Philipp zu Eulenburg

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Prince Philipp zu Eulenburg and Hertefeld Graf von Sandels, 1906

Philipp Friedrich Alexander Graf zu Eulenburg , from 1867 also Freiherr von und zu Hertefeld , from 1900 Prince zu Eulenburg and Hertefeld Graf von Sandels (* February 12, 1847 in Königsberg , † September 17, 1921 in Liebenberg , today Löwenberger Land ), was a Prussian diplomat and close confidante of the German Emperor Wilhelm II.


Origin and youth 1847–1869

Eulenburg was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Philipp Konrad zu Eulenburg (1820-1889) and his wife Alexandrine, née Freiin von Rothkirch and Panthen (1824-1902). His father was a career officer in the East Prussian Cuirassier no. 3 in Kaliningrad, after the first Brandenburg Uhlans no. 3 in Potsdam and in the 1850s personal adjutant of Field Marshal Count von Wrangel Friedrich , often visited in his house and the small Philip. The eldest son of the Count, who after Karl von Hertefeld's death in 1867, the great-uncle of Countess Alexandrine, had also become master of and to Hertefeld, left the Vitzthumsche Gymnasium in Dresden in 1866, shortly before the outbreak of the German War , and entered Potsdam Gardes du Corps , where he at the turn of 1868/69, after visiting the war Kassel , the officer was promoted. Looking back on this time, Eulenburg wrote:

“I got to know the service and - the most elegant of the elegant garden; also all prejudices, all mistakes, all lack of education, but, to be fair, also all dashing, chivalry and military virtue. However, with my remote knowledge, interests and, I can say my education, I felt like a right hand condemned to wear a left glove, and that was not for my independent spirit. "

Political orientation and interests

Nicolaus Sombart describes Eulenburg as a "downright prototypical representative of the East Elbian Junker caste [...], landowners whose families have been the leaders of the Prussian state for generations, of course inconsiderate in the defense of their class interests, of an unsurpassable sense of duty in terms of service to the state concerns. ”According to his own admission, Eulenburg was a“ Royaliste sans Phrase ”, a follower of royalty“ without ifs and buts ”and thus belonged to a type of which Sombart says that an identification with the It was characteristic of the monarchical ruling structure, "the result of a secular socialization and breeding process, a psychological behavior pattern, a mentality structure , a standard of values ​​around which the entire understanding of the world and value system is organized."

Ex-libris for Philipp zu Eulenburg by Joseph Sattler . His literary and musical interests are emphasized

In 1869 the young second lieutenant was already on leave to catch up on his high school diploma , which astonished his elite fellow officers to some extent. After an interlude in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, where he acquired the Iron Cross , he took his leave of the military after disputes with superiors. He then went on trips before taking his first legal exam in Kassel in 1875 and obtaining his doctorate in law. In the same year he married Baron Sandels in Stockholm . The young Eulenburg frequented the most distinguished Prussian families, was a welcome guest in the Bismarck house until the Chancellor's dismissal in 1890 and was also close friends with Herbert von Bismarck and his later partner, Princess Elisabeth zu Carolath-Beuthen , during their unfortunate affair in 1881 he played an important mediating role. Eulenburg loved the fine arts, but also the hunt and was an enthusiastic and not untalented composer and musician: his “Skald songs” and especially his “Rose songs” enjoyed some popularity during his lifetime; he himself occasionally performed them in Countess Schleinitz's drawing room , where he frequented.

Professional career 1877–1903

In 1877 Eulenburg entered the Prussian diplomatic service. From 1881 to 1888 he was legation secretary in Munich , in 1888 he became envoy to the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg , in 1890 for a short time in Stuttgart and from 1891 to 1894 in Munich . Finally, from 1894, he was ambassador to Vienna . In 1903 he left the diplomatic service. Soon the closest friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II , he played a decisive role in the overthrow of Imperial Chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck in 1890 , which, according to Harden, led him to a sour characterization of his former friend:

“Not to be taken seriously as a politician. Cannot be used as a diplomat in an important position. But very decent, well-read, amiable. [...] He doesn't want to become anything; neither State Secretary nor Chancellor. [...] enthusiast, spiritualist, romanticizing talker, [...] who so skillfully makes the cloakroom of the medieval fantasy of the king. "

On January 1, 1900, the emperor and two other counts elevated him to the hereditary Prussian princehood . His uprising, which he himself had previously tried to prevent from the Kaiser, was not without controversy in Berlin society and caused some spite among his envious people, as a diary entry of an originally ardent Bismarck admirer, the Baroness Spitzemberg , shows:

“The best criticism of the 'new princes' is the face that you see when acquaintances address each other: smile, shrug, a few mocking words, especially when it comes to Phili Eulenburg, the 'Count Troubadour', who has little money, little earnings and has many children, and is not even head of his house. "

