The Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Chivalric Order of Saint John of the Hospital at Jerusalem (German: Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens Sankt Johannis vom Spital zu Jerusalem), commonly known as the Order of Saint John or the Johanniter Order (German: Johanniterorden), is the German Protestant branch of the Knights Hospitaller, the oldest surviving chivalric order, which generally is considered to have been founded in Jerusalem in the year 1099 AD.
The Order is led by its thirty-seventh Herrenmeister ("Master of the Knights" or Grand Master), Prince Oskar of Prussia. Each of its knights, about four thousand men worldwide, is either a Knight of Justice (Rechtsritter) or a Knight of Honor (Ehrenritter). Membership in the Order is by invitation only, and individuals may not petition for admission; it is not limited to German citizens or German speakers, and knights include citizens and residents of most major nations. Although membership is no longer limited to the nobility, as it was until 1948, the majority of knights still are drawn from this class. The Order comprises seventeen commanderies in Germany, one each in Austria, Finland, France, Hungary, and Switzerland, and a global commandery with subcommanderies in twelve other countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Namibia, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela).
Together with the London-based Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (of which the British monarch is Sovereign Head), the Swedish Johanniterorden i Sverige, and the Dutch Johanniter Orde in Nederland, the Order is a member of the Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem. Along with the Roman Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta ("SMOM"), these four "Alliance Orders" represent the legitimate heirs of the Knights Hospitaller. They consider other orders using the name of Saint John to be merely imitative, and the Alliance and the SMOM jointly formed a False Orders Committee (renamed and reorganized as the Committee on Orders of St. John), with representatives of each of the five orders, to expose and take action against such imitations.
The Order and its affiliate orders in the Netherlands and Sweden, which became independent of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg after the Second World War, in 1946, are Protestant. The SMOM, headquartered in Rome, admits only men and women of the Catholic faith. The Venerable Order of Saint John, a recreation of the mediaeval English Langue of the Order of Saint John, was chiefly Anglican at its formation in the nineteenth century but since has opened its membership to men and women of any faith.
|Order of Saint John|
(Bailiwick of Brandenburg)
Flag of the Order
|Type||Order of chivalry|
|Religious affiliation||Christianity (Protestant)|
|Herrenmeister||Prince Oskar of Prussia|
Soon after the formation of the Order in Jerusalem, supporters in Western Europe began to donate farmland and other assets for the objectives of the order, the military protection and medical aid of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. In time, these landholdings were gathered into regional administrative divisions known as commanderies, each headed by a senior knight, or knight commander of the Order. The first commandery in the Germanies was founded in the mid-twelfth century.
By 1318, the Bailiwick of Brandenburg had been established in the northeastern parts of the Holy Roman Empire, an aggregation of commanderies of the Order under a bailiff, a high officer of the Order. The riches and influence of the Bailiwick (especially after augmentation by properties of the suppressed Order of the Temple) were so sizeable that, in 1382, the Prior of the German Langue (the eight territorial "Tongues" of the mediaeval Order of Saint John were its major subdivisions) in what became known as the Accord of Heimbach recognized the right of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg to choose its own governor (the Bailiff of Brandenburg, more commonly called the Herrenmeister) and preceptors (the commanders of the commanderies constituting the Bailiwick).
During the Protestant Reformation, large parts of the German Langue of the then-undivided Order of Saint John followed the leadership of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg and accepted Lutheran theology while continuing to recognize the headship of the grand master of the Order, who, with the majority of the knights, remained Roman Catholic. The higher officials of the Order, now headquartered on the Mediterranean island of Malta after the successive losses of Jerusalem, Acre, and Rhodes to Moslem Arabs and Turks, evinced a desire to maintain a relationship with the Protestant knights despite the theological and ecclesiological differences between the two groups. But in 1581, then Grand Master Jean de la Cassière called Herrenmeister Martin von Hohenstein before the Chapter (ruling council) of the Order of Saint John in Malta; when the Herrenmeister did not appear, De la Cassière declared the expulsion of the knights of the Bailiwick from the order, though he did so without the agreement of the Chapter.
