Talk:William I, German Emperor

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If he was born in the House of Hohenzollern then wouldn't that be his actual surname and shouldn't that be included in his full name? i.e., William Frederick Louis Hohenzollern. Please clarify. Thanks.

Yes he was born a member of the House of Hohenzollern. No he didn't use Hohenzollern as a surname. Let's not make things up about William. Noel S McFerran 21:38, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Even if he did not used it as a surname though, wasn't it still legally his name? Or was that name officially dropped somewhere along in the order of succession?

Is he in English really called Wilhelm I of Germany? He was king of Prussia! In German he is called Wilhelm I, König von Preußen (Prussia) 23:30, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

  • He was König von Preußen _and_ Deutscher Kaiser. Weialawaga 20:27, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
He is my great, great grandfather. He had an affair with a non-royal and through her had a son. She had to flee the country for her safety. She died five years after giving birth. Their son returned to Germany, but left because of the war... (Drea 14:12, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've mostly heard him called Wilheim I not William I. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:44, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

German Aristocrats have no surnames in the usual sense, as the Queen of Great Britain is called Elizabeth II Windsor - which was quite a surprise for me as a German when I read so in Wikipedia. It is usual to call them by their most reknown fief - which this is, is not always clear. The Counts of Scheyern became some day Counts of Wittelsbach and later on both Dukes of Bavaria, and Counts Palatinate, and were known as the latter, it was not always clear which of the two - when the Palatinate was temporarily lost, but the Kingdom of Bavaria founded, they became eventually known as the House of Bavaria, and watch out: when the titles of nobility were formed to personal surnames in 1919, it was precisely Bavaria, not Wittelsbach, that was officially registered. Likewise, if Wilhelm needed a surname retrospectively, it would be Prussia, which is today the surname of his descendants. (The Archdukes of Austria being the only exception known to me. Their name was Austria, and even as such given to the Emperordom in 1804 - "Austria" as a land being only Upper and Lower Austria until then; the (lost) County of Habsburg was some sort of family history, and actually not even the name of the extant dynasty, which would more appropriately be called Lorraine. However, the Republic of Austria feared for its own name, which it has from their family name, and named them Habsburg-Lothringen - HIH Archduke Otto was eventually naturalized German and then chose the name by which he was known in public, by then unofficially, and became a von Habsburg.) -- (talk) 16:09, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
If we ignore the Commonwealth Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not simply of Great Britain. Her family surname is not part of her title. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:02, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
And what he's called in Germany, as put above, is just Wilhelm der Erste without any Prussia, Germany, or German. It's clear enough. "Kaiser Wilhelm" without number refers to his grandson. -- (talk) 16:24, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
But we can't just translate it as "William I" without any qualifier, because there are lots of other William I's. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:27, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
That's clear. I just wanted to say it doesn't make much sense to ask what he's called in Germany if we look for a "surname". -- (talk) 00:15, 23 December 2010 (UTC)


Yes, in english he is usually reffered to as William I of Germany, not wilhelm. Not even his grandson is called wilhelm in textbooks. The page title should reflect this. -Alex, 00:25, 28 January 2006 (UTC).

  • What textbooks did you read? This can only be British propaganda... Stevenmitchell (talk) 20:45, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Proposed move to William I, German Emperor[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was page moved  Ronhjones  (Talk) 23:12, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Wilhelm I, German EmperorWilliam I, German Emperor — Note, this was just listed at WP:RM today. Vegaswikian (talk) 01:43, 14 June 2010 (UTC) This name of this article was changed from William to Wilhelm on, what appears to be, very little authoritative basis, but rather on personal views. Only two books are quoted; they are not full references and appear to be German works which naturally would use the German name (apologies if this is not correct). However there is a long-established English convention, adopted on English Wikipedia, that European royals are known by their English names. As evidence: Fullbrook (2004)[1] and Coupe (2009)[2] for references to William I,and Fuhrmann (1986)[3] and Hughes (1992)[4] for examples of books that use English names for German royals. I can find no English books that do not follow this convention. I therefore propose the article is renamed back to William I, German Emperor. Feel free to discuss, but please cite authoritative English language sources.


