The History Place - World War I

German infantry at the Front parade for Kaiser Wilhelm (seen on left). The Kaiser also liked informal encounters, often mingling with his troops amid their affectionate shouts of "Hoch! Hoch!" meaning high or exalted, although this practice diminished as Germany's fortunes declined. Below: The Kaiser's eldest son and heir, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, at the wheel. In pre-war Europe, the international press had followed the young Prince's every move, including various romances, world travels, personality traits etc. During the war his popularity among Germans was overshadowed by Hindenburg. The military minded Prince had command of an army on the Western Front, but proved to be incompetent. Once he made up his mind, he was unwilling to heed contrary advice from experienced generals. Thus he wasted the lives of some of Germany's best regiments, especially around Verdun. Regardless, he was repeatedly praised and decorated by his father. One general, however, spoke up. When called on the carpet by the Kaiser to answer for a bungled maneuver and its excessive troop loses, the general reportedly told the Kaiser, "It's not my fault. Your brat of a son insisted upon it." The general promptly saluted, then immediately exited the room and shot himself dead.

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