,
I do think he want He wanted to be a

(01:00:30):
military power too though, and like I don't think he
wanted to in that. I don't think it was inherently
a military kind of guy, but because his whole family
had raised him to believe that it's shameful to be
a Prussian and not be a great warrior. Yeah, like, yeah,
it's fucked, man, it's a bummer of a story. It's
it's definitely fucked. I hate that. I feel for him,

(01:00:53):
but I don't it kind of can't. It doesn't mean
he didn't get millions of people killed and isn't a
piece of shit, But like it also means that, like, well,
fuck you. You plug anybody into that job with that
kind of upbringing, how how does it end? Well? How
does it appear? Yeah, it's as I blame society, Robert,

(01:01:14):
I blame very specific assholes, not society in general. I
blame we live in a society. That's my whole point.
I blame George Hinspeter, Queen Victoria, uhh, the Empress Augusta,
and a couple of other terrible assholes, and some bad,

(01:01:35):
bad doctors. I blame the doctor's own. I blame the
arm stretcher. Whoever made that that. They really have a
lot to answer for, all right, And it didn't work,
first of all, and second of all, it was deeply humiliating,
and and and you can sort of trace the death
of many people to the humiliation from the arms stretcher.

(01:01:58):
So by an arm stretcher. By the way, this podcast
is supported by an arm stretcher. I came on for
an arm stretcher right now. Oh, your child, the Prince
of Prussia is his arm gimp stretched out of course?
Good lord, oh boy, yeah he is. You do have

(01:02:18):
to you can't really understand him, nless you understand that
he was also a disabled man who was abused by
a bigoted medical establishment, right bye bye. Yeah, and and
there was like no option or ability for him to
be accepted as he was. It's yeah, it sucks. It
fucking sucks. You know what doesn't suck? Jamie what your pluggables?

(01:02:41):
That's well wait and see, no kidding, they're great. You
can follow me on Twitter at Jamie christ or no
at Jamie Loftus help. Uh. You can listen to I'm
releasing a short form podcast called My Year in MENSA.
That's about my horrible year in the MENSA organization. So excited.

(01:03:02):
I'm very Robert your voice is in it. Thank you.
I was editing it in just yesterday. It comes out
on Thanksgiving. It's a full blown nightmare. I hope people
listen to it. And yeah, then you can listen to
the Bechdel Cast every Thursday, and that's and those are
my plugies. Listen to the Bechdel Cast, Listen to My
Year in Mensa, which is Jamie's year in Mensa, not

(01:03:24):
my year, not your year. But you know you could
if you wanted to, But yeah, I know. No. I
could not find us on the internet at behind the
Bastards dot com or we'll level the sources for this.
Find us on Twitter and Instagram at bastards pod and
find some room in your heart to buy a next
stretching machine for the young infant child in your life

(01:03:45):
today and be sure they grow up just like the Kaiser.
I gotta go get a stretch in right now, right
after I write my mom the scariest letter I've ever
wrote in my life. Everybody write your mom's about their sexy,
sexy hands. Everyone writing about their mom's hands. No shame,
Just don't hit send. It's so shameful. It's that shame.
Robert is pro shaming people horny for their mom's hands.

(01:04:08):
I'm a little more open minded. That's the fucking episode. Bye.
Behind the Bastards is a production of cool Zone Media.
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