Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: Kaiser Wilhelm: The Saddest Warlord In History

Part One: Kaiser Wilhelm: The Saddest Warlord In History

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:00

Part One: Kaiser Wilhelm: The Saddest Warlord In History

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What's doing an episode? My the podcast that I do. I'm Robert Evans, very badly. Introducing another podcast of behind the ******** the show where we talk about the worst people in all of history. And here to help me today is one of the best people in all of history. Jamie Loftus. Hi, Robert. How you doing, Jamie? I'm good. I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm having a lovely day. I'm too cold, bruised, deep. Ooh, too cold brews deep. Are you feeling optimistic? And and and and the positive about the world. I'm feeling like who we talk about today is gonna might end up actually being a pretty good guy. That's a good guy. That's how I go into every ******** episode now. I'm just like, you know what? This guy's going to end up being pretty nice. I think I might change my opinion on this fella. I think that I'm going to really have some arguments in his favor. You you might have a couple because the guy we're talking about today is Kaiser ************* Wilhelm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Your reaction was pretty intense when I told you that right before the episode. I was, well, I'm never allowed to know in advance. And then I just and then I I sit down and it's what fresh hell in terms of in terms of person, in terms of facial hair, in terms just in every this is a brutal one for me is strictly on a facial hair level. You're not a fan of his walrus mustache. Listen, I respect someone who makes a choice, right? He made a choice. You have to give him that. You. Yeah, I will hand it to him. Much like Robert Pattinson in the lighthouse, he is making a choice. Choices don't always work out. This is, I think this is one of the first subjects that I actually like no a fair amount about. I took a I took a in high school. For some reason, my last two years of high school, I only learned about World War One. That's great. It was love. World War One. I mean, I'm I stand. We stand. We have no stand. War 10. The Sam so good. The the trench. We like acted out the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It was a black one of my favorite assassinations of the assassinations. The fashion, the fashion, the fashion, the trench that helmets that didn't stop bullets. I love them. You know it. You love it. It's all so good and underrated. World War I am. Ohhh yeah. Yeah. No way better than the sequel, in my opinion. I totally agree. Sequel is overhyped. We get it, you know? I mean, I'll pick Terminator two over Terminator one. I'll pick aliens over alien, but I'm gonna pick World War One over World War Two every day of the week. Gonna pick The Cheetah Girls two over Cheetah Girls 1. And that's a controversial opinion for those not in the world. No, you don't roar. I'm still, I had to tell you who Ariana Grande was last year, which is something that it just. I still, it still shakes me to my marrow that that happened. Well, Speaking of your materials are no, no, we can't start the show until you know who the girls are, who you don't know The Cheetah Girls are. Of course I don't. I know, but I'm just are they like the Spice Girls? They wish they do wish they were like the Spice Girls, but they're a band that was started by, well, some great novellas for young girls. But it's it's like Raven Symone, 2 of the girls, right? She's the alpha, and then 2 girls from 3LW, which you also don't know what that is, and then a fourth girl who has dropped off the face of the planet. We don't know what happened to her. The point is, it was good, the singles were fine and they wore track suits. Oh, I do love track suits. And I am a big tracksuit fan. I love people in matching track suits, 'cause they wore like complimentary pastel track suits and then the second one they go to Barcelona. I think when, uh, when it comes to like, you're talking about the fashion in World War One and how how good it was, I I hope when we have our next World War that it's basically the same as World War One, but we're all wearing track suits like, that's that is my dream. Imagine that. Yeah. World War Three will be waged in Juicy Couture, head to toe, like form fitting tracksuits, comfortable waistbands. By God. Yeah, I don't want those Royal Tenenbaums tracksuits miss. I want. I want like, *** **** Hilton. Like the yeah, the ones that have, like rhinestones on them. And that's how you know who's on what side. Yeah, yeah, but the color of the rhinestones? Yeah, it'll be a Great War. Yeah, I think that this is actually going to be the best world. Or yet I I feel like we have a real chance to make it so. But before we start, before we start another World War, we should learn about one of the guys who is most behind the First World War. Now, what I think is interesting about the Kaiser is that, like most of the people we talked about on the show make a decision at a certain point to be ****** people who do like horrible, exploitative, violent things to other people, like they make a choice to be ******** at some point. But there's also another less. Common category of ******** who are just sort of born into it. They have bastardy, you know, thrust upon them by the circumstances of their family and the time they live in, which doesn't, like, make them mitigate the evils they perpetrated or remove their agency entirely. But I think it makes them more sympathetic figures than guys like Hitler or Saddam, who kind of like Dove head first into that. And Kaiser Wilhelm is like, once you understand his whole back story, you're kind of like, yeah, you were a ***** ** **** but like, how could this story have ended? Well, how could you like, yeah, how could you have? Or who would you have learned how to be a good person from, exactly? Like, how was this not gonna suck? And that's the story of Kaiser Wilhelm. Ohh, that's a good that'll be the name of the biopic. Yeah. How could this have not sucked? Yeah. OK, cool. Yeah. Kaiser Wilhelm was born of the Hohenzollern dynasty, a family of German nobles whose history stretches back nearly 1000 years. To understand where he comes from, we have to start this episode by talking about his father's birth. On October 18th, 1831. Now this is long before Germany was a thing. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia was born in Potsdam. His father was also named Wilhelm. All of the men in this story are named ******* Friedrich Wilhelm, and I don't understand why the numbering works the way it does. I don't understand any of this, but they're all named Friedrich. Wilhelm is the numbering out of order? Weird. I think it's because of, like, their middle names and **** because they have a bunch of names other than Friedrich Wilhelm, but they're they're all known as Friedrich Wilhelm. Yeah, it's it's it's very dumb. The God. I don't like when rich people try to bamboozle me. They have the same name. *** **** it. Yeah, I I would love it if the reasoning for that was just that the common people, like, couldn't be trusted to learn a new King's name. But I know it's something Dumber and more arrogant than that. It's still it's still like, I don't know, like, why are there 500 Hollywood agents named Scott and that are all the same, man? You know, it's that's that's nominative determinism. That's because if you're born Scott, you get fast tracked into CA. You got it? There's a lot of, you know, the the Scotts and the mikes and and you know we we love them. But do we? Can we tell them apart? Now, so Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, who is the dad of the Prince Friedrich Wilhelm will be talking about this episode entered the world second in line to the throne of Prussia after his brother, the Crown Prince, who is also named Friedrich Wilhelm. His parents had a typically Loveless royal marriage. His father was in love with Princess Elise Radziwill of Poland, but she wasn't noble enough for a Holland Zoller to marry, so he had to marry one of his relatives, Augusta, while vowing that he would never give his heart to her. So this is how. The relationship that leads to Kaiser Wilhelm starts now. As you might expect, familial compromises like this did not make for the happiest of home lives. In June 1840, King Friedrich Wilhelm the third died after 43 years of ruling Prussia. His oldest son succeeded him, and Wilhelm became the Prince of Prussia. So Kaiser Wilhelm's dad is now the Crown Prince of Prussia. OK, so will the the previous Wilhem his brother. His dad dies. And, well, home, right? That's. Yeah, he sure does. He sure does. His dad dies and his brother, who is the same name as him and his dad becomes the king and he is now the Crown Prince. How does that work? When his dinner time, you just shout one. I don't know. I don't know how they told each other apart. It's it's it sucks so much. Like writing this part sucks because it's just incredibly confusing. Like reading about royal. I don't understand people who like royal families because it makes me just want to start punching and never stop that. There was some really. Disturbing nicknames in the mix. It seems like the only way that this would work. Yeah, I I don't know. So when he was 18, a very right wing general named Leopold von Gerlach told Kaiser Wilhelms dad that he envied the Princess youth, for he would no doubt survive the end of this absurd constitutionalism because there were a lot of democratic movements going through the German states at this point, including pressure, which is when, like, they established the Reichstag and stuff like that. Like, people are starting to get a voice in this. Monarchs. You know that when we talk about the kaisers, we're not talking about absolute monarchs. They have more power than, obviously, the British royal family, but they're not like the Czar. Like, they don't get to just make. Yeah. Yeah. So Prince Friedrich, the Kaiser's dad, was actually a fan of the growing democratic movements in Germany. He was a liberal. He was a