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Count Leo von Caprivi

In office
20 March 1890 ‚Äď 26 October 1894
Monarch William II
Preceded by Prince Bismarck
Succeeded by Prince Hohenlohe

In office
20 March 1890 ‚Äď 23 March 1894
Monarch William II
Preceded by Prince Bismarck
Succeeded by Count Eulenburg

Born 24 February 1831(1831-02-24)
Died 6 February 1899 (aged 67)
Political party None

Georg Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli (English: Count George Leo of Caprivi, Caprera, and Montecuccoli, born Georg Leo von Caprivi; 24 February 1831  ‚Äď 6 February 1899) was a German major general and statesman, who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany. Caprivi served as German Chancellor from March 1890 to October 1894.


Born in Charlottenburg at Berlin to a family of Italian and Slovenian origin. His family original surname is Kopriva and they originated from Koprivnik, Końćevski Rog, Slovenia. Caprivi entered the army in 1849 and served in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the latter as a corps Chief of Staff. From 1883 to 1888 he served as Chief of the Imperial Admiralty, a position in which he showed significant administrative talent. He was briefly appointed to the command of the Tenth Army Corps (stationed in Hanover), before being summoned to Berlin by Wilhelm II in February 1890. Caprivi was informed that he was the Kaiser's intended choice should Bismarck prove resistant to Wilhelm's proposed changes to the government, and upon Bismarck's dismissal on March 18, Caprivi became chancellor. Ironically he had said beforehand, "What jackass would dare to succeed Bismarck?"

Caprivi's administration was marked by what is known to historians as the "New Course"[1] in both foreign and domestic policy, with moves towards conciliation of the Social Democrats on the domestic front, and towards a pro-British foreign policy, exemplified by the Zanzibar treaty of July 1890, in which the British ceded the island of Heligoland to Germany in exchange for control of Zanzibar. This led to animosity from the colonialist pressure-groups in Germany, while Caprivi's free trading policies led to opposition from conservative agrarian protectionists. The treaty also gave Germany the Caprivi Strip, which was added to German South West Africa, thus linking that territory with the Zambezi River, which he had hoped to use for trade and communications with eastern Africa (the river proved to be unnavigable).

In 1892, following a legislative defeat on an educational bill, Caprivi resigned as Prussian Minister-President and was replaced by Count Botho zu Eulenburg, leading to an untenable division of powers between the Chancellor and the Prussian premier, ultimately leading to the dismissal of both in 1894 and their succession by Prince Chlodwig von Hohenlohe-Schillingsf√ľrst.


Regarding personal names: Graf is a title, translated as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gräfin.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Otto von Bismarck
Prime Minister of Prussia
1890 ‚Äď 1892
Succeeded by
Count Eulenburg
Chancellor of Germany
1890 ‚Äď 1894
Succeeded by
Prince Hohenlohe-Schillingsf√ľrst


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