The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lichnowsky, Prince Karl Max

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1059214The Encyclopedia Americana — Lichnowsky, Prince Karl Max

LICHNOWSKY, Prince Karl Max, German diplomat: b. 8 March 1860. His father was Prince (Fürst) Lichnowsky, a general of cavalry, and his mother a Princess of Croy. He is the head of an old noble Bohemian family and of immense wealth, possessing estates at Kuchelna in Silesia and Gratz in Austria. As an hereditary member of the Upper House of the Prussian Diet he has played some part in domestic politics, adopting in general a moderate attitude and deprecating party legislation. Though a Roman Catholic, he steadily avoided identifying himself with the Clerical party in Germany. Entering the diplomatic service, the prince was appointed an attaché at the London embassy in 1885 and later served as legation secretary at Bucharest and as councillor of the German embassy in Vienna. He was for a time employed in the Foreign Office in Berlin, and on his marriage, in 1904, to the Countess Mechthilde von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, he retired to his estate with the rank of Minister. “I spent my time on my farm and in my garden, on horseback and in the fields, but I read industriously and published occasional political articles. . . . Thus eight years passed.” For several years newspaper rumor in Germany had connected the name of Prince Lichnowsky with practically every important diplomatic post vacant from time to time, and even with the Imperial Chancellorship. No official appointment was forthcoming, however, beyond the designation of “Wirklicher Geheimrat” or Privy Councillor, in 1911. In October 1912, Prince Lichnowsky, “to his great surprise,” was offered the post of Ambassador to Great Britain. In May of that year Count Wolff-Metternich, then German Ambassador in London, retired and was succeeded by Baron Marschall von Bieberstein (q.v.). The latter, however, died in September. Prince Lichnowsky, who was “inclined to think that they settled on him as no other candidate was available,” held the post in London until the outbreak of the European War. He had always been credited in England with a sincere desire to encourage friendly relations between his country and Great Britain, and on numerous occasions at festive gatherings in London and the provinces had expressed his earnest wish that the two nations should work harmoniously in the cause of civilization. Little mention is made in official publications of the prince's diplomatic activity in London, especially during the final crisis. Various interpretations have been placed upon the reports he submitted to his government on the attitude of England. After his return to Berlin he assured the American Ambassador there that he had “correctly reported the sentiments of England in saying that England did not want war” (Gerard's ‘My Four Years in Germany,’ pp. 100-102). At all events, according to Mr. Gerard, “the Germans quite unfairly treated him as a man who had failed.” An illuminating analysis of German foreign policy, written by Prince Lichnowsky in retirement during 1916 for his private family archives, found its way into the press and created a profound sensation in March 1918. Prince Lichnowsky was expelled from the Prussian House of Lords in July 1918. See Lichnowsky Memorandum; War, EuropeanDiplomatic History.

Henri F. Klein,
Editorial Staff of The Americana.