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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Georg Michaelis

"GEORG MICHAELIS (1857-), Prussian official, was born on Sept. 7 1857 at Haynau. He studied law and was for some years after 1885 a lecturer at the university of Tokyo. On his return to Germany he continued his official career and rose to the position of Under-Secretary of State in the Prussian Ministry of Finance. On the outbreak of the World War he was appointed director of the Imperial department for the control of the grain trade, and in Feb. 1917 State commissioner for the national food supply. On the retirement of Bethmann Hollweg in July 1917 the influence of the higher military authorities, including Hindenburg (in the leading strings of Ludendorff), was exercised in favour of the appointment of a chancellor who would accommodate his policy to theirs in home as well as in foreign affairs. In the hope of avoiding conflicts between the highest military and the highest civil authorities of the empire, the immediate entourage of the Emperor, in particular the chief of his Civil Cabinet, Valentini, seems to have suggested the appointment of a colourless Prussian official. Michaelis was accordingly appointed, but even in the first weeks of his chancellorship his weakness became manifest. The so-called Peace Resolution in favour of a peace " without annexation or indemnities " had been passed by the Reichstag on July 19. Michaelis was confronted with the demand of the parliamentary majority that in his public utterances he should identify himself with the spirit and the letter of this resolution. Under the influence of the military authorities he attempted to evade this obligation by declaring himself, in a phrase that became celebrated, the supporter of the resolution " as he understood it." There was a storm of indignation throughout the country, but Michaelis had still further to compromise himself, together with Adml. von Kapelle, over the naval mutiny before it was recognized that his position was altogether untenable. He was with some difficulty induced to resign, and was succeeded by Count Hertling on Nov. 11917. He was then appointed chief president in the province of Pomerania, an office which he held till 1919.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Georg Michaelis'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/g/georg-michaelis.html. 1910.

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