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 Wilhelm II's abdication

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PostSubject: Wilhelm II's abdication   Mon 09 Jan 2017, 22:35

In Long to Reign?, A. W. Purdue wrote: Emperor Wilhelm II could have perhaps saved the Hohenzollern dynasty by abdication in the late summer of 1918 in favor of his grandson, the twelve-year-old Prince Wilhelm.    
Prince Wilhelm was the son of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany.  
Who would have been the regent: Crown Prince Wilhelm or one of his brothers?
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II's abdication   Tue 10 Jan 2017, 10:08

By late summer 1918 Germany's position was fairly hopeless. If Wilhelm II had abdicated then, any change in the succession (eg in favour of his grandson), if it was to have a chance of permanence, would have had to be made with an eye to the imminent end of the war. Accordingly it would almost certainly have had to take into account the views not just of the German government, army and people - who were already starting to rebel against the monarchy - but also the allies (Britain, France, Italy, the USA ... Russia etc). I can't see a monarch, whether it be Wilhelm's grandson or another Hohenzollern, successfully sat on the German throne unless it was with the agreement of the, very-soon-to-be victorious countries, and they in turn would have had to accommodate the views of the German people if there was to be any lasting stability.

To my mind any sons or grandsons of Willhelm II would have been seen as far too close to the Kaiser to have been acceptable as either king or regent or even as interim president of a republic. The British might possibly have accepted some remote German princeling - especially if he was closely related to the British royal family and pro-British - but I can't see that the French would ever have entertained the idea. So if Wilhelm II had abdicated in favour of his grandson (and assuming the lad accepted the crown having recently seen his cousins the Tsar and Tsesarevich executed by revolutionaries), I feel the poor boy would barely have had time to get his 12 year-old bum on the throne before he in turn was forced to abdicate, either as a result of revolution or at the demand of the victorious allies, or both. The choice of a possible regent therefore becomes rather irrelevant.

You've obviously read Purdue's work (I haven't) ... so why does he think the Kaiser's grandson would be an acceptable successor?
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II's abdication   Thu 12 Jan 2017, 01:29

Prince Wilhelm Friedrich Franz Joseph Olaf was the eldest son of Crown Prince Wilhelm. Wilhelm Friedrich was born July 4, 1906. From reading Purdue, I have the impression that Purdue believed because Wilhelm Friedrich was only twelve when the War ended, he, Wilhelm Friedrich, would not have had decades of political and governmental training. He would be more easy to influence.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilhelm II's abdication   Thu 12 Jan 2017, 11:30

At this time of the war the ordinary German probably was more interested in getting enough food to survive the blockade-forced bleakness, than in who was the formal head of state.

The Army was still in a relatively organized state, but mutiny was rife in the Imperial Navy and it spread to Army, and to the populace in general, as seen by the civil-war like circumstances immediately following the armistice and the armies returned to be disbanded according to the Versailles Treaties.

The disorderly situation was, imho, most clearly shown by the governments of the day having to depend on various Freikorps to fight insurgencies all over the place*), the following inflation, and eventually moving the Reichshauptstadt to Weimar.

* Note: Some years ago I saw a German TV production trying to look into how many people disappeared as results of these local civil wars, I seem to remember that no actual number could be reached.
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