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markk

markk

Reading progress update: I've read 422 out of 1016 pages.

Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888 - John C. G. Röhl

Röhl is starting to delve into Wilhelm's political views, and it's proving fascinating reading for me. Up until now, I've been puzzled by how Wilhelm's parents both of whom were convinced 19th century liberals — turned out such a reactionary son. It's with the last chapter, though, that I'm appreciating how he's underplayed to a degree the influence of WIlhelm's grandfather, the sitting kaiser, and some of the other people in Wilhelm's life. This may be a consequence of Röhl's sources; by relying so heavily on the correspondence of Wilhelm's parents, Röhl is magnifying their perspective at the expense of the writings of others whose letters may not have survived. That's changed now that Röhl's narrative has moved away from Wilhelm's school years and his social circle has expanded, and the influence of reactionary officers and right-wing politicians is becoming more visible.