Leo von Caprivi

German Chancellor and Prussian General of the Infantry and Prime Minister (1831-1899)

Georg Leo von Caprivi, later Georg Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprara de Montecuccoli (English: Count George Leo of Caprivi, Caprara, and Montecuccoli), (24 February 1831–6 February 1899) was a German major general and politician, who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany. Caprivi was German Chancellor from March 1890 to October 1894.

Count Leo von Caprivi
Chancellor of Germany
In office
Preceded byPrince Bismarck
Succeeded byPrince Hohenlohe
Personal details
Born(1831-02-24)24 February 1831
Berlin, Prussia
Died6 February 1899(1899-02-06) (aged 67)
Skórzyn, Germany
Political partyNone



Born in Charlottenburg, Berlin to a family of Italian and Slovenian origin, Caprivi joined the army in 1849 and fought in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

He liked Bismarck, and once said "What jackass would dare to succeed Bismarck?". Kaiser Wilhelm II was arguing with Bismarck about changes to the government. In February 1890 the Kaiser told Caprivi to come back to Berlin. Caprivi was told that he would take over from Bismarck if Bismarck did not do what the Kaiser wanted. Caprivi became chancellor on 18 March 1890.

Caprivi's government was friendlier to the Social Democrats and to the United Kingdom. The Zanzibar treaty of July 1890, meant Germany gave control of Zanzibar, an island near German East Africa to Britain in return for the island of Heligoland in the North Sea . Caprivi also got the Caprivi Strip added to German South West Africa. This is a narrow strip of land that links German South West Africa (now called Namibia), to the Zambezi River.

In 1892 Caprivi resigned as Prussian Minister President and was replaced by Count Botho zu Eulenburg. Prussia was so powerful in the German Empire that having different people as Imperial Chancellor and Minister President made it hard to govern the country. Caprivi and Eulenburg were dismissed in 1894 and Prince Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst took both jobs.

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Preceded by
Otto von Bismarck
Minister President of Prussia
1890 – 1892
Succeeded by
Count Eulenburg
Chancellor of Germany
1890 – 1894
Succeeded by
Prince Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst