Since he fled Germany the former Kaiser has been living in the Netherlands as an uninvited guest of Count Bentinck, a Dutch aristocrat. Many in Allied countries feel that the former German emperor should face trial for his role in starting the war, but the the Dutch authorities are adamant that he will not be extradited. However Luke Lea, a US army colonel, decides to attempt his own unofficial extradition, planning to kidnap the Kaiser and extract him from the Netherlands. He recruits some of his fellow Americans for a mission described as possibly dangerous but certainly exciting, initially keeping them in the dark as to its true nature.
American soldiers are barred from neutral Holland, but through political connections Lea is able to obtain transit papers for his group. Once across the border, Lea reveals the mission’s goal and offers his fellows a chance to drop out; none of them choose to do so. They then make their way to Amerongen Castle, where the Kaiser is living with Count Bentinck. Lea and his men bluff their way into the house, where they are received by the Count, who demands to know their business. The Kaiser however declines to receive them, and even though Lea’s party can hear Bentinck talking to him in the next room they do not attempt to forcibly extract him. Lea and his men leave without the Kaiser, though Captain MacPhail of his party purloins an ashtray bearing Wilhelm’s initials.
Lea’s group make their escape across the Belgian border. However complications ensue when the Kaiser complains to the Dutch authorities about his American visitors and their theft of the ashtray. The Dutch authorities in turn complain to the Allies, leading to an embarrassing investigation and formal letters of reprimand for Lea and his fellows.
The Kaiser at Amerongen (Wikipedia Commons)
A room, possibly one in which the former Kaiser once sat (Adel in Nederland: Tentoonstelling ‘Sterke Vrouwen op Kasteel Amerongen t/m 2 oktober)
Larry MacPhail (front row, left), Luke Lea (front row, second from the left), and the rest of the group that tried to kidnap the Kaiser, after receiving their severe reprimand (Tennessee State Library and Archives: Johnny Beazley and Baseball in Tennessee)