Maximilian

Maximilian

[mak-suh-mil-yuhn]
Harden, Maximilian, 1861-1927, German journalist, whose real name was Witkowski. One of the leading publicists of his time, he was an admirer of Bismarck. After Bismarck's fall he used his own paper, the Zukunft, to attack the men surrounding William II, and in World War I he censured the military leaders. Later he sharply criticized the statesmen of the German republic. Essentially Harden was a popular journalist appealing to mass prejudices and beliefs. Among his many books are Germany, France, and England (tr. 1924) and I Meet My Contemporaries (tr. 1925).

See biography by H. F. Young (1959).

Maximilian, 1832-67, emperor of Mexico (1864-67). As the Austrian archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, he was denied a share in the imperial government by his reactionary brother, Emperor Francis Joseph. Maximilian served as commander in chief of the Austrian fleet and was governor-general of Lombardo-Venetia (1857-59), but he found no outlet for his dreams of liberal reform. When Mexican conservatives negotiated with Napoleon III to found a Mexican empire, Maximilian was persuaded to accept the crown. He and his wife, Carlotta, left their palace near Trieste and sailed (1864) to Mexico. The empire was a failure from the start. Maximilian, who had no real understanding of Mexico, found most of the country hostile to him and loyal to Benito Juárez. He alienated the conservatives by his liberal tendencies and others of his supporters by his decree (1865) ordering the summary execution of all followers of Juárez. Indeed, Maximilian's tenure rested solely on French soldiers, who drove Juárez and his liberal army to the north. The European monarchs, except Napoleon III, were lukewarm. The United States, irked by this violation of the Monroe Doctrine, was frankly hostile and was prevented from interfering only by the American Civil War. When affairs in France and the cessation of the Civil War impelled Napoleon III to withdraw (1866-67) the French troops from Mexico, the flimsy fabric of the empire dissolved. For a time Maximilian considered abdication, but he was irresolute. In 1866, Empress Carlotta went to Europe and vainly sought aid from Napoleon III and the pope. Maximilian, in desperation, assumed personal command of his forces, then mostly concentrated at Querétaro. There, after a siege (March-May, 1867), he was captured and shot. He wrote Aus meinem Leben (1865, tr. Recollections of My Life, 1868).

See J. Musser, The Establishment of Maximilian's Empire in Mexico (1918, repr. 1976); E. Corti, Maximilian and Charlotte of Mexico (1928, repr. 1968); Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico: Memoirs of His Private Secretary, José Luis Blasio (tr. and ed. by R. H. Murray, 1934).

Maximilian, prince of Baden (Max of Baden), 1867-1929, German statesman, last chancellor of imperial Germany. A liberal, he was made imperial chancellor at the end of World War I as Germany neared defeat. He formed a coalition cabinet that included members of the Center, Progressive, and Socialist parties, the three major parties in the Reichstag. At the recommendation of the supreme command, he began to negotiate for an armistice with the Allies. In late Oct., 1918, mutiny broke out among the sailors at Kiel. It spread and soon erupted into revolution. Prince Max hoped to save the monarchy by forcing Emperor William II to abdicate. William refused, but Max nevertheless announced his abdication (Nov. 9). Several hours later he surrendered the government to the Socialist leader Friedrich Ebert.
Spee, Maximilian, Graf von, 1861-1914, German admiral. At the start of World War I he commanded a squadron in East Asia. In Nov., 1914, he met and defeated the English commander Admiral Cradock off Coronel; however, he was defeated by Sir Frederick Sturdee near the Falkland Islands (Dec., 1914) and went down with his vessel. The incident became famous in German tradition. A German battleship was later named the Graf Spee. It sank many British cargo ships in the South Atlantic early in World War II before it was finally damaged heavily by three British cruisers in Dec., 1939, and scuttled by its crew.
Maximilian, Maximillian, or Maximiliaan (sometimes Maximilia) is a name of Latin origin meaning "greatest." It may refer to:

Saints

Monarchs

Others

Other bearers of the first name Maximilian:

As a pseudonym

  • Maximillian or Max Schmeling, a German boxer
  • Maximilian, the recording pseudonym of 1960s pop instrumentalist Max Crook

See also

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