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  #21  
Old 10-09-2014, 05:31 PM
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I find that Emperor Wilhelm is too easy chosen, the propaganda by the Brits and the Americans has been effective.

In reality the Oberste Heeresleitung (the Supreme Army Command) commited a sort of intern coup d'état and became the real force in Germany, pushing aside both the Emperor and the Government. Emperor Wilhelm II was -by law- the Oberste Befehlshaber des Heeres (the Army's Supreme Commander), but no more than that.

When World War I broke out, soon the generals Helmuth von Moltke and Erich von Falkenhayn took the reins of state, enforcing the wole Government and all sectors in society contribute in the war efforts. In the second half of World War I the generals Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg (the later Reichspräsident) were the men in charge.

Emperor Wilhelm II and Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg were completely outmanoeuvred. The Emperor had no any influence on the changes in Government and more and more became a frustrated puppet completely sidelined. The factual military junta in Germany is known as "Stille Diktatur" (the Silent Dictature). That the Americans and the British depict Kaiser Wilhelm as the culprit for WWI is a cartoonesque exaggeration.
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  #22  
Old 10-09-2014, 05:44 PM
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It wasn't only US-UK propaganda, that stopped in the late 20-ties/30-ties. In the 50-ties it was mainly German scholars themselves who started to blame the Prussian spirit for WWI too, as the 'guilt' issue for WWII was clearly felt. For some decades it was in vogue to blame 'the system'/ all participants, but the moment scholars are back at where they started in 1914: mainly placing the blame with the Serbian nationalists and politicians, who risked a major European war to suit their own nationalistic purposes.

Having that said, Wilhelm II was incompetent, his odd manouevering before WWI clearly shows that. The many changes of prime ministers, his curious interviews with the British press, the Morocco incidents. The incompetence and chaos is perplexing, as you usually would assume that in Germany things would be organised to perfection. In hindsight it makes you wonder if he may have been suffering from Borderline or a personality disorder.

You are correct that during the war itself, he had very little to say as Germany became de facto a military dictatorship.
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2014, 09:40 PM
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As an American, I can tell you that as time has passed and further study ha come about, Wilhelm was not the despot pictured. Yes, he had shortcomings, but he was a good leader. He was, also very distressed by the situation that led to the first world war. He was more decent than we were told. Nicholas has no spine and no real idea on how to reign. His wife further complicated things. Russia was a mess. The category is wide. You could say Edward VIII. King Ferdinand of Romainia, his son King Michael...... King Ferdinand of Bulgaria.. Victor Emmanuel of Italy. Take your pick.
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2014, 10:59 PM
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As an American, I can tell you that as time has passed and further study ha come about, Wilhelm was not the despot pictured. Yes, he had shortcomings, but he was a good leader. He was, also very distressed by the situation that led to the first world war. He was more decent than we were told. Nicholas has no spine and no real idea on how to reign. His wife further complicated things. Russia was a mess. The category is wide. You could say Edward VIII. King Ferdinand of Romainia, his son King Michael...... King Ferdinand of Bulgaria.. Victor Emmanuel of Italy. Take your pick.
Michael was Ferdinand's grandson, not his son (and doesn't seem to have been a bad monarch). Ferdinand's son, and Michael's father, was Carol II, who was not a good monarch.

While I'll agree that Wilhelm II wasn't the evil that he's often depicted as, I wouldn't go so far as to say that he was a good leader. Nicholas was not a good ruler, but he also wasn't the evil despot he's often understood to be - Russia was a mess before he came to power, he just didn't have the skill or strength to fix it. Few men would have.

The truly bad monarchs are, in my opinions, the ones who take a realm that is in good shape and make a mess, or the ones who make a mockery of their realms. By that standard, Wilhelm was not a good monarch - Germany was doing well before he came to power, and was not doing well afterwards. Nicholas isn't a good monarch - he didn't fix the pre-existing mess, nor did he cause his realm to shine - but he himself didn't make things worse. Carol II made a mockery of his realm, as did Edward VIII.
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  #25  
Old 10-10-2014, 06:20 AM
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But how did Edward VIII "make a mockery of his realm"?
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  #26  
Old 10-10-2014, 06:48 AM
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But how did Edward VIII "make a mockery of his realm"?
He did not. He was an excellent and most popular Prince of Wales. He was too short King to have played a substantial role. He abdicated and left his realms so "made a mockery of his realm" is based on nothing.

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  #27  
Old 10-10-2014, 06:58 AM
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The worst King in modern time was probably King Constantine of the Hellenes. His extremely poor handling of the coup d'état by the military junta in 1967 (first he reluctantly accepted the establishment of the military junta then he headed a hopelessly failed contra-coup d'état and was forced into exile). The establishment of the military junta was possibly a result of the political unstability and unrest in Greece caused by the King's openly opposition of the democratically elected Government of Georgios Papandreou.

When even the military, usually a cornerstone of a monarchy, oppose against the King, then there is seriously something wrong with the way the King assessed and handled the political situation of Greece. It is no wonder, that even in the most hefty turmoils of last years, the total failure of Greek politics, the bankruptcy of Greece which caused an immense downfall of welfare, that even then there was no single call for a restoration of the monarchy, no any longing "back to great times". This is quite telling. My nomination for "worst monarch" in modern times (and in Europe) goes to Constantine II.
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  #28  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
The worst King in modern time was probably King Constantine of the Hellenes. His extremely poor handling of the coup d'état by the military junta in 1967 (first he reluctantly accepted the establishment of the military junta then he headed a hopelessly failed contra-coup d'état and was forced into exile). The establishment of the military junta was possibly a result of the political unstability and unrest in Greece caused by the King's openly opposition of the democratically elected Government of Georgios Papandreou.

