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Within a couple of decades Kaiser Wilhelm II had led the German Reich into World War and collapse. How did the Kaiser come to have so much power? Using new archival sources, this book analyzes the Kaiser and the nature of his rule. After an original character sketch of the Kaiser, the book then examines the Kaiser's friends and favorites, the neo-absolutist culture of the court and of Berlin society, and the nature of his relationship with the court and with the administrative corps in Prussia and the Reich. A final chapter reveals for the first time the extent of the exiled Kaiser's anti-Semitism.Read more
- A new analysis of the personality and politics of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who led the German Reich into the first World War
- Uses new archival sources, and offers many original insights into the Kaiser's life and personality
- Translated from the author's own German text, published in Germany in 1988
Reviews & endorsements
"John Röhl has written a masterly series of essays on the Kaiser, as William II came to be called throughout the West....his documentation is impressive." New York Review of BooksSee more reviews
"John Röhl has written a startling, even a sensational book....John Röhl's brilliant study chillingly reveals Kaiser Wilhelm II as a grandparent of the great horrors of the 20th century." Evening Standard
"Mr. Rohl writes with the concision and delight in language of a poet and with the rigor and infectious love of documents of the true historian. The style and structure of his book increase its accessibility to general readers....The Kaiser and His Court is solid and speculative; it is cautious and provocative. It is brilliant history." Washington Times
"Rohl has established himself as one of the leading kaiser experts." Raffael Scheck, Central European History
"Years of imaginative spadework in private archives and in former East Germany have unearthed new sources, chief among them the staggeringly detailed correspondence of Wilhelm's parents...It is unlikely that another biography of Wilhelm will ever surpass the level of detail or the depth of archival knowledge Röhl has achieved." Isabel V. Hull, Journal of Modern History
"...gracefully-written, compulsively readable." James J. Sheehan, The Times Literary Supplement
"John Röhl's account of the early years of the late German Kaiser Wilhelm II contains...some of the most monstrous material of modern history; and since the details of this material are for the most part new, brought to light after years of research in previously closed archives, its publication must be regarded as an important event in historical scholarship." Gustav Seibt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"The morbid charm of Europe's high noblility has evidently cast its spell over the author. Not only their love affairs but also their illnesses exert a quite irresistable attraction....His account of the Crown Prince's fatal illness with cancer of the larynx which dominates the last 200 pages...must be the most exact medical record ever written by an historican." Volker Ullrich, Die Zeit
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- Date Published: July 1996
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521565042
- length: 288 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.43kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Preface to the English edition
1. Kaiser Wilhelm II: a suitable case for treatment?
2. Philipp Eulenburg, the Kaiser's best friend
3. The Kaiser's court
4. The 'kingship mechanism' in the Kaiserreich
5. Higher civil servants in Wilhelmine Germany
6. The splendour and impotence of the German diplomatic service
7. Dress rehearsal in December: military decision-making on the eve of the First World War
8. Kaiser Wilhelm II and German anti-semitism.
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