After World War One, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the deposed German Emperor, lived in exile in the Netherlands. He died in 1941, so he lived just long enough to witness the rise of Hitler and the outbreak of World War Two. In 1938 he gave an interview to an American correspondent and was asked what he thought of Hitler. His answer was interesting:
“There is a man alone, without family, without children, without God… He builds legions but he doesn’t build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, tradition: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children. [Hitler’s Germany would be]… an all-swallowing State, disdainful of human dignities and the ancient structure of our race, setting itself up in place of everything else. And the man who, alone, incorporates in himself this whole State, has neither a God to honour nor a dynasty to conserve, nor a past to consult.
For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed… This man could bring home victories to our people each year without bringing them glory… But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians and artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics…”