Rudolf von Bennigsen (politician)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rudolf v. Bennigsen (1900)
Signature Rudolf von Bennigsen (politician) .PNG

Karl Wilhelm Rudolf von Bennigsen (born July 10, 1824 in Lüneburg , † August 7, 1902 at Gut Bennigsen near Springe ) was a liberal German politician in the 19th century. As a member of parliament , he accompanied the process of unification and worked with Otto von Bismarck . This was seen by some as a pragmatic approach to realities, by others as a betrayal of the liberal cause. Bennigsen was one of the liberals who spoke out in favor of the indemnity bill in 1867 . As a result, he was one of the founders of the National Liberal Party .



Bennigsen's father Karl Ernst Gebhard von Bennigsen (1789–1869) was a major general and authorized representative of the Kingdom of Hanover at the Federal Military Commission in Frankfurt am Main . His mother was Elise de Dompierre von Jonquière (1801–1886), a daughter of the Hanoverian lieutenant general Karl von Jonquière (1771–1831).

Bennigsen married Anna Luise Wilhelmine von Reden (1834–1902) in 1854. The couple had nine children: Erich Karl Emil Ferdinand (* 1856), Silvie Klare Elise Wilhelmine (* 1857), Rudolf (Governor of German New Guinea), Adolf , (District Administrator of the Springe district), Adelheid (founder of the Christian Social Women's Seminar ), Alexander Klaus Wilhelm (* 1863), Klothilde Charlotte Julie (* 1864), Hugo Johann Georg (* 1868) and Hedwig Klara Armgard (* 1871).


Bennigsen studied at the Georg-August University in Göttingen and the Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg . In 1843 he became active in the Corps Hannovera Göttingen . In 1844 he also joined the Corps Vandalia Heidelberg .


After his training, Bennigsen became politically active for the first time as a liberal government leader in the second chamber of the Assembly of Estates of the Kingdom of Hanover . In 1859 he was co-founder and chairman of the German National Association . After Prussia annexed Hanover in 1866, von Bennigsen became a member of the Prussian House of Representatives and the Reichstag of the North German Confederation the following year . Here, as from 1871 in the Reichstag of the Empire , he supported Bismarck's policy, although he had different ideas about the structure of the new state. In 1870 he was Bismarck's confidante in the negotiations between the North German Confederation and the South German states.

In the negotiations on the constitution of the North German Confederation in 1867, Bennigsen successfully introduced an amendment which became known as Lex Bennigsen . As a result, orders and decrees of the federal government (and then in the empire of the empire) had to be signed by the chancellor, who thus assumed responsibility. This upgrading of the Chancellery led to Bismarck taking it over himself.

From 1873 to 1879 Bennigsen was President of the Prussian House of Representatives. From 1871, as a member of the Reichstag of the newly founded German Reich, he led the faction of the new National Liberal Party , which was the strongest political force in the first years of the German Reich. In doing so, he mostly supported the government's foreign policy course, while internally he was mostly in the opposition role. Bennigsen also chaired the National Liberal Party.

Other offices

In 1877 Chancellor Bismarck offered him a ministerial post. This did not happen, however, because the National Liberal demanded two further ministerial posts, one for Max von Forckenbeck and the other for Franz von Stauffenberg . However, Bismarck only wanted to blow the boss Bennigsen out of the National Liberal Party in order to weaken the opposition. Annoyed by Bennigsen's unreasonable demand, Bismarck claimed that Kaiser Wilhelm I had refused all three people. Bismarck attacked Stauffenberg, he was striving for a ministerial office only for personal reasons. Stauffenberg was taken under protection by Bennigsen.

The split-off of a left-wing group of the National Liberals , which soon formed as a Liberal Association and which, alongside v. Forckenbeck and v. Stauffenberg u. a. also belonged to Eduard Lasker and Ludwig Bamberger , could not turn away Bennigsen in 1880. In 1883 he resigned all offices and mandates in the Reichstag and the Prussian House of Representatives and was a member of the Prussian State Council until 1884 . In 1887 he returned to the Reichstag for three terms; in addition, he was from 1888 to 1897 Ober-President of the Province of Hanover . From 1888 to 1893 he was also the district administrator of the Peine district .

Bennigsen worked closely with Bismarck, who valued the Hanoverian because of his pragmatism , particularly in the first decade after the founding of the German Empire . Bennigsen lacked direct experience of the Prussian constitutional conflict . That is why he was far more positive about Bismarck than his old Prussian party friends. These different historical forms within the National Liberal Party ultimately also significantly promoted its split.


Rudolf von Bennigsen (1843)


  • Heinrich F. Curschmann : Blue Book of the Corps Hannovera to Göttingen. Volume 1: 1809-1899. Association of Göttingen Hanoverians, Göttingen 2002, p. 150, no. 440.
  • Jürgen Frölich : "Resume work from 1848". Rudolf von Bennigsen and German Liberalism. In: Förderverein für die Stadtgeschichte von Springe (ed.): Springer Yearbook 2017 for the city and the old district of Springe. Self-published, Springe 2017, pp. 97–112.
  • Hans HerzfeldKarl Wilhelm Rudolf von Bennigsen. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , pp. 50-52 ( digitized version ).
  • Adolf Kiepert : Rudolf von Bennigsens. Review of the life of a parliamentarian. 2nd, significantly increased edition. Meyer, Hanover / Berlin 1903.
  • Bernhard Mann : Biographical manual for the Prussian House of Representatives. 1867–1918 (= handbooks on the history of parliamentarism and political parties , 3). Droste, Düsseldorf 1988, ISBN 3-7700-5146-7 .
  • Hermann Oncken : Rudolf von Bennigsen. A German liberal politician. According to his letters and papers left behind. 2 volumes. Volume 1: Until 1866. Volume 2: From 1867 to 1902. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart / Leipzig 1910.
  • Wilhelm Rothert : General Hanoverian biography . Volume 1: Hanoverian men and women since 1866 . Sponholtz, Hannover 1912, pp. 30-49.
  • Rudolf von Bennigsen Foundation (ed.): National liberalism in its epoch, Rudolf von Bennigsen. Commemorative publication on the occasion of the establishment of the Rudolf von Bennigsen Foundation . Nomos-Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1981, ISBN 3-7890-0735-8 .
  • Karl Wilhelm Rudolf [Bennigsen House] . In: Marcelli Janecki , Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft (Hrsg.): Yearbook of the German nobility . First volume. WT Bruer's Verlag, Berlin 1896, p. 178-180 ( ).
  • The two Bennigsen . In: The Gazebo . Issue 16, 1863, pp. 256 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).

Web links

Commons : Rudolf von Bennigsen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Rudolf von Bennigsen  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Dirk Böttcher : Rudolf v. Bennigsen. In: Klaus Mlynek, Waldemar R. Röhrbein (eds.) U. a .: City Lexicon Hanover . From the beginning to the present. Schlütersche, Hannover 2009, ISBN 978-3-89993-662-9 , p. 58.
  2. Kösener corps lists 1910, 70/162; 122/95.