King Wilhelm I

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Born Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig on March 22, 1797, King Wilhelm I, king of Prussia from 1861 and German Kaiser from 1871 until his death on March 9, 1888.

Early Life and Military Career

Being the second child of King Friedrich Wilhelm III, Wilhelm didn't expect to ever ascend to the throne and was given very little formal education. He began serving in the army in 1814, fought against Napoleon, and by reports was very brave in battle. He developed his diplomatic skills, serving diplomatic missions from 1815 onward. In 1848 an uprising threatened his brother, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, which Wilhelm successfully crushed.

Prince Regent

Sadly, in 1857 Friedrich Wilhelm IV fell to a stroke that left him permanently mentally disabled. In January of 1858, Wilhelm became the Prince Regent to rule in the stead of his now ailing brother.

King and Kaiser

Three years later, on January 2, 1861 Friedrich Wilhelm died and Wilhelm was quickly elevated to the throne as King Wilhelm I of Prussia. With office came the already seething conflict between the King and the liberal parliament. Most considered Wilhelm I to be more politically neutral than his brother. Despite this general view, Wilhelm found a decidedly conservative solution to the problem, and appointed Otto Von Bismarck as Prime Minister. Because of the wording of the Prussian constitution, the Prime Minister didn't report to the Parliament, but rather directly to the King. It is said that Bismarck often viewed his much-enjoyed work relationship with Wilhelm I as a vassal to his feudal superior. Despite this sense of feudalism, Bismarck was directly charged with politcs, both within and without Prussia. There were several occasions where Bismarck forced Wilhelm I's cooperation by threatening resignation from his position.

Following the Franco-Prussian War King Wilhelm I was crowned the Emperor of Holy Roman Emperor. Chancellor Bismarck had Germany beneath his feet. Victorious Prussia assemblied Electors to discuss the Landsfried and on this meeting accused Franz Josef von Habsburg-Lotringen that he was not able to keep it up till yet and King of Prussia, Wilhelm, is able to do that. Especially in the moment when Eisener Otto unified all but one Elector into a single more centralised Reich. Bohemian vote was mute, so the majority went for Wilhelm. Austria and its allies in HRE was defeated. Then, in the Palace of Versailles, Wilhelm was crowned on January 18, 1871. He began serving as the Emperor, the head of state and president, or primus inter pares of the allied Kings, Grand Dukes, Barons and senates. Accepting the title of HRE Emperor, Wilhelm I would have rather been the Emperor of Germany, but this would have sparked revolt from the other members of HRE.

Bismarck makes note of Wilhelm in his memoirs and describes him as being subverted by 'female influences' but nonetheless a genuine Prussian officer, courteous, infallibly polite and old-fashioned.

Preceded by:
Friedrich Wilhelm IV
King of Prussia
Succeeded by:
Kaiser Friedrich III
Preceded by:
Franz Josef
Holy Roman Emperor
Succeeded by:
Kaiser Friedrich III