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Crown Prince Wilhelm – Front Line Visits – Trench Entertainment I OUT OF THE TRENCHES


I am burgermeister meisterburger and this is out of the trenches where I sit here in my chair of wisdom and answer your questions about the First World War [Music] johnathan English writes in the next out of the trenches could you please tell me what crown prince vilhelm did during the war my great-great-grandfather served under him during the war Crown Prince Wilhelm was appointed the head of the German fifth army although it was in reality commanded by generals like von Knoebels Dorf nevertheless a vilhelm was always more or less involved in the management of the fifth army which held the center of the Western Front near Verdun and no yong-ok his legacy is there’s a lot of controversy and dispute around it the propagandist image of the most hated man in the empire as the antón tried to paint him is surely not entirely deserved despite his difficult character okay he not only openly advocated the unpopular demands of the very far-right in Germany his generals often described him as unbearable and extremely arrogant and this is because of his royal upbringing I imagine um remember the Kaiser was his father okay Wilhelm was a known womanizer and he did favour the harsh suppression of democracy in Prussia after the war many accused him of being the butcher of Verdun but again there are contrary accounts from the fifth army commanders despite his personal image as a as a military figure he was not that incompetent and there are accounts that he was actually trying to stop the Verdun offensive as it offered no signs of progress but sources are divided nonetheless it is fair to say that Vilhelm possessed a realistic view of the German army and was not shy of rebuking his commanders there are also reports that he had a lot of camaraderie with the officers beneath him that he was approachable in strategic meetings that he even liked gave out little gifts to his soldiers every now and then the most famous story I can think of is that after the capture of fort Voe he received the capitulation of major Rhine Nell in his private quarters and not only did he fluently converse with him in French he also allowed right now to keep his arms he would even gift him a a proper sword for the ceremonial surrender in 1917 he tried to advocate speak to advocate peace talks to end the war true it would have been a very favorable peace for Germany with large annexations but he stayed contrary to the Warhawks in the empire until the end so little Willy that’s him followed Big Willy the Kaiser into exile in the Netherlands but would eventually return to his wife who he’d left behind in late 1923 he did they’ll have to promise Chancellor espresso Mon that he would not get involved in politics or openly advocate advocate the return of the monarchy Lib beast okay Libby’s asks was that clemenceau in a trench did government officials ever visit the front line to boost morale for publicity or to understand the nature of the front most government officials would go to the front line for pretty much three reasons one to see with their own eyes what was going on and let those impressions influence their politics back home two to get in personal touch with the commander and get first-hand information about plans and things like that and well three to use the visit to inspire the troops and to bring the press for propaganda purposes Clemenceau was very critical of the rebo government and his personal visits to the trenches only strengthened his belief that the war had to be fought to a decisive end as Prime Minister he also stayed true to his belief that the war was too important to be left to the generals so he actually went pretty close to the front line to see for himself Lord Kitchener he went as well he went to Gallipoli to see what was going on since the reports were let’s say underwhelming and he went pretty close to the front lines before famously saying thank God I came to see this for myself you were quite right I had no idea of the difficulties you were up against Lloyd George would use his visits to not only meet with Field Marshal Hague and to try to talk him out of further casualties at EEP but also served as a medium between the French and the British generals a lot of officials went to the front or or let’s say to a safe distance close to the front they’ve read the reports from the front lines before but felt the need to be seen with the troops so Emperor Karl Tsar Nicholas Kaiser Wilhelm they were more or less frequently visiting their generals all thought it was their duty as the symbol of the state to be seen with the troops who look like them to eat with them even just for a day those days would of course be great for propaganda purposes Blake Robson let’s see was stand up ever a thing in the trenches a funny thing happened to me on the way to Verdun yeah okay what sorry what stand up everything in the trenches like Vietnam infamously did factions send comedians to boost morale well yes but not directly in the trenches in the trenches the soldiers had to rely on each other’s company and the occasional French humor yeah but behind the front line such entertainment like you know we had comedy music theater and yeah it was very popular but I don’t mean like the Playboy bunny helicopter shows with Bob Hope you know from Vietnam movies and stuff now this was pretty down-to-earth soldiers would gather in front of improvised stages and bigger tents or enlisted men’s clubs and they would usually watch their fellow soldiers perform the British and French particularly favoured these small theater groups the French even authorized the tiata al from the frontline theater supporting it with financial aid and mobile theaters this was especially popular inside the prison camps where theater performances gave the POWs a chance to escape the dismal dismal boredom of captivity sometimes they would invite civilians but it stayed mostly within the Armed Forces with men playing the female roles of course there are some papers on how cross-dressing became more of a cultural phenomenon for those men but I am NOT an expert on that they had cool names like the shrapnel or splash and rehearsed popular or self written dramas and comedies okay well that is all for today and if you’re wondering who burgermeister meisterburger is the name I used at the beginning of this episode he was a character in a Christmas special that was on TV every year when I was a little kid and it was like a puppet Christmas special he was of course the Burgermeister of whatever German town that Kris Kringle lived in now the name of that special was the year Crown Prince Rurik saved Christmas and boy it was a very very popular popular thing and rupprecht of course had his reindeer you know now Santa has Dasher dancer Prancer vixen comet Cupid Donner Blitzen and Rudolph those nine reindeer Ruprecht Crown Prince Rurik during the war he had eight reindeer they were actually named all named because these are you know the ancestors of today’s reindeers they were named after Central Powers leaders and you could even make a song about him because there was Conrad Franz Josef of malt key and arish let’s see Oh Enver Jamal Tala and Paul those were the those were Crown Prince Rupert’s eight reindeer in the year Crown Prince root Precht save Christmas if you’d like to see our special episode about Georges Clemenceau you can click right here for that and don’t actually remember which special it actually was but I’m sticking with mine okay see you next time

