Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg: Wikis


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For his grandfather, see Karl Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg
Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg

Assumed office 
28 October 2009
Preceded by Franz Josef Jung

In office
10 February 2009 – 27 October 2009
Preceded by Michael Glos
Succeeded by Rainer Brüderle

In office
November 2008 – February 2009
Preceded by Christine Haderthauer
Succeeded by Alexander Dobrindt

Assumed office 
Preceded by Bernd Protzner

Born 5 December 1971 (1971-12-05) (age 38)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality Bavarian Bavaria
German Germany
Political party Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU)
Spouse(s) Stephanie, Countess of Bismarck-Schönhausen (b. 1976)[1]
Religion Roman Catholicism

Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg (born 5 December 1971)[2], known as Karl-Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg or simply Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, is a German politician of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), currently serving as the Minister of Defence of Germany in the second Merkel cabinet (since 28 October 2009).

Guttenberg holds a doctorate of law and has worked as a journalist. A Member of Parliament since 2002, he briefly held the post of Secretary General of his party before he was appointed as Federal Minister for Economics and Technology in the first Merkel cabinet on 10 February 2009. After taking office as a cabinet minister, he quickly became one of Germany's most popular politicians.[3][4]

He is the grandson of two prominent politicians, Baron Karl Theodor von und zu Guttenberg, a West German CSU politician, and Count Jakob von und zu Eltz, a Croatian politician of the 1990s.


Education and professional background

Guttenberg served his military service at the Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 in Mittenwald and left the army as a Reserve Sergeant. He studied political science and law at the University of Bayreuth and in 2007 earned a doctorate in law with a dissertation on constitutional law in the United States and the EU. He has been the CEO of his family company, Guttenberg GmbH, in Munich, which is responsible for his own family's considerable investments. He has also worked as a freelance journalist for the conservative daily Die Welt.

From 1996 until 2002, he was a member of the advisory board of the private hospital group Rhön-Klinikum, of which his family was one of the largest shareholders (26% of the voting capital). Guttenberg sold his family's share to HypoVereinsbank in March 2002 shortly before starting his political career.[5]

Political career


Member of Parliament

Guttenberg (right), with Angela Merkel, at the 2008 CDU national congress in Stuttgart

He was elected to the Bundestag in 2002 as the representative of Kulmbach. Guttenberg was reelected in the 2005 election, and won his constituency with 60.0% of the votes. In 2009 he was again reelected with 68.1% in his district, achieving the highest percentage vote of all direct representatives in Germany.

In the Bundestag, he has been particularly active as a foreign policy expert, and has chaired the CDU/CSU parliamentary group on foreign policy. He chaired the German-British Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2005 to 2009, and has been Vice President of the Southeast Europe Society (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft) in Munich since 2005.

In the tradition of his grandfather, he is a strong proponent of German-American friendship and Atlantic cooperation.

As a Member of Parliament, he has been a strong critic of the far-left party Die Linke, which he has accused of links to terrorists, including the FARC terrorist organization.[6]

Secretary General of the CSU

Described by the press as a rising star in German politics,[7] he was the Secretary General of the CSU from November 2008 to February 2009.

Federal Minister of Economics

Guttenberg was nominated by CSU chairman Horst Seehofer to succeed Michael Glos, who stepped down as Minister of Economics and Technology in the Federal Government on 9 February 2009. After he was formally nominated by Angela Merkel the same day, Guttenberg was appointed by President Horst Köhler on 10 February 2009.

Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was sworn in by Parliament on 12 February 2009.[8]

In the summer of 2009, he surpassed Chancellor Angela Merkel as the most popular politician in Germany.[4]

Federal Minister of Defence

On 28 October 2009, Guttenberg was appointed as Minister of Defence of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to press reports, Guttenberg decided against the Ministry of the Interior, preferring to take over the Ministry of Defence.[9]


Guttenberg is a member of the prominent Franconian noble House of Guttenberg, known since 1158 and imperial barons since 1700. The preposition von means "of", while the preposition zu (literally, "to") historically denotes possession.

His grandfather, Karl Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg (1921–1972), was a CSU politician and hardline conservative during the Cold War, noted for his opposition to the Ostpolitik. His grandmother, Rosa Sophie, Princess of Arenberg, is a member of the princely House of Arenberg. Guttenberg's father, the conductor Enoch zu Guttenberg, owned the winery estate Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl. Both his grandfather and his great-greatuncle, the Catholic monarchist Karl Ludwig Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, took part in the military resistance to the Nazi regime; the latter was executed after the 20 July plot.

