Rudolf von Auerswald

Last updated
Rudolf von Auerswald Rudolf von Auerswald Haase BNF Gallica.jpg
Rudolf von Auerswald

Rudolf Ludwig Cäsar von Auerswald (1 September 1795 15 January 1866) was a German official who served as Prime Minister of Prussia during the Revolution of 1848. Later, during the ministry of Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern, he led the government in all but name.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.


Auerswald was born in Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), West Prussia. He was a member of a Meissen family of nobility, first mentioned in 1263, from Auerswalde, now part of Lichtenau, Saxony. His father was the official Hans Jakob von Auerswald, while his brothers were the general Hans Adolf Erdmann von Auerswald (17921848) and the politician Alfred von Auerswald (17971870).

Kwidzyn Place in Pomeranian, Poland

Kwidzyn is a town in northern Poland on the Liwa river in the Powiśle region, with 40,008 inhabitants (2004). It has been a part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously in the Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Kwidzyn County.

West Prussia province of Prussia

The Province of West Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and 1878 to 1922. West Prussia was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1773, formed from Royal Prussia of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth annexed in the First Partition of Poland. West Prussia was dissolved in 1829 and merged with East Prussia to form the Province of Prussia, but was re-established in 1878 when the merger was reversed and became part of the German Empire. From 1918, West Prussia was a province of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, losing most of its territory to the Second Polish Republic and the Free City of Danzig in the Treaty of Versailles. West Prussia was dissolved in 1922, and its remaining western territory was merged with Posen to form Posen-West Prussia, and its eastern territory merged with East Prussia as the Region of West Prussia district.

Lichtenau, Saxony Place in Saxony, Germany

Lichtenau is a municipality in the district of Mittelsachsen, in Saxony, Germany.

A friend of Prince William, much of Auerswald's youth was spent in Königsberg. After the completion of his education he entered the 1. Leibhusarenregiment of the Prussian Army. In 1812 as part of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, Auerswald participated in campaigns in Livonia and Courland under the command of Yorck. He also served from 181315 during the wars against Napoleon. Auerswald remained in the military until 1821, when he was discharged as a cavalry captain.

Königsberg capital city in Prussia

Königsberg is the name for a former German city that is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Originally a Sambian or Old Prussian city, it later belonged to the State of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany until 1945. After being largely destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing and Soviet forces and annexed by the Soviet Union thereafter, the city was renamed Kaliningrad. Few traces of the former Königsberg remain today.

Prussian Army 1701-1871 land warfare branch of Prussias military, primary component and predecessor of the German Army to 1919

The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.

Governorate of Livonia governorate of the Russian Empire

The Governorate of Livonia was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.

Auerswald married his cousin Countess Adela Dohna-Lauck in 1817. After his discharge from the military he acquired an estate in the Heiligenbeil District of East Prussia, where he became Landrat (district administrator) in 1824. Auerswald became General-Landschaftsrath of the Province of Prussia in 1835 and Oberbürgermeister (roughly Lord Mayor) of Königsberg in 1835.

East Prussia province of Prussia

East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.

Province of Prussia province of Prussia

The Province of Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1829 to 1878. Prussia was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1829 from the provinces of East Prussia and West Prussia, and was dissolved in 1878 when the merger was reversed.

Auerswald was a member of the knighthood of the East Prussian provincial diet, sometimes with the role of parliamentary marshal (Landtagsmarschall). During a diet paying homage to King Frederick William IV of Prussia, Auerswald was one of the politicians who reminded the new king of the 1815 promise of his predecessor, Frederick William III, to grant a constitution. Auerswald became Regierungspräsident of Regierungsbezirk Trier in 1842.

Frederick William IV of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William IV, the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. Also referred to as the "romanticist on the throne", he is best remembered for the many buildings he had constructed in Berlin and Potsdam, as well as for the completion of the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. In politics, he was a conservative, and in 1849 rejected the title of Emperor of the Germans offered by the Frankfurt Parliament as not the Parliament's to give. In 1857, he suffered a stroke and was left incapacitated until his death. His brother Wilhelm served as regent for the rest of his reign and then succeeded him as King.