very progressive guy. He believed that the people deserved a constitution that would guarantee their rights and protect them from, like, nobles just wanting to do whatever. OK. Yeah, so the the Kaiser's dad's actually a pretty chill dude. He's not like, either Kaisers or Prince. He's kind, he's a Prince. He's. Yeah, he's a the Crown Prince at this point. The Prince, which is like the next in line for the throne, there's a ******** of Princess. The Crown Prince is the one who's going to be the king next. Yeah, that's the way it works all over in all the different royal families, right, right. So the Kaiser's dad again, who's also Prince Wilhelm, spent a **** load of his youth in England due to a friendship with the British royal family. That was. Orchestrated in part by our old Pal King Leopold of Belgium. Oh, this is actually one of the nice things Leopold did, because the goal of it was basically I've all these if these royal families start ******* and and marrying a bunch, then they they clearly will never fight in a war. Wow. Why Leopold? Yeah. What a problem solving. They're like, well, what if this whole family ****** each other? That would really solve politics. And he was right for a while there, for a while there, for awhile there. If he if he'd been to the American S, he would have known that having a family that ***** each other does not stop them from shooting at each other. But alas, I mean the American S once again coming out on top. They're way ahead of their time in terms of ******* and also killing their family. Yeah, yeah, now. In 1855, Prince Vilhelm was invited to Britain without his parents to stay with Queen Victoria and her family, and proposed to the Princess, who was also named Victoria because the British Royal family's justice, insufferable, was the German. Yeah, now happily enough. It turns out that the Kaiser's dad and his mom, Princess Victoria, were actually a very rare love match, which doesn't happen often in royal marriages, and they weren't closely related, which is also great. So by the summer of 1858, Princess Victoria was pregnant and expecting this, was not treated with joy by Queen Victoria. She considered this horrid news which would all end in nothing because the Princess got sick almost immediately and stayed ill throughout much of the pregnancy. Queen Victoria was not an optimist. Yeah. The royal doctors assured everyone that things would be fine, but the Princess is midwife. Miss Innocent knew at a single look that the pregnancy would not end well. Miss innocent? Yeah. Named after Pope innocent. I think that's what I I feel like. I had a shirt that said that in junior high. Different meaning. I had miss innocent, miss Independent. After the Kelly Clarkson song. Other Pope, yeah, 99%. Angel, 1% devil that. Yet another Pope. A lot of popes that you had shared, spaced off of 99 Percent, 1%. He was the guy. He was of the popes, one of the top. Ohh no, I mean pretty close to being a complete Angel. Yeah. Now, we don't know precisely what went wrong with Kaiser Wilhelms birth, but it is certain that the doctors who manage the birth ****** ** in some way. Some of this is due to the fact that the infant Kaiser was a breech birth. At that time in central Europe, about 98% of babies born in breach were stillborn. So almost all of the babies Born This Way died. But obviously the Kaiser had the very best doctors. I mean, you might argue that his doctors did a great job of bringing him through alive, but no one at the time said so. The Princess would later write off the bungling way she was treated, and it seems like what happened is while they were pulling him out of the birth canal, they basically ripped his left arm off of his body and ****** it like like did they didn't sever it, but like ripped the muscles and ****. So he has his arm as ****** ** from the jump. Now, the Princess was confined to bed rest after the birth for a month, but both she and the child survived, albeit not without permanent damage. When the birth was announced to the people of Prussia by a field Marshall, the baby Prince was described as as sturdy, a little recruit as a heart could wish to see. But the obstetrician told a different story. The infant was seemingly dead to a high degree. No? Yeah, that's that's how they described it. Absolutely. Savage, take on that infant. Yeah, yeah. Really roasting the baby, Kaiser? His survival was considered close to miraculous. And I'm going to quote next from the book Kaiser Willhelm, the second Germany's last emperor by John Vander Kist. OK. Three or four days after the birth, Miss Innocent drew doctor Martin's attention to the baby's left arm hanging lifelessly from the shoulder socket. The father was told at once. When he asked the German doctors, they reassured him that the damage was only temporary paralysis, which would improve with a little gentle massage at first, followed by exercises at a later stage. This would prove to be optimistic and untrue. Even as an adult, Williams left arm was six inches shorter than the right. He reminds me of Nemo. Who is Robert from? Finding Nemo. The one that gets found. Ohh yeah, yeah, yeah. He's he is. He is. And like Nemo, he grows up to spark a war that kills 17 million people. That is what happens far. Hasn't gotten to that that movie yet, but that's how the story goes. Well, they're all about revisionist history over there. It's a disaster. Yeah, Nemo did become, yeah, like a brutal general. He's he's actually people blame global warming for the whole, like, coral reef dying off, but that's simply not the case. Yeah, and also, like the Kaiser, super anti-Semitic didn't come up in the movie once, but really, really, really far off there. But you get the feeling that they're just cutting away just before something terrible happens. It's in every scene in that movie, he has a copy of the protocols of the Elders of Zion. Tucked beneath his good fin. Oh my God, you know I again. I love fun fact, I love movie trivia. So the young Kaiser's hand looked normal when he grew up, but it is the actual arm and hand itself were too weak to hold anything much heavier than a piece of paper. He spent his life hiding it out. Yeah, it's that's ******* hard. Yeah. If you look at pictures of him, he's always hiding his left arm out of sight in a coat pocket or like like kind of up to his side with like a glove on. And he had gloves that would help, like extend the length of his hand a little bit to make it look more normal. I've decided I forgive him. Now we're cool, yeah, yeah, you're you're going to wind up feeling very sympathetic throughout a significant chunk of this until we get to the parts of it where he's a giant ***** ** ****. Yeah. Now, as van der Kiste book notes, hiding this deformed arm became a guiding motivation for the young Prince. Throughout his life. Few photographs showed his left arm clearly, let alone the hand from an early age. The art of concealing it from the camera lens became second nature to him. It meals he could not manage an ordinary knife and fork, but his bodyguard always carried a special combined one while the person sitting next to him discreetly cut up his food. As if to compensate, his right hand had an iron grip, something he would often exploit as an adult when greeting people for the first time with a vice like handshake. Sadistically turning the rings on his fingers inward first so as to add to the other person's discomfort. If these men or women were English. He laughed heartily at their winces as he made jibes about the mailed fist. OK, yeah, he grows up with a bit of a thing. Yeah, I mean, I guess you have to. It begs the question, like, if I had power or influence as a 12 year old with a back brace, would I have oppressed other people? I don't know. I feel like probably would have, yeah. Any any furious? 12 year old that feels out of place. If they had the IT just no 12 year olds have the ability to. He's the rare one. Yeah, if I had absolute power at the age of 12 when I was like a like an insecure fat kid who didn't know how to be social, I would have killed 1,000,000 millions when I. Wouldn't I? I know, like I was a gigantic walking rectangle for most of my formative years. What if I what if someone could have suffered for that? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, OK. Now, the Kaiser's hand was not the only part of him injured by the circumstances of his birth. His neck was also damaged and his head tilted to the left his entire life. His left ear was likewise unformed, and he was partly deaf and had problems with balance. As a result of this, his entire life he suffered from constant. Ear infections and required a series of surgeries which left him eventually completely deaf in his left ear and frequently subjected him to intense pain that probably contributed to his infamous temper tantrums. There's also a chance that he was born profoundly mentally ill with a specific kind of mental illness that is common among royal families as a result of inbreeding. There's no proof of this, and I kind of think that the other stuff explains his temper tantrums and **** more than than porphyria. I think it was the name of the illness. But it's possible he had like a brain thing going on, too. Got it now. In short, the Prince who would one day become the Kaiser came into this world with very serious difficulties to overcome, even for a child born as wealthy as a child could possibly be born right. His father, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, was a decent guy and handled this with love and support. But his grandfather, who was the Kaiser, was said to have noted that he wasn't sure if he should even congratulate his son on the birth of a defective Prince. And like one of the German generals who's around when the Kaiser is like a little kid is like no one with a ****** ** arm should ever become the Kaiser. Like, you shouldn't even be alive. So, like, this is not his parents are really good and really loving, but like he also grows up in this very unforgiving culture that cannot tolerate physical imperfection. I mean, and being I feel like, especially for like young, oh God, just an emasculated 12 year old. Is there anything with more? Angel