When even the military, usually a cornerstone of a monarchy, oppose against the King, then there is seriously something wrong with the way the King assessed and handled the political situation of Greece. It is no wonder, that even in the most hefty turmoils of last years, the total failure of Greek politics, the bankruptcy of Greece which caused an immense downfall of welfare, that even then there was no single call for a restoration of the monarchy, no any longing "back to great times". This is quite telling. My nomination for "worst monarch" in modern times (and in Europe) goes to Constantine II.
There's a lot that I don't know about the circumstances surrounding the 1967 coup in Greece but this seems to me to be rather a harsh judgement of Constantine II.
From what I understand, the context of the military coup is extremely complex. The legacy of division from the Civil War which had occured twenty years earlier, the strategic importance of Greece at the height of the Cold War to the Americans/the West, the privileged position of the Greek military in relation to government and society and the long-standing and bitter dynastic/tribal rivalries of the leading Greek political families, amongst other considerations, meant that the country was fragile, vulnerable and divided.
King Constantine's situation, particularly as the institution of the monarchy itself was hardly secure, is thus not to be envied.
Added to this, his father's early death and his young age on ascending the throne meant that his "training" was incomplete; he had been in the job for barely three years and was still only a 26-year-old when the crisis erupted, thus being short of experience and "authority"; and he had a 20-year-old wife and two infant children to protect.

With hindsight, we can criticise the King's actions before, during and after the coup and find his judgement wanting in comparison to King Juan Carlos, a 43-year-old who was well-established on the throne at the time of the attempted coup in 1981. However, I remain to be convinced that his motivations for the decisions he took were anything other than honourable.

I think that the principal reason that there haven't been any serious calls for a restoration of the monarchy since is that Constantine has been a very convenient scapegoat for ALL sides. As long as the blame/ridicule is directed at him, it is possible to overlook the facts that the Greek military betrayed the democratic state to protect its own interests, that the political dynasties of both right and left have put power and self-interest ahead of good governance and, dare I say it, that the Greek people have allowed all this to happen.

Moreover, is what Constantine did (or didn't do) in Greece 1967 worse than the records of Vittorio Emanuele III in Italy when faced with Mussolini, of Alfonso XIII, Nicholas II, Wilhelm II or of Carol II?
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  #29  
Old 12-12-2014, 06:17 PM
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Not the worst of monarchs since 1913 but one who made several unwise decisions during his reign was king Leopold III of the Belgians. Some decisions was forced upon him due to the WW II, others was his own fault.
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  #30  
Old 12-12-2014, 06:26 PM
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After todays debacle over the lack of BRF in Brussels, I was expecting someone to nominate QEII
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  #31  
Old 12-12-2014, 06:55 PM
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^^^^ if that would warrant a nomination, then every monarch past and present would get a nomination (and we don't even know the background to that decision, all we do is make assumptions)

There has been no monarch in europe who has been perfect
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  #32  
Old 12-12-2014, 07:16 PM
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After todays debacle over the lack of BRF in Brussels, I was expecting someone to nominate QEII
It was a close call
Just wait for the so called "boycott", bet it will be fun ...
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  #33  
Old 12-12-2014, 08:26 PM
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King Constantine II, King Vittorio Emanuele III and King Alfonso XIII, for obvious reasons.
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  #34  
Old 07-08-2016, 04:41 AM
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Why is this thread only for European monarchs? There are quite a few Asian and ME monarchs who could be added to the hall of shame - Hirohito of Japan for one (if it was possible I would pick him as worst) not to mention the kings of Saudi Arabia just to name some examples.

And what's with all the Tino hate? He is by no means the worst euro monarch of the C20, and there is a good case to be made in his defence - Give him a break. There's a big diff between malice, incompetence and bad luck.

That said my choice for worst European monarch of the C20 is Wilhelm II - horrible man, irresponsible, cowardly, and did huge damage to Germany.
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  #35  
Old 07-08-2016, 06:07 AM
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King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia is one of my least favourite monarchs of last century. He was more interested in the promotion of Norodom Sihanouk than the stability of Cambodia. He abdicated so he could head his own political movement, but did not allow a new king to succeed. Ultimately he sacrificed the monarchy. I don't think he can be blamed for the rise of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, but his political games and shady relationship with the United States certainly didn't help. Then, decades later, he comes back as father of the nation, and restored King of Cambodia. Of all deposed monarchs to make a comeback, he was one of the least deserving.
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  #36  
Old 07-08-2016, 06:22 AM
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Emperor Hirohito of Japan is for my money the worst monarch of the twentieth century if anything for driving Japan to ruin during WW2, for his role in promoting the slaughter of millions across Asia. His mulishness and refusal to surrender lead to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The worst part was that he was allowed to survive and stay emperor with others taking the blame for his role in the war. If any monarch deserved to be overthrown and punished it was Hirohito
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  #37  
Old 07-15-2016, 03:48 PM
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Not the worst of monarchs since 1913 but one who made several unwise decisions during his reign was king Leopold III of the Belgians. Some decisions was forced upon him due to the WW II, others was his own fault.
Leopold III has been compared to another famous Belgian of his generation: Georges "Hergé" Remi, who was the creator of the "Tintin" comic books. They might have been cousins (), they were both in trouble after the WWII, and they also became good enough friends to make trips abroad together. But I am in no way an expert on Leopold III, so I won't either defend him or bash him here. Let's just be happy that the Belgian monarchy survived two invasions from Germany, and a very turbulent post-war period.
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