Though separated from the Roman Catholic main stem of the Order of Saint John, the Bailiwick of Brandenburg continued to flourish. Admitting only noblemen, principally from the Germanies, the Bailiwick maintained hospitals and other institutions to care for the poor, the sick, and the injured. Elections of successive Herrenmeister (including a Roman Catholic, Adam von Schwarzenberg, in 1641) were announced to the Grand Prior of Germany in the Roman Catholic Order of Malta and, in accordance with the requests from the governing authorities of the Order of Malta, responsions (periodic remittances from revenues) were paid to the Grand Priory.
The horrific Thirty Years' War devastated the Bailiwick, resulting in the deaths of many knights and the destruction of much of the wealth of the Bailiwick. By the terms of the Peace of Westphalia ending the conflict, the Bailiwick was effectively placed under the protection of the Prince Electors of Brandenburg, later Kings of Prussia, members of the House of Hohenzollern. Under this protection, the Johanniterorden, as the Order came to be known, came to be headquartered at Sonnenburg Castle in the Neumark of Brandenburg, east of the Oder River, though the Herrenmeister resided in the Ordenspalais in Berlin from its completion in 1738.
As the intense sectarianism of early modern Europe gave way to the Enlightenment, further if sporadic attempts were made to accommodate the Protestant Bailiwick within the Roman Catholic Order of Malta. Despite cordial relations, however, including payment of responsions to Malta and participation of delegates from the Bailiwick in the Chapter General of the Order of Malta in 1776, nominal reunion of the two orders was prevented by the withholding of papal approval.
In 1811 and 1812, in his position of protector of the Order, King Frederick William III of Prussia transferred the powers of the Herrenmeister and the Chapter (the governing council of the Order) to the Prussian Crown, effectively dissolving the Bailiwick and confiscating its possessions. He established a similarly named (and with a similar insigne) order of merit, the Royal Prussian Order of Saint John, in its stead. (The insigne of another Prussian order of merit, the famed Pour le Mérite, nicknamed "the Blue Max", also was based on the design of the Johanniter neck cross.) The Herrenmeister of the Bailiwick, Prince August Ferdinand, became the first grand master of the order of merit, continuing to reside in the palace of the order, and all knights of the Order became members of the order of merit.
The order of merit was in its turn dissolved and King Frederick William IV of Prussia, again exercising the powers of the kings of Prussia as protectors of the Order, restored the original Bailiwick in 1852. The eight surviving knights of justice of the original Order were among its first members; in 1853, they elected the younger brother of the Prussian king, Prince Friedrich Karl Alexander, the new Herrenmeister of the restored Order. He announced his election to the head of the Order of Malta, who in acknowledgement recognized this restoration as the continuation of the historic Bailiwick. The Johanniterorden and its branches became fully independent of the Roman Catholic grand master in Rome, although the Herrenmeisters then and since have continuously and explicitly recognized the Order's historical connection with the Roman Catholic Order of Malta.
During the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Order created and supported more and more charitable activities. It now owns and operates numerous hospitals, ambulance services, old-age homes, and nurseries and provides first-aid training courses and disaster relief, both within Germany and abroad.
After World War II, with the Neumark given by the victorious Allies to Poland (Sonnenburg has been renamed "Słońsk", and the castle lies in ruins), the Order moved its headquarters to Bonn, West Germany. After the reunification of West and East Germany, the headquarters were moved again, to Berlin.
More than the location of the seat of the Order changed in the aftermath of the Second World War. The Swedish and Dutch commanderies separated from the direct oversight of the Bailiwick (though continuing in loose association with it through the Alliance since 1961) in 1946, and two years later, the Bailiwick itself began to admit commoners as knights, because the post-monarchical German nobility was seen as a "frozen caste". The Finnish commandery, however, remains a purely noble society, as do the now independent Swedish and Dutch orders.
Although the Herrenmeister is now elected and no is longer nominated by the king of Prussia or emperor of Germany, each holder of the office since 1693 has been a member of the House of Hohenzollern, the family of the former Prussian kings and last German emperors.