for danger? Yeah. No, not. Not really, no. So the Princess was a devoted and loving mother. In a letter to his grandmother, Queen Victoria, the kid who would become Kaiser Willhelm was Queen Victoria's first grandchild. So in a letter to his grandmother, his mother wrote, your grandson is exceedingly lively and when awake will not be satisfied unless kept dancing about continually. He scratches his face and tears his caps and makes every sort of extraordinary little noise. I am so thankful, so happy. He is a boy. I longed for one more than I can describe. My whole heart was set upon a boy, and therefore I did not expect one. Ohh. So kid is very deeply loved and and has, you know, kind of your best case scenario for parents in this period of time. Yeah, like, sure he was a breached birth, but at least he wasn't a girl child. We would have hated that. Well, you know, I I think I don't get that feeling from her. I get the feeling more that she just like #1. Like one of your jobs as a Princess in this. Is to like give birth to an air. Like they had daughters and she treated the daughters well, like they like they weren't like didn't hate their daughters. Yeah, well, there's there's just a lot of **** built up around having a son to continue the line. And the fact that her first child was a son like that takes a lot of the pressure that that's good for her because then people stop giving her ****. Exactly. I think that's a big part of why she feels that way. It's also, you know, like even today, like my friends who get married have expressed preferences, like, oh, I hope it's a boy. I hope it's a girl for whatever, whatever thing they want to do with the kid. Like, I I I don't get the feeling that, like, she was being ******. By saying that what you do when you hear about the Czar? Well, no. Yeah. It's weird. Like the Czar, their first kid was a girl. And like, his the czar, like his his wife wrote to him that, like, oh, I'm so sorry. Basically that I wasn't able to provide a son. And he was like, no, no, it's fine. We have a son. The son belongs to Russia. This daughter, you know, is ours. So we get to really just, like, spoil her and enjoy having a child. And we'll we'll have the son later. So I don't know. You get a mix of reactions from the royal family. They're all fears. Yeah, as as far as that. Situation goes. I guess that's one of the better ways it could shake. Yeah, alright, yeah. So we know a lot about the life, and particularly the childhood of the Kaiser, more than we know about the life and childhood of literally anyone else I've ever talked about on the show. Because he was born to be king, so every scrap of correspondence from his parents and his teachers and his relatives about him and from himself has been saved and is in archives. So it's fair to say there's more detail on the early life of this guy than any other person I've covered on the show, which is probably why I'm more sympathetic about this guy. Is when you have that much detail to draw on. Like, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for get when you know that much about kids. Miserable childhood one way or another. Exactly. That's tough. Yeah. Nemo. That's why they made Finding Nemo. That's why they made Finding Nemo with a monster. They're like, well, he lost his mother young. He got, he got kidnapped by the ocean and he had a. He had a difficult fence. So we should forgive him for his sins. Yeah, for his rabbit. anti-Semitism. I mean, I can't say it enough. Yeah, it's really impossible to overemphasize. So Prince Wilhelm was baptized on March 5th, 1859. Queen Victoria was unable to attend and was represented by Lord Raglan, the British commander during the Crimean War and one of the guys in charge of the Light Brigade. He's that dude. So that's who, like, represents his grandma at the at the at the baptism. Now, yeah, in general, the future Kaiser had a very British upbringing. His nurse, Mrs Hobbs, was English. His chief doctor, Sir Benjamin Brody, was also British. The British has names I've ever heard. Yeah, very bulbs. Yeah, this kid is half British. You have to remember that because, like, his mom is an English Princess. His grandmother is the ******* literal Queen Victoria. And he has, he's raised. But like, he grew up without he he he spoke English perfectly, with almost no accent. Like, you can listen to speeches by this guy in English, and it it yeah, he you you can barely notice the accent. So posh, that's yeah. It's impossible to overstate how intermarried and intermingled. The royal families that helped launch World War One were Prince Wilhelm. The guy who became the Kaiser was also the Prince of Orange and in line for the throne of England. His current like great grandson who's alive today is 170th in line for the British throne over in Russia. The Czars wife was a German Princess and the Czar and the Kaiser were cousins. All of the monarchs in charge of the primary belligerents in World War One shared grandparents and aunts and were cousins and had grown up. Together, those are my favorite letters I wish I haven't. Like, it's been like almost 10 years now, but like the reading through the letters between cousins where they're like, are we going to start a war? Like. And all these people killed. Yeah. So **** it's so bizarre being, like, what if I could just write my cousin Tammy and be like, so, like, how attached are we to people? Yeah. How much do we like 4 to 6 million of our young men? Like, can we just. Do you feel able to just. And it's so bizarre knowing that their cousins that, like, for the most part, know each other. Like, it's just very weird. Yeah. And and love each other. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're like, there's those, like, the letters. Between Wilhelm and this and this are they're so bizarre. It's just yeah yeah. You know what's not bizarre, Jamie? What, Robert? The products and services that support this podcast on their advertising petrodollars. I love a product and I love a service. Well. Here's both OK. 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You can get 9 free meals right now by going to nine that's nine and use the code B TB9 for 9 free Dash B9. We're back. Ohh, what a nice product or service though is just described it was nice. Now let's get back to talking about Prince Wilhelm's misshapen arm. His poor little fan. It won't swim, right? Yeah. His damaged arm was a matter of serious concern for the German royal family, or Prussian at this point. Royal family? His nurse rubbed massage oil on it daily to try and stimulate growth. Wilhelms doctors ordered that his arm be tied to the side of his leg for an hour a day in order to try to force it to grow normally. Oh my God. He is a back brace for his arm. Oh, we we're getting to the back brace. Oh yeah, yeah. Now, the infant Prince had almost no feeling. On the limb and barely noticed most of this while most of his treatments were ineffective but benign. Some were really brutal, and I'm going to quote now from the book Kaiser Willhelm the second a concise life by John Roll. When the infant was six months old, Professor Bernhard von Langenbeck of the Charity Hospital in Berlin prescribed animal baths twice a week. Wilhelms left arm was inserted into the body of a freshly slaughtered hair for half an hour and the hope that the wild animals warmth and vigor would be transferred to the arm. This stuck him arm deep in a dead animal. No, why? He was a baby. You're just like he's. How is his? How would this grow up to be a good person? This is like biblical curses. They're forcing upon a baby. Shove a fresh bloody corpse on the literal infant child's arm for an hour. Like, how does that not **** him up? Someone in the room, like we've got to make sure that this is remembered, because what if it works? What if it works? What if he's the best king ever? I mean, since we're gonna do this to all of them? Science is beautiful and there's it's never gone wrong. God, that's. And again, brutal. He's the Prince of Prussia. So this is like the best doctor you can get at the time and the country, Germany at this point is renowned as having some of the best doctors on the world. So this is like the height of medical science. What is happening? Does everyone else I you know, I honestly, I would rather die at 24 than have that be my medical regimen. I would have rather have died years ago. It's terrible now. Perhaps the most damaging treatment came at the direct. Orders of Queen Victoria and I'm going to quote now from John van der Kiste biography. Queen Victoria's a ***** ** ****. By the way, just as a heads up, I, I did the monster I went to. I went to England over the summer brag and we did the Buckingham Palace tour because I just, I just wanted to see what it was like and the oh, the revisionism on like there's not, there's no mention of Wilhelm. There's no mention of you know, it's just too messy. They're like she was really nice. She hated when her husband died. Thanks for the $40. Yeah, yeah. Well, here's a little bit more about Queen Victoria hit it. The Princess we're talking about, Kaiser Ville homes. Mom doted on babies, and within a few days of his birth she had started breastfeeding him to the revulsion of her mother-in-law. Knowing Queen Victoria's views on the subject were at one with hers, she, the mother-in-law, wrote to the Queen, asking for her approval and putting it into this odious habit. Much to the young mother's disappointment, her baby was promptly handed over to a wet. Nurse whose milk irritated his bowels and caused regular stomach upsets. So the Queen of Prussia and Queen Victoria both hate breastfeeding because they think it's a gross commenter thing to do, and so they make somebody whose milk makes Kaiser Wilhelm sick breastfeed the baby. You know what? My mom did the same thing, except with formula. So, you know, my mom was just like you. Stay away from me. Here's some here's some Nestle chemicals. Good luck with your life. Years later, his grandmother, the Empress Augusta, his other grandmother, would lie to Kaiser Wilhelm and tell him that his mother had refused to breastfeed him because she found his arm disgusting. Ohhh, but his mom was nice. Oh, that his