Stephanie, Countess of Bismarck-Schönhausen (b. 1976), the wife of Baron Guttenberg

Karl-Theodor's mother, Christiane Gräfin und Edle Herrin von und zu Eltz genannt Faust von Stromberg (now Christiane Henkell-von Ribbentrop), is a member of the Eltz family, which has strong ties with Croatia. She is the daughter of Jakob von und zu Eltz, a former President of the Association of Winemakers in Rheingau who became active in Croatian politics after Croatian independence, and is related to the princely family of Liechtenstein and is also a descendant of the Habsburg-Lothringen imperial family, including Maria Theresa of Austria. She divorced Enoch zu Guttenberg in 1977 and married Adolf von Ribbentrop, the son of Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, in 1985, and has two children from her second marriage.[10] In addition to his half-brothers Rudolf and Friedrich von Ribbentrop (born 1989 and 1990), Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has a younger brother, Philipp Franz von und zu Guttenberg (born 1973), who married a daughter of Godfrey James Macdonald, 8th Baron Macdonald.

In February 2000, Karl-Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg married Stephanie, Countess of Bismarck-Schönhausen (born 1976)[1], the great-great-granddaughter of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the Prince of Bismarck and Duke of Lauenburg, known as the "Iron Chancellor". They have two daughters. Guttenberg is Catholic, while his wife is Protestant (Lutheran).

He is a fourth degree nephew of the Oscar-winning film director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck[11].

Personal life

The family castle in Guttenberg, Bavaria

Guttenberg was born in Munich. He resides at his family castle in Guttenberg, Bavaria (district of Kulmbach), a village whose history is closely associated with the House of Guttenberg, and in a mansion in Berlin. The castle has been in the possession of the Guttenberg family since 1482.[12] The Guttenberg family owns most of the land in Guttenberg and has the right to appoint the local parish priest, in return for their financial support of the church. The family has had this right for several centuries.

As well as Munich, Guttenberg and Berlin, he has lived in Frankfurt and New York. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg enjoys hunting, skiing and tennis.

Title and form of address

As a Freiherr, his conventional form of address, by tradition, is Baron, in both German and English, and in his hometown of Guttenberg, Bavaria, Guttenberg is by courtesy styled as Baron (when addressed: Herr Baron, "My Lord Baron")[13] and simply referred to as the Baron. In an interview, the Mayor of Guttenberg told journalists: "His correct title is Reichsfreiherr. One addresses him as Baron. Here, one must know the correct titles. [...] He is simply the Baron."[14] Baron is also the customary title of a Freiherr in English and other languages, and Guttenberg is hence sometimes referred to as Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in languages other than German.[15]



  • Genealogisches Handbuch des in Bayern immatrikulierten Adels, Vol. XXV, 2004, p. 422.


  1. ^ a b http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1885112,00.html
  2. ^ Entry at WW-Person, the WWW Data base of European nobility
  3. ^ http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/450/481916/text/
  4. ^ a b http://www.fr-online.de/in_und_ausland/politik/aktuell/1850633_Guttenberg-zieht-an-Merkel-vorbei.html
  5. ^ http://www.alacrastore.com/storecontent/Thomson_M&A/Bayerische_Hypo_und_Vereins_acquires_a_minority_stake_in_Rhoen_Klinikum_AG-1280906040.
  6. ^ http://www.zuguttenberg.de/index.php?url=/home_337.htm
  7. ^ "Germany gets new economy minister". The Associated Press. 2009-02-09. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/02/09/business/EU-Germany-Economy-Minister.php.  
  8. ^ "Guttenberg Sworn In as Economics Minister". Deutsche Welle. 2009-02-12. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4022851,00.html.  
  9. ^ http://www.ka-news.de/region/karlsruhe/Umfrage-Welches-Ministerium-fuer-zu-Guttenberg-;art6066,290569
  10. ^ thePeerage.com entry on Christiane Gräfin und Edle Herrin von und zu Eltz genannt Faust von Stromberg
  11. ^ http://genealogics.org/relationship.php?generations=4&secondpersonID=I00207429&tree=LEO&primarypersonID=I00127603
  12. ^ Frischemeyer, Britta; Topar, Julia (2009-02-09). "Der adelige Senkrechtstarter". Bild. http://www.bild.de/BILD/news/politik/2009/02/09/karl-theodor-zu-guttenberg/hg-portrait-karl-theodor/zu-guttenberg-der-adelige-senkrechtstarter.html.  
  13. ^ Heeg, Thiemo (2009-02-09). "Der Herr Baron wird Minister". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. http://www.faz.net/s/RubEC1ACFE1EE274C81BCD3621EF555C83C/Doc~EDC0B520677084D519134BA14F2085101~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html.  
  14. ^ Haseborg, Volker ter (2009-02-12). "Mein Schloss, mein Dorf, mein Pfarrer". Abendzeitung. http://www.abendzeitung.de/nachrichten/86312.  
  15. ^ "New German Economy Minister Gets Green Light". Deutsche Welle. 2009-02-10. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4016419,00.html.  

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