Friday, January 26, 2007

Kaiser Wilhelm, Brooklyn Dodger

"Hey Juan Pierre, I started the tilted cap thing."

From "Today's Birthdays" at 6-4-2:

Kaiser Wilhelm BRO b. 1874, played 1908-1910, d. 1936-05-22. The last Hohenzollern to sit on the throne of Prussia, Wilhelm II was megalomoniacal, overbearing, and (it has been suggested by historian Barbara Tuchman) paranoid. His judgement may have been affected by the fact that he was a breech baby, a condition that also may have contributed to the fact that his arms were of differing lengths; he had Erb's Palsy, and worked to conceal both conditions his entire life.

Taking the throne from his father, Frederick III, a scant 99 days after Frederick inherited it from his own father, Wilhelm I, in March, 1888, Wilhelm II forced the resignation of the great German chancellor Otto von Bismark two years later in 1890, starting a reign whose belligerance, incaution, and susceptability to German warmongers would eventually plunge Europe into cataclysm. With the advent of World War I, he became increasingly isolated and inert as the German empire turned into a military dictatorship under Generals Paul von Hindenberg and Erich Ludendorff. He abdicated after the 1918 Berlin riots, fleeing to the neutral Netherlands, where Queen Wilhelmina refused to extradite him to the Allies. He lived the remainder of his life in Doorn as a country gentleman, perishing of a pulmonary embolism in 1941.