Ian Kershaw is one of our generation's most significant historians. His biography of Adolf Hitler will remain a reference for many decades to come. Kershaw has always been fascinated by dictators and the relationship between their personality and their power. His most recent book, Personality and Power, investigates how important the individual can be in the writing of history, using portraits of twelve European leaders: Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, De Gaulle, Adenauer, Franco, Tito, Gorbatsjov, Thatcher and Kohl. Because of the conflict in Ukraine, the book has become very pertinent. New political leaders who are perceived as ‘powerful’, such as Trump, Xi, Erdogan, and, most notably, Vladimir Putin, are changing the course of history. Kershaw raises a question that runs across his work: do the actions of political leaders shape history, or are they shaped by history?
Interview: Marnix Verplancke
Tuesday 11 October, 19:30 → 21:00