Kaiser Willhelm's "Iron Stride"

The silver-plated "Iron Stride" mechanical walker was famously used by Wilhelm II at the 1889 review of Prussian troops in Konigsberg. Mounted atop this impressive contraption, the Kaiser gave a belligerent speech during which he criticised the "sinister machinations of foreign powers" and warned that Prussia would not stand for interference in the "legitimate pursuit of her interests around the world".

Coupled with the rapid build-up of Prussian Mechanised Infantry forces, this speech was to cause widespread consternation in the Imperial press. Editorial demands were made in The Times for Imperial forces to be used to "put the Kaiser back in his place".

With hindsight, it is clear that the Kaiser's statements, now known as the "Iron Stride Speech", was one of the earliest sparks to light the long, slow-burning fuse which was eventually to lead to war.

Recently-unearthed photographic images of this famous mechanical walker may be viewed here.