In 1941, on this day Wilhelm Hohenzollern died in Windsor Castle at the ripe old age of eighty-two. In a glorious forty-year reign he had unified Germany and added it to the British crown as a still more United Kingdom.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.
Good Old Willie #6Of course this Germany was significantly smaller than the Prussian-dominated militaristic Imperium which his grandfather had dreamt of. This was because the Prussians were not the only race hoping to form a new state to give fuller expression to their national identity. Backed by the France, the January Uprising developed into a full scale Polish insurgency. The Poles defeated the Prussians in a miracle battle before they were overcome by the Tsarist Armies.
Prussia was saved, but the prestige of the dynasty was seriously damaged, The Hohenzollern were soon overthrown by the Junkers who opted to be a separate crown under the Russian Czar. A Prussian Diet with teeth was established, the military dismantled, and Otto Bismark made Chancellor of the new Russian Prussian state.
Although Wilhelm the Older was deposed as President of the now defunct North German Confederation, the Hohenzollerns were thrown a lifeline by Queen Victoria I. Alarmed by the prospect of a French-dominated Western Europe, she modified the line of succession so that the eldest child of either gender could ascend to the throne. And so six months after her own death, her daughter Queen Victoria II also perished, and Wilhelm became King of the United Kingdom and also Hanover. War with France over the Fashoda Crisis placed British troops in the Prussian Western territories up to the Ruhr. And following the death of Bismarck in 1898, many progressive German thinkers decided that they preferred Westminister to the Czar.
The final shape of the Fashoda War was a Catholic league in the south allied to Austria, a greater Russia up to (but excluding Berlin) and a greater Hanover whose representatives replace most of the Irish after Home Rule. The union of that greater Hanover and Great Britain (less Ireland) forced the United Kingdom eastwards and onto the continent of Europe. In a very real sense it was the realisation of centuries of Anglo-Saxon convergence.
This is the end of the Good Old Willie thread.