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Comments
  • One episode of Blackadder Goes Forth entails Capt. Blackadder trying to get out of the trenches by putting on a successful morale-boosting show for the soldiers, to be judged by Gen. Melchett, who rather inconveniently falls in love with the leading lady, an unbeknownst-to-him cross-dressing Lt. George. Hilarity ensues.

  • You should do a special where you talk about the relationship between Russia and Japan during the war. Interesting 10 years before they were at war, but are now allies (perhaps by default). I heard that Russian and Japanese generals would even plan battles and strategies together and organize operations and share Intel. I think it would be cool to do an out of the trenches discussing Japan and Russia's alliance during the First World War.

  • OOTT: First of all, great job guys, greetings from Serbia, hope you visit soon!

    I would like to know more about the roles of sappers in the Western front, if they were used at all in other theaters, and how effective they were.

  • I have a question for Indy and his chair of wisdom. The various pacifist movements, besides attempting to persuade their own nations leadership to come to peace, must have attempted co-ordinated efforts with the peace movements of enemy nations. How well did the various governments tolerate them and did they have any positive impact on the war and the final peace?

  • for leaders in the trenches- after he lost his seat in government, Churchill actuall was a battalion commander for a while. he was regular army in the 1890's and so had a fairly good idea of what real battle was like having charged with the 21st lancers at omdurman and been taken prisoner by the boers. As for crossdressing men. i suspect them men who did it were using the stage as an out for an inclination they already had but which most societies considered unnatural and a crime.

  • the burgermiester was the head of somber town and i think he gets a bad rap. He knows he's not a father figure so tells his man to take the child to the orphanage, a place set up for such abandoned children to provide structure he couldn't give,. As for the town The kids were clearly mentally deficient. they know toys are illegal and yet flaunt them in front of the police. they needed protection because when some weirdo comes to town and declares

    "If you sit on my lap today a kiss a toy is the price you'll pay"

    someone has to say 'hell no.' lets be honest. if this happened today it would be on the evening news telling people to look out for a stalker.

