Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859-1900

By Lamar Cecil | Go to book overview

Two
THE EDUCATION OF A PRINCE

THE ARRIVAL of the royal party at the palace in Cassel was complicated by a suspicious porter, who was reluctant to believe that the two simply dressed boys who descended with Hinzpeter from a public conveyance were in fact princes of Prussia. Once this misunderstanding had been cleared up, General von Gottberg set about establishing the household, which alternated between the town palace (Fürstenhof) and Wilhelmshöhe, a castle set in an elegant park on the hills overlooking the city. Although Gottberg was very efficient, he had a relaxed and amiable manner that ingratiated him with Wilhelm, Heinrich, and the rest of the staff. Hinzpeter, however, disliked Gottberg intensely, for he mistrusted any other person, and especially a military figure, who might have an influence on his royal pupils.1 Hinzpeter succeeded in asserting his dominance over Gottberg, and there was never any question that the tutor was the ultimate authority in all matters pertaining to the princes. In addition to Hinzpeter and Gottberg, the staff included a teacher to continue Wilhelm's instruction in English and French. Initially a Swiss gentleman filled the position, but in October 1875 he was replaced by François Ayme, a twenty-five-year-old Frenchman who had been recommended to Wilhelm's parents by the distinguished French statesman, Adolphe Thiers. Ayme seems to have been a sensible young man, and he fortunately got on well not only with his students but also managed to become a friend of both Gottberg and Hinzpeter.

The Gymnasium at Cassel was a private school attended primarily by children of townspeople. The headmaster was Gideon Vogt, who taught Latin and Greek and whom Wilhelm remembered fifty years later as strict but unpedantic and quite affable outside the classroom. Vogt was an energetic and judicious man who was equal to dealing with the problems created by the enrollment of so august a pupil as the eventual heir

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Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859-1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Names Appearing in Text and Notes xvii
  • One - The Heir 1
  • Two - The Education of A Prince 30
  • Three - A Potsdam Lieutenant 55
  • Four - The End of A Reign 88
  • Five - The Ninety-Nine Days of Kaiser Friedrich III 110
  • Six - Bismarck in Trouble 125
  • Seven - 1890 147
  • Eight - Caprivi, Eulenburg, and the Fall of Waldersee 172
  • Nine - Caprivi and the "New Course" 189
  • Ten - Uncle Chlodwig 212
  • Twelve - Our Arrogant Cousin, Albion 263
  • Thirteen - Rule Germania 291
  • Fourteen - Greatness and Eternal Glory 319
  • Notes 341
  • Bibliography of Manuscript Sources 441
  • Index 453
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