The present status of the Order under German law derives from its incorporation in 1852, and from official recognition by the German government in 1957 and 1959 of the badges of rank in the Order as German decorations of merit.
There are three active classes in the Order: Commander (Commandateur), Knight of Justice (Rechtsritter), and Knight of Honor (Ehrenritter). There are also classes of Honorary Commander (Ehrenkommendator), given to Knights of Justice who have rendered distinguished service to the Order, and Honorary Member (Ehrenmitglieder), which can be bestowed on men (including non-evangelical Christians) who do not belong to the Order but have given it some extraordinary service.
Through its Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe ("Saint John Accident Assistance"), its hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and other institutions, the Order today is a major provider of medical and rescue services in Germany and, to a lesser extent, of comparable services elsewhere in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. These services are similar to the St. John Ambulance in many Commonwealth nations, and to various organisations affiliated with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. All are carried out under the auspices of the Christian faith.
Additionally, spiritual retreats and other activities of the Order concentrate on the spiritual formation and development of Christian citizens in the modern world.
The cloak of the Order is plain black with a large, white, linen eight-pointed cross on the left breast. For most knights, the cloak is black woollen (to which French knights add distinctive white woollen collars) with a plain lining, but the Herrenmeister’s cloak is of black velvet lined in satin. The cloaks of most knights are closed only at the neck, but the Herrenmeister, Commanders, Honorary Commanders, and Knights of Justice also wear a long black cord called a cingulum.
The insignia, also known as crosses of honor, are no longer bestowed by the Order automatically (reception into the Order now involves only ceremonial robing with the cloak in a church service). Knights of Honor now must have rendered five years of service to the Order before a cross of honor is granted. Promotion to Knight of Justice requires at least seven years of distinguished service.
The basic insignia of the Order is a white-enamelled Maltese cross. The crowned Brandenburg (later, Prussian) eagles between the arms of the crosses date from 1668; they are gold for Knights of Justice, Honorary Commanders, Commanders, and the Herrenmeister, but, on the crosses of Knights of Honour and Honorary Members, the eagles are enamelled black with only the tiny crowns on each eagle's head left unenamelled gold. The closed crown of the king of Prussia on the Herrenmeister's cross and the crosses of Commanders, Honorary Commanders, Knights of Justice, and Honorary Members dates from the time of Frederick the Great, when his government authorised it to be used on the insignia. Excluding the crown, the cross of a Knight of Justice is 5 cm in diameter; the cross of a Commander, Honorary Commander, or Honorary Member, 5.5 cm; and the cross of the Herrenmeister, 7 cm The uncrowned cross of a Knight of Honour is 6 cm in diameter. Each cross is worn from a black-moire, 4.5-centimeter-wide ribbon worn about the neck.
All members of the Order may also wear a plain, Maltese cross as a star or 'breast badge'. Most such stars are of plain linen, though enamelled stars in either silver or silver gilt, of about 5.5cm in diameter, also are worn in formal evening attire.
A white-enamelled Maltese cross in either gold (generally about 1.8 centimeters in diameter) or silver (1.3), may be worn on the left lapel of a knight's suit coat or sportcoat.
From the late eighteenth century, the Johanniter have had a uniform similar to the Knights of Malta. Though not abolished, this uniform has not been worn since before the Second World War.
In 1946, the Dutch and Swedish commanderies of the Order separated from the direct oversight of the Bailiwick to form distinct, though related, orders.
The mediaeval Dutch Bailiwick of Utrecht and Commandery of Haarlem formed parts of the German Langue (one of the "Tongues", the major divisions of the mediaeval Order of Saint John) until, during the Reformation, they associated themselves with the reformed Bailiwick of Brandenburg. Both the Bailiwick of Utrecht and the Commandery of Haarlem were suppressed in 1810, during the Napoleonic occupation.
Dutch knights of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg formed their own commandery within the Johanniterorden in 1909, when the Dutch monarch afforded it royal protection; and the commandery separated from the German Johanniterorden in 1946. The commandery became an independent order in 1958 and is known as Johanniter Orde in Nederland, now admitting noblewomen as well as noblemen. The Dutch monarch is an honorary commander. With the German and Swedish orders, the Dutch order helped found the Alliance of the Orders of St. John of Jerusalem on June 13, 1961.
