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How Wicked – Horrid

David Blackbourn: Two Duff Kings, 15 July 1999

Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser’s Early Life, 1859-88 
by John Röhl, translated by Jeremy Gaines.
Cambridge, 979 pp., £45, October 1999, 0 521 49752 3
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... To his mother, the daughter of Queen Victoria, he was ‘Willie’, or ‘Willy’. His sister Charlotte, with characteristic charm, gave him the pet name ‘Nigger’. To the British, the man who ruled Germany as Wilhelm II from his accession in 1888 until his abdication thirty years later has always been simply ‘the Kaiser’. Wilhelm has never attracted biographers in the same numbers as Bismarck or Hitler, but no fewer than three Anglo-Saxon historians have tried their hand recently ...

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