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Otto of Stolberg-Wernigerode

Otto of Stolberg-Wernigerode Vice-Chancellor of Germany

Vice-Chancellor of Germany
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Vice-Chancellor of Germany
Was Diplomat Politician
From Germany
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 30 October 1837, Gedern
Death 19 November 1896, Wernigerode Castle (aged 59 years)
Father: Hermann Stolberg-Wernigerode
Spouse: Anna Reuss of Köstritz
Children: Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-WernigerodeFriedrich Wilhelm Stolberg
The details

Otto Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (30 October 1837 – 19 November 1896) was an Imperial German politician and the first Vice-Chancellor of Germany.


He was born at Gedern Castle, Hesse, the third and last child of Count Hermann zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (1802–1841, himself a son of Henry of Stolberg-Wernigerode) and his wife Countess Emma zu Erbach-Fürstenau (great-granddaughter of George Albert III, Count of Erbach-Fürstenau). The ancient noble House of Stolberg had been quasi-sovereign rulers of their County of Stolberg-Wernigerode until the German Mediatisation, when they came under the jurisdiction of Prussia in 1815. His elder brother Albert (Albrecht) died, when he was four years old, his father died shortly afterwards from grief over the loss.

Having been schooled in Duisburg, he read law and administration science at the universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg. Between 1859 and 1861, he served as a cavalry officer in the Gardes du Corps regiment of the Prussian Army. Stolberg had his Wernigerode Castle residence rebuilt in a lavish Gründerzeit style. In 1867 he was appointed First President (Oberpräsident) of the Prussian Province of Hanover at the instigation of Minister-president Otto von Bismarck.

Stolberg endeavoured to integrate the annexed province into the Prussian state. Having served in the North German Reichstag from 1867 to 1871, he became a member of the Free Conservative Party and thereafter had a seat in both the German Reichstag and the Prussian House of Lords (as its president from 1872). In March 1876 he became German ambassador in Austria-Hungary, again on Bismarck's proposal.

In 1878, he was appointed German Vice-Chancellor under Chancellor Bismarck. Stolberg was instrumental in the development of the Dual Alliance with Austria which was concluded in Autumn 1879. He also supported Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws, however, over time had more and more differences with the Chancellor and finally resigned from office in 1881. Stolberg remained an active politician, serving as Prussian treasurer and Minister of the Royal House. In 1890 he was granted the hereditary title of Prince (Fürst in German) by Emperor Wilhelm II.

Stolberg died at Wernigerode Castle, aged 59.

Marriage and issue

On 22 August 1863 at Staniszów Castle, he married Anna Reuss of Köstritz (1837–1907). They had the following children:

  • Christian Ernest (1864–1940), Prince of Stolberg-Wernigerode
married in 1891 Countess Marie of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1864-1942)
  • Elizabeth (1866–1928)
married in 1885 Count Constantin of Stolberg-Wernigerode (1843-1905)
  • Hermann (1867–1913)
married in 1910 princess Dorothea of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (1883-1942), daughter of Hermann of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
  • William (1870–1932)
married in 1910 Princess Elizabeth of Erbach-Schönberg (1883-1966)
  • Henry (1871–1874)
  • Marie (1872–1950)
married in 1902 Count William of Solms-Laubach (1861-1936)
  • Emma (1875–1956)
married in 1894 Prince Charles of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (1866-1920)

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