  1. ^ Fulbrook, Mary (2004) A Concise History of Germany, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, p. 128. ISBN 978-0-521-54071-1.
  2. ^ Coupe, Alison (2009). Germany, Michelin, Greenville (USA), 2009, p. 55. ISBN 978-1-906261-38-2.
  3. ^ Fuhrmann, Horst (1986), Germany in the High Middle Ages c. 1050-1200, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986. ISBN 0-521-31980-3.
  4. ^ Hughes, Michael (1992). Early Modern Germany, 1477-1806., University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1992. ISBN 0-8122-1427-7.

--Bermicourt (talk) 15:17, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Bermicourt, I agree that there is a convention (generally) re the monarchs, but it is not consistent. For example, in T.C.W.Blanning The French Revolutionary Wars 1787-1802, Oxford University press, 1996, he refers to the kings as Frederick II, Frederick William, Louis XVI, etc. However, when referring to other figures, he does not convert German names into English variations: for example, Carl von Clausewitz remains Carl, not Charles. On page 71, he refers to the "future king Louis Philippe", not Louis Philip. The same conventions occur in James Sheehan, German History, 1770-1866, Oxford AUniversity Press, 1991. Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:23, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I should add, too, that in Sheehan, Ludwig of Bavaria is used, not Louis or Lewis of Bavaria. Not Franz, but Francis II, not Franz Joseph but Francis Joseph (emperors), Frederick Augustus (not Frederick August) of Saxony, Karl zu Schwarzenberg (not a monarch, but a prince). Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:29, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Carl von Clausewitz is an example of the other half of the general rule i.e. the names of non-royals are not translated. For example, Hughes (1992) talks about Friedrick Karl von Schönborn and Georg Forster, but Frederick I-III, Emperor, and Charles I-V, Emperor. Also Augustus seems to be the English variant of August so Frederick Augustus follows the rule. I agree that your other examples do break the rule, but if Sheehan is inconsistent in himself, we can't really draw any hard and fast conclusions from him. I think we agree there is a convention, even if it is not always followed (this is true of proper noun translation in general). My proposal is simply that, for consistency, we follow the convention which appears to be widespread in the literature and largely adopted by Wikipedia already (see the navbox at the bottom of the article). --Bermicourt (talk) 07:48, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
  • It has been commonly in the past to translate names. Why doing so? Anyone would consider translating the name of Dubya, George Walker Bush into Georg Geher Busch as stupid. Where is the Point in translating Wilhelm into William? I am aware that the Englisch king Charles II. article in the German Wikipedia stands under de:Karl II. (England) but I really doubt that de:Charles Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince of Wales will be moved on de:Karl III. (Vereinigtes Königreich) when he's going to succed his mother (if so). We should throw such oldfashioned ideas from the 19th century over board, this is 2010. --Matthiasb (talk) 08:18, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
Whether you believe something is stupid or not is irrelevant - see WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT. What matters is what authoritative English sources do. The majority use English names for European royals; this seems to have been a convention for decades and still is - see my sources. What does is also irrelevant, although it is interesting that William the Conqueror is called de:Wilhelm I. (England) even though he ruled England, spoke "French" and probably called himself "Guillaume"! Your call for change needs to be directed at the historians who write the books; we are supposed to quote them, not make up our own rules. I have cited some authoritative sources in favour of a move - feel free to do the same. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:08, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I find the translation of names ridiculous for one simple reason: it is haphazardly done and what is a must here is ignored there: some names are automatically translated into English, ex: Wilhelm to William and Jean to John, Jeanne to Joan (why not Jane?), while some Marie, Maria do not become Mary, Louis does not become Lewis and Philippe is not turned always into Philip, which could give us a King of the French by the name of Lewis Philip I. On the other hand, some names have no English counterpart & remain in their original form, such as Vitača, a queen of Bosnia and Stjepan Tvrtko I of Bosnia, although his first name Stjepan has been changed to Stephen, which makes for what I call a mixed salad. I have had long-standing arguments on some French Élisabeth becoming Elizabeth while Marie-Thérèse remains so & is not turned into a Mary-Teresa or whatever Thérèse is in English. As Matthiasb is saying, "We should throw such oldfashioned ideas from the 19th century over board, this is 2010." And I will add that Wikipedia does not have to be a sheep dans le troupeau de moutons de Panurge-pedia.