Dutch insignia of the Johanniter Orde in Nederland replace Prussian eagles with the Dutch lion.
A Swedish commandery of the Order of Saint John had been established by 1185, but laicized in 1530 as a result of the Reformation. Some Swedish noblemen had become knights of the Johanniterorden by the early nineteenth century; by 1920, when King Gustav V placed them under his protection as a union of Swedish knights of the Order, they were 54 in number.
In 1946, the union of Swedish knights separated from the German Johanniterorden and a Swedish order was established. Known as the Johanniterorden i Sverige, and with the Swedish monarch as its High Protector, it helped found the Alliance of the Orders of St. John of Jerusalem on June 13, 1961. Even though it is still a semi-official chivalric order of the Swedish state, membership of the Swedish order in practice remains limited to noblemen.
Swedish insignia of the Johanniterorden i Sverige replace Prussian eagles with the sheaf of the House of Vasa.
Following is a list of the men who have headed the Order, with the title of Herrenmeister, from the beginning of the institution as a subdivision of the Knights Hospitaller.
Margrave Charles Philip of Brandenburg-Schwedt (5 January 1673 in Sparnberg – 23 July 1695 in Casale Monferrato) was a Hohenzollern prince and a titular Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Near the end of his life he became Grand Master of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).Dubislav Friedrich von Platen
Dubislav Friedrich von Platen (23 August 1714 – 7 June 1787) was a Prussian officer in Frederick the Great's army. A cavalry general, he was also Governor of Königsberg, a Knight of the Order of Saint John, and a recipient of the Order of the Black Eagle. An active cavalry officer in all of the wars fought by Frederick—the War of Austrian Succession, the Second Silesian War, the Seven Years' War and, finally, the War of Bavarian Succession—he was memorialized on Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great in 1851 erected by Frederick's great-great nephew, Frederick William IV.Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold Konstantin Quirin Freiherr von Forcade de Biaix
Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold Konstantin Quirin Freiherr von Forcade de Biaix, aka Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold Konstantin Quirin von Forcade de Biaix, Herr of Schleibitz, Hamm, Groß-Naedlitz and Loslau, aka the Baron von Forcade, (born (1784-05-12)12 May 1784, Brieg, Silesia; died (1840-10-22)22 October 1840, Breslau, Silesia), Royal Prussian Major, Knight of the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 26 August 1813, knighted by His Majesty Frederick William III of Prussia as Knight of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg) (Balley Brandenburg des Ritterlichen Ordens Sankt Johannis vom Spital zu Jerusalem) in 1817, Royal Prussian Chamberlain (Kammerherr) and Castellan (Drost) of Neuenrade in the County of Mark, after his father's death in 1808. He was also a publisher, author, and theater director.Friedrich Wilhelm von Bismarck
Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Bismarck (28 July 1783 – 18 June 1860) was a German lieutenant general, diplomat and military writer. He wrote several major military-political works and military histories, which were very pro-Napoleon.Gustav Bogislav von Münchow
Gustav Bogislav von Münchow (10 September 1686 in Kosemühl, Pomerania–20 June 1766 in Berlin) was a Prussian general. In the early years of the reign of Frederick the Great, Münchow was not only a soldier and a diplomatic confidant, but he also earned a reputation for the improvement of Prussian military medical care. He was honored with the Black Eagle Order and his name is listed on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great.Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe
Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. (JUH; German for "St. John Accident Assistance"), commonly referred to as Die Johanniter, is a voluntary humanitarian organisation affiliated with the Brandenburg Bailiwick of the Order of St John, the German Protestant descendant of the Knights Hospitaller. The organisation was founded in 1952 in Hanover under the leadership of Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff. One of the main reasons for its creation was the rise in injuries and deaths from road traffic accidents (hence the word "accident" in its name). JUH participates in international aid efforts together with its sister organisations in other countries as part of the Johanniter International partnership; it also works with the German Malteser Hilfsdienst, affiliated to the Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta. As of 2017 the organisation had 37,000 active volunteers and youth members and around 1,300,000 registered members.Among recent developments of JUH in Germany is the establishment of local and regional groups that provide first responder services on horseback (see mounted search and rescue).John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen
