THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
NO ONE, in Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow's opinion, was less suitable for diplomacy than Wilhelm II, and the Kaiser's unfailing indiscretion, Bülow declared not long after his fall from office in 1909, had characterized the Kaiser's entire reign. 1 Wilhelm's insuperable vanity had added greatly to the chancellor's problems, and ideally Bülow would have liked to have seen him retire altogether from diplomacy. 2 That, however, was impossible, for the Kaiser considered himself a master diplomat, and as chancellor, Bülow could do little more than point out to Wilhelm that he needed to be more careful. Advice, no matter how deftly proffered, only annoyed the Kaiser, who complained that the chancellor was treating him like a junior diplomat (Legationsrat) or a gossip (Kaffeeschwester). 3 Bülow was thus virtually defenseless, and so he could only resign himself, as had all chancellors before and after him, to adjusting as well as possible to Wilhelm's constant and singularly unfortunate interference in affairs of state.
This interference occurred most frequently in the case of England. The Kaiser never tired of noting that for years he had labored to win England's friendship, only to be cruelly rebuffed. 4 In promoting good relations with England, Wilhelm II had one essential difficulty, other than his own antic personality: there were few others in Berlin who shared his interest in doing so. Most of the Kaiser's subjects, including the military, the press, the professoriat, and the middle class, tended to share the chancellor's marked hostility to Britain. Only in the ranks of German diplomats were partisans of England to be found, among whom the most prominent was the envoy in London, Count Paul von Wolff Metternich zur Gracht. 5 The chancellor had also to deal with a sizable contingent of the business world who believed that an understanding with Britain was imperative. But for the most part, Germans held little esteem for England, and the Kaiser was,