Biography of Caprivi, Georg Leo von - Archontology
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Caprivi, Georg Leo von

Georg Leo von Caprivi de Caprara de Montecuculi

b. 24 Feb 1831, Berlin-Charlottenburg, Prussia
d. 6 Feb 1899, Skyren, Brandenburg, German Reich

Title: Reichskanzler (Reich Chancellor)
Term: 20 Mar 1890 - 29 Oct 1894
Chronology: 20 Mar 1890, appointed by the Emperor [1]
  29 Oct 1894, discharged by the Emperor acting on resignation
Names/titles: Graf von Caprivi de Caprara de Montecuculi (count of Caprivi de Caprara de Montecuculi) [from 18 Dec 1891]; name also spelled: Montecucculli

Caprivi was educated in Berlin and entered the army in 1849; he took part in the Austrian campaign of 1866, being attached to the staff of the I Army. In 1870-71, in the Franco-German War, he was chief of staff to the X Army Corps (part of the II Army) and took part in battles before Metz as well as in those around Orleans. In 1883 he was made chief of the admiralty, in which post he commanded the fleet and represented the department in the Reichstag. He resigned in 1888 and was appointed commander of the X Army Corps. Bismarck had already referred to Caprivi as a possible successor, for Caprivi had shown great administrative ability and was unconnected with any political party, and in March 1890 he was appointed chancellor, Prussian minister president, and foreign minister. In July 1890 Caprivi concluded an agreement with Great Britain regarding the spheres of influence of the two countries in Africa followed by trade agreements with Austria, Romania, and other states (1892-1894); by concluding them he earned the express commendation of the emperor William II and the title of count, but he was from this time relentlessly attacked by the Agrarians, and he had to depend greatly on the support of the Liberals and other parties that had been formerly in opposition. The reorganization of the army caused a parliamentary crisis, but Caprivi carried it through successfully, only, however, to earn the enmity of the more old-fashioned soldiers, who would not forgive him for shortening the period of service. His position was seriously compromised in 1892 when an education bill that he had defended by saying that the question at issue was Christianity or atheism failed to carry, and he resigned the presidency of Prussian ministry, which was then given to Count Eulenburg. In 1894 a difference arose between Eulenburg and Caprivi concerning the bill for an amendment of the criminal code (the Umsturz Vorlage), and in October the emperor dismissed both. The last years of his life were spent in absolute retirement. Biography source: [2]

[1] Königlich privilegirte Berlinische Zeitung, Nr. 133, Donnerstag, den 20. März 1890.
[2] "Allgemeine deutsche Biographie", Hrsg. durch die Historische Commission bei der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. (2., unveränderte Aufl.) Neudruck der 1. Aufl. von 1875-1912 (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1967-1971).