Gute Nacht, Wilhelm!
--Frania W. (talk) 01:04, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
This is why we are proposing to do it systematically; all princes called William or a cognate should be titled under William, since it is common usage for all of them, and most common usage for almost all of them. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:47, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Also, since William and Mary, Britain has had Dutch or German monarchs. The translation of names becomes commonplace. AJRG (talk) 09:20, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Comments such as "I don't like it" certainly shouldn't be considered at all. I see at least two such comments in the discussion above (by Frania W. and Matthiasb). The only thing that matters is how his biographers refer to him. If we can rely on his biographers when writing an entire article about him, we can certainly rely on them when choosing a name for the article. If they call him William, we should call him William, regardless of Wiki users who just don't like it. Surtsicna (talk) 19:41, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Please Surtsicna, do not quote me with words I have not said. What I said was that I find the automatic translation of all names into English "ridiculous". "Wilhelm" leaves no doubt about the nationality of these two German emperors, while some not too erudite readers may at first glance think that they were English princes. And when so intransigent, why should we have Ivan for Russians tsars?
--Frania W. (talk) 21:30, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Because that's how English language sources call them! Is the common name policy so hard to understand? It's not users' business to pick names just because they like them. They have to use names that are used in the literature. I wasn't quoting you; I was quoting WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT. Surtsicna (talk) 21:42, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
PMAnderson, would you mind not misrepresenting what I was trying to show with the use of "Google hits"? a use I am totally against because unreliable as title of same book can be repeated over & over, like someone voting hundreds of times in one election. I maintain that the sacrosanct use of "Google hits" is an absurdity in the making of an encyclopedia, or "pedia" should be removed from Wikipedia & replaced by "hits".
--Frania W. (talk) 16:59, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I am rather more interested in what you have shown: that even Google agrees strongly with the consensus of reliable sources on William for this Emperor. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support as common usage, and systematic and predictable usage. Both these are good things. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:47, 10 June 2010 (UTC)♦
  • Support as common convention used by Wiki and many major authoritative sources right into the 21st century. We need consistency. --Bermicourt (talk) 05:49, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support for usage and consistency with the way we treat others in his line (I would move Wilhelm II as well, unless it can be shown that usage for him is clearly the other way, which superficial investigation implies is not the case).--Kotniski (talk) 06:31, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per a slight majority of reliable English language sources. AJRG (talk) 09:12, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak Support. I don't really like anglicization, but I tend to think it's more common to call him "William" than "Wilhelm" in English. If somebody would conduct a more thorough review of what reliable sources use that would be helpful, though. Bermicourt has presented exactly two examples of works that call him "William". I can add that James Sheehan's Germany 1770-1866; F.R. Bridge's The Great Powers and the European States System 1814-1914, M.S. Anderson's The Ascendancy of Europe 1815-1914, A.J.P. Taylor's The Struggle for Masty in Europe, and John Merriman's A History of Modern Europe also call him William. James Joll's The Origins of the First World War calls him Wilhelm. john k (talk) 16:56, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
    • The New Cambridge Modern History uses William I consistently; it uses Wilhelm II and William II interchangeably, except in the chapter on the origin of the war. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:27, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as the other German Emperor & Prussian Kings go by Frederick & Frederick William (not Friedrich & Friedrich-Wilhelm). GoodDay (talk) 23:01, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Because of the involvement of Wilhelm II in World War I, the name Wilhelm is well-known in England and would usually be used in relation to the German emperors. The arguments were covered in the discussion for Wilhelm II. For consistency the 2 emperors should have the same name. Cjc13 (talk) 11:53, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Surely it's more important that it is consistent with the naming convention of the other 70-odd monarchs of Germany. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:36, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
