Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, most notably, King George V of the United Kingdom and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia.
Acceding to the throne in 1888, he dismissed the chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890. He also launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course" in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led in a matter of days to the First World War.
Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, behaviors culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 that cost him most of his influence. His leading generals, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, dictated policy during the First World War with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war-time leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.