Friendship with Kaiser Wilhelm II. 1886–1906

On April 19, 1886, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia met Count Eulenburg, twelve years his senior, for the first time on a hunting party with Count Eberhard Dohna in Prökelwitz, East Prussia. A homoerotic friendship developed between the two , in which the experienced, urbane Count was supposed to offer the young, impetuous and nervous prince emotional support as well as intellectual diversion. For years, Prince Wilhelm had been in opposition to his parents, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm and especially Crown Princess Victoria , who were inclined to liberalism , but had only superficially made contact with the elitist-conservative officer corps of the Potsdam Guard regiments, in which he held military command. The strict upbringing in his youth, together with the painful therapy for his crippled left arm, had severely traumatized him and made him bitter from an early age.

Kaiser Wilhelm II and Philipp zu Eulenburg, Nordlandfahrt 1890

Eulenburg was the first in the prince's life to give him a feeling of security and being understood. As a result of their meeting, the so-called Liebenberger Kreis , a circle of Prussian aristocrats, was formed on his Brandenburg mansion , in which the prince and later emperor - often referred to in letters as "the darling" - enjoyed a man-like sociability with partly cultivated, musical and spiritual, partly shoddy -Vulgar conversation content and found relaxation. They read and made music together, whereby Eulenburg was able to fully demonstrate his artistic talent. In addition, the Liebenberger Kreis also had a political dimension; Eulenburg's own lack of ambition, however, hardly permitted a downright favoritism , even though he advocated a personal regiment of the emperor and the later Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow was his protégé. Eulenburg's foreign policy position was considered to be peace-loving and consensus-oriented, which brought him into contradiction to the official policy of the Foreign Office and later earned him the reputation of a “wimp”, but Wilhelm used the nickname “Guillaume le Pacifique” or “le Timide” (German: “Wilhelm the peaceable "or" the shy ") entered.

After the overthrow of Chancellor Leo von Caprivi in 1894, he emphatically recommended Clovis zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst to the emperor as his successor . The connection between the emperor and "Phili", as Eulenburg was called in intimate circles, lasted until the outbreak of the Harden-Eulenburg affair in 1906.

Eulenburg Affair 1906–1908

From November 1906, the publicist Maximilian Harden accused Eulenburg in several articles of being homosexual . From autumn 1907 onwards there were several sensational trials, which were initially directed indirectly and then directly against Eulenburg for offenses against Section 175 of the Reich Criminal Code. There was no longer a conviction, although Harden presented under oath witnesses who were said to have had regular dealings with Eulenburg, since Eulenburg had been considered incapable of litigation since 1908 because of his nervous condition. The so-called Harden-Eulenburg affair was one of the greatest scandals of the Wilhelmine era . The term Liebenberger Kreis , which referred to the camarilla around the German emperor led by Eulenburg, fell into disrepute. On June 29, 1908, the decisive trial against Eulenburg was opened. He was accused of perjury because he had testified under oath as a witness in the Bülow-Brand trial that he had never engaged in sexual acts with men. In August of the same year, however, the proceedings were interrupted because of Eulenburg's poor health and in 1909 permanently suspended. The scandal triggered a storm of indignation against homosexuals and the alleged amalgamation of homosexual male friendships with political claims to power. Wilhelm II was politically exposed and dropped Eulenburg.

Withdrawal and death 1908–1921

As a seriously ill man, Eulenburg withdrew, deeply disappointed, to his seat at Schloss Liebenberg in the circle of his family, where he was avoided by his aristocratic friends. In the years that followed, up to his death, he devoted himself to working through his extensive political correspondence (edited by John Röhl. Boppard / Rhein 1976-83) and family history. Philipp zu Eulenburg died in Liebenberg on September 17, 1921 and was buried in the family crypt in Liebenberg.


Marriage and offspring

On November 20, 1875 married Philipp Eulenburg in Stockholm , the Baroness, later Countess Augusta Sandels (born May 12, 1853 in Stockholm, † December 14, 1941 in Liebenberg), a daughter of Samuel August, the last Count Sandels, and Hedvig Henrietta Emilie Augusta Tersmeden.

