Lead: Of the many complex causes of the Great War, none was more catalytic than the enigmatic, insecure, brilliant yet erratic Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: As the nineteenth century drew to a close the great powers of continental Europe were coming to grips with growing popular political aspirations. Mass democracy taking its inspiration from the French Revolution, from the writings of liberals and socialists and from the experience of the North American colossus was forcing the ruling dynasties and their attending aristocrats to surrender an ever-growing portion of their power. Some leaders, such as German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, understood how to manipulate this new force. Others, such as the young Kaiser were soon captured by it.