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Gottlieb von Jagow

Gottlieb von Jagow in 1914
Gottlieb von Jagow in 1914
Gottlieb von Jagow (22 June 1863, Berlin – 1 January 1935) was a German diplomat. He served as the foreign minister of Germany between January 1913 and 1916.


Jagow was educated at the University of Bonn.[1] He entered the diplomatic service in 1895, and was Prussian minister at Munich, German ambassador at Rome, and German minister at The Hague.[2] He first made his mark as private secretary to Bernhard von B low, former Imperial Chancellor. He became minister to Rome in 1907 and ambassador in 1908. During the Turco-Italian War, he conducted important negotiations with the Italian government and, it is said, prevented a war between Austria and Italy at the time.[1]

In 1913 he was appointed foreign minister of Germany. He played an active part in the negotiations preceding the outbreak of World War I, and was, in particular, concerned in the German relations with Austria, having been the first member of the Imperial Government in Berlin to become acquainted with the terms of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia.[2]

In the July crisis of 1914, Jagow was confident that an Austro-Serbian war would be localized, and that Russia was not yet prepared for a continental war. This belief was incorrect, which indirectly led to the outbreak of World War I. After the war, Jagow attributed deeper reasons for the outbreak of war to "...this damned system of alliances."

According to Friedrich Katz, Gottlieb von Jagow was the principal supporter of a failed plan designed to involve the United States and Mexico in a war. At the time, the Mexican Revolution had created rising tensions between both countries. As a result, Jagow expected that the United States would not enter World War I if it was militarily involved with Mexico.

Jagow retired in November 1916. A quiet, retiring and scholarly man, he was one of the worst speakers in the Reichstag. James W. Gerard, at the time United States ambassador to Germany, in his book My Four Years in Germany said Jagow was forced out of office by an agitation against him on account of his lack of force in defending government policy in the Reichstag.[1]

Jagow wrote a defence of German policy entitled Ursachen und Ausbruch des Weltkrieges ( Causes and the outbreak of the World War, 1919).[2]


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