The couple had eight children:

  • Philipp Graf zu Eulenburg (born November 16, 1876 in Wulkow; † June 28, 1878 in Berlin)
  • Astrid Countess zu Eulenburg (born March 25, 1879 in Berlin, † March 23, 1881 in Paris)
  • Alexandrine (Adine) Elise Klara Antonia Countess zu Eulenburg (* July 1, 1880 in Liebenberg; † February 3, 1957 in Schloss Friedelhausen ) ⚭ June 15, 1910 in Liebenberg Eberhard Graf von Schwerin
  • Friedrich Wend zu Eulenburg (born September 19, 1881 in Starnberg; † August 1, 1963 in Hertefeld near Weeze ) ⚭ May 21, 1904 in Liebenberg Marie Freiin von Mayr-Melnhof.
  • Augusta (Lycki) Alexandrine Countess zu Eulenburg (born September 1, 1882 in Starnberg; † January 28, 1974 in Starnberg) ⚭ February 4, 1907 in London Edmund Jaroljmek, (divorced 1931).
  • Botho Sigwart zu Eulenburg (born January 10, 1884 in Munich; † June 2, 1915 in Jasło) ⚭ September 21, 1909 in Leipzig Helene Staegemann
  • Karl zu Eulenburg (born June 16, 1885 in Starnberg; † December 4, 1975 in Hertefeld near Weeze) ⚭ May 27, 1908 St. Helier, Jersey Island Sophie Moshammer (closed 1923), ⚭ November 15, 1923 Geertruida Verwey.
  • Viktoria (Tora) Ada Astrid Agnes Countess zu Eulenburg (* July 13, 1886 in Starnberg; † September 23, 1967 in Starnberg) ⚭ May 12, 1909 in Liebenberg Otto Ludwig Haas-Heye (* December 16, 1879 in Heidelberg; † 9 June 1959 in Mannheim), divorce in 1921. Viktoria is the great-grandmother of Hereditary Princess Sophie von Liechtenstein .

Famous relatives

His uncle was the leader of the Prussian East Asia expedition and later Interior Minister Friedrich zu Eulenburg , his second cousins ​​the Interior Minister and Prussian Prime Minister (1892-1894) Botho zu Eulenburg and the Royal Prussian High Court Marshal and House Minister August zu Eulenburg . The resistance fighter Libertas Schulze-Boysen , who temporarily grew up at Liebenberg Castle, was his granddaughter.


  • Political correspondence. 3 volumes. Edited by John Röhl . Boppard / Rhine 1976–83.
  • With the emperor as statesman and friend on trips in the north of the country . Two volumes. Edited by Augusta Princess of Eulenburg-Hertefeld. Carl Reissner, Dresden 1931
  • Experiences at German and foreign courts . Edited by Augusta Princess of Eulenburg-Hertefeld. Wilhelm Grunow Verlag, Leipzig 1930
  • The end of King Ludwig II and other experiences . Edited by Augusta Princess of Eulenburg-Hertefeld. Wilhelm Grunow Verlag, Leipzig 1930
  • From fifty years. Memories, diaries and letters from the estate of Prince Philipp zu Eulenburg-Hertefeld. (Ed. by Johannes Haller ). Gebr. Paetel, Berlin 1923.
  • A memory of Count Arthur Gobineau . Frommanns Verlag (E. Hauff), Stuttgart 1906
  • In memory of the hundred years of the French era in Liebenberg. Self-published, 1906
  • Liebenberger hunting pictures from friendship days in Liebenberg by Axel Freiherr von Varnbuler zu Hemmingen. Edited by Philipp Prince of Eulenburg. Printed as a manuscript, Liebenberg 1901
  • Fifteen caricatures from the court of Frederick the Great . In: Hohenzollern yearbook , 1901
  • East Asia in letters from Count Fritz zu Eulenburg . Mittler and Son, Berlin 1900
  • Memories of a Cleve family of knights . Historical study by the von Hertefeld family. 1899 ( digitized version )
  • The story of a quarry . A fairy tale. E. Mühlthaler, Munich undated
  • A month from the great-grandfather's childhood days. Cleve 1780 . (Count von Dankelman.) Munich 1898
  • Five years of friendship in letters from Fritz von Fahrenheit-Beynuhnen. Philipp Graf zu Eulenburg-Hertefeld (ed.). Self-published in 1897
  • The miracle . A story from the first days of Christianity (995) in the north. Self-published, Buchdruckerei Stefan Sandner, I. Graben 29, Vienna, o .J.
  • Three fairy tales . Illustrated by Hermann Kaulbach. Franz Hanfstaengl, Munich undated
  • Frithjof . Illustration by Hermann Kaulbach. Braun & Schneider, Munich undated
  • A Christmas in the monastery . German publishing house, Stuttgart 1892
  • Evening stories . German publishing house, Stuttgart 1892
  • The Christmas book . German publishing house, Stuttgart 1892
  • Erich and Erika . Family legends and fairy tales. Braun and Schneider, Munich 1892
  • Skald songs . Seals. Illustrated by O. Seitz. Westermann, Braunschweig 1892
  • A sheet of Prussian politics a hundred years ago. (The reason for Prussia's military intervention in Holland in 1787) . In: Nord und Süd , Volume 44.Wroclaw 1888
  • The starfish . Published under the pseudonym I. Svenson 1886
  • The last Weetzow . Novella. In: North and South 1886
  • From the Art . Novella. In: North and South 1884
  • Margot . Published under the pseudonym I. Svenson. 1883

