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German History in Documents and Images
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Bismarck with Diplomatic Envoys of Germany’s Federal States (1889)
The federal states’ diplomatic envoys [Gesandten] to Prussia were also their states’ accredited representatives to the Federal Council [Bundesrat]. The envoys’ proximity to Bismarck in this photograph indicates their place in the diplomatic pecking order. Thus, Count Hugo von Lerchenfeld-Koefering, the Kingdom of Bavaria’s envoy in Berlin, stands at Bismarck’s right hand (to his left in this photograph). Count Wilhelm von Hohenthal and Bergen, the Kingdom of Saxony’s envoy, flanks Bismarck on the opposite side. Baron Adolf Marschall von Bieberstein, the tall figure standing to Lerchenfeld’s left, represented the Grand Duchy of Baden. Hohenthal was Lerchenfeld’s closest and ablest colleague in Berlin. As Bavaria’s Minister President Count Georg von Hertling once remarked after an uncomfortable experience in Dresden: “Relations between Bavaria and Saxony remained normal only as long as Count Hohenthal took his breakfast every morning in the Bavarian embassy in Berlin.” (Hugo Graf Lerchenfeld-Koefering, Erinnerungen und Denkwürdigkeiten, 2nd ed., Berlin: Mittler & Sohn, 1935, p. 197.) This photograph was taken by Julius Braatz in the Reichstag.