The Kaiser vs. Bismarck: Suppressed Letters by the Kaiser and New Chapters from the Autobiography of the Iron Chancellor

Excerpt

Professor of History in Columbia University

THE year 1888 possesses a special and memorable significance in the history of Germany. It was the year of the Three Emperors, witnessing the passing from the scene of two figures who had long been active and familiar, who had been connected with great events and high transactions in the realm of politics and war, witnessing also the arrival upon the stage of a new figure, quite unknown, of quite incalculable import, whose probable destinies the world was in no position even vaguely and loosely to forecast, so little had his personality been revealed. William I died on March 9, 1888, at the age of ninety-one; his son and successor, Frederick III, after a reign of a hundred days of physical agony and spiritual fortitude, died on June 15th, at the age of fifty-six; and William II, twenty- nine years old, on that day ascended the most powerful throne in Europe, from which thirty years later he was to be hurled in the midst of a whirlwind of destruction which with incredible lightness of heart he had let loose upon the world. Behind the three figures and looming far above them was the man who had made them great by vastly elevating their station in the world and by endowing them with a power commensurate with their magnified opportunities. If ever there was a maker of emperors Bismarck was that man, Bis marck . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1921

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