A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools. — Thucydides

Emperor William First - George Upton



This biography of William the First, the first Kaiser of Germany was written before the First World War, and in retrospect appears fawning toward its subject. At the time it was written however, Prussia was greatly admired throughout much of the west for its technical achievements and its progressive, secular government, and the Emperor was highly regarded.

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William the First
EMPEROR WILLIAM FIRST.


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Translator's Preface

Upon the title page of the original of this little volume stands inscribed, "A life picture for German youth and the German people." It might, with equal pertinency, have been written, "A life picture for all youth and all people." Emperor William First was a delicate child, but was so carefully nurtured and trained that he became one of the most vigorous men in Germany. At an early age he manifested a passionate interest in everything pertaining to war. In his youth he received the Iron Cross for bravery. He served under his father in the final wars of the Napoleonic campaign, and in his twenty-third year mastered not only the military system of Germany, but those of other European countries. During the revolutionary period of 1848 he was cordially hated by the Prussian people, who believed that he was wedded to the policy of absolutism, but before many years he was the idol of all his kingdom, and in the great war with France (1870), all Germans rallied round him. After the close of this war he returned to Berlin and spent the remainder of his days in peace, the administration of internal affairs being left largely to his great coadjutor, Prince Bismarck. In connection with Von Moltke, these two, the Iron Emperor and the Iron Chancellor, made Germany the leading power of Europe. In simpleness of life, honesty of character, devotion to duty, love of country, and splendor of achievement, the Emperor William's life is a study for all youth and all people.

G. P. U.

CHICAGO, May 10, 1909.

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Appendix

The following is a chronological statement of the principal events in German history connected with the narrative:


1797    Birth of William First.
1807    Received officer's patent.
1813    Appointed Captain.
1814-15    Served in Napoleonic campaign.
1829    Married Augusta of Saxe-Weimar.
1840    Heir presumptive.
1848    German revolution.
1849    Suppressed the insurrection in Baden and the Palatinate.
1854    Field Marshal and Governor at Mainz.
1858    Regency for his brother Frederick William.
1861    Ascended the throne of Prussia.
1862    Appointed Bismarck Minister of Foreign Affairs.
1864    War with Denmark.
1866    Austro-Prussian War.
1867    President of the North German Confederation.
1870-71    Franco-Prussian War.
1871    Proclaimed German Emperor at Versailles.
1871    Returned with the army to Berlin.
1888    Died at Berlin.