Frederick William III of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.

Trier (region) Regierungsbezirk in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Trier was one of the three Regierungsbezirke of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, located in the west of the state.

Eleven liberals: Back (l-r): Carl Mittermaier, David Hansemann, Maximilian von Schwerin-Putzar, Rudolf von Auerswald, Franz Leo Benedikt Waldeck, Friedrich Romer; Front row (l-r): Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, Ludolf Camphausen, Hermann von Beckerath, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch and Karl Welcker Abgeordneten1848.png
Eleven liberals: Back (l-r): Carl Mittermaier, David Hansemann, Maximilian von Schwerin-Putzar, Rudolf von Auerswald, Franz Leo Benedikt Waldeck, Friedrich Römer; Front row (l-r): Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, Ludolf Camphausen, Hermann von Beckerath, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch and Karl Welcker
Berlin democrats attacking Prime Minister Auerswald's Wilhelmstrasse hotel on 21 August 1848 (contemporary drawing) Auerswald2.jpg
Berlin democrats attacking Prime Minister Auerswald's Wilhelmstraße hotel on 21 August 1848 (contemporary drawing)

After the outbreak of the March Revolution in 1848, Auerswald was named Oberpräsident in Königsberg of the Province of Prussia by Prime Minister Ludolf Camphausen. After Camphausen resigned, Auerswald became Prime Minister on 25 June, as well as Foreign Minister. A constitution for the Kingdom of Prussia was proposed during Auerswald's term; its model was the liberal Belgian Constitution of 1831, which had strongly influenced Rhenish liberalism. However, it was not accepted by the Prussian National Assembly, which created its own constitutional committee instead. Auerswald's ministry collapsed on 8 September when the National Assembly called for the government to demand the resignation of conservative members of the military.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Belgian Revolution conflict

The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium.

Prussian National Assembly constituent assembly

The Prussian National Assembly, came into being after the revolution of 1848 and was tasked with drawing up a constitution for Prussia. It first met in the building of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin. On 5 November 1848 the Government ordered the expulsion of the Prussian National Assembly to Brandenburg an der Havel and on 5 December 1848 it was dissolved by royal decree.

After his resignation, Auerswald returned to his post as Oberpräsident in Königsberg. After the dissolution of the National Assembly, the imposition of the constitution of the Kingdom of Prussia and the vote for a new parliament of Prussia led Auerswald to return to national politics. He served as president of the First Chamber (later the Prussian House of Lords) until 1850. Auerswald also participated in the Erfurt Parliament. In 1850 he became Oberpräsident of the Rhine Province, but was forced to resign a year later for remarks critical of the conservative government. Auerswald then spent almost two years out of public office, traveling to Paris, Italy, and North Africa.

Auerswald became a member of the Second Chamber (the Prussian House of Representatives) in 1853 as part of the liberal opposition, owing to his friendship with Crown Prince William. After William's assumption of the Prussian regency and the end of the Manteuffel government, William named Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern, as Prime Minister. Auerswald served as a minister without portfolio, although he led the government in all but name. Hopes for a more liberal era ended, however, in the face of resistance from the civil service, the court of Regent William, and especially from the House of Representatives.

The military budgetary crisis of 1860 brought Auerswald in opposition to his own liberal party, but he sought a middle ground between William and parliament. The inability to form a compromise caused a splintering of the liberals in 1861. The lack of a liberal majority led to the resignation of Auerswald and a number of ministers in March 1862. The next government was led by Otto von Bismarck.

Auerswald resigned from politics completely. Despite his liberal views and the defeat of the Prussian liberals, he was not disgraced, and a court position as lord burgrave of Marienburg (Malbork) was created for him instead. Auerswald died in Berlin, Brandenburg.

Related Research Articles

North German Confederation Federal state in Northern Germany in 1867–1870

The North German Confederation was the German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. Some historians also use the name for the alliance of 22 German states formed on 18 August 1866. In 1870–1871, the south German states of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Württemberg and Bavaria joined the country. On 1 January 1871, the country adopted a new constitution, which was written under the title of a new "German Confederation" but already gave it the name "German Empire" in the preamble and article 11. As the state system largely remained the same in the German Empire, the North German Confederation continues as the German nation state which still exists.

