Page 1 of 2
Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:36 pm
Sometimes events can turn on the tinyest thing...
What I'd like to ask members' opinions about is this: How changed would the world have been had Wilhelm II's birthing doctor been a little more careful with the forceps?
Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:55 am
Well, was he so driven just because of his physical deformity? Hard to say. From what I've read of him he was crass, vain, ambitious and unwilling to listen to good advisors. But, he did have a huge inferiority streak that may have originated with his withered arm. Good question.
~D, the EviL
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:56 am
Kaiser Wilhelm was however very good at disguising the deformed left arm when it came to public appearences, photographs, paintings etc. He either hid it off-angle or let his left arm rest on the hilt of his sword. He often hold a pair of gloves in his left hand, thereby visually pro-longing the arm. He must absolutely have had some kind of inferiority complex about this. His whole reason-of-being as the Kaiser was as a military leader, a martial personae...
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:43 am
Hmmm....that would imply that this birth defect changed his personality to the worse alot.
I can't believe it somehow. How many people have to fight with either inborn or later aquired disabilities. For most it is a learning experience and most also master it quite well.
And what about all these bad characteristics which are told about him? Is all of that true? I dunno....
But I'm quite sure he didn't asked to be born into such a house with such bigger than life ancestors who living up to must have been an impossible quest in itself...
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:24 pm
As I recall, wasn't his right arm enormously strong? Didn't he take pleasure in shaking a person's hand and squeezing it so hard that the other person flinched?
Nice avatar M.H.!
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:34 pm
Commissar D, the Evil wrote:
Nice avatar M.H.!
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:38 pm
The difference between the Kaiser and other persons with disabilities is that Wilhelm was in a position to demand sycophancy and received it. Of course he was a prisoner of his circumstances - he was denied the negative feedback normal people receive when they go over the top. The only thing I really can hold against him as a human being is how he could go off into a comfortable retirement in '18 after sending so many of his countrymen -- not to mention millions of others around the globe -- early to their graves.
BTW the upper photo above is the best I've ever seen of him -- one of the few where he looks a king instead of someone uncomfortably acting like a king.
One aspect of this of interest here is how he turned the legendary field exercises of the German Army into a kind of puppet show, with 'enemy' as well as friendly forces acting as marionettes under his control, rather than adversarial games. This set the tactical development of the German military back years until he was finally persuaded to stay away.
What I'm interested in really is what Germany might have achieved in the era under even an average monarch, let alone a skillful one. The ancient British monarchs' trick of yo-yoing between supporting aristocracy and reaching out directly to the people could have worked wonders. What might a constitutional moderniser have done?
Michael Stürmer pointed out that at the turn of the 20th Century Germany failed to realise that, as the strongest power in Europe, it was now the guardian of the status quo rather than the upstart. It took skill to mess up such a strong position, though blame for that must be shared much more widely naturally.
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 2:01 pm
I once saw a documentary about Berlin from 1900 till shortly after WWI.
This was totally made of till then unknown and thought lost early film material and I was deeply impressed.
And I remember getting the impression that Kaiser Wilhelm II was deeply beloved by the overwhelming majority of the people. That he was a "true" monarch to them.
(That's why I'm not so sure anymore about the many bad labels he got later)
...just a subjective impression of course!
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:52 am
dduff442 wrote: how he could go off into a comfortable retirement in '18 after sending so many of his countrymen -- not to mention millions of others around the globe -- early to their graves.
How indeed could any of the leaders of the great powers go off comfortably. There was plenty of blame to go around in all the countries for starting the Great War, statesmen and generals, too. Wilhelm did not deserve all the blame for the start of the war.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:39 pm
Taylor Collector wrote:Wilhelm would have his descendants ruling Europe if his arm was not withered.
You see, he was quite vain about it, and he had gotten in the habit of having the general staff hide there arms in staff meetings.
When Germany made a seperate peice with Russia, the General staff began moving wooden blocks symbolising army groups from east to west.
Kaiser Wilhelm entered the room, and everyone hid there left arms.
Due to this, the movement of blocks happened to slowly, and there were not enough German soldiers to match the American reinforcements arriving en masse in 1918.
This is all, of course, based on the sound German tactic of basing military strategy on wooden blocks. Did you know that the flanks around Stalingrad were so lightly defended because spilled water cause the army group markers to swell?
Nevertheless, even today some countries continue to base there strategies on wooden blocks.
Are you Serious? Do you really expect anyone to believe this? What is your source?
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:35 am
Oh no, look! That insubordinate Ludendorff has his left arm on the map...
No wonder that he became a Nazi after the war...
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:09 am
Krollspell, if you'll notice, there isn't a single wooden block on that table, either.
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:43 am
if you look carefully you'll see darker shaded patches on the map. Surely this indicates where water has been spilled on the advancing blocks causing them to rot away?
Perhaps TaylorCollector should have posted his comments in the joke thread
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:18 am
In all seriousness, do we have a psychologist on the board? It does make sense that hypersensitivity to his defect may well have caused some problems in his psyche growing up. It would be interesting to hear from a professional, as opposed to those of us who had a semester of psychology in college!
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:40 am
Psychology or not...come on boys....this guy was the KAISER
Wherever he went people cheered at his sight, even the most famous VIP's bowed to him...that has to balance out his arm a bit, dontcha think?