German Emperor

German Emperor

Former Monarchy
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German Emperor

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This article is about the emperors of the German Empire. For full list of German monarchs before 1871, see List of German monarchs.

The German Emperor (German: Deutscher Kaiser) was the official title of the Head of State and ruler of the German Empire, beginning with the proclamation of Wilhelm I as emperor during the Franco-Prussian War, on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles, and ending with the official abdication of Wilhelm II on 18 November 1918.

Creation

The title "German Emperor" was carefully chosen by Otto von Bismarck after discussion until (and after) the day of the proclamation. Wilhelm I of Prussia accepted this title grudgingly as he would have preferred "Emperor of Germany" which was however, unacceptable to the federated monarchs, and would also have signalled a claim to lands outside of his reign (Austria, Swiss Confederation, Luxembourg etc.). The title Emperor of the Germans, as proposed in 1848, was ruled out as he considered himself chosen "By the Grace of God", not by the people as in a democratic republic.

By this ceremony, the North German Confederation (Norddeutscher Bund) was transformed into the German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich). This empire was a federal state; the emperor was head of state and president of the federated monarchs (the kings of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the grand dukes of Baden, Mecklenburg, Hesse, as well as other principalities, duchies and of the free cities of Hamburg, Lübeck and...
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