The career of the last German Kaiser is littered with effusions of this kind. They range from the gross and offensive to the bizarre or merely foolish. Wilhelm II spent most of his waking hours talking, arguing, shouting, speechifying, preaching, threatening and generally unbosoming himself of his latest preoccupations to whoever happened to be within earshot. He was like a Tourette’s tic at the heart of the German state executive. Even when he made the utmost effort to restrain himself, the indiscretions kept slipping out.