Wilhelm II ascended the throne of Germany in June of 1888. Fairly or not, he is generally recorded in history as one of its dark players -- highly intelligent, but also tactless, vain, ambitious and adventurous. Historians believe his policies in the early 20th century, particularly toward Britain and France, drove Europe to the brink of war. His personal blunders also strained Germany's diplomatic relations with other countries.
The most well known instance of this may be the "Daily Telegraph Affair" of 1908. When Wilhelm was offered an interview with the newspaper, he saw it as an opportunity to promote his views and ideas on Anglo-German friendship. Instead, due to his emotional volatility and subsequent outbursts during the course of the interview, Wilhelm ended up further alienating not only the British people, but also the French, Russians, and Japanese all in one fell swoop. He effectively implied that the Germans cared nothing for the British; that the French and Russians had attempted to instigate Germany to intervene in the Second Boer War (a war between the British and republics within South Africa, resulting in their addition to the British Empire); and that the German naval buildup during that time period was targeted against the Japanese, not Britain.