mom was nice. She's just a ***** who hates his mom and his like he. Like I said, how does this kid not grow up ****** **? Like like I don't like women on. I don't like women on women. Conflict. It's not fair. We don't need it. It makes me upset. I. Although it my grandma did that though to my. And, like, it's it's less damaging when the babies that are getting like, manipulated by the ****** ** people aren't growing up to be the emperors of Germany. Yeah, yeah, it's it's not. I mean, just regular ****** ** people are the best. But yeah, just enough damage as it is. Yeah, don't give anyone any power. Nobody turns out great. No, everyone's a disaster. Like every now and then, every now and then you get a Danny DeVito. But most of us don't turn out. Just with Danny DeVito. I love Danny. What about Billy Zane? I don't know anything about Billy Zane. Is he nice? He's nice. Good. Good for Billy Zane. Everyone, let's replace Congress with Danny DeVito and Billy Zane. You know what? The only two white men we can support at this point. Yeah. Now, in 1860, when the Prince was one year old, his doctors began giving him daily electromagnetic therapy, applying constant galvanic current to his neck for hours every day to attempt to stimulate blood flow in his. Arm electrocuting the infant Kaiser for hours a day did not work either. You're kidding. God, it's just like your child has a disability. Yeah, we're 4 pages in and we haven't stopped talking about the ****** ** ways they damaged this kid trying to heal his arms he feels. So I got it is hard not to feel for him. You like. That's a lot to deal with. Hell, your families electrocuting you because they find you to be gross? That's yeah, a nightmare. That's a cross to bear. Only is on January 2nd, 1861, King Friedrich Wilhelm the 4th died and Prince Vilhelms grandfather became Kaiser Vilhelm the first. He was 63 at the time. Two years later in 1863, when the Prince who would become the Kaiser that we're talking about. I know this is confusing. I'm gonna call like, when I say King Frederick Wilhelm the 4th, he's also a Kaiser Wilhelm. I'm only going to call the Kaiser Wilhelm from World War One that we're talking about this episode the Kaiser for the sake of, like, making this make sense. So when the future Kaiser was four, his doctors presented him with a terrifying and barbaric machine designed to help him treat another one of his ailments. See, four years after birth, Vilhelm had developed torticollis caused by the healthy muscles on the right side of his neck pulling his head downwards. In that direction now, this would obviously be way too visible an ailment to possibly let the King of Prussia have the future King of Prussia have. So to treat this, his doctors prescribed him what his mother called a head stretching machine. That sounds safe. Sounds. He had to wear an hour a day every day, and in a letter to Queen Victoria the Prince's mother described it thusly. A belt around his waist to the back of which an iron bar is affixed. The bar leads up the back of to something which looks exactly like a horse's bridle. The head is then fixed in this and positioned as desired by means of a screw which adjusts the iron bar. Why can't we? This is ohh I feel sad. I'm sad Robert. This sucks now. The young Prince eventually went through facial surgery to correct this, which alleviated the problem at the cost of some permanent disfigurement. He was also subject to an arm stretching machine which was used on him for years and was similar to the next stretching machine. These are the medieval torture devices like this is not helpful. Yeah, the thing that actually did help his arm to grow somewhat was a course of regular. Gymnastics. Which holistic stuff worked? Go figure. Like, act like just actual exercise? Yes. That one didn't seem to help there. It's so I'm. I'm like, I mean these, these, these doctors have to have at least the foresight to give the arm stretching machine a confusing name so you don't notice it's an arm stretching machine. Yeah. I mean, I've only heard it referred to as the arm stretching machine, but it probably had a fun German nickname. A doctor Seuss sounding thing. Yeah. In spite of all this horror, vilhelm's early childhood was considered, he remembered it at least as fairly pleasant. His mother and father were both doting parents, which was unusual impression families of that era. He was the baby of the Global Royal family. And for a time, Queen Victoria's favorite grandchild. Starting in 1863, he began to regularly visit his aunts and uncles and cousins in Great Britain. John Vander Kiss described him as a spirited child quote. On his way to Saint George's Chapel, Windsor, he threw his aunt Beatrice's **** out the carriage window. Beatrice was only five years old at the time and in no position to exercise any authority over him. Queen Victoria's youngest child, she wasn't always remained her her mother's baby, a name her nephew soon picked up when she told him petulantly that he must address. There's an aunt, he snapped back, aunt, baby. Then bored. During the long marriage Service, while most of his relations were shedding emotional tears, he pulled his Dirk, which is a knife from his stocking, and threw it noisily across the Chapel floor. When his young uncles, Arthur and Leopold, remonstrated with him, he bit them in the legs. Sweet kid. I mean, I gotta love that he he bites King Leopold of Belgium, the slaughterer of the Congo, in the leg for yelling at him for throwing a knife during a wedding, which is awesome. That actually does sound like what you would have done. Yes, that's I. Little little knife thrower. Really bonded over knife throwing. I love throwing knives. When I if I anytime I get really drunk, I'm going to throw knives. I you know, I I I I know that to be true. That's great. I think I also had a shirt that said Aunt baby in middle school. There's a lot of these phrases are bringing are bringing back some some memories aren't, baby. That's actually a sick burn for that is a sick bird. He was, he was not not witless. Had some heads quick. Yeah, that's quick for like a four year old too. Not bad. **** you, baby. **** you want, baby. I have no punch UPS. That's great. Hell yeah, kid. Now, in 1864, the Prince's father, who was the Crown Prince, fought in the Presho Danish War and returned home a war hero. The future Kaiser's father would again win laurels in the Franco Prussian War of 1871, which is what led to the establishment of the German Empire. Some of the Prince's earliest strong memories, the future Kaiser strong memories, were his father sending back captured battle flags and glorious reports of conquest from the front lines. So he grows up like with some of his earliest memories being his dad, being a legitimate war hero, like he was really close to the front. Obviously not in as much danger as an infantryman, but he was like participating in battles and leading troops in combat. Good stuff. OK, so as he grew into an adolescent, the young Prince gradually overcame many of his physical limitations. He learned how to swim in row and was quite good at it. His grandmother, Queen Victoria, was ever on the watch for signs of pride. From her first grandchild she told the Crown Princess to bring him up simply, plainly, and not with that terrible Prussian pride and ambition which grieved dear Papa so much, and which he always said would stand in the way of Prussia, taking that lead in Germany which he ever wished her to do. If only the Germans were more British. If only the. Germans were more were more humble. Like us. All we did was conquer 1/4 of the world's land surface. Unlike these arrogant Germans, the notoriously chill and tolerant British yeah, yes, yeah. Now the Princess parents seem to have listened to this advice. Starting in mid 1866 when the future Kaiser was seven and starting school, George Hanspeter was chosen to be his tutor. Now Hinze Peter was a Calvinist, which means he believed that only a predetermines elect few ever got into heaven and the vast majority of humanity was destined for hell no matter what they did. As you might expect, he was a gigantic ****. He also looked exactly like the dude who played Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones. Like Sophie looks up his picture like exactly like him. It's really weird now. Hins Peters Educational program involved 12 hour days of mixed study and exercise. It was, in his words, based exclusively on a stern sense of duty and the idea of service. The character was to be fortified by perpetual renunciation, the life of the Prince to be molded on the lines of Old Prussian simplicity. It's ideal being the harsh discipline of the Spartans. Now it's here I should say a few words about Prussia. Prussia no longer exists as a state or as a political entity in any way precious disillusion was one of the British requirements for the end of World War Two. Prior to that, pressure was the most powerful German state and the source for all of our modern stereotypes of Germany and Germans as disciplined, sterned, humorless and militaristic. The Prussian military was one of the chief military forces in Europe for centuries and became world famous for their discipline and skill. During the US Revolutionary War, a Prussian nobleman, Baron von Steuben, built the entire American military from scratch. The core of our militaries organization to this day is still based along Prussian lines, so it makes sense that the young Prince would be raised in a strict, militaristic, Spartan way. But while Prussian discipline made for an effective military, it also made for profoundly damaged young men. Which is why we got four one and two. Yeah, hinz. Peter declared that the growing Wilhelm could never, ever receive any kind of praise, approval, or encouragement for any reason. He was ordered to eat dry bread for breakfast. When he and his siblings hosted their cousins, they were required to give them cakes and cookies without eating any sweets for themselves, no matter how well. Yeah, this guy's this is so ****** **. This is like calculated ****. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No matter how well Prince Vilhelm performed, George Hanspeter never gave him so much as a kind word. The impossible was expected of the pupil in order to force him to meet the nearest degree of perfection. Naturally, the impossible goal could never be achieved logically. Therefore, the praise which registers approval was also excluded. God, yeah. Just withhold love from your child and see what happens. That's such a God. Why didn't I feel like sometimes parents? I mean, again, if this is just like every bad parenting technique turned up to an 11 for no reason, amazing how many different bad types of parenting he receives from really everyone but his parents but his parents? So many sets of don't stop this. God, that's so. Brutal. Yeah. They're like, oh, watch your cousin eat a pizza. I that. I feel like that happens to kids sometimes as as punishment, you know, like, oh look, everyone's going to get birthday cake, but you whatever you **** on the floor, so you got to eat a cracker. People grow up to be ****** managers at a Sonic, but since they don't have the German Miller they don't inherit the German military, so it's not a huge problem. There's a version of Wilhelm, had he been from, you know, like from a normal class of person, where he would have just been a perfectly happy manager of a lids that didn't talk to his family that much, and he would have denied his employees lunch breaks for ****** reasons like because he's got some hurt in his heart. Which would have been contained, right? Right. Not that we condone this behavior from lids managers. We don't. But but I prefer people like Vilhelm become lids managers than Imperial German army managers. OK, OK, I'm listening. Yeah, yeah. Now, every Wednesday and Saturday, hints Peter and Vilhelm would visit museums and art galleries. They would also visit factories, foundries, workshops, farms, and the like. The goal was to show the Woodby Kaiser what life was like for the manual laborers who actually built. This country to Hans Peter's credit, he also wanted the royal family to gain an understanding of social inequality and the suffering of workers. Vilhelm was required to remove his hat and deliver a thankful speech at every place of business they visited after their tour. So hence Peter did a lot of the job of raising Vilhelm and that had positive and negative echoes. As we'll see. One of his big demands is that the Prince developed an express an opinion of every single person he met. This was part of his Peter's plan to get the young man to express his views at all times so that he would not be dominated by his advisers. In the future, this one would wind up backfiring on the entire planet. No, now. As he grew into a young boy, Queen Victoria noticed some unpleasant changes taking over her darling grandson. He is inclined to be selfish, domineering and proud, but I must say they are not his own faults, as they have been hitherto. More encouraged than checked. The Hanspeter taught Wilhelm to ride a horse by letting him fall off of it, repeatedly ignoring the prince's tears and forcing him back on the horse for weeks until he got good at riding one handed and he was said to be an excellent horseman, so he learns how to. One handed ride a horse. It's almost like they should have just let him learn how to do things with one hand the entire time. Rather than the torture machines. Rather than the the evil torture machines. Yeah. Jamie, your auntie torturing babies agenda has been clear for quite some time, and I I think you might be biased on this. Thank you. Know what? It's true. And people have been calling me out a lot. They're like, no, but what if we did torture the babies? How will you know until you've tried it? How will you know until you've tried it? Right. And that's fair. I haven't. Ready yet? Yeah. Well, puppies. Kittens, sure, of course. Yeah. Yeah. Well, who are they gonna tell exactly? What are they going to do? Nothing. Because they can't speak English. I'm about to get a kitten, so you know, it's going to be there is a specific type of torture that you have to do to young kittens if you want them to be affectionate, which is that you from a very young age. Do you know what the cat gun is? The cat gun. It's when you hold your cat like a gun with its back legs. It's the handle in its front legs, like a foregrip. And you pretend it's a little machine gun. If you do that from the time that they're what if you do that when they're a kitten? Then they grow up just knowing that people are gonna pick them up and **** with them and they're fine with it. And then they really cuddly, you know, you hold it with anything that you hold with two hands, like, you know, like a machine gun there, and you did some machine gun there. You pretend it's. Yeah. It just feels natural. And right. I'm bringing you to the hospital, Robert. This is it's it's it's. How you raise a baby kitten and then they grow up being very affectionate. Yeah, because they just know that people pick them up and do weird things to them and it's fine. That's nice. I almost dressed my dog up like a gun for Halloween, but I didn't want it to be interpreted as political, so I changed it to a knife. Your Radical Pro knife agenda has also been clear for some time. I have been in favor of knives. Look someone in the eye. Look into just. I just want eye contact. Now, when Vilhelm was tin in 1869, he was awarded the Order of the Black Eagle oppression chivalric award that was supposed to be very prestigious, but kind of loses its lustre to me when awarded to children. He received ******* hundreds of awards and orders and knighthoods and dukedoms over the course of his life. We're going to ignore basically all of them, although his biographies always note whenever he was given a new one. He was also inducted into the First Infantry Regiment of the Guards and made a German officer when he was ten years old. So yeah, he's he's in the military from a very young age and he's, he's continually gifted more military units and made honorary member and commander of different military regiments in the Prussian army over the course of his childhood. This is like like getting micro machines was for me, right? Right. Become the they're nice to have, but eventually they become meaningless. Yeah, yeah, he loves he loves these. Yeah, he loves his military unit made-up of real men. In 1870, France and Prussia went to war, Prussia one, and Germany was born from here on out to the Kaisers. The Kings of Prussia were kings of the entire German Empire. Now there were like 22 other kings in Germany, but the kaisers were like the chief kings of all of them. So that's the story as we go into our second ad break. Still, I think we're we're all kind of on the future Kaiser side at this point. I like. I like that. Robert, you choose moments to go to ad breaks. Where I feel I'm at the peak of I'm on the edge of my seat and my hand is on my wallet as well. Yeah, that could have gone another way, but it went wallet. You know, you have a weird habit with that wallet of of holding it out before ad breaks. Yeah, my hands trembling. I'm helpless in the face of capitalism. I need the products. I need the services. Pull out your credit cards, everybody. Ignore what the actual products are and just immediately buy them without a thought. Don't even put in the discount code. Don't even put in the discount. Well, no do, because then we get. Then it helps us. Sorry, Robert. It's good for the show. I do. Here they go. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. 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So after eight, you know, 1871, Franco, Prussian war happens and the Princess mother, the Crown Princess, who was, you know, British and not Prussian, was very concerned about all of the war focus and her son's childhood. Again, she wanted relations between Britain and Prussia to be good, and she knew there was always a chance that there would be war between them. So she was very concerned, like everyone in Europe, about Prussian militarism. And she didn't want her son to, say, grow into a man whose ambition helped Europe plunge into a war. That killed 17 million people. She didn't want that to happen. A for effort, at least. It occurred to her that it might happen. This could be a problem. So she sent the future Kaiser off to Germany in January of 1871 to remove him from Prussia in these negative military influences for a while now. That month, she wrote to Queen Victoria about her son's pleasant, amiable ways. She admitted that he was not possessed of brilliant qualities, nor any strength of character or talents. But he is a dear boy, and I hope and trust he will grow up into a good and useful man. I've described a lot of my boyfriends that way, I think. Just like getting anything. He looks like ****. He like, can't seem to stay clean for some reason. But you know, he's nice. I don't know. He's. Yeah, he's hoping to grow up and be useful one day. Grow up? I'm trying to raise him as best I can. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I I get it. I get it. Yeah. No, the bars. Yeah. And I, you know, at some point, you know, the Kaiser read these letters his mom wrote about him to his grandma, which has to have done some damage. That sucks if you like. That's like going into your mom's text and finding out how disappointed she actually is. You're like, oh, Yikes. OK. Now, the Prince loved his time in England. He spent a lot of it making butter and cheese at the Royal Dairy and looking over Britain's incredible collection of old wooden ships, normal things. And he really, he really liked England. He was set for most of his life. He said that he would be happier as an English country gentleman than as the King of Prussia. It was probably true. I was like, that tracks. