Kaiser Wilhelm II was a strong German nationalist and a militarist. He was always snubbed by his British royal family, with his grandmother Queen Victoria going so far as to call him a brat. The Kaiser also insisted on building German imperial strength abroad as well—this was another action that Britain perceived as threatening, especially to its African and Asian territories. Wilhelm loved navies and he wanted to have one that would be a rival to Britain's; in his mind, it was the only way to gain Germany respect. This created a naval arms race between Germany and Britain that caused diplomacy to sour between the two nations and was a big step toward war. He also had a poor relationship with his cousin Czar Nicholas II. His encouragement of Austria-Hungary against Serbia only antagonized the Russian leader who thought that it was his job to protect all Slavic nations, such as Serbia. The Russian mobilization caused panic in the German military staff, so they quickly put their own war plans into action, thus launching WWI.