Otto of Stolberg-Wernigerode

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Otto zu Stolberg-Wernigerode
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
In office
1 June 1878 – 20 June 1881
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Succeeded by Karl Heinrich von Boetticher
Personal details
Born (1837-10-30)30 October 1837
Gedern, Grand Duchy of Hesse
Died 19 November 1896(1896-11-19) (aged 59)
Wernigerode, Province of Saxony
Political party Free Conservative
Spouse(s) Anna Reuss of Köstritz
Occupation Officer, diplomat, politician
Military service
Allegiance Prussia, German Empire

Otto Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (30 October 1837 – 19 November 1896) was an Imperial German politician and the first Vice-Chancellor of Germany.


He was born at Gedern Castle, Hesse, the third and last child of Count Hermann zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (1802–1841) and his wife Countess Emma zu Erbach-Fürstenau. The ancient noble House of Stolberg had been quasi-sovereign rulers of their County of Stolberg-Wernigerode until the German Mediatisation, when they came under the jurisdiction of Prussia in 1815. His elder brother Albert (Albrecht) died, when he was four years old, his father died shortly afterwards from grief over the loss.

Having been schooled in Duisburg, he read law and administration science at the universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg. Between 1859 and 1861, he served as a cavalry officer in the Gardes du Corps regiment of the Prussian Army. Stolberg had his Wernigerode Castle residence rebuilt in a lavish Gründerzeit style. In 1867 he was appointed First President (Oberpräsident) of the Prussian Province of Hanover at the instigation of Minister-president Otto von Bismarck.

Stolberg endeavoured to integrate the annexed province into the Prussian state. Having served in the North German Reichstag from 1867 to 1871, he became a member of the Free Conservative Party and thereafter had a seat in both the German Reichstag and the Prussian House of Lords (as its president from 1872). In March 1876 he became German ambassador in Austria-Hungary, again on Bismarck's proposal.

In 1878, he was appointed German Vice-Chancellor under Chancellor Bismarck. Stolberg was instrumental in the development of the Dual Alliance with Austria which was concluded in Autumn 1879. He also supported Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws, however, over time had more and more differences with the Chancellor and finally resigned from office in 1881. Stolberg remained an active politician, serving as Prussian treasurer and Minister of the Royal House. In 1890 he was granted the hereditary title of Prince (Fürst in German) by Emperor Wilhelm II.

Stolberg died at Wernigerode Castle, aged 59.

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 22 August 1863 at Staniszów Castle, he married Anna Reuss of Köstritz (1837–1907). They had the following children:

  • Christian Ernest (1864–1940), Prince of Stolberg-Wernigerode
married in 1891 Countess Marie of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1864-1942)
  • Elizabeth (1866–1928)
married in 1885 Count Constantin of Stolberg-Wernigerode (1843-1905)
  • Hermann (1867–1913)
married in 1910 princess Dorothea of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (1883-1942), daughter of Hermann of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
  • William (1870–1932)
married in 1910 Princess Elizabeth of Erbach-Schönberg (1883-1966)
  • Henry (1871–1874)
  • Marie (1872–1950)
married in 1902 Count William of Solms-Laubach (1861-1936)
  • Emma (1875–1956)
married in 1894 Prince Charles of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (1866-1920)


  • Konrad Breitenborn: Graf Otto zu Stolberg-Wernigerode. Deutscher Standesherr und Politiker der Bismarckzeit. Ausgewählte Dokumente. Jüttners Buchhandlung, Wernigerode 1993, ISBN 3-910157-01-7
  • Konrad Breitenborn (Hrsg.): Die Lebenserinnerungen des Fürsten Otto zu Stolberg-Wernigerode (1837–1896). Jüttners Buchhandlung, Wernigerode 1996, ISBN 3-910157-03-3
Otto of Stolberg-Wernigerode
Born: 30 October 1837 Died: 19 November 1896
Preceded by
Count (from 1890: Prince) of

Succeeded by
Christian Ernest
Political offices
Preceded by
Office created
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Karl Heinrich von Boetticher