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Wilhelm I of Germany

Biography

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Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) / German Unification

 

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18th January 1871: Wilhelm I declared German Emperor

 

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William I, German Emperor

 

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Emperor Nicholas II visits Kaiser Wilhelm II - 1905

 

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Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia

William I, or in German Wilhelm I, of the House of Hohenzollern, was King of Prussia from 2 January 1861 and the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to his death, the first head of state of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. In contrast to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while staunchly conservative, he was more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.
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