Georg von Hertling

Georg Friedrich Karl Freiherr[1] (from 1914 Graf[2]) von Hertling (31 August 1843 – 4 January 1919) was a German politician who served as the Minister-President of Bavaria from 1912 to 1917 and then as Minister-President of Prussia and Chancellor of the German Empire from 1917 to 1918. He was the first party politician to hold the office.

Georg von Hertling
Chancellor of the German Reich
(Empire of Germany)
Minister President of Prussia
In office
1 November 1917  30 September 1918
MonarchWilhelm II
Preceded byGeorg Michaelis
Succeeded byMaximilian von Baden
26th Minister President of the Kingdom of Bavaria
In office
9 February 1912  3 October 1917
Ludwig III
Preceded byClemens von Podewils-Dürniz
Succeeded byOtto Ritter von Dandl
Personal details
Georg Friedrich Freiherr von Hertling

(1843-08-31)31 August 1843
Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse, German Confederation
Died4 January 1919(1919-01-04) (aged 75)
Ruhpolding, People's State of Bavaria, Weimar Republic
Political partyCentre
Spouse(s)Anna Freiin von Biegeleben (1845–1919)
ChildrenMaria Gisberta
Agnes Maria Franziska
Anna Maria Franziska


Hertling became professor of philosophy at the University of Munich and 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.[3]

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. He was the first minister-president ever appointed who governed on the basis of a majority in the Landtag. King Ludwig III later elevated him to the rank of Count.[3] 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. He was the first politician to hold either post; all of his predecessors had been career civil servants or military men.

Hertling was a staunch conservative who believed in total victory for Germany. His age and his conservatism made him unequipped 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. Hertling presided over the last stage of the collapse of the German home front. When it became apparent that he was unable to manage the crisis, he was forced to resign in favour of Prince Maximilian of Baden.

He founded the German Catholic fraternity Askania-Burgundia and was a member of K.St.V. Arminia at Bonn. His great-granddaughter is actress Gila von Weitershausen.



  1. Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
  2. Regarding personal names: Until 1919, Graf was a title, translated as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gräfin. In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names.
  3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Hertling, Georg, Count von" . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company.
  4. "Ritter-Orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 1918, p. 56, retrieved 23 July 2020