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The Kaiser and His Times

Michael Balfour
Date Published
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What were the consequences for Germany, and the world, that William II was Kaiser at the onset of the ‘Great War’? In The Kaiser and His Times (first published in 1964), Michael Balfour analyzes the social, constitutional, and economic forces at work in imperial Germany, and sets the complex and disputed character of the Kaiser, who occupied such a central position in the three decades before 1918, in the context of his family background and the history of Germany.

‘[Balfour] has borne in mind the Kaiser’s own request to the head of his military Secretariat – ‘Not dry reports only, please, but now and then a funny story.’ The circumstances that allowed to Kaiser to live as if ‘The greater part of his life… was illusion’ would make comic reading if the results had not been so tragic…’ Kirkus Review


Michael Balfour (1908-1995) was a writer, historian and public servant. Educated at Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford, he held various senior civil servant posts before becoming Professor of European History at the University of East Anglia. He wrote nine books on modern history, three of which are being reissued in Faber Finds, The Kaiser and His Times, Propaganda in War,…

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