National Sportsman 1912 – Here’s proof that America’s outdoor magazines were read around the world. This note by R.C. Kruschke of the City Gun Store in Duluth informed the National Sportsman that none other than the Crown Prince of Germany, A.K.A. Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951), reads their magazine and had ordered a brilliant search light from their store. The search light order and the note to the magazine came two years before the outbreak of WWI in July, 1914.
Willie’s daddy was the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, from the House of Hohenzollern of the Prussian, German, Russian (whatever) family of Royalty. Willie was Big-K’s eldest son and third in line for the royal throne. He was a bit of a dandy with many lady friends. Big-K wasn’t pleased that Willie was so free with the royal seed so he arranged a marriage for Willie with Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Marriage didn’t slow down Willie’s socializing nature and he was soon back at the spa playing tennis and making new female friends.
When the war started Willie was given command of Germany’s 5th Army which he led through the slogging and deadly Verdun Offensive. He was later labeled as “the butcher of Verdun” for his leadership actions. When the slaughter of WWI finally slowed down in the fall of 1918, Big-K was sort of blamed for all of the senseless and mind numbing destruction. Some wanted him hung but with royalty comes privilege and he was allowed to exile to the Netherlands, where he lived rather fabulously for the rest of his life.
The Great War ended with an Armistice, not a German surrender, on November 11, 1918. Willie, no longer the Crown Prince of Germany, resigned from the German Army on November 12, 1918, and followed his father to Doorn, Holland. Big-K died in 1921. The blame for losing the war and national honor ushered in a decade of German civil wars between political factions which finally united all of Germany into a Nazi machine culminating in WWII. Read Martin Davidson’s, The Perfect Nazi, to better understand the individual and social dynamic stew that created the Nazi mindset.
Willie returned to Germany in 1923 with assurances he would stay out of the political fights for control of Germany. With his wild seed all sown, Willie lived peacefully with Cecilie at their estate in Potsdam until he died in 1951. It was reported that soon after WWI started Willie called it “..stupid, senseless and unnecessary..”. He had repeatedly tried to stop the Verdun Offensive and later he refused to endorse Hitler’s Nazi Party. So maybe it was that brilliant searchlight that helped him see-the-light.
Here’s a couple links to royal history.
Outdoor History Matters! – – bob@classicOutdoorMagazines.com