  • This move request, however, is about his grandfather; it may be that the grandson will differ. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:13, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - if that's how the sources refer to him. Surtsicna (talk) 19:41, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose - for reasons given above by myself and also the fact that all English-language ed. do not systematically use the English version of "William" for either "Wilhelm": Wilhelm II: the Kaiser's personal monarchy, 1888-1900, by John C. G. Röhl, Cambridge University Press; Kaiser Wilhelm II, by Christopher Clark, Pearson Education Limited; The Last Kaiser: The Life of Wilhelm II , by Giles MacDonogh, St. Martin's Griffin; New York Review of Books [1]; und so weiter... Wikipedia does not translate to "John" the Russian name "Ivan" for several tsars of Russia, nor "Lewis" for all the "Louis"", kings of France, so why not use the same logic for "Wilhelm"? --Frania W. (talk) 21:30, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose - For reasons given above. I think there is a point in time when the name being changed to it's English equivalent should stop. If this is moved articles like Franz Joseph of Austria will be moved to Francis Joseph of Austria. Also Frania W. makes a point about Ivan and Louis, and I would like to add two more "Alfonso" for Spain and "Afonso" for Portugal not "Alfonse" and "Isabella" and "Isabel" not "Elizabeth". I don't want to argue. I just want to voice my opinion on this subject. --Queen Elizabeth II's Little Spy (talk) 21:59, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
    I'm deeply unimpressed by the slippery slope argument. We have to draw the line somewhere. Putting it where we anglicize William I but don't anglicize his grandson would seem to leave Alfonso XIII quite safe. "Isabella" is, of course, itself an anglicization/latinization of the Spanish "Isabel". Given that there are several queens of England known as "Isabella," it is pretty ridiculous to claim that as an example where we don't anglicize. Not that Isabella's husband is at Ferdinand, not Fernando. We should follow the usage of reliable sources written in English. This is an ambiguous case, because both forms are used in English, but it seems fairly clear that the anglicized form is more common. At any rate, moving an ambiguous case like this certainly does not imply that we would move articles where the anglicized form is never used. The chances we will end up with Charles I of Romania, say, are minuscule to nil. john k (talk) 02:23, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
John, please don't give anyone ideas... ! --Frania W. (talk) 03:53, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
John is absolutely right. The argument that we should call him Wilhelm because we call medieval monarchs of Russia Ivan and medieval monarchs of Castile Alfonso is quite irrelevant. It would imply that we cherry-pick names on the basis of how they sound to us, instead of following scholarly works. We should follow the usage of reliable sources written in English. It's that simple. Surtsicna (talk) 12:00, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
@Frania W. English usage is guaranteed to outrage your innate sense of style... AJRG (talk) 12:12, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
A favourite tool used in Wikipedia of his, which Surtsicna has not used this time, is his is the much-proclaimed "Google hit result", which I do not favour because not very academic in my eyes. However, I just tried the game & here is what I found on both William/Wilhelm, German Emperors:
  • William I:
    • 3 250 000
  • Wilhelm I:
    • 146 000
  • William II:
    • 3 560 000
  • Wilhelm II:
    • 19 600 000
Thus, according to "Google hit results", a resounding victory for William I & Wilhelm II - an obvious dilemma for Wikipedia when comes the time to rename Wilhelm II because, as regards W.I & W.II, you can't have one without the other.
No further comment. --Frania W. (talk) 13:42, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Frania, please comment on the content, not on the contributor. No matter how "unacademic" Google Book Search results are, they are always more helpful than your (or mine) personal preferences. An argument supported by any source is always stronger than an argument based on nothing but one's dislike. Why can't we have William I and Wilhelm II? We have Charles XV and Carl XVI Gustaf; John I, Charles IV and Juan Carlos; Philip VI and Louis Philippe; William I and Willem-Alexander, etc. If sources refer to the grandfather as William and to the grandson as Wilhelm, so should we. Surtsicna (talk) 14:25, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
This was not a personal attack, but a point I was making on how one tool is at times solely used in Wikipedia discussions, then at times totally ignored: I was bringing out the results obtained with that very tool & asking how Wikipedia will get out of the dilemma, because you must be aware that others than myself will bring up Case Wilhelm II in the footsteps of Case Wilhelm I. Their respective reigns were close to each other and in historical time too close to us to anglicise one & keep the other German. Authors/historians are free to use the name they want, but within a single encyclopedia, having two different types of names for grandfather & grandson is disruptive & illogical.
