Year of the Three Emperors

the year 1888, in which Wilhelm I of Germany died in March, to be succeeded by his son Frederick III, who died in June, to be succeeded by his son Wilhelm II

The Year of the Three Emperors, or the Year of the Three Kaisers, (German: Dreikaiserjahr) refers to the year 1888 during the German Empire in German history.[1][2][3][4] The year is important because two German Emperors, or Kaisers, died. This meant that there were three emperors in a year..[1] The three emperors who ruled Germany during this year were Wilhelm I, Frederick III and Wilhelm II. The mnemonicdrei Achten, drei Kaiser” (English: "three eights, three emperors") is still used today in Germany to remember which year it was.[5]

Kaiser Wilhelm I was in charge of Germany 18 January 1871 – 9 March 1888.
Kaiser Frederick III was in charge for only 99 days during the Year of Three Emperors (9 March – 15 June 1888).
Kaiser Wilhelm II was in charge 15 June 1888 – 9 November 1918.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pike
  2. Tipton, p. 175.
  3. Nichols, p. 1.
  4. Berghahn, p. 282.
  5. Hein, p. 271.