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We all wish that had been the case. Will help, honey. You and I both, baby. In 187415 year old Prince Wilhelm started classes at Castle Polytechnic, a public school. Now this was hugely controversial among and by public school I mean in like the sense of only rich, non noble kids got to go there. Not in the sense of everybody from all walks of life went there. But they weren't Royals, they weren't like aristocrats. It wasn't like saucey enough, yeah, yeah. And this was very controversial among his family, many of whom were horrified of the idea of a noble child. Competing against commoners for grades. But Hans Peter thought it would be good for the Prince he knew was not all of that bright to be humiliated by getting bested by his social inferiors. For some reason I do not grasp, he thought that this would push the Prince to develop a sense of superiority over common people. Like, it's one of those things where at the start where it's like, oh, you want him to realize that, like, he's not the smartest person in the room? OK, this could actually be really? Oh no, you want him to get a sense of superiority of people over learning that they're better at school than him. How did this trick to you? It's Peter. I get it. It tracks to me because it's just, I feel like that's like a way for Wilhelm to realize exactly how powerful he is. He's like, oh, I'm dumb as rocks and it doesn't ******* matter. I'm still if I don't like how much smarter someone is than me, I'll just have him ******* killed. Me? Yeah, that may. That may have been the kind of the reasoning there. I don't like that. I get it. But I think I get it now. At school, Vilhelm started his days at 5:00 AM and didn't end them until 9:00 PM. So this is this is a brutal school schedule. He was a decent student. He got OK grades, but he was not exceptional. His best friend at Castle was Siegfried Summer, a Jew in top of the class. Now, this is noteworthy because as we'll cover, the Prince grew into probably Germany's second most anti-Semitic leader of all time. Oh, wait, who's number one? I'm kidding. OK, now he is not number one at anything. He's #2 and I'm not even fair. I will say this in fairness to the Kaiser, there is a big gap between 2:00 and 1:00 in most anti-Semitic German leader the contest. Like, there's a sizable gap between the two. Where is JoJo rabbit? Yeah, I can't wait to see that. Have you seen that? Is it good? Yeah, I saw it the other day. I liked it. It looks good. I just haven't had a chance to get down to the theater. It's a romp. And that Jamie says it's a romp. Check it out. People with TD plays Hitler. I'm so, I'm so easily bothered by like, child actors and and they got a good one. No, I hate most children. They're OK. Well, let's take it to the next level. It's good. It's good, though. I liked it. Yeah. Now is probably the right time to talk about the Princess bizarre feelings towards his mother. Now, Freud would tell us that it's not unusual for young boys to have a childish sort of infatuation with their mother. But even by Freudian standards, Wilhelm was ******* odd. And, I mean, it sounds like she's the only person that was nice to him. Yeah, I'm still going to say this is. I'm just going to read this quote from the biography Kaiser Vilhelm A concise life and you can. Tell me what you you could help analyze this now. This is OK. This is a long one, Jamie, and there's a lot to unpack here. Is that *****? I I let me just read the quote and we'll discuss it. OK, quote in the winter of 187475, Wilhelm began a series of letters to his mother in English, naturally recounting a recurring dream he was having. Letters that are remarkable not only for their evidently incestuous character, but also for their fetishistic emphasis on her gloved left hand, a poignant cry for unconditional acceptance and love if ever there was one. I have got a little secret, which is for you alone. There's a peculiar dream, he wrote to Vicki, his mom, on March 1875. Shortly after her visit to Castle for his 16th birthday, I dreamt last night that I was walking with you when another lady and walking you were discussing who had the finest hands, whereupon the lady produced a most ungrateful hand, declaring that it was the prettiest, and turned us her back. I, in my rage, broke her parasol. But you put your dear arm around my waist, led me aside, pulled your gloved hand off to your dear left hand, which I so often kissed at Castle, and showed me your dear, beautiful hand, which I instantly covered with kisses. Wilhelm hoped that. Stream would become reality. I wish that you would do the same when I am at Berlin alone with you in the evening. And he continued craving reassurance. Pray, write to me what you think about this dream. It is quite true, as I have written it. You say I always think of you. My dear Mama, I sometimes dream of you. I am so glad that soon we will sit together in your dear library and sit together. But this dream is alone for you to know, he insisted. Several days later, the dream recurred. I am very glad that you liked my little secret about your dear hands. Since then I have again. Dreamt about you this time. I was alone with you in your library when you stretched forth your arms and pulled me down to your chair so that my head rested on your left arm. Then you took off your gloves and laid your hands gently on my lips for me to kiss it, asking me at the same time if I remember dreaming about you. I instantly seized your hand and kissed. Then you gave me a warm embrace, putting your right arm around my shoulder and neck and got up and walked round the rooms with me. No, no, no. So that's odd, right? That's that's peculiar. It's just like riding his mom being like, I want to **** you. Is that OK? **** I want to **** your hand. Well, that's well, I think, well, that's like very telling, right? That he's, like, fixated on hands and arms. That makes sense because everyone's life is obsessed about. Yep. So of course that the hand becomes this, like, ****** fixation left a left hand fetish, if you will. That's just like. Baby boy, put it in your journal and then light it on fire. Do not send it. Burn that ******. Yeah, why send that to Mama and wait. So wait, so we there was he sent a letter and then presumably got a reply that was like, Oh yeah, tell me more. And we're going to get into that a little bit now. I've read a few biographies of Vilhelm, and most of them mention this weird fixation, but they kind of breeze past it. Like they'll note it was weird, but they don't go into that much detail. Rolf's book is the one I found that really does the best job of highlighting how ******* peculiar this all was. And I'm going to continue quoting. Yeah, I mean, the hand fixation is very telling. Yeah? Yeah. He could hardly wait for his dream to be fulfilled. In eight days he wrote we will go to Berlin. And then what I dream about we will do in reality when we are alone. Your rooms without any witnesses? No. This is the second secret. It's getting back and he's like 14 or 15. He's yeah, he's he's like a little ***** teenage boy for Mama Ohk. OK, sorry. Keep going. This is the second secret for you. Pray right to me. What you think about it and promise to do so. Really? As you did in my dream to me, for I do so love you. The correspondence continued in this vein for several months. In May 1875, he urged his mother again to keep your promise you gave me at Berlin. Always give me a loan. The soft inside of your hand to kiss. But of course you keep this as a secret for yourself. With less than four weeks ago to him. Yeah, he's definitely he's going off hand is a ***** like that's his energy. OK? Yeah, keep going. With less than four weeks to go before the holidays, he wrote, thanking her for her most recent letter. How glad I was to see the promise written down that I could kiss your hands as much as I liked. Be sure of it. I shall do it shortly before their reunion, Wilhelm. Could hardly contain his excitement, calculating that it was now only days or 84 hours or in 5040 minutes, or in 300 and 2400 seconds before he would be able to embrace his mother again in Potsdam and kiss her sweet, beautiful hands. Yeah, hands, Robert. Yeah, the man likes his mommy. Loves his mom, wants to touch Mommy's hand. I well, here's my question. What is she replying to this? Because it doesn't sound like she's saying. Please stop talking about ******* my hands. I think we can forgive the Crown Princess for not knowing how to respond to her teenage son sexual obsession with her hands. I'm just trying to get a feel for like, is she weirded out by it but doesn't know how to handle the situation? Or is she like, this is cool. She's weirded out. She says, you know, at first she's like, OK, yeah, you can kiss my hands. Then she tries to, like, move the letters along to something more normal. They tried to humor him, and then she tried politely ignoring it. She would return his letters to him with like, the spelling corrected and stuff, correcting his grammar and stuff. Not really addressing wants to **** her head. Like if you're gonna yeah, **** my hands say say it right, yeah, yeah, we can safely say she felt very strange about it. And eventually she did what she thought was the responsible thing and pushed her son away just a little bit to try and like get some distance boundaries. Yeah, he found this deeply. Painful. This led to a start of a split between mother and son, which many, like people who like write about the Kaiser have seen as the seeds of the split between Germany and Britain as the future Kaiser began to push back against the British side of his ancestry since his mother was British, so this may significant repercussions. I mean, you can't blame her, she said. Like, what do you do? What do you do do if your son won't shut up about wanting to kiss your hand like that? Yeah. God, what? It's predicament. That's what a predicament. And then you think back of like, well, maybe if everyone wasn't complaining about this kid's hands his whole life, he wouldn't have this weird ***** hand thing. And again. That's why you shouldn't have kings or leaders with any kind of significant amount of power like this. Because like they grow up with some like this weird hand thing is something that like, you know, Wilhelm couldn't help, but he felt that way. It was like he was like, this was going to happen. His mom kind of drawing away from him wasn't unreasonable. Him having really complicated feelings about England as a result of this wasn't unreasonable, but he power with the German army as his inheritance, so it became an issue. Have too much to lash out with. You can't just, like, taste