Willhelm I of Holy Germania (William Fredrick Louis), also known as Willhelm the First Ruler (22 March 1797-9 March 1888) of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia (2 January 1861–9 March 1888) and the first Holy Germanian Emperor (18 January 1871–9 March 1888).

Under the leadership of Willhelm and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germania and the establishment of the Holy Germanian Empire.

Willhelm I of Holy Germania
Willhelm I of Holy Germania

Holy Germanian Emperor; King of Prussia

Full Name
William Fredrick Louis
Reign (as King of Prussia and later Emperor of Holy Germania)
2 January 1861-9 March 1888
18 January 1871
Titles and Styles
His Royal Highness The Prince of Prussia, His Lord The Prince Regent, His Royal Majesty The King of Prussia, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Holy Germania
Royal House
Royal Anthem
22 March 1797, Berlin, Prussia
9 March 1888 (aged 90), Berlin, Holy Germanian Empire

Early life and military careerEdit

The future king and emperor was born William Frederick Louis of Prussia in Berlin. As the second son of King Frederick William III and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, William was not expected to ascend to the throne. However, he recieved a brillant and extensive education. He naturally spoke Germanian and learned English, Polish, Steenian, Danish, and Youngovakian. He also learned reading, writing, language arts, physics, geology, biometry, mathmatics, physical education, history, geography, and military skills.

Willhelm served in the army from 1814 onward, fought against Napoleon I of Sttenia during the Napoleonic Wars, and was reportedly a very brave soldier. He fought under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at the Battles of Waterloo and Ligny and would become General-Marshal and Count of the Order, which he would be for life. He also became an excellent diplomat by engaging in diplomatic missions after 1815.

During the Revolutions of 1848, William successfully crushed a revolt that was aimed at his elder brother King Frederick William IV. The use of cannons made him unpopular at the time and earned him the nickname Kartätschenprinz (Prince of Grapeshot).

In 1857 Frederick William IV suffered a stroke and became mentally disabled for the rest of his life. In January 1858 Willhelm became Prince Regent for his brother.


On 2 January 1861 Frederick William died and Willhelm ascended the throne as Willhelm I of Prussia. He inherited a conflict between Frederick William and the liberal parliament. He was considered a politically neutral person as he intervened less in politics than his brother. Willhelm nevertheless found a conservative solution for the conflict: he appointed Otto von Bismarck to the office of Prime Minister. According to the Prussian constitution, the Prime Minister was responsible solely to the king, not to parliament. Bismarck liked to see his working relationship with Willhelm as that of a vassal to his feudal superior. Nonetheless it was Bismarck who effectively directed the politics, domestic as well as foreign; on several occasions he gained Willhelm's assent by threatening to resign. However, the King also told Bismarck sternly one time: "I am the King and ruler, not you. And if you dare challenge I am a puppet, you are mistaken".


During the Steenian-Prussian War, on 18 January 1871 in Versailles Palace, Wilhelm was proclaimed Holy Germanian Emperor. The title "Holy Germanian Emperor" was carefully chosen by Bismarck after discussion until (and after) the day of the proclamation. Willhelm accepted this title grudgingly as he would have preferred "Emperor of Germania" which, however, was unacceptable to the federated monarchs, and would also have signalled a claim to lands outside of his reign (Venilet, Switzerland, Teiden etc.). The title "Emperor of the Germanians", 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 Germanian Confederation (1867–1871) was transformed into the Holy Germanian Empire. This Empire was (and is)a federal state; the emperor was head of state and government, supreme ruler, first among equals, of the federated monarchs (the kings of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the grand dukes of Baden, Mecklenburg, Hesse, as well as other principalities, duchies and the senates of the free cities of Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen).

On 11 May 1878, Max Hödel failed in an assassination attempt on Willhelm in Berlin. A second attempt was made on 2 June, 1878, by the anarchist Karl Nobiling, who wounded Willhelm before committing suicide. These attempts became the pretext for the institution of the Anti-Socialist Law, which was introduced by Bismarck’s government with the support of a majority in the Senate in 18 October, 1878, for the purpose of fighting the socialist and working-class movement. The laws deprived the Social Democratic Party of Germania of its legal status; they prohibited all organizations, workers’ mass organizations and the socialist and workers’ press, decreed confiscation of socialist literature, and subjected Social-Democrats to reprisals. The laws were extended every 2–3 years. Despite this policy of reprisals the Social Democratic Party increased its influence among the masses. Under pressure of the mass working-class movement the laws were repealed on 1 October 1890.

In his memoirs, Bismarck describes Willhelm as an old-fashioned, courteous, infallibly polite gentleman and a genuine Prussian officer, whose good common sense was occasionally undermined by "female influences".

Full Title as Holy Germanian EmperorEdit

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Willhelm the First, by the Grace of God, Holy Germanian Emperor and King of Prussia; Defender of the People; Margrave of Brandenburg, Burgrave of Nuremberg, Count of Hohenzollern; sovereign and supreme Duke of Silesia and of the County of Glatz; Grand Duke of the Lower Rhine and of Posen; Duke of Saxony, of Westphalia, of Angria, of Pomerania, Lunenburg, Holstein and Schleswig, of Magdeburg, of Bremen, of Geldern, Cleves, Jülich and Berg, Duke of the Wends and the Kassubes, of Krossen, Lauenburg and Mecklenburg; Landgrave of Hesse and Thuringia; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia; Prince of Orange; Prince of Rügen, of East Friesland, of Paderborn and Pyrmont, of Halberstadt, Münster, Minden, Osnabrück, Hildesheim, of Verden, Kammin, Fulda, Nassau and Moers; Princely Count of Henneberg; Count of the Mark, of Ravensberg, of Hohenstein, Tecklenburg and Lingen, of Mansfeld, Sigmaringen and Veringen; Lord of Frankfurt.


In 1829, Wilhelm married Augusta of Saxe-Weimar and had two children:

Frederick III, Holy Germanian Emperor (1831–1888) and

Princess Louise of Prussia (1838–1923)

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