German revolutions of 1848–49 German part of the Revolutions of 1848

The German revolutions of 1848–49, the opening phase of which was also called the March Revolution, were initially part of the Revolutions of 1848 that broke out in many European countries. They were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the states of the German Confederation, including the Austrian Empire. The revolutions, which stressed pan-Germanism, demonstrated popular discontent with the traditional, largely autocratic political structure of the thirty-nine independent states of the Confederation that inherited the German territory of the former Holy Roman Empire.

Frankfurt Parliament first parliament for all of Germany (1849-1849)

The Frankfurt Parliament was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany, elected on 1 May 1848.

Posen-West Prussia Prussian province created in 1922

The Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1922 to 1938. Posen-West Prussia was established in 1922 as a province of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, formed from merging three remaining non-contiguous territories of Posen and West Prussia, which had lost the majority of their territory to the Second Polish Republic and Free City of Danzig in the Treaty of Versailles. From 1934, Posen-West Prussia was de facto ruled by Brandenburg until it was dissolved in 1938 by Nazi Germany, and its territory divided between the Prussian provinces of Silesia, Pomerania, and Brandenburg.

Erfurt Union Prussian initiative to unify Germany, 1849/1850

The Erfurt Union was a short-lived union of German states under a federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament, lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened at the former Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The union never came into effect, and was seriously undermined in the Punctation of Olmütz under immense pressure from the Austrian Empire.

The Constitution of Prussia was adopted on 31 January 1850, and amended in the following years. This constitution was far less liberal than the federal constitution of the German Empire.

The German Progress Party was the first modern political party in Germany, founded by liberal members of the Prussian House of Representatives in 1861 in opposition to Minister President Otto von Bismarck.

Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern german prince

Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was head of the Princely House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern from 1869 and Prime Minister of Prussia. He was the son of Karl, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who abdicated in favour of his son on 27 August 1848, and his first wife Marie Antoinette Murat, niece of Joachim Murat.

Albrecht von Bernstorff German diplomat

Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff was a Prussian statesman.

David Hansemann German businessman and politician

David Justus Ludwig Hansemann was a Prussian politician and banker, serving as the Prussian Minister of Finance in 1848.

Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg German politician

Adolf Heinrich Graf von Arnim-Boitzenburg was a German statesman. He served as the first Minister President of Prussia for ten days during the Revolution of 1848.

Landtag of Prussia parliament

The Landtag of Prussia was the representative assembly of the Kingdom of Prussia implemented in 1849, a bicameral legislature consisting of the upper House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and the lower House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–19 the Landtag diet continued as the parliament of the Free State of Prussia between 1921 and 1933.

Gottfried Ludolf Camphausen German politician

Gottfried Ludolf Camphausen was a Prime Minister of Prussia.

Provisorische Zentralgewalt Government of Germany 1848/1849

The Provisorische Zentralgewalt was the provisional government of the Frankfurt Parliament (1848–49). Since this all-German national assembly had not been initiated by the German Confederation, it was lacking not only major constitutional bodies, such as a head of state and a government, but also legal legitimation. A modification of the Bundesakte, the constitution of the German Confederation, could have brought about such legitimation, but as it would have required the unanimous support of all 38 signatory states this was practically impossible. Partially for this reason, influential European powers such as France and Russia declined to recognize the Parliament. The delegates on the left wanted to solve this situation by creating a revolutionary parliamentary government, but, on 24 June 1848, the majority voted for a compromise, the so-called Provisional Central Power.

Alexander von Schleinitz Prussian politician and diplomat

Alexander Gustav Adolf Graf von Schleinitz was the Foreign Minister of Prussia from 1858 to 1861 and minister for the royal household from late 1861 to his death.

Graf August Karl Wilhelm von Kanitz was a Prussian Lieutenant General and was also the Minister of War from 26 April to 16 June 1848 in the Camphausen-Hansemann government.