On This Day: Birth of Max of Baden, German Chancellor
150 years ago, Prince Maximilian of Baden – future Margrave, future Chancellor of Imperial Germany – was born in Baden-Baden to Prince Wilhelm of Baden and Princess Maria Maximilianovna of Leuchtenberg.
Prince Max was the couple’s second child, his elder sister Marie would marry the Duke of Anhalt in 1889. Among his ancestors, the Prince could count Grand Dukes of Baden and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Tsars of Russia, and Kings of Bavaria, Denmark, Great Britain, Prussia and Sweden, as well as Johan Wilhelm Friso, Prince of Orange.
As a young man, he was a prospective husband for Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, but eventually married Princess Marie Louise of Hanover, daughter of Ernst August, Crown Prince of Hanover and Princess Thyra of Denmark, in 1890. Max and Marie Louise would have two children, Marie Alexandra and Berthold (later a brother-in-law of the Duke of Edinburgh).
With the outbreak of World War One came the most important role of Prince Max’s life: in October 1918, he was appointed the Chancellor of Imperial Germany after the resignation of Georg, Graf von Hertling. His main task during his four weeks in the role was the negotiation of peace with the United States of America, which he sent to President Woodrow Wilson on October 4.
He then immediately began working towards the changes necessary, as laid out in the US’s ‘Fourteen Points’, to bring a halt to the war. The major points among them were the transformation of the German government to a parliamentary system, and the abdciation of Emperor Wilhelm II. As he brought change to the governance of Germany, Max worked with representatives from the country’s major political parties, and made the position of Chancellor and his cabinet answerable to the Reichstag. During this time, Prince Max was able to successful quash the opposition of Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff, who in mid-October wanted to forget peace talks and continue fighting for an end.
By early November, the Prince had moved on to confirming an abdication from the Emperor. He also asked the other reigning monarchs of the German Empire whether they would support the abdication; before turning to the Emperor himself (who initially only agreed to abdicate as Emperor, but not as King of Prussia – something he was unable to constitutionally do, as the Imperial Crown was tied explicitly to the Crown of Prussia) on November 6. Prince Max eventually made the decision for Emperor Wilhelm when – in order to minimise damage following revolutionary outbreak in Berlin – he announced the Emperor’s abdication on November 9.
Prince Max resigned from his position as Chancellor later that same day. He took leave of Berlin, refusing to stay in government as regent once a Republic was declared, and returned to his home in Baden, where he lived out the remainder of his life.
Max became the Head of the House of Baden, with the title Margrave, in August 1928 upon the death of his cousin, the last Grand Duke, Friedrich II. He died in November 1929.Filed under Germany, Historical Royals
Tagged Anniversary, Baden, Biography, Birth, Maximilian Margrave of Baden (1867-1929), World War I.