John Maurice of Nassau (Dutch: Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen; German: Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen; Portuguese: João Maurício de Nassau-Siegen; 17 June 1604 – 20 December 1679) was called "the Brazilian" for his fruitful period as governor of Dutch Brazil. He was Count and (from 1664) Prince of Nassau-Siegen, and Grand Master of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).Knights of Malta (disambiguation)
Knights of Malta may refer to:
The Knights Hospitaller after 1530
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Rome-based successor of the Knights Hospitaller (1822)
The Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg), the Berlin-based Protestant branch of the Order, from which it separated during the Reformation (de jure in 1812)
The Order of Saint John (chartered 1888), an English order of chivalry, parent body of St John Ambulance
The Order of Malta (Freemasonry), a Masonic order closely associated with the Masonic Knights TemplarLudwig von Bogdandy
Ludwig von Bogdandy (born 10 February 1930 in Berlin, died 5 May 1996 in Linz) (Hungarian: Bogdándy Lajos) was a German metallurgist and industrial executive. He was a leading researcher on iron and steel production, and served as CEO of Voestalpine, an international steel based technology and capital goods group based in Linz. He also served as the honorary Hungarian Consul-General in Linz.Order of Saint John (disambiguation)
Order of Saint John may refer to:
the Knights Hospitaller, chivalric order of the Crusades and early modern period, after 1530 also "Knights of Malta"
the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (since 1822), modern Catholic continuation of the Order of Saint John
Alliance of the Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem, a federation of mutually recognised Protestant branches of the Order of Saint John (since 1961)
Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg), now headquartered in Berlin, separated from the Catholic Order of Malta as a Protestant order of merit in 1812
Order of Saint John (chartered 1888), whose Sovereign Head is the monarch of the Commonwealth realms; based in London, its responsibilities include overseeing St. John Ambulance and the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem
Order of Saint John in Sweden, founded in 1920 in Stockholm, Sweden
Russian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller, the Russian Orthodox tradition from the Knights Hospitaller, springing from the Grand Mastership of Emperor Paul I of Russia (1799)
Royal Prussian Order of Saint John
the Knights of St. John International, a fraternal Catholic organization founded in the United StatesPhilip Riedesel zu Camberg
Philip Riedesel zu Camberg was an important German knight (Ritter) in the latter half of the 16th century. He was the son of Henrich Riedesel zu Camberg and Catherine von Sebolt. He entered the Johanniterorden (the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Order of Saint John) in 1569, with the position of Komtur (knight commander, or preceptor) in Erlingen and as a Receptor. He served as the Grand Master of the order in northern Germany 1594-1598. During this time, he served as General of the Danube fleet in the long Turkish war (1593-1606) between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. He died in 1598.Prince Charles of Prussia
Prince Frederick Charles Alexander of Prussia (German: Prinz Friedrich Carl Alexander von Preußen) (29 June 1801 – 21 January 1883) was a younger son of Frederick William III of Prussia. He served as a Prussian general for much of his adult life and became the first Herrenmeister (Grand Master) of the Order of Saint John after its restoration as a chivalric order. Nevertheless, he is perhaps remembered more often for his patronage of art and for his sizable collections of art and armor.Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia (1828–1885)
Prince Friedrich Karl Nicolaus of Prussia (20 March 1828 – 15 June 1885) was the son of Prince Charles of Prussia (1801–1883) and his wife, Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1808–1877). Prince Frederick Charles was a grandson of King Frederick William III of Prussia and a nephew of Frederick William IV and William I. He was born at Schloss Klein in Berlin.Prince Georg Friedrich of Waldeck
Prince Georg Friedrich of Waldeck (31 January 1620, Arolsen – 19 November 1692, Arolsen) was a German and Dutch Field Marshal and, for the last three years of his life, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).
