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Wilhelm II and the Germans : A Study in Leadership - Thomas A. Kohut

Wilhelm II and the Germans

A Study in Leadership

Hardcover Published: 1st August 1991
ISBN: 9780195061727
Number Of Pages: 352

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This striking biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II is the most penetrating study to date of his development and personality, as well as an important contribution to our understanding of the crucial period in history that bears his name, 'Wilhelmine Germany'. A skilful, psychoanalytically informed analysis of the Kaiser's character, the book shows how the powerful leader of Germany's 'Second Reich' became the slave of public opinion - restless, impulsive, and easily swayed by flattery or by those with stronger wills. It reveals a man both anxiously insecure and brashly arrogant, flamboyant and confident in public, yet vacillating and ineffective in his political decisions. Despite his political ineptitude, however, Wilhelm II was one of the most successful and beloved symbolic leaders of modern times. Professor Kohut argues that, in this nationalistic age, the new German nation wanted to see itself as it saw its Kaiser - strong, self-assured, and surrounded by pomp and splendour.

Industry Reviews


"Kohut's study is the best psychological analysis of the Kaiser to date."--American Historical Review


"Kohut argues his thesis with insight, sophistication and a wealth of detail culled from a wide reading of primary sources. This is psycho-biography at its best....An intelligent and perceptive study, and one which no student of the period can afford to ignore."--Times Literary Supplement


"Well reasoned, well researched, and very readable. It can be recommended to the general reader, though a modicum of background knowledge of the period would be helpful."--The Historian


"An impressive example of what a historian can do in investigating the mixture of unconscious pressures, private motives, and public postures that affect political decisions."--Peter Gay, Yale University


"Much more than a biography--a study in German national fantasy, ssymbolism, and policy. It is a tribute to Kohut that he has developed a eprspective which has added new dimensions to the discussion of Wilhelmian Germany....An important book."--Peter Loewenberg, University of California, Los Angleles


"Do leaders determine the course of history, or are historical factors responsible for bringing leaders into prominence? Now historian Thomas Kohut addresses this problem in a book about Kaiser Wilhelm II....Drawing on his father's self psychology, Thomas Kohut characterizes Wilhelm II as a narcissistic personality, fragmented, insecure, doubtridden, arrogant, and grandiose, on whom Germany, a nation only recently united, projected its craving for international recognition and military power."--American Journal of Psychiatry


"It is the best recent book on [Wilhelm II]."--History: Reviews of New Books


"Kohut begins his important book by showing how narcissism, if not properly channelled in childhood by a supportive parental environment, can result in psychological imbalance."--Central European History


"Kohut's work is a provocative and solid addition to the complex jigsaw puzzle of Wilhelm II. It is clearly written...and the notes are rich and full of suggestions, debates, and ideas."--German Studies Review


"Not a biography, nor a study of policy, both of which, as Kohut points out, are readily available elsewhere, it is a study in personality."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History


Introductionp. 3
The Politicization of Personality
The Tragedy of Friedrich and Victoriap. 19
The Legacy of Maternal Worry and Disappointmentp. 30
The Legacy of Maternal Possessivenessp. 52
The Legacy of Paternal Weakness and Neglectp. 67
Wilhelm II and His Parentsp. 104
The Personalization of Politics
The Kaiser, the Press, and Public Opinionp. 127
On the Imperial Stagep. 141
Personal Symbol of the Nationp. 155
The Kaiser, the Navy, and Weltpolitikp. 177
Between the British and the Germansp. 199
Conclusionp. 225
Appendixesp. 235
Notesp. 251
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195061727
ISBN-10: 0195061721
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st August 1991
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.44 x 16.26  x 3.12
Weight (kg): 0.69

Earn 269 Qantas Points
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