Wilhelm I, Kaiser of Germany
(1797–1888)
   Wilhelm I was king of Prussia (1861–1888) and German emperor (1871–1888). Born Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig of Prussia in Berlin, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm III and Queen Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, he served in the Napoleonic Wars and in 1848 used his military experience to help put down the liberal revolts stirring the country. When he ascended the throne of Prussia as Wilhelm I in 1861, he appointed Otto von Bismarck to the office of first Prussian minister and thereby did more for his country in one stroke than the rest of his reign could account for. Bismarck thereafter guided domestic affairs and foreign policy through the wars of German unification and the proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors in January 1871.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Clark, Christopher. Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947. Harvard: Belknap, 2006.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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