    Think I'm wrong about the red suited weirdo/ remember the lessons he got from the animals "How to laugh deep and jolly like he meant it" you mean he doesn't mean it? you mean he's faking it to lure people in?
    remember when he turns the winter warlock to good/ well the next scene he talks to the teacher , who still thinks the warlock is evil, and tells her he can spy on the kids using magic taught him by his close personal friend the evil dark lord and the teacher is ok with thiis?seriously Santa Claus is coming to town is a nightmare of stranger danger and I havn't even gotten started yet on the teacher!

  • The item about standup reminded me of stories about the Timberland Follies, an English entertainment group in a Dutch internment camp in Groningen during WW1. I found this website https://johnfloodgroningen.com/2014/09/08/timbertown-follies-english-camp-in-groningen/ in English. Anyway, standup was popular even in neutral Holland's internment camps.

  • I have a question for out of the trenches. You talk a lot about Enver Pasha's pan-Turanism during the last phases of the war, and how he wanted to expand into Azerbaijan and the Turkic lands in Central Asia. At the same time, were there plans to recapture occupied parts of the Ottoman Empire, specifically Mecca, Jerusalem, and Baghdad, or were those essentially written off as permanent losses to the Arabs and the British?

  • My great great grandfather "neff" wilhelm T. Dietrich served under him and was said to have some relations to him as well, but the history is kind of uncertain.

  • I caught the reference immediately. A fond childhood memory.

    It also harkens to the sons of Mother Nature: Heat Miser (He's Mister 'Hundred and One) and Cold Miser……………………………

  • I reckon this may only be worthwhile for those, who understand the german language, but here's an interview with little willy's son (prince Louis Ferdinand von Preußen): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5eveUVrO9M

  • The worst part of the Chair's effects? I'd actually like to see The Year Crown Prince Rupprecht Saved Christmas. I can just picture the reindeer: Enver always trying to pick fights with the elves over what goes to Transcaucasia..Conrad trying to swim instead of fly…Franz Josef dropping dead of old age as Rupprecht reaches the Equator…the possibilities are endless!

  • The Burgermeister Meisterburger joke was hilarious! (I am a bit older than you) I bet the Millennials don't get it. Schadenfreude! 🇩🇪 😀🇩🇪😀🇩🇪

  • 1. Which armies used field brothels?
    2. "He was a womanizer." Is that how Crown Prince Wilhelm got the nickname 'Willie'? (wink, wink)

  • For example the President of Portugal visiting the front during the stade visit of France and UK
    1 month later occur a coup d'etat!

  • Shouldn´t the newspappers be listed under fiction during war. Not that the soldiers finds the acount of their battle any fun.

  • The British troops had a very popular comedy act called the Dumb Bells,, didn't they perform
    in the trench once or twice ?

  • Was there something else like the chanson craonne in other 1.WW armies? And how was the French Solider feeling about denunciating one of her own, is there any Reports existing?

  • Entertainment for the French poilus (soldiers) notably included performances by Sarah Bernhardt, the greatest French actress in, like, EVER! She turned 70 the year the war started, and had lost a leg to an injury that turned gangrenous; but she was a living legend whose mere presence generated wild enthusiasm. She toured Verdun and the Argonne, "where she performed for soldiers who were just returned or about to go into battle. Propped on pillows in an armchair, she recited her patriotic speech … Another actress … described her performance: 'The miracle again took place; Sarah, old, mutilated, once more illuminated a crowd by the rays of her genius. This fragile creature, ill, wounded and immobile, could still, through the magic of the spoken word, re-instill heroism in those soldiers weary from battle.'" (quote from Wikipedia article "Sarah Bernhardt")

  • Nice "Kris Kringle Christmas Special" reference with the Burgermeister Miesterburger. I remember it well.

  • I read that Crown Prince Wilhelm was called "The laughing Murderer of Verdun", while Charles Mangin was known as "The Butcher of Verdun"

  • Russian defense minister Kerenskey (spelling?) once jumped out of a trench with the assault troops he had just delivered a speech to.
    That's pretty frontline.

  • i have a question for out of the trenches,you know how the germans in WW2 made a 90 degree barrel for a rifle, was there any developments or experiments for a 90 degree barrel during WW1?,Thank indy and crew

  • Officers may be bored but servicemen had to work hard. There were even prison camps for British Officers in the Netherlands who had visits from their wives. There was an some sort of agreement that if they fled the Netherlands they would be returned or no more British Officers would be sent there.

