Clemens von Ketteler

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Clemens August Freiherr von Ketteler (22 November 1853 – 20 June 1900) was a German career diplomat. He was killed during the Boxer Rebellion.

Family and early career[edit]

Born at Münster in western Germany, Ketteler was born into a noble Münsterland family.

He was married to the American heiress Matilda Cass Ledyard, who shared ancestors with the Bush family.[1]

His uncle Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler was a Zentrum party politician. His nephew, the diplomat Wilhelm Freiherr von Ketteler, was murdered by the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers SS (SD) in Vienna in 1938 for his opposition to Hitler. Another relative was the French marshal Louis Franchet d'Espèrey.

Following his graduation in Münster and Coesfeld in 1873, Ketteler entered the Prussian Army and served in it until he was appointed to join the Imperial German diplomatic corps in 1882.
Between 1880 and 1889 he served as an interpreter in the German consulates in Canton (Guangzhou) and Tientsin. After working in the German Department of Foreign Affairs for a short period, he was posted to Washington, D.C., between 1892 and 1896 and then to Mexico from 1896 to 1899.

Death in Beijing[edit]

Ketteler returned to China in 1899 as Plenipotentiary at Beijing, from where he pointed out in vain the dangerous situation for the Europeans.[2] On 12 June 1900, when the Boxers moved to the inner city and burned down Christian church buildings, Ketteler reacted by ordering German embassy guards to hunt them down. On 18 June, German troops captured a Chinese civilian suspected of being a Boxer in the inner city and took him to the Legation Quarter, where he was detained. The crowd which later gathered to demand the man's release was fired upon by Austrian guards; many were wounded. On 14 June, soldiers of the German Marines fended off Boxers trying to break through the barricades and managed to kill about twenty of them.

On June 17 the Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves attacked Ketteler and his German Marines at the Legations. After stones were hurled at the Germans by the Chinese Muslims, Ketteler told his men to shoot back at the Muslim troops.[3][4][5] The Muslim troops were feared by the westerners, so the British minister Sir Claude Macdonald warned that "When our own troops arrive we may with safety assume a different tone, but it is hardly wise now." He thus warned Ketteler about his shooting incident with the Muslim forces.[6][7][8]

Ketteler brutally attacked a Chinese civilian for no reason, and beat a boy who was with him after taking him to the Legations. Ketteler then murdered the boy by shooting him.[9] In response, Thousands of Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves under General Dong Fuxiang of the Imperial Army and Boxers went on a violent riot against the westerners.[10] The Kansu braves and Boxers then attacked and killed Chinese Christians around the legations in revenge for foreign attacks on Chinese. Angry at the Chinese Christians for collaborating with foreigners who were murdering Chinese, the Boxers burned some of them alive and attacked and ransacked their property. The Muslims also assassinated the Japanese chancellor, tearing him apart.[11]

At 8.00 a.m. on 20 June, Ketteler, together with his interpreter and other associates, headed for the Zongli Yamen (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) accompanied by armed escorts. At the western end of Xizongbu Hutong, only one block away from the ministry, the party ran into the Manchu Hushenying bannerman and were fired upon. Ketteler was killed in the ensuing firefight. Ketteler was specifically targeted by the Manchu captain En Hai for assassination, in revenge for Ketteler murdering the boy.[12] En Hai, later gave himself up to the Allied occupying forces.[13]

En Hai was subsequently tried and convicted, and was executed in Beijing on 31 December 1900 by beheading. He showed no emotion during interrogation, and was fully composed and calm, admitting to killing Ketteler, and even requested execution, saying "I received orders from my sergeant to kill every foreigner that came up the street...I am glad to die for having killed one of the enemies of my country." When questioned about whether he had consumed alcohol during the incident, En Hai said he had not "touched a drop". En Hai was praised as "brave and dignified", and called a "hero".[14]

Ketteler was succeeded by Alfons Mumm von Schwarzenstein as ambassador of the German Empire in Beijing, who signed the Boxer Protocol on behalf of Germany.

The Ketteler memorial in Beijing[edit]

The Ketteler Gate as it stood in Dongdan from 1903 to 1918.

After China's loss to the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1901, treaties were signed between China and eleven nations (the Eight Nations plus Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands). Prince Chun, father of the last emperor Puyi, travelled to Germany in his official capacity as ambassador extraordinary to express the regrets of Emperor Guangxu over the death of Ketteler to Kaiser Wilhelm II. A paifang or "memorial gate" called the Ketteler Memorial (German: Ketteler-Denkmal) was erected at the location where he fell. Work on this gate began on 25 June 1901 and was completed on 8 January 1903.