take your mom's car. Like, yeah, God, I think that so far the villain of this story is power. I know it'll be well with that exactly, but right now, but it all, it's still mostly power. Even though, like, they're points at which he he does make choices that make him into a villain. The the primary villain is still power. If he had just been a normal dude and, like, got gotten some ******* therapy, I get the feeling, just knowing kind of everything about his life. You get the feeling with a competent therapist, he could have been a decent man who would have raised a relatively healthy family and like not damaged the world. He would have been a perfectly like, you know, in inoffensive, like whatever guy. He just would have been a guy. I don't think he was inherently moved to commit acts of horrible evil. I. But he did. And yet, yeah, yeah, now. Wilhelm reached adulthood and did the normal things that Prussian kids did at that point. He joined the military. He went to military school. He got command of his first military units. Now, he was noted by everyone as having no real ability to focus on the finer points of strategy and tactics, but having a deep and abiding love of making men March around in fancy uniforms. It became instantly apparent that the Prince would not be the great warlord that his father was. Now, on the 27th of March, 1879, Wilhelms 11 year old. Younger brother Waldemar died from diphtheria along with one of his aunts. Wilhelm had been jealous of the little boy who was widely seen as his parents favorite, but he was a dutiful mourner for his brother and held an all night vigil. At the coffin he described the family pain as deep and cruel beyond words, which is a reasonable way to react to the death of an 11 year old. Sure, yeah, but a few months later Wilhelm was back to acting like * **** to his mom. His little brother had owned a cat which his mom had adopted once he died, and she loved the animal and it clearly gave her some. Comfort in the absence of her beloved boy. While they were out vacationing, the housekeeper of one of their vacation homes shot the cat, cut off his nose and hung it up against a tree. He did this because it was his job to ensure the pheasant population of the property stayed healthy so the nobles could hunt. Wilhelms mother and sisters were horrified, but the Prince defended the keeper, saying the cat murder had been laudable zeal in the pursuance of his duty. So we're seeing as he grows into a young man. This guy has some emotional depth issues, some difficulty understanding. By 13, certain things are horrifying to other people. Good. No, good. Yeah, his poor. I'm just, like, feeling for his mom. Just like his mom assessed with me. And he won't stop mutilating animals. What? Yeah, what do I do? You know, her son didn't do it. The the guy who killed the cat mutilated it to scare off other cats. Oh, OK, that's still not OK, but OK. It's not OK. It is pretty normal. Like, you know, I have. I have friends and family with farms. And, like, if you kill a coyote on your farm and you have livestock, it's not abnormal to, like, hang the corpse of the coyote up to scare. Of other coyotes to protect your cows and ****. Like it's something that people do when they're trying to maintain a population of prey animals. Very Game of Thrones. Yeah, it's ****** ** but it's like, it's also like life in the rural world, yeah. Although killing somebody's pet cat to protect a pheasant population, I would argue, is not the healthy way to deal with that. Maybe keep the cat indoors. There was a clear solution to that, and it was it's not letting pack of yeah, it's not like a pack of wild wolves. Like, there are other ways that this could have been handled. The worst case scenario is that there were a couple more cats around. Yeah, boy. Now, as a young adult, Wilhelm fell madly in love with his cousin Ella, but Auto van Bismarck was not a fan of the pairing. Now, Bismarck is a guy who will probably do an episode on at some point. He's one of the most important people who's ever lived. He was the. Actual mind behind the formation of the German Empire. He engineered the Franco Prussian War and is, again, probably the single man most responsible for making Germany a thing. We did a whole unit on that ************. Yeah, he's a very important, influential guy. He's an influencer. He's * **** but he's also he's also very smart and very capable. Yeah, like, he's not one of these powerful people who's also an idiot. He knows what the **** he's doing now. The Kaiser Prince Wilhelm's grandfather was the monarch of Germany, but Bismarck made a lot of the critical decisions. He was kind of the he was kind of the. It's not fair to compare Prince Wilhelm's grandfather or father to George W Bush, but Bismarck is kind of like * **** Cheney type, you know, the power behind the throne. And Auto von Bismarck was worried that Ella was too closely related to Kaiser Wilhelm, so he he he didn't, you know, let that relationship come to pass. So Kaiser saw this as Ella rejecting him, and he wrote to Hanspeter that he thought his ****** ** arm had made him unlovable, which was a normal thing for him to feel, considering that his grandmother had told him that his ****** ** arm made him unlovable. Now, thankfully, there was another Princess waiting in the wings, Donna Augustenborg. She was a low rent. Princess. Basically the Safeway select equivalent of a Holland Zollern the family of the Kaisers Bismarck. Yeah yeah, she's not like a a high level Princess, but Bismarck like that. She was not closely related to Wilhelm. He called her a Holstein cow and thought that she would inject fresh blood into the Hohenzollern line which was plagued by inbreeding and illness. Yeah, that's not great. Love that description of her, but not super into that. OK, but. Good to know, yeah. When the marriage was announced, Hanspeter was ecstatic that his dearly beloved problem child was going to marry someone who understands him and sympathizes with him and his weaknesses. His Peter was on record as saying that Wilhelm needed people around him who gave him unconditional love and admiration because he just couldn't exist without it. And one of the weird notes is that, like, I think we can all look at how hints Peter had him raised as, like, profoundly abusive. But Kaiser Wilhelm loved Hans Peter till the day he died and wrote him letters. Up until the older man's death, like, almost on a daily basis, he would write, like, desperately seem to crave this man's affection and approval. It's like, devastating, you know? Yeah, yeah, it's ****** ** man. This kid, like, how does that? There's no way this guy ends up healthy. You know, and again, it's like if you're just in a regular person with Daddy issues, you're just one of the many bunch of daddy issues with power who people are gonna die. Real problem, yeah. Now, this gets at one of the things I think is wildest about the very idea of a monarchy when you really look into the letters everyone around the future Kaiser was writing as both Rolf and Vander Kiss. The main biographers who were sources for this episode did. It's obvious that 100% of the people who knew Wilhelm when he was young knew ahead of time that he was going to be a terrible. Advisor. The best anyone would say about him was that he could be sweet and charming, but nobody thought he was gifted in any intellectual capacity. As he grew older, his family wrote increasingly about his startling arrogance, his inability to take advice or criticism, and his frequent tendency to snap into blind rages. So everyone's like, oh, this guy shouldn't be king, but he's gonna buddy boy, that'll suck. When that inevitably happens, that's a shame. There's no other possible thing we can have. And then then a monarchy. Ohh well, too bad. Jesus Christ. OK, all right. That is. I mean, that does make me slight. I mean, obviously we're in a terrible version of democracy, but, like, at least there's some things aren't inevitable from that far away. Creative sort of thing, yeah. Now the Prince's parents hope that the marriage would have a soothing effect on his worst characteristics, but unfortunately his wife Donna was what one biographer describes as a reactionary bigot who small minded views only reinforced his own whoopsies. Yeah, to make matters worse, she despised the British, which helped push Prince Wilhelm further away from his mother. She was against liberal politics and the growing mood towards democratization. And in Europe she treated the Crown Prince and Princess Wilhelms. Parents coldly and further pushed them away from him. Wilhelm started referring to his family as the English colony and complained that his father treated him as if he were a dumb child now. Otto von Bismarck also took advantage of the growing rift between Wilhelm and his parents. While the Crown Prince wanted Germany to draw closer to England, Bismarck was deeply suspicious of the British. He'd spent his entire life building an intricate series of alliances that he believed would render Germany and centrally impossible to invade. Under Bismarck's guidance, the German Empire had forged a strong. Defensive pact with Russia and Austria, Hungary. This meant that roughly 80% of Europe would be on one side, Germany side if a war broke out, which would essentially make it impossible to have. Nobody's going to go to war with you like like the Russian Empire at this point is 1/6 of the world's landmass. So like in Germany has by all accounts the best army in Europe. So nobody is going to war against that like it's just impossible. Nobody would make a decision that stupid. And they're all cousins and they're all pesos. But yeah, Bismarck doesn't have much faith in royal diplomacy, which would prove to be wise. He had faith in if we have essentially this is the nuclear arms race of its day is having an alliance that that no one could dare to fight. And so that was Bismarck strategy like, well, as long as we're in good with Russia, nobody will **** with us and that ensures peace in Europe. And he's right, as long as Russia's allied with Germany, there are no wars between European States and like a mass scale. Now, there are some very persistent rumors that Vilhelm