Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald von

Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald von

Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald von (tāˈōbält fən bātˈmän-hôlˈvāk), 1856–1921, German chancellor. A career civil servant, he became minister of the interior (1905) and secretary of state (1907), and in 1909 succeeded Bernhard von Bülow as chancellor. He favored some reform and worked for a comprehensive insurance law, extension of the franchise, and greater autonomy for Alsace-Lorraine; his legislative efforts were supported in the Reichstag by a coalition of conservatives and centrists. He, along with Admiral von Tirpitz and the Kaiser, bears heavy responsibility for World War I. He greatly increased the German peacetime army, and appearances to the contrary, was anxious to use the Austro-Serbian conflict to break the “encirclement” of the Allies. Although contemptuous of his ally, Austria-Hungary, he accepted the German General Staff's war aims for gaining equality with Britain and Russia by dominating a new “Mitteleuropa.” Nevertheless, Bethmann-Hollweg worked for US mediation of the war, and restricted submarine warfare to keep the US neutral. He was forced to resign by Conservatives angered by his promise of electoral reforms in Prussia, and was replaced (1917) by Ludendorff and Hindenburg.


See biography by K. H. Jarausch (1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald Von


Born Nov. 29, 1856, in Hohenfinow; died there on Jan. 2, 1921. German statesman.

Bethmann-Hollweg was minister of internal affairs of Prussia between 1905 and 1907 and imperial minister of foreign affairs and deputy chancellor between 1907 and 1909. He was chancellor from 1909 to 1917. Bethmann-Hollweg was supported by the Conservatives and the Catholic Center Party (the “Black and Blue Bloc”). He carried out a policy of suppressing the workers’ movement. Bethmann-Hollweg played an active role in preparing and unleashing World War I.


In Russian translation:
Mysli o voine. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925.


Eggert, Z. K. Bor’ba klassov i partii ν Germanii ν gody I-i mirovoi voiny (avgust 1914-oktiabr’ 1917). Moscow, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.