Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim

Hans, Baron von Wangenheim (1859 – October 26, 1915) was a diplomat for Imperial Germany. He died of a stroke, diagnosed most likely as 'neurasthenic' tendencies.

Baron Hans von Wangenheim


Hans von Wangenheim was a German noble born in Gotha, where he was educated at the Ernestine Gymnasium. In 1902 he married Johanna Freiin von Spitzemberg (1877-1960), the daughter of Carl, Baron von Spitzemberg and Hildegard Baroness von Spitzemberg, née Freiin von Varnbüler.

He served abroad as:

He died on October 26, 1915 in Constantinople, rumors were that he had been poisoned.[1]


With the outbreak of World War I Wangenheim was instrumental in securing the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war as part of the Central Powers. Wangenheim oversaw Max von Oppenheim's successful attempt to get the Ottoman Caliph Mehmed V to declare Jihad against the Triple Entente.[2] During the time of Armenian Genocide there were accusations of German complicity and question's were raised as to Wangenheim's position of 'non-intervention'; the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau in his book Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (1918) would virulently criticise Wangenheim's role.[3] In an interview with an American journalist, Wangenheim stated: "I do not blame the Turks for what they are doing to the Armenians...They are entirely justified".[4]

Also in Turkey at that time was the socialist revolutionary, arms dealer, and German agent Alexander Parvus. Wangenheim sent Parvus to Berlin in March 1915 endorsing Parvus' plan that Germany back the Bolsheviks against the Russian Empire.[5]

Russian Statesman Sergey Sazonov regarded Wangenheim as "the most successful of the German fighting diplomatists".[6]


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  1. ^ "Wangenheim Poisoned, A Rome Rumor Says. Sudden Death of German Ambassador at Constantinople Still a Mystery". New York Times. October 27, 1915.
  2. ^ Hopkirk, Peter On Secret Service East of Constantinople Oxford University Press (1994) p55-56
  3. ^ Huberta von Voss (editor) Portraits of Hope: Armenians in the Contemporary World Berghahn Books (2007) p48
  4. ^ Balakian, Peter The Burning Tigris, New York: HarperCollins, 2003 page 285.
  5. ^ Barry Rubin and Wolfgang Schwanitz Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East Yale University Press (2014) p37
  6. ^ Sazonov, Serge Fateful Years 1909-1916 (1928) p228

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