Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg was born in Howenfinow, Brandenburg. After studying law he served as Prussian minister for the Interior. When Bernhard von Bulow left office in 1909, Kaiser Wilhelm II appointed Bethmann-Hollweg as Imperial Chancellor. Inexperienced in foreign affairs, he was unable to achieve conciliation with England and France.

    The economic strain of expansion and rearmament encouraged discontent. The 1912 Reichstag elections returned 110 socialist deputies and this made it difficult for Bethmann-Hollweg to achieve right-wing legislation.

    By 1914 Bethmann-Hollweg was deeply unpopular in Germany. He became convinced that only a successful war could divert opposition to his economic policies. He hoped and expected a short, limited war. He encouraged Austro-Hungarian aggression after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Bethmann-Hollweg changed his mind after it became clear that it might escalate into a world war. However, he lacked the political authority to halt the Schlieffen Plan.

    Bethmann-Hollweg still hoped for a negotiated peace and was a strong opponent of those like Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz who wanted unrestricted submarine warfare. By the summer of 1917, Bethmann-Hollweg was disliked by both the conservatives and liberals in the Reichstag, and on 13th July was forced to resign from office. His book, Reflections on the World War, was published in 1920. Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg died in 1921.

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