RECHBERG-ROTHENLOWEN, JOHANN BERN HARD, COUNT (1806-1899), Austrian statesman, was the second son of the Bavarian statesman Count Aloys von Rechberg-Rothen lowen (1766-1849). Johann Bernhard was destined for the Bavarian public service, and he was educated at the universities of Strasbourg and Munich, but incurred the displeasure of King Louis I. by the part he played as second in a duel, and in 1828 transferred to the Austrian diplomatic service. After being at tached to the embassies in Berlin, London and Brussels, he was appointed envoy at Stockholm (1841) and at Rio de Janiero (1843). Returning to Europe in 1847, on the outbreak of the revolution of 1848 in Vienna he accompanied and assisted Prince Metternich in his flight to England. In July 1848 he was ap pointed Austrian plenipotentiary in the German federal diet at Frankfort, and in 1851 became Austrian internuncius at Constanti nople, and in 1853 Radetzky's civilian colleague in the government of Lombardo-Venetia. In 1855 he returned to Frankfort as Aus trian representative and president of the federal diet. Here his constant disputes with Bismarck, at that time Prussian envoy at the diet, were much sharpened by Rechberg's choleric temper, and on one occasion nearly led to a duel. Bismarck, however, always expressed a high appreciation of his character and abilities. In
May 1859, on the eve of the war with Italy, he was appointed Austrian minister of foreign affairs and minister president, sur rendering the latter post to the archduke Rainer next year.
The five years during which Rechberg held the portfolio of foreign affairs covered the war with Italy and France, the insur rection in Poland, the attempted reform of the German Con federation through the Frankfort Ffirstentag, and the Austro Prussian war with Denmark. Their story is told elsewhere. (See EUROPE and AUSTRIA.) In the German question Rechberg's policy was one of compromise, and he generally advocated peace ful arrangement between Prussia and Austria as the indispensable preliminary to a reform of the Confederation. In the Schleswig Holstein question he was, however, consistently outwitted by Bismarck, and on Oct. 27, 1864 Rechberg resigned. He received the Golden Fleece from the emperor as a sign of special favour. He had been made an hereditary member of the Upper House of the Reichsrat in 1861, and as late as 1879 continued occasion ally to take part in debates. He died at his Kettenhof near Vienna on Feb. 26, 1899.
See the biography by Franz Ilwof in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, B. 53. Nachtrage (Leipzig, 1907).