Centrals: Heads of State

German Empire : Wilhelm II ( 1859 - 1941 ) Reign : 1888 - 1918.

Of the House of Hohenzollern, hereditary rulers of the German state of Prussia. With the creation of a unified German Empire in 1871 (upon victory in the Franco - Prussian war),  the  new  constitution stipulated that the King of Prussia would be Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany. Wilhelm II ascended to the royal and imperial thrones in 1888. He was 55 years old and in the 26th year of his reign in 1914, start of World War One. Wilhelm exercised actual and near-dictatorial powers in the conduct of Germany's war activities,  supported  unquestionably  by  the  Prussian  dominated  military  and  a  generally compliant Reichstag (parliament). For years he had conditioned German  society  and  culture  to  the conservative principles of " personal rule " and  the German Imperial Constitution  reserved  in  the person of the Kaiser supreme command of the military and the right to make war - prerogatives  which Wilhelm exercised fully.  He lived  throughout  the war,  abdicating  in  November 1918,  just 3 days before the Armistice that ended World War One. He fled into exile to the Netherlands where he lived for another 23 years. With his abdication the 300 year Hohenzollern dynasty ended.

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Rotary - England

Gust. Liersch
No. 2478.

W.C.A. Series 146

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In Austrian
Uniform 1914.

Red Cross Vienna
No. 309.

Phot. Belge
Bruxelles 1916.

In the uniform
of a Turkish

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House "Doorn" (NL)
where Wilhelm II
went into exile.

In the garden of
House "Doorn" with
his 2nd wife Hermine.
March 1926

House "Doorn"
At the woodcutter's
lodge (1931).

Austro - Hungarian Empire : Franz Josef I ( 1830 - 1916) Reign : 1848 - 1916.

Of the House of Habsburg, hereditary rulers of the Austrian Empire. Franz Josef was also King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. From 1868,  as a result of Austria's defeat in the Austro - Prussian war, Austria had been known as the "dual monarchy" and the "Austria - Hungary Empire". Franz Josef ascended to the throne in 1848. He was 84 years old and in the 66th year of his reign in 1914, start of World War One. He was the world's oldest and longest serving monarch in 1914, and known throughout Europe as " the venerable old gentleman ". He  was  little  involved  in  the  conduct  of government and Austria's activities in the war. Although the office of  Emperor  (Kaiser)  exercised close to  absolutist  political and military power,  the Empire's  diplomatic and military  activities during the war were in the hands of the Army Chief of Staff Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf and  State Chancellor Berchthold. Franz Josef died during the war, on November 21, 1916, and was succeeded by his great nephew the Archduke Karl, son of Franz Josef's deceased younger brother Karl Ludwig. Thereafter in the last years of the war von Hötzendorf and Berchthold were removed from power by Kaiser Karl.

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France 1908

Vienna 1914.

Vienna 1914.

W.C.A. Series

karte Berlin.

Nov. 21, 1916

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Emperor Franz
Josef I and
Archduke Karl.

Royal Wedding:
Archduke Karl Franz Josef and
Archduchess Zita.
October 21, 1911

Archduke Karl.

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Emperor Karl I
Empress Zita.

Empress Zita, Crownprince
Franz Josef Otto and Emperor
Karl I.

Zita, Queen of
  Hungary (1916).

Ottoman Empire (Turkey) : Mehmed Rechad V ( 1844 - 1918 ) Reign : 1909 - 1918

Mehmed V was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and as such by tradition technically the temporal and spiritual leader of the world's Muslims.  He  ascended to  the  throne in 1909 as a result of  the deposition of his brother, the autocratic Sultan Abdul Hamid II, by reformist elements in the Army (called the "Young Turks"). Abdul Hamid II had ruled for 33 years and was sent into exile. Mehmed V was a totally figurehead monarch as the imposition of the constitution stripped the Sultan of almost all his prerogatives. As with  Franz Josef  I  of Austria - Hungary, Turkey's diplomatic and wartime activities  were  in  the  hands  of  the  military.  In  the  case of  the Ottoman Empire in the hands of triumvirate of military officers of whom the fanatically pro-German Enver Pasha was the dominant force. Mehmed V was 70 years old and in the 5th year of his reign in 1914,  start of  World War One which Turkey entered solely upon the dictates of Enver Pasha who had secretly ordered his Black Sea Navy  ( also the German cruisers Breslau and Goeben under Turkish flag)  to  launch  attacks upon Russia without provocation or declaration of war. Mehmed V died on July 3, 1918, just four months before Turkey's surrender to the Allied Nations.

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Ghazi Mehmed Rechad V
Photo Pietzner Vienna 1915
NPG No. 5202

"The Awakening of the Orient"
Publ.J.C. König & Ebhardt
Hannover 1914.
Designed by Heinz Keune

Ghazi Mehmed Rechad V
Photo Pietzner Vienna 1915
NPG No. 5212

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Turkish priest proclaiming the
Holy War in front of the
Mosque of Faith in

Wohlfahrts Karte des "Reichs-
verband zur Unterstützung
deutscher Veteranen E.V.
Publ. ca. 1920
"Proclamation of the Holy War"

Kingdom of Bulgaria : Ferdinand I ( 1861 - 1948 ) Reign : 1887 - 1918.

Ferdinand was a Prince of the German House of Sachsen - Coburg when he was recruited to assume the throne of the Principality of Bulgaria. He ascended  that  throne in 1887 at a time when Bulgaria was a newly independent nation,  but  still  technically  a  Principality  (not a kingdom)  under  the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. In 1908 at the time of the Bosnian Crisis when Austria - Hungary annexed  Bosnia and Herzegovina from Turkey,   Ferdinand declared Bulgaria's full  independence and proclaimed himself Czar. The Ottoman Empire recognized Bulgaria's independence in return for payment of an indemnity. Ferdinand was 54 years old and in the 28th years of his reign in 1915, the year in which Bulgaria entered  World War One on  the side of  the Central Powers. Ferdinand was a constitutional monarch but brought Bulgaria into the war against the wishes of the majority of his country's parliament, and while he did not exercise as much political power as did Kaiser Wilhelm II of  Germany,  he was  an active  and powerful force  in the  conduct  of  Bulgaria's  diplomatic  and military activities during the war. Bulgaria's front crumbled in September 1918 before a combined Allied force of Serbian, British, French, Italian and Greek armies, and on September 30, 1918 Bulgaria signed an Armistice of surrender. On October 4, 1918, 4 days after Bulgaria's surrender, Ferdinand abdicated and went into exile. The mantle of Czar passed to his son Boris.

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First Prince of
France 1904

"H.M. Czar of
Bulgaria Ferdinand I"

Bulgaria 1915

Czar Ferdinand of
Bulgaria in German
Gustav Liersch
Berlin. No. 7525

Kaiser Wilhelm &
Czar Ferdinand.
NPG No. 5371

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