  • What did they do with brass cases in the trenches? Was an effort made to collect them to be reloaded? How did they dispose of them? Or were they drowning in millions of brass cases.

  • I read somewhere that Crown Prince Wilhelm believed the war was lost after the first battle of the Marne.

  • 1:00
    Very surprising. Are there examples of this propaganda? While I'm sure the entente weren't fond of him, I'm surprised little Willy was ever villianized more than his father

  • Little Willy who looks like a Montebank who's hobbies include tennis and skirt chasing. He was a intelligent man who was one of the first German leaders to realize that Germany was going lose WW I

  • Like his father, Prince Wilhelm received mixed reports about his personality. Some called him arrogant and insufferable and some described him as humble and pleasant. After I thought about how much they were lied about after the war, I’m more inclined to believe the latter.

  • Really funny, I just realized that I actually visited the same school as prince Willhelm. (Yeah they told us that in school but it's funny to be reminded of this)

  • Burgermeister Meisterburger was in "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town", a stop-action animation about one version of the early life of Kris Kringle. He does have some characteristics of the Kaiser or other German generals but was not specifically the model of any of them.

  • "It a difficult responsibility" from "Santa Claus is coming to Town" 1970
    https://youtu.be/BHAWQTRC6KY

  • I have a question for out of the trenches. What did the Entente powers think of the Nederlands design and building plans for the germans?

  • Just learned about the Pheasant Wood Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Fromelles, France. This Great War Cemetery was created in 2009 for about 250 Australians. Familiar with it? Some info on it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD7yvxeQXCg&t=918s

  • I have a question for out of the trenches, where there big riots in the colonies or where they committed to the cause?

  • There was an episode of Blackadder Goes Fourth where they did a stage show to try to get out of the trenches, and their drag act had shades of "Some Like IT Hot." See both and you'll make the connection. There was an article in Military History Quarterly where Franklin Delano Roosevelt toured the frontlines when he was the Assistant Secretary to the Navy during the war. He was not allowed to join during the war due to his government position, even being famously told that like those in the military he had no say in where he went. Nevertheless he toured the battlefield, even sleeping in a barn at one point and the he was allowed to fire an artillery piece towards the Germans whereupon he remarked wondering if he "killed any Huns." I also saw a picture of Roosevelt from that time period where he was firing a Springfield Rifle on a firing range, which was the standard rifle of the United States military at the time, like firing a M16 today, which shows how far he was trying to get an understanding of the war itself.

  • Troop morale was behind a fascinating story of one Capt. Edmond Blackadder trying desperately to prevent the showing of Charlie Chaplin movies in the trenches. His commanding general, General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, VC, KCB, DSO adored the little tramp.

  • First, I'd say, in terms of leadership at the front, you should consider Winston Churchill and his stint in command on the Western Front. This led, imho, to him having a very unique, informed perspective when he ran the WO, later on.

  • How much do you want to bet that Indy actually lived through world war 1 and time traveled to the future so he could describe it?

  • Yo Indy this is a dumb question do transcripts of those original plays you said the POW's wrote and directed while in prison exist?

  • Having looked it up, for those wondering: burgermeister is the master of a borough (like a town or region) not the master of burgers, as I am sure all us non-German speakers were hoping.

  • Yes we demand a crown prince Christmas special where he saves the world from war by running over von hetzendorf and foiling princips assignation plan and manages to single handedly removes Hindenburg and mentally unstable lundendorf and replaces them with von macksen and Erwin Rommel!

  • just thought id put it out there, Haig doesn't deserve his reputation at a butcher of men. Britain was the junior power in France, and had to do things the French way. There are quite a few sources which state Haig's battle strategy was capturing an area, holding it and moving onwards, similar to what is done in modern times. French command wanted to keep eroding the German defence. Haig's reputation has only really come about in the last 50 years, with hindsight. his was unfortunately the done way back then.

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