Wilhelm Heinrich Solf  
(05.10.1862 - 06.02.1936)
place of birth:  Berlin
Deutsches Kaiserreich:  Staatssekretär des Kolonialamtes / Auswärtigen Amtes

                         

Wilhelm Solf headed up
Imperial Germany's Reichskolonialamt (Colonial Office) throughout the Great War. He additionally replaced Admiral Paul von Hintze in 1918 to serve as Foreign Minister during the last few weeks of the War. Wilhelm Solf's wife Johanna Dotti became an active member of the German resistance to Hitler. They had an adopted daughter named Lagi, who was ethnically Samoan. Solf penned several political works, including Weltpolitik und Kolonialpolitik and of Kolonialpolitik, Mein politisches Vermächtniss.

Herr Solf initially studied philology with a specialization in Sanskrit. While working at the University of Kiel, he was drafted into the Imperial German Navy, later receiving an early medical-related discharge from active duty. He thereafter launched a consular service career with Germany's Foreign Ministry and was initially assigned to Calcutta, India in 1889. He later returned to Germany to study law and subsequently joined the Foreign Ministry's Colonial Office. He first served as a judge in Dar es Salaam, East Africa and was then posted to Apia, Samoa. Under his direction, the island nation progressed economically and made great strides toward self sufficiency.

Solf returned to Berlin in 1911 in order to serve in Bethmann-Hollweg's cabinet as head of the Colonial Office. He made several visits to Africa prior to the outbreak of the Great War. Back in Berlin, Minister Solf advocated for a peace settlement and opposed Germany's more provocative policies, such as unrestricted submarine warfare. Even at that point, however, Minister Solf remained unsure if the hostilities should cease or not. As the War wound to a close and Germany's defeat appeared imminent, Solf ended up being the final minister selected to served in Prince Max von Baden's cabinet. In this capacity he undertook the thankless task of negotiating the Armistice that took effect on 11 November 1918. 

In the aftermath of the Great War, Wilhelm Solf continued in a diplomatic role with the newly-formed 
Weimar Republic, serving as Germany's Chargé d'Affaires in Tokyo, and then later as full Ambassador. During his  tenure, he was instrumental in restoring good relations between the two wartime enemies, culminating in the signing of the German-Japanese treaty of 1927. Back in Germany, Solf functioned as chairman the Deutsches Auslands-Institut. He also supported the election of former war hero General Paul von Hindenburg as German President.
 

Kolonialamt ........................ 20.12.1911  -  13.12.1918

Außen-Minister ................. 03.10.1918  -  13.12.1918