Wilhelm supported Austria-Hungary in its retaliatory efforts against Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 and led the German forces in the ensuing war. He did not expect to trigger a response from Russia, France and Great Britain and was eventually edged out of military decisions as the war raged on. With the entrance of the United States into the war, Germany's chances of victory were nullified, and Wilhelm was forced to abdicate on November 9, 1918. He lived the rest of his life in exile in Holland and was never tried for war crimes.
The Wall generated international outrage and became one of the most poignant symbols of the Iron Curtain and the Cold War division of Europe and Germany. The Wall actually existed in three different incarnations, each intended to make breaches of the border more difficult. Nonetheless, escapes through, around, over and under the Berlin Wall occurred throughout its existence. Some ingenious methods were devised for circumventing it, many of which are on display at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin. From the sealing of the border on August 13, 1961, to the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, 192 people were killed in escape attempts, and at least that many were wounded.