Honorary Doctorates

Certificate: Honorary doctorate Julius Bailer
Honorary doctorate for Julius Bailer (1853-1918), awarded in 1915 by the Royal Technical College of Stuttgart for merits in the field of fortifications
German National Library, First World War Collection, Signature: 1922 T 119 - 49

Hon­orary Doc­tor­ates

Doctorate diplomas are in many respects delightful and odd

Otto Lerche, Wartime Doctorate Diplomas, 1916

Honorary doctorates were awarded by German and Austrian universities and colleges to military officers, renowned inventors and company directors. 

General Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was awarded an honorary doctorate on numerous occasions, indeed by all four faculties of the University of Königsberg alone. For manufacturing the Austrian engine battery, Karl von Škoda was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Technical College in Stuttgart. The Faculty of Law in Breslau awarded an honorary doctorate to the Swedish researcher Sven Hedin, because he pleaded Germany’s case and for the war in his publications. 

Some honorary doctorates were displayed in 1916 in the second War Exhibition by the Deutsche Bücherei. In 1921 the Deutsche Bücherei possessed a total of 59 honorary doctorates, of which eight were transcripts. Apart from the loss of the four doctorates given to Paul von Hindenburg by the University of Königsberg, the honorary doctorates still form part of the inventory today.