This is a collection of innovative essays examining the role of Wilhelm II in imperial Germany, focusing in particular on the later years of the monarch's reign. The essays highlight the Kaiser's relationship with statesmen and rulers, at home and abroad; his role in international relations; the erosion of his power during the First World War; and his ultimate downfall in 1918. The book demonstrates the extent to which Wilhelm II was able to exercise 'personal rule', largely unopposed by the responsible government, and supported in his decision-making by his influential entourage. But it also shows that there was no lack of contemporary critics of Wilhelm and Wilhelmismus. The essays are based on the latest research and on a wide range of archival sources, and provide an up-to-date evaluation of the role and importance of this controversial monarch.

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