In these memoirs the Kaiser sets out to justify events and decisions taken by him during his thirty year reign, an apologia pro vita sua. He does not reminisce about his childhood and youth but plunges straight in with the nature of the relations and the quarrel between Bismarck and himself, for it was only two years into his reign that he gave the chancellor he had inherired from his grandfather Wilhelm I and his father Frederick III (they both died in 1888) the imperial heave-ho.The magazine Punch commented on this with its famous cartoon “Dropping the Pilot”. Wilhelm had been described by his grandmother, Queen Victoria, as conceited and hot headed; he was certainly impetuous and liable to swings of mood and moments of indecision; he firmly believed in the divine right of kings. An accident at birth had left him with a withered arm which he always tried to conceal. He was vainglorious and loved dressing up in uniform and striking imperious poses. He cherished his relations with his armed forces to whom he was the All Highest War Lord. He liked to command an army in peacetime manoeuvres and he also liked to win, something the opposing commander always had to keep in mind if he was to have any further prospects. He nearly caused his Chief of Staff, von Moltke, to have a heart attack when he suddenly tried to reverse the mobilzation orders that were being put into effect in August 1914. This book is an interesting study of a character who wasn’t the great Emperor he liked to think he was. He did do much for science and technology and was responsible for the creation of a High Seas fleet to challenge the Royal Navy. His relations with England were on a love hate basis; Edward VII (who couldn’t stand him) was his uncle and George V his cousin. He maintained to the end that the army was stabbed in the back and that he bore no blame for the war
In these memoirs the Kaiser reminisces about his thirty year reign, seeking to justify events and the decisions he took.