Published compositions

  • Rose songs . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Skald songs . Eight notebooks. Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Northern songs . Two notebooks. Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Singing meth chants on the Nordic seas . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Chants for dramatic presentation . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Eastern songs . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Christmas chants . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • From friendship days . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Beach songs. A song cycle . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • A Lovestory. A song cycle . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Turn of love. A song cycle . Bote and Bock, Berlin
  • Four fairy tales for recitation and singing. The fairy tale of freedom, a sea fairy tale, the fir tree, forest fairy tale . Bote and Bock, Berlin


  • Christian Juranek , Ulrich Feldhahn (ed.): Pomp and Circumstance - The German Empire and the time before the First World War . Edition Schloss Wernigerode Volume 17. Verlag Janos Stekovics, Dößel 2014, ISBN 978-3-89923-328-5 .
  • Peter Winzen : In the shadow of Wilhelm II. Bülow and Eulenburg's poker for power in the empire. SH-Verlag, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-89498-261-4 .
  • Alexander Gauland : Prince Eulenburg - a Prussian nobleman. The conservative alternative to imperial world politics Wilhelm II. Strauss Edition, Potsdam 2010, ISBN 978-3-86886-018-4 .
  • Norman Domeier: The Eulenburg Scandal. A political cultural history of the empire . Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-593-39275-2 .
  • Paul Irving Anderson: Theodor Fontane and Philipp zu Eulenburg. The correspondence 1880–1890 . In: Yearbook for Brandenburg State History , 61, 2010, pp. 149–172
  • Peter Winzen: The end of imperial glory. The scandal processes surrounding the homosexual advisers of Wilhelm II. 1907–1909. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-412-20630-7 .
  • Men around Kaiser Wilhelm II. Bernhard von Bülow, Count Philipp zu Eulenburg, Adolf von Harnack, Alfred von Tirlitz, Carl Velten. In: Die Mark Brandenburg , issue 73. Marika Großer Verlag, Berlin 2009.
  • Martin Kohlrausch : The monarch in a scandal. The logic of the mass media and the transformation of the Wilhelmine monarchy (= change of the elite in modern times. Vol. 7). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-05-004020-3 .
  • Peter Jungblut: Great guys. Eulenburg - A Wilhelmine affair. MännerschwarmSkript Verlag, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-935596-21-9 .
  • Sebastian Haffner : Philipp zu Eulenburg. In: Ders., Wolfgang Venohr : Prussian profiles (= Ullstein. Bd. 26586). Econ-Ullstein-List-Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-548-26586-3 , pp. 197-215.
  • Nicolaus Sombart : Wilhelm II. Scapegoat and master of the middle. Volk & Welt Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-353-01066-1 , pp. 159-204.
  • John Röhl : Count Philipp zu Eulenburg - the emperor's best friend. In: Kaiser Hof und Staat. Wilhelm II and German politics. 3. Edition. Beck, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-32358-8 , pp. 35-77.
  • Maximilian Harden : Heads - Portraits, Letters and Documents. Rütten & Loening, Hamburg 1963.
  • Jakob v. Uexküll: worlds never seen before . S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin 1936.
  • Reinhold Conrad Muschler: Philipp zu Eulenburg. Grunow, Leipzig 1930.
  • Johannes Haller : From the life of Prince Philipp zu Eulenburg-Hertefeld. Gebr. Paetel, Berlin 1924.
  • Walter Bussmann:  Eulenburg and Hertefeld, Philipp Friedrich Karl Alexander Botho Fürst zu, Count von Sandels. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1959, ISBN 3-428-00185-0 , pp. 681-683 ( digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Philipp zu Eulenburg  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. Eulenburg, 1923, p. 49.
  2. Sombart, p. 163f.
  3. ^ To the Eulenburg-Hertefeld family Theodor Fontane : Walks through the Mark Brandenburg , Volume 5 ( Five castles ) - "Liebenberg".
  4. Eulenburg, 1923, p. 59.
  5. ^ Secret State Archives of Prussian Cultural Heritage, III. Main Department Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I No. 3675 and No. 3676.
  6. ^ Maximilian Harden: Heads - Portraits, Letters and Documents. Hamburg 1963, p. 118.
  7. ^ René Schiller: From manor to large estate . Berlin 2003, p. 519.
  8. See the letter to Wilhelm II of December 5, 1899. In: Korrespondenz , Volume 3, p. 1969 (No. 1406).
  9. Hildegard von Spitzemberg : Diary . Göttingen 1960, p. 392 f. (January 5, 1900).
  10. ^ S. Fischer-Fabian: Magnificent times. Lübbe, Gladbach 2005, ISBN 3-404-64206-6 , p. 274.
  11. ^ Arrival of Prince Eulenburg in Badgastein. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Abendblatt, No. 16081/1909, May 29, 1909, p. 3, top left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  12. Article on .
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