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Title: William I and monarchical rule in Imperial Germany
Author: Sterkenburgh, Frederik Frank
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6199
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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‘It is hard being Emperor under Bismarck’ quipped German Emperor William I once. Historians agreed and deemed him also an unwilling Imperial figurehead who preferred to remain King of Prussia. This study challenges this long-held assumption of William I’s presumed historical irrelevance. It argues that the first Hohenzollern Kaiser was in fact a conscious, astute and strong-willed political actor who drew on varying forms of representation of his persona and the new German polity to forge his Imperial role. By drawing on cultural approaches to political history, this study demonstrates how William forged his political agency. It transcends biographical and national confines, showing how William’s conduct was part of a broader European context and how William drew on the practices of political rule he perceived elsewhere and appropriated these for his own realm. It demonstrates that William’s belonging to a specific political generation of monarchs influenced the manner in which he crafted his role and related himself to German nationhood. By identifying the strategies of legitimization that William employed, this study uncovers how he addressed the fragmented German polity, projected himself as the prime political centre of gravity in the new German polity and head of the new monarchical nation. This study discusses William’s role in the political and military decision-making process, how William presented his role as a military monarch during the Franco-Prussian War, his politics of history, his conception of the German Empire and his monarchical representation in Berlin. This thesis demonstrates that William was no transitional figure, but in fact a key actor in adapting the Hohenzollern monarchy to its new Imperial role at a time when monarchical rule in Europe was fundamentally transformed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; University of Warwick ; Duitsland Instituut ; Universiteit van Amsterdam ; German Historical Institute in London ; German History Society ; Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (Amsterdam ; Netherlands) ; Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DD Germany