On 13 November 1918, two days after Germany signed an armistice with the Allies, the Ketteler Memorial was officially abolished. The following year, the gate was moved to the present-day Zhongshan Park and renamed "The Victory of Justice Gate" (Chinese: 公理戰勝牌坊). In 1953, on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Peace Conference in Beijing, it was renamed once again as "The Protection of Peace Gate".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  •  This article incorporates text from China under the empress dowager: being the history of the life and times of Tzŭ Hsi, comp. from the state papers of the comptroller of her household, a publication from 1914 now in the public domain in the United States.
  1. ^ http://www.wargs.com/political/bush.html
  2. ^ (German) Brockhaus Geschichte (Second Edition)
  3. ^ Richard O'Connor (1973). The spirit soldiers: a historical narrative of the Boxer Rebellion (illustrated ed.). Putnam. p. 96. Retrieved 1-9-2011. Unperturbed by what he regarded as the unmanly queasiness of his colleagues, Baron von Ketteler late that day ordered his marines to open fire on a detachment of General Tung Fu-hsiang's Kansu cavalry. The Moslems had thrown some stones at the Germans; the latter replied with rifle fire. The British minister had not joined in reproving the baron over the Tatar Wall incident earlier in the day, but now he sent a note over to the German  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Richard O'Connor (1973). The spirit soldiers: a historical narrative of the Boxer Rebellion (illustrated ed.). Putnam. p. 96. Retrieved 1-9-2011. Unperturbed by what he regarded as the unmanly queasiness of his colleagues, Baron von Ketteler late that day ordered his marines to open fire on a detachment of General Tung Fu-hsiang's Kansu cavalry. The Moslems had thrown some stones at the Germans; the latter replied with rifle fire. The British minister had not joined in reproving the baron over the Tatar Wall incident earlier in the day, but now he sent a note over to the German  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Richard O'Connor (1973). The Boxer Rebellion (illustrated, reprint ed.). Hale. p. 96. ISBN 0-7091-4780-5. Retrieved 1-9-2011. marines to open fire on a detachment of General Tung Fu-hsiang's Kansu cavalry. The Moslems had thrown some stones at the Germans; the latter replied with rifle fire. The British minister had not joined in reproving the baron over the Tatar Wall incident earlier in the day, but now he sent a note over to the German  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Peter Fleming (1990). The Siege at Peking: The Boxer Rebellion (illustrated ed.). Dorset Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-88029-462-0. Retrieved 1-9-2011. Tung Fu-hsiang's Moslem cavalry, flaunting banners of scarlet and black but armed with modern Mausers, were however treated with great respect. They had taken a leading part in anti-foreign incidents two years earlier, and when on 17 June, after a stone-throwing incident, a detachment of them was fired on by the Germans, Sir Claude MacDonald sent a tactful reproof to Baron von Ketteler, urging strict precautions against all acts of provocation; 'When our own troops arrive we may with safety assume a different tone, but it is hardly wise now.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ Peter Fleming (1959). The Siege at Peking. NEW YORK 49 East 33rd Street, New York 16, N.Y: HARPER & BROTHERS. p. 98. Tung Fu-hsiang's Moslem cavalry, flaunting banners of scarlet and black but armed with modern Mausers, were however treated with great respect. They had taken a' leading part in anti-foreign incidents two years earlier, and when on 17 June, after a stone-throwing incident, a detachment of them was fired on by the Germans, Sir Claude MacDonald sent a tactful reproof to Baron von Ketteler, urging strict precautions against all acts of provocation; 'When our own troops arrive we may with safety assume a different tone, but it is hardly wise now.'  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help);
  8. ^ Leo J. Daugherty (2009). The Marine Corps and the State Department: enduring partners in United States foreign policy, 1798-2007 (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 44. ISBN 0-7864-3796-0. Retrieved 1-9-2011. By June 21, the Chinese Imperial troops had joined in the attack with the Boxers against the Westerners. On June 23, Imperial troops from Kansu under the command of the Moslem Chinese General Tung Fu-hsiang, whose hatred of foreigners was as intense as that of the Boxers, launched a combined assault against the Russian Marines and sailors near the Tartar Wall.16 In the action, the Boxers killed a German Marine whose body was recovered by an American Marine before it rolled off the roof of the Russian Bank building.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the rising sun: a history of the Japanese military. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 70. ISBN 0-393-04085-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  10. ^ Sterling Seagrave, Peggy Seagrave (1992). Dragon lady: the life and legend of the last empress of China. Knopf. p. 320. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  11. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the rising sun: a history of the Japanese military. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 70. ISBN 0-393-04085-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  12. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the rising sun: a history of the Japanese military. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 82. ISBN 0-393-04085-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  13. ^ Franciszek Przetacznik (1983). Protection of officials of foreign states according to international law. BRILL. p. 229. ISBN 90-247-2721-9. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  14. ^ Compiled by John Otway Percy Bland, Sir Edmund Backhouse (1914). China under the empress dowager: being the history of the life and times of Tzŭ Hsi, comp. from the state papers of the comptroller of her household. Houghton Mifflin company. p. 216. ISBN 90-247-2721-9. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 

External links[edit]