In 1919, on this day the seventh Chancellor of the German Empire Georg Friedrich Graf von Hertling passed away in Berlin. He was seventy-five years old. An installment from the Central Powers Victorious thread.
Central Powers Victorious Part 1 Death of a PuppetHertling became professor of philosophy at the University of Munich, and while professor he published books on Aristotle (1871) and on Albertus Magnus (1880). From 1875 to 1890, and again from 1893 to 1912, he was a member of the Reichstag, and from 1909 to 1912 he led the Centre (Catholic) Party faction in the Reichstag. In 1891, the Regent of Bavaria made him a life member of the upper house of the Bavarian Landtag.
As leader of the largest party in the Bavarian Landtag, in 1912 Hertling was appointed Bavarian Minister-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs by Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria. King Ludwig III later elevated him to the rank of Count. Following the outbreak of World War I, Hertling supported the policy of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg but declined to become his successor in 1917. After the fall of Georg Michaelis in November of that year, however, he accepted appointment as German Chancellor and Minister-President of Prussia.
Given his age and conservatism, he was not equipped to overcome the influence of the military high command, led by Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. Like Michaelis before him, he was increasingly seen as a puppet of Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who constituted a virtual military dictatorship in the last year of the war.
In the final year of his life, Imperial Germany was a victor power making a formal transition to military dictatorship. There was growing evidence that von Hertling was fighting to reassert civilian authority. A power struggle developed. But it was simply not possible to turn the clock back five years, and in any case Ludendorff was seriously considering a formalization of the military dictatorship at the point when von Hertling passed away. Ludendorff was determined to ensure that he would have no successor...