--Frania W. (talk) 15:06, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
And so quintessentially English... AJRG (talk) 15:19, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand what you were trying to prove by that point. Anyway, having two different types of names for grandfather and grandson is as disruptive and illogical as is having Mary, Queen of Scots among X-of-Y-named articles about other Scottish monarchs - yet it's there, because consistency is not more important than common name policy. After all, if they have to be consistent with each other, it should be noted that the number of books that refer to the grandson as William II is not as small as the number of books that refer to the grandfather as Wilhelm I. Nevertheless, we are now discussing the title of this page. Surtsicna (talk) 16:21, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Frania has now managed to oppose this move because Anglicization is done inconsistently, and because it might be done consistently. Isn't there a limit of one position per !vote? ;-> Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:44, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Frania is opposing this move not because "Anglicization is done inconsistently, and because it might be done consistently", but because a modern encyclopedia read worldwide should not be afraid to innovate instead of following blindly what others have "inconsistently" done before.
--Frania W. (talk) 15:20, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
This position is inconsistent with WP:NOR, which is core policy. We should be afraid to innovate, or to perform any original synthesis. Discount accordingly. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I do not see how naming one by his/her birth name is original research, specially when some historians do use that original name. Wikipedia is doing what I believe English calls "cherry-picking", checking one "respected" encyclopedia after another & "google-hitting" in order to decide how to name the subject of an article, the result being that it comes out with a mixture that satisfies nobody.
English is spoken here. Just as titling articles Gaius Octavius, Georg Friedrich Händel, Publius Ovidius Naso, Leslie Townes Hope, Alix of Hesse would be original research; it's not what English-speakers call them, although all are birth-names. Therefore it's not what English-speakers will recognise; using that for titles is also policy.
What are we supposed to "Discount accordingly"? My comments? If so, is not that called censure? This is a discussion page in which, for the sake of a real open debate, no stone should be left unturned.
--Frania W. (talk) 16:37, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Arguments contrary to policy; whatever Cause they serve; we are not here to "innovate" and those who are should be censured until they are willing to cooperate in building a sourced encyclopedia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
PMA, do you realize the tone you're using when addressing those not agreeing with you? As I said, this is a talk page & anyone with an idea, a question or a proposal should not be intimated into remaining silent by fear of being censured "until willing to cooperate...". We may not agree, but we are all equal in expressing ourselves.
--Frania W. (talk) 18:26, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a forum for unregulated free speech. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:44, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Which does not give you the right to use the tone you are using with those you do not agree with.
--Frania W. (talk) 20:09, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
« De chacun selon ses moyens, à chacun selon ses besoins » AJRG (talk) 19:04, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose the current proposal which is to move him individually without moving his grandson. I would be open to persuasion if we had a multi-move proposal to move them together. PatGallacher (talk) 22:30, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
The arguments are reverting to WP:POV, WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT and assumptions about other articles (N.B. the proposal makes no assumption about moving the grandson.) Please quote reliable sources not personal preference. I think you will find that the majority use "William". --Bermicourt (talk) 05:16, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
English usage today avoids the translation of royal names, but that is a departure from historical practice where names were routinely translated into Latin and then into English. An ugly break between the two is almost unavoidable. AJRG (talk) 12:20, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