was homosexual. It seems more accurate to say that he might have been bisexual. He fell in love with a guy named Eulenburg, another noble who Vilhelm described as my bosom friend, the only one I have now. It's very unlikely either boy ever consummated their attraction, but for years they were inseparable. In his biography of Wilhelm, Emil Ludwig wrote that Eulenburg was the first to open the gates of the garden of romance to the young man who had been forced into the. Part of hard bitten Prussian Prince and was now taking leave of an adolescence poor alike and love and the dreams of youth. God. So it's really hard not to feel for this guy like he's it's rough, man. Yeah, he's got he's got a lot of forces working against him. It's oh, it's not. Oh yeah. He's a disabled bisexual abuse victim. Well yeah, but he and his boyfriend should just move away. Ohhh yeah, if only they'd gotten a house in Paris or something together. Ohh so nice that painted pictures. Yeah. Yeah, and he was Wilhelma had, like, some aptitude for art. He was described by someone as a gifted artist who never found his art. So, like, he was good at a bunch of different things, but he never really felt like this. Well, no, because Hitler was ****** at it. Like Wilhelm, you get the feeling if he, like, gotten some actual, if it had been made a real, like, if people had made a point of really giving him some serious art training, he would have figured out what he was into. It could have been really talented. What if this was the point where you found out that? I actually thought Hitler's art was really good and that he. That must be awkward, like, Oh yeah, like, yeah. No, Hitler was a terrible artist. Obviously, we all agree on that. Jamie Loftus has a Hitler. I mean, I'm not gonna lie. I would actually love to have an original Hitler. Ohh, just for that. No. They're so talking about it. They're. Yeah. But I love haunted things. You do love haunted things. That's absolutely. Oh my God. Yeah. So, so he would. But he was like, he was a better artist, you know? I just. He seems to have been good. He just never quite, like, found something that he was really into throwing. This whole interest behind and obviously he had to be the Kaiser, so there was a lot of other **** on his play. Time for painting when you're the king, no time for painting when you're the cut. Sometime for painting, but not enough. Now Bismarck saw Wilhelm as a pliant, moldable dummy. He could direct in whichever direction he chose. The key for Bismarck was to deepen the rift between the Prince and his father. In the mid 1880s, he went behind the Crown prince's back and made the future Kaiser the chief envoy of the German Empire. Now this by all rights, should have been his father's job, but Bismarck worried the Crown Princess. English sympathies would look bad to the Russians, since Russia and England had just fought a war over the Crimea, so he pushed Wilhelm into the role. Wilhelm's father complained that this was a terrible idea. In view of the immaturity as well as the inexperience of my eldest son, together with his tendency towards overbearing Ness and self conceit, I cannot but frankly regard it as dangerous to allow him at present to take part in any foreign affairs. Ooh, yeah, yeah. Prince will help was a terrible diplomat. His arrogance came off badly, and he had a nasty habit of insulting the world leaders he talked to. He botched his first meeting with the Russian Czar by basically giving him approval to conquer Constantinople. Something bizarre didn't think he needed to prove he didn't need to get from an upstart boy who wasn't even Kaiser yet. Yeah, God, what a doofus. Yeah, so the Princess career did not start with great promise. But at least he was. Everyone knew was gonna yeah, everyone knew was happening. Yeah, I I will say, though he enjoyed some fringe benefits of the gig as Envoy to Russia, according to Vander Kiss Book quote, he relished the attention paid to him as Chief envoy of the German Empire, and he was deeply impressed with the bearing of the young infantry recruits on parade at the Winter Palace. Nevertheless, he betrayed rather more than he intended when he wrote in detail about the physical appearance of the soldiers. A very nice looking lot, but the fact that hardly any of them had any hips made their white capes. Because though they had been poured into their slim bodies, he doesn't understand when to, like, not be ***** over ****. You're oversharing, man now. He's ***** on man. He's ***** on main all the time. Just beat yeah, he's like, yeah, at least make a like a fake account. Don't. Yeah, Pola Mitt Romney write these under another name. He is being ***** on the main. It's so it's such a bad look. Ohh. I mean, like, I'm fine with it. Like, no judgment, bro. But like, don't judge me. Running on the main. Yeah, you are being ***** in your official job as international diplomat, which is probably inappropriate. That's a line. That's the line Vilhelm. Now, Vilhelm also had mistresses, but he was no better at managing them than he was at managing international diplomacy. In 1886, he arranged to have two of his mistresses follow his train out of Berlin and meet him in a small village in Austria. The women did so, but when they arrived he refused to reimburse them for their travel costs. And I should note now that he was the wealthiest man in Germany. I yeah. I mean, I said, well, that's just dating a rich guy is yeah, yeah, like this is going to be great. And then and then it turns out that they're, they're ******* mean misers. Yeah, yeah. The women left in a rage, and one of them stole one of the Princess monogrammed cufflinks, so she displayed around town to prove that she's had a liaison with the Prince when the Kaiser realized this. Also, so you ******* gave me. I flew SW for this this, you know? Take this **** and runs. That's great. Now, when the Kaiser realized this, he begged them to come back and he offered to pay for their travel costs. They returned and finally, finally ensuing. Yeah, the ensuing threesome was so loud that it woke up other guests in the hotel. People could actually hear them talking post coitus. A number of random Austrians heard the future Kaiser complaining to prostitutes about his parents. He called his dad a conceited. Popularity seeker under Jewish influence, he also loudly insulted Austria, his nation's closest ally, as rotten, close to dissolution. God called the Austria. He called the Austrian people useless. Pansies and gormans no longer fit for life. I have those. I hope that the sex worker has got, like an emotional support bonus, you know? It's like, that's not what you well, he made one of them pregnant and she blackmailed him, and she got a **** load of money out of it. So that's good. They're fine. They're just like these guys. A loser ****. Naked stub. They're ohh man. Brutal. Word of all this got back to the Austrian Crown Prince, which sparked another international incident this all boated particularly ill for the future. In the space of a year, the young Prince had insulted both of his nation's chief military allies, the emperor. His grandfather was ill and near death. And right as his grandfather starts dying, his father also gets sick, which would prove to be throat cancer. So none of this bodes well for the future of peace in Europe, right? They're like, Oh no, the no, the **** ** is the only one who will live. OK. In 1888, the emperor died and the Crown Prince became Kaiser. The Crown Prince, you know, the kaisers, the future Kaiser's dad. He would only rule for 99 days, and he was very ill for all of them. By the time he died on June 15th, 1888, now Crown Prince Vilhelm had already been taking on and botching many of his dad's duties that same day. Kaiser vilhelmina. Added to the throne of the German Empire. So in Part 2, we're going to talk about what happened once he was in charge. All right? It's not. Time is over. Get some Muggles to plug. I got some plushies. I I'm releasing a podcast on Thanksgiving called my Year in Mensa is about what the title is about. Spell my your immensa, how I got in, and how I almost got bullied out. And then you can listen to the Bechdel cast every week. You can follow me on Twitter at Jamie. Love to help, and that's what you can do. That's what you're able to do at this time. Now you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at at ******** pod. You can find me personally on Twitter at Irido. OK, where I am not ***** on main because that's inappropriate, especially with all of the diplomacy I have to do with the Russian army. Would make you a terrible Kaiser. It would make me a terrible Kaiser. And my whole job is to become a very good Kaiser. Yeah, your finsta is ***** as hell. Yes. Oh my God. Control. It is nothing but thirst posting. Really. Shameless, shameless, cancellable thirst posting. It's hit. I muted it now. Jamie, what is a finsta? I'm gonna jump off the balcony. I cannot possibly explain to you what a finsta is. It's a fake Instagram. That's where you it's where you do your horn. I don't actually have one, which is what everyone who has one says, but but it's like where you post, you know? You post, you know the illusion on the main right. You you're like, I'm so happy everything's great. And then you post depression memes and thirst posts on the Finn stuff. That's where you're like, you're you're, you're, you know, 2 extremes. See, I write my thirst posts on a sheet of paper, and then I cut my finger and block them out with blood, and then I burned them in a bonfire at night in order to wipe away my shame in front of God and the heavens. I know, but unfortunately that is a spell. That means it's in a book somewhere far away. So your thirst posts are they're they're documented somewhere you shouldn't draw blood on it. That that's that activates the curse. Damn it, I'll send you some. Well, damn it, if you want to activate a curse, buy some T-shirts from All of our shirts come cursed, so that's good. The episode's over, OK. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break your handle the hosting creation distribution. And monetization of your podcast go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.