John C. G. Röhl
John Röhl was born in London in 1938 to a German father and an English mother, and grew up bilingual.
Röhl spent the early years of his schooling in Germany, Hungary and Switzerland, then returned to England for his secondary education at Stretford Grammar School, in the town of Stretford (at the time in Lancashire, and since 1974 within the newly-created Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester), where he studied Economics, Geography and History at A Level, followed by National Service, after which he resumed his education by going up to Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge, where he read Ancient History and the History of Europe and of Britain in the Middle Ages, and a range of other historical subjects. When the German historian Hans Herzfeld visited the University in 1962, the first such visit of an historian from Germany since the Second World War, there were no German specialists at Cambridge, requiring Röhl to become his interpreter and guide. He obtained a First in both parts of the Historical Tripos at Corpus Christi, and went on to complete his Ph.D. under the guidance of F. H. Hinsley in 1965.
Life and career
Röhl lectured at Cambridge from 1964 to 1972. He later became Reader and in 1979 Professor of European History at the University of Sussex in Brighton. From 1970 to 1983 he worked on the history commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and was dean at the School of European Studies from 1982 to 1985. Aside from his English professorship, he frequently took on substitute professorial roles in Germany. He was given emeritus status in 1999.
Röhl is considered one of the foremost experts and critics of the Wilhelmine German Empire under Kaiser William II, in particular following his three-volume biography of the final German Kaiser. In this biography, Röhl developed the theory of William II's 'personal rule', which included ascribing him the main responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, and levelling strong moral accusations against him (albeit in a strictly scholarly fashion). These theories led to a paradigm shift in German historiography, in which until the 1970s/1980s the Kaiser had been a neglected figure, largely perceived as a 'weak ruler' with little political influence. More recently, however, Röhl's theories have come under increasing criticism, led by the Australian historian Christopher Clark.
- Kaiser Wilhelm II New Interpretations: The Corfu Papers, September 2005
- Wilhelm II : The Kaiser's Personal Monarchy, 1888-1900, August 2004
- Wilhelm II, January 2001
- Purple Secret: Genes, 'madness' and the Royal Houses of Europe, January 1999
- Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888, December 1998
- The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany, September 1996
- The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany, December 1994
- Der Ort Kaiser Wilhelms II. in der deutschen Geschichte, January 1991
- Kaiser, Hof Und Staat: Wilhelm II. und die deutsche Politik, January 1988
- Philipp Eulenburgs Politische Korrespondenz, January 1983
- From Bismarck to Hitler: The Problem of Continuity in German History, January 1970
- Historikerdialoge. The Kaiser's Germany - Page 124. Editors: Stefan Berger, Peter Lambert and Peter Schumann. Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Published: 2003. Retrieved: 23 February 2014.
- Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888 - Introduction. Author: John C. G. Röhl. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Published: 1998. Retrieved: 23 February 2014.
- Historikerdialoge. The Kaiser's Germany - Page 125. Editors: Stefan Berger, Peter Lambert and Peter Schumann. Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Published: 2003. Retrieved: 23 February 2014.
- "Kaiser Wilhelm II - New Interpretations: The Corfu Papers. The contributors - Page xii. Editors: John C. G. Röhl and Nicolaus Sombart. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Published: 2005. Retrieved: 23 February 2014.
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of February 1, 2013 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
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