But not that serious - since the break is sometime in the twentieth century, when there are many fewer royalties (and many of them are English to begin with. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:44, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Multiple move proposals can be made, the current move proposal assumes that his grandson should not be moved. Consistency is a legitimate objective in the naming of articles, these 2 rulers are very closely linked. PatGallacher (talk) 15:58, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Consistency is a legitimate consideration. It cuts both ways; is it more important to be consistent with the subject's grandson or with his brother, Frederick William IV of Prussia (and William I of the Netherlands)?
  • But whether the consistency between grandfather and grandson is vital - more important than recognizability (to anglophones), which the present title lacks, can better be discussed when and if a RM on the grandson is made. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:22, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but in my view it ought to be discussed now. My position is that the two emperors should either be moved together or not at all, I am therefore opposed to the current proposal. PatGallacher (talk) 09:53, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
But why should this W. be consistent with W.II, and not with his immediate predecessor and successor, both of which have Anglicized names? Surely EN->DE->EN->DE is less consistent than EN->EN->EN->DE?--Kotniski (talk) 10:16, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
No, because current English usage differs from historical English usage. We have Philip II of Spain and William of Orange, because that's what reliable sources call them. AJRG (talk) 15:11, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Matthead, is that why you are opposing this move? Wow! What do those 21st century non-German monarchs have to do with a 19th century German monarchs? Absolutely nothing. English language sources call them Juan Carlos and Beatrix while they call this man William - that's all English usage! Surtsicna (talk) 15:59, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Stay cool! This proposal is only about William; it makes no presumption about his grandson, grandmother or distant Spanish cousin! --Bermicourt (talk) 16:36, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per nominator's research and WP:UE. — AjaxSmack 21:39, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment. There was a book published in 2009 under the title "Kaiser Wilhelm I" [2]. This is a reprint of a translation from a German book but it does indicate the use of Wilheim in English books. Cjc13 (talk) 14:48, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
    • No, it indicates the peculiar habits of translators. In this case, the desire to keep the title of the 1918 original text, ao that the public-domain translation can be found on the web, is perfectly intelligible; BiblioBazaar books need the publicity. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
"Translators have peculiar habits" & "publishing houses need publicity", so the title brought forth by Cjc13 must be discounted as must Wilhelm I? --Frania W. (talk) 16:06, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it's translationese, not representative of English usage; if that's the best one can find by going to Amazon and cherry-picking the results for one particular outcome, Wilhelm I must be even rarer in English than I thought. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:43, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
It is true that it is one of the few biographies of him in English. There are more about his grandson [3]. Cjc13 (talk) 18:52, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
And all the other lives in English, by Simon, Smith, Forbes, and Wiegler, call him William I; one of them is even translated from the German. If we were discussing his grandson, the question of whether to move would be much more doubtful, since both forms are in common usage - and the issue would be most common usage against consistency. Policy favors both.
But we are not discussing the grandson, except as contrast. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:08, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support weakly. (Re-posting my argument on this proposed move in June 2008, above, where I noted:) I believe that he is best known in English as William I, simply because during his life English usage was to translate foreign names. However, via back formation from the name of his grandson, Wilhelm II, I believe that most English users are likely to search for -- or at least find -- him under Wilhelm I. Therefore I support this as an exception, that does not constitute a precedent, outside of his dynasty. Also, please review & consider previous discussions on this topic, especially this one. FactStraight (talk) 19:39, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Every encyclopedia has a style guide and I think that Anglicized names should be used for European monarchs where and when possible particularly if they were indeed used. Regarding William II, there is a statue that was a gift from him of William III (of Orange) in front of Kensington Palace which gives his name as "William II, German Emperor and King of Prussia". Seven Letters 00:43, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

