The Blunders of Kaiser Wilhelm II
- Major blunders included the Kruger telegram (1896, congratulating Boer rebels fighting Britain), the saber-rattling 1908 Daily Telegraph interview that angered and alarmed the British, the brutal instructions to his brother Henry on the departure of the punitive expedition to China, his quarrel with Britain's Prince of Wales, and his reckless support of a tottering Austria-Hungary in the crises of 1908, 1912, and especially in 1914. Each blunder seriously damaged Germany's prestige and led to the tightening of the alliances against it. He was often used by his officials and allowed to take the blame in case of failure. The emperor's irrationality and instability were further aggravated by the generic weaknesses in the constitutional and political system in Germany, and alarmed leaders across Europe as Germany grew in industrial and military strength.