In 1641, Waldeck entered the service of the States-General of the Netherlands; later in 1651, in the service of Brandenburg, he reached the highest rank as minister. He changed the foreign policy completely by abandoning the alliance with the Emperor and trying to forge a coalition with the Protestant princes.
In 1656 he arranged a coalition with Sweden, and commanded the cavalry in the Battle of Warsaw (1656) against Poland. He was dismissed in 1658 when Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg made peace with Poland.
After that he fought under Charles X Gustav of Sweden against Denmark, as German Reichsfeldmarschall in 1664 near Sankt Gotthard. In 1683 he commanded Bavarian troops during the Battle of Vienna. In 1685 he fought as a free-lancer for the Duke of Lorraine and the Elector of Bavaria.
After William III left for England in 1688 to claim the English throne, Waldeck was appointed Field Marshal of William's forces during the War of the Grand Alliance in the Spanish Netherlands. Although he was victorious at the Battle of Walcourt in 1689, the following year he suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Marshal Luxembourg at the Battle of Fleurus.
In 1691, he was again outmanoeuvred by Luxembourg and defeated at the Battle of Leuze.
After this defeat Waldeck was appointed chief-of-staff of the Dutch States Army. He died on 19 November 1692 in Arolsen.Prince Oscar of Prussia (born 1959)
Prince Oscar of Prussia (German: Oskar Prinz von Preussen; born 6 May 1959) is a member of the House of Hohenzollern, the former ruling house of Prussia, and a pretender in line to the German throne. He is the thirty-seventh Herrenmeister ("Master of the Knights" or Grand Master) of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).Prince Wilhelm-Karl of Prussia
Prince Wilhelm Karl of Prussia (Wilhelm Karl Adalbert Erich Detloff; 30 January 1922, in Potsdam – 9 April 2007, in Holzminden) was the third son of Prince Oskar of Prussia, and the last surviving grandson of Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor. He was the thirty-sixth Master of Knights (Herrenmeister) of the Protestant (and largely German) Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg), also known as Der Johanniterorden.Thorleif Paus
Thorleif Paus (8 October 1881 – 9 June 1976), also known as Thorleif de Paus or Thorleif von Paus, was a Norwegian businessman, consul-general in Vienna and estate owner.Veronica Carstens
Veronica Carstens (born Prior; 18 June 1923 – 25 January 2012) was the wife of the German President Karl Carstens.She began medical studies in 1941, which she interrupted during the war to work as a nurse. In 1944 she married at Berlin-Tegel Karl Carstens, whom she had met the year before. Temporarily she was a housewife. In 1956 she continued her medical studies, graduating in 1960.
From 1960 to 1968 she worked as a medical assistant and in 1968 she opened her medical practice in Meckenheim near Bonn.
Carstens was by profession a doctor of medicine, and she maintained her practice throughout her husband's tenure as president. She was a strong advocate of naturopathy and homeopathy, and in 1982 the Carstens established the Carstens-Foundation (Carstens-Stiftung) – a major funder of alternative medicine research in Europe. She was an honorary member of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).She was widowed in 1992. After she had retired from public life in 2009, she lived in a sanitarium in Bonn.William I, German Emperor
William I, or in German Wilhelm I (full name: William Frederick Louis of Hohenzollern, German: Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig von Hohenzollern, 22 March 1797 – 9 March 1888), of the House of Hohenzollern, was King of Prussia from 2 January 1861 and the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to his death, the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. In contrast to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while staunchly conservative, he was more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.
|Kingdom of Prussia|
|Kingdom of Bavaria|
|Kingdom of Saxony|
|Kingdom of Württemberg|
|Kingdom of Hanover|
|Grand Duchy of Baden|
|Grand Duchy of Hesse|
|Grand Duchy of|
|Grand Duchy of|
|Grand Duchy of Oldenburg|
|Duchy of Saxe-Weimar|
|Duchy of Brunswick|
|Duchy of Nassau|
|Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg|
|Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha|
|Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen|
|Duchy of Anhalt|
|Principality of Lippe-Detmold|
|Principality of Reuss|
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