I propose that the name remain 'Wilhelm,' rather than William. The idea that the article be called 'William I' is absurd. During his own lifetime, he was styled and referred to as 'Wilhelm'; this was his personal and dynastic name, not 'William.' We don't refer to Ivan IV of Russia/ the Terrible/Vasilyevich as 'John IV of Russia' or 'John IV Son of Basil.' Doesn't anyone else see the absurdity of this proposed move? The history books may call him 'William,' but that doesn't make them right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MDunn1937 (talkcontribs) 04:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Nor are they wrong; but as the authoritative sources, they're what Wikipedia follows.--Kotniski (talk) 07:51, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
No, you see, they are wrong. They may be authoritative, but they are not infallible. Simply because the English version of his name was 'William' does not mean that a German leader should be referred to as such. He was named Wilhelm, not William. It's actually a prime example of cultural arrogance to claim the right to call persons of other nationalities by the translated versions of their names. Is Juan Carlos I normally referred to as 'John Charles I' in the news? Unless I'm wrong, he's not. Therefore, the argument that authoritative works refer to this person as 'William' fails, it being common practice in the past to translate names to the respective language of the translator. Consequently, the implication is that books written during the 19th/20th centuries, when this practice was commonplace, are justified because Wilhelm lived in the 1800s. I'm surprised that no one else appears to recognise how ridiculous, and even mildly offensive, this is. Referring to foreign persons of note by their birth-names may be a relatively new practise that some might see as an exercise in political correctness, however, in this instance, I believe that this is just that, correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Many (most?) people from history - even other English people, if you go far enough back - have their names spelt and spoken differently from the way they themselves spelt or spoke them. It's just the way the English language does things (and other languages do the same thing). One day perhaps people will come around to doing it the way you think of as "correct" - when they do, Wikipedia will naturally follow.--Kotniski (talk) 14:43, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
To anonymous IP who wrote: "I'm surprised that no one else appears to recognise how ridiculous, and even mildly offensive, this is." Please read the discussion. Some strongly opposed the move from "Wilhelm" to "William".
--Frania W. (talk) 14:57, 16 July 2010 (UTC).
To understand why English usage was as it was (modern usage differs), you need to notice that the current British monarchy were originally German and that an earlier monarch was Dutch. Names were translated in deference to public sentiment. Several other empires have routinely translated the name of the ruler into local forms, at least as far back as Xerxes. AJRG (talk) 16:35, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
No one would balk at Guillaume I, empereur allemand in French or Isabel II de Reino Unido in Spanish... English, however, must always bend to non-English forms? Seven Letters 16:49, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Protesting that "I just don't like it" is not an argument. Translating foreign names, especially of royals, is not "cultural arrogance" - everyone does it. A German colleague tried to suggest the English were arrogant for going around the world renaming places into English (Munich, Rhine, Black Forest, etc) until I pointed out that Germans did exactly the same (Schottland, Kapstadt, Großbrittanien) as did the French (Angleterre, Allemagne, Londres), whereupon he ate some humble pie. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:04, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Not to mention "Elisabeth II". (talk) 13:13, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The fact that "everyone does it" does not mean that it's not cultural arrogance. Now we're saddled with the absurd situation that one Emperor Wilhelm is called "William" here, while a grandson that was named after him is referred to as "Wilhelm", and various institutions and buildings named after the same "William" have Wilhelm in their name (see the society, the church, and the bridge, to name three). Consistency, please. --Ilja.nieuwland (talk) 20:34, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

What's with the title?[edit]

Why he is called "William I" and his grandson "Wilhelm II". Shouldn't there exist a standardization of names? --Lecen (talk) 10:01, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Why can't people figure out if his name was "Wilhelm" or "William" ?[edit]

His name was "Wilhelm". Why is Wilhelm the First called "William I" and Wilhelm the Second called "Wilhelm II"? Inconsistent in choosing what to change the name of historical characters to... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 8 July 2013‎

During the Victorian Era, Prussia was (sort of) allied with the UK, through the Crown Prince's marriage to the Princess Royal - but after Wilhelm II's reign and WW1, "William" was changed back to "Wilhelm", to alienise and Germanize the Prussians. Franz Josef was previously known as "Francis Joseph". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 25 March 2020 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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ISNI - fake or real?[edit]

User:Maximilianklein, where was that taken from? Currently 0000000110630020 does not resolve, and is not listed at (talk) 22:42, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Hello (talk · contribs), Thank you for logging that error. I can verify what you are saying, and that it is not listed in VIAF, or any of the VIAF history. This is a complicated bug, I'll have to explore it more. Thanks for reporting. Maximilianklein (talk) 00:57, 13 February 2019 (UTC)