Wilhelm II, anglicised as William II, was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918. Despite strengthening the German Empire's position as a great power by building a blue-water navy and promoting scientific innovation, his tactless public statements and erratic foreign policy greatly antagonized the international community and are considered by many to be one of the underlying causes for World War I. When the German war effort collapsed after a series of crushing defeats on the Western Front in 1918, he was forced to abdicate, thereby bringing an end to the House of Hohenzollern's three-hundred-year reign.
Wilhelm II was the son of Prince Frederick William of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal. His father was the son of Wilhelm I, German Emperor, and his mother was the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. With the death of Wilhelm's grandfather in March 1888, his father became German Emperor and King of Prussia as Frederick III. Frederick himself died in June of that year, and Wilhelm II ascended the throne.