Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck

Overview
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n-German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 statesman whose actions unified Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.

As Minister President of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 from 1862–1890, he oversaw the unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

. In 1867 he became Chancellor of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

.
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Encyclopedia
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n-German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 statesman whose actions unified Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.

As Minister President of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 from 1862–1890, he oversaw the unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

. In 1867 he became Chancellor of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

. Bismarck designed the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871, becoming its first Chancellor
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 and dominating its affairs until he was removed by Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II in 1890. His diplomacy of Realpolitik
Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...

 and powerful rule gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". As Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 has noted, "The man of 'blood and iron' wrote prose of extraordinary directness and lucidity, comparable in distinctiveness to Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's use of the English language."

As the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism" Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

; they built hundreds of monuments glorifying the symbol of powerful personal leadership. Historians praised him as a statesman of moderation and balance who was primarily responsible for the unification of the German states into a nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

. He used balance-of-power diplomacy to keep Europe peaceful in the 1870s and 1880s. He created a new nation with a progressive social policy, a result that went beyond his initial goals as a practitioner of power politics in Prussia. Bismarck, a devout Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 who was loyal to his king (who in turn gave Bismarck his full support), promoted government through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with most decisions in the hands of a Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

 elite representing the rural aristocracy in the east.

Bismarck had recognized early in his political career that the opportunities for national unification would exist and he worked successfully to provide a Prussian structure to the nation as a whole. While the new nation had universal male suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

, the elected officials did not have full control of the government.

Early years



Bismarck was born in Schönhausen
Schönhausen
Schönhausen is a municipality in the district of Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, located 70 km north of the state capital of Magdeburg. It is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Elbe-Havel-Land.- History :...

, a wealthy family estate situated west of Berlin in the Prussian Province of Saxony
Province of Saxony
The Province of Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.-History:The province was created in 1816 out of the following territories:...

. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck (Schönhausen, 13 November 1771 – 22 November 1845), was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken (Potsdam
Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

, 24 February 1789 – Berlin), the well-educated daughter of a senior government official in Berlin. A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 later remarked on the importance of this dual heritage: although Bismarck physically resembled his father, and appeared as a Prussian Junker to the outside world—an image which he often encouraged by wearing military uniform, even though he was not a regular officer—he was also more cosmopolitan and highly educated than was normal for men of such background. Bismarck spoke and wrote English, French, and Russian fluently, and as a young man he would often quote William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 or Lord Byron in letters to his wife.

Bismarck was educated at Johann Ernst Plamann
Johann Ernst Plamann
Johann Ernst Plamann was a German child educator. He based his work on the ideas of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. Among his pupils was future German chancellor Otto von Bismarck....

's elementary school, and the Friedrich-Wilhelm and Graues Kloster secondary schools. From 1832 to 1833 he studied law at the University of Göttingen where he was a member of the Corps Hannovera
Corps Hannovera Göttingen
thumb|Bismarck 1836The Corps Hannovera Göttingen is one of the oldest German Student Corps, a Studentenverbindung or student corporation founded 18 January 1809 at the Georg August University of Göttingen by students like Georg Kloss. The name was chosen because the founders had their home...

 before enrolling at the University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

 (1833–35).

Whilst at Göttingen, Bismarck became friends with the American student John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley was an American historian and diplomat.-Biography:...

. Motley later became an eminent historian and diplomat, and one of Bismarck's closest friends, and also wrote a poorly received novel, Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial (published in 1839), about life in a German university. In this work he described Bismarck, "thinly disguised as Otto von Rabenmarck", as a reckless and dashing eccentric, but also as an extremely gifted and charming young man.

Although Bismarck hoped to become a diplomat, he started his practical training as a lawyer in Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

 and Potsdam
Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

, and soon resigned, having first placed his career in jeopardy by taking unauthorized leave to pursue two English girls, first Laura Russell, niece of the Duke of Cleveland
Duke of Cleveland
Duke of Cleveland is a title that has been created twice, once in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The dukedoms were named after Cleveland in northern England....

, and then Isabella Loraine-Smith, daughter of a wealthy clergyman. He did not succeed in marrying either. He also served in the army for a year and became an officer in the Landwehr
Landwehr
Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large scale, low strength fortifications...

 (reserve), before returning to run the family estates at Schönhausen on his mother's death in his mid-twenties.

Around the age of thirty Bismarck had an intense friendship with Marie von Thadden, newly married to a friend of his. Under her influence, he became a Pietist
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

 Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, and later recorded that at Marie's deathbed (from typhoid) he prayed for the first time since his childhood. Bismarck married Marie's cousin, the noblewoman Johanna von Puttkamer
Johanna von Puttkamer
Johanna Friederike Charlotte Dorothea Eleonore von Puttkamer was a Prussian noblewoman, also known as Johanna von Bismarck. She was the sister of statesman Robert von Puttkamer....

 (Reinfeld, 11 April 1824 – Varzin, 27 November 1894) at Alt-Kolziglow (modern Kołczygłowy) on 28 July 1847. Their long and happy marriage produced three children, Herbert
Herbert von Bismarck
Herbert, Prince of Bismarck was a German politician, who served as Foreign Secretary from 1886 to 1890. His political career was closely tied to that of his father, Otto von Bismarck, and he left office a few days after his father's dismissal...

 (b. 1849), Wilhelm
Wilhelm von Bismarck
Count Wilhelm von Bismarck was a German counselor, civil servant and politician, who served as a member of the Reichstag from 1880 to 1881 and president of the Regency of Hanover from 1889 to 1890...

 (b. 1852) and Marie (b. 1847). Johanna was a shy, retiring and deeply religious woman—although famed for her sharp tongue in later life—and in his public life Bismarck was sometimes accompanied by his sister Malwine ("Malle") von Arnim.

Early political career


In the year of his marriage, 1847, at age 32, Bismarck was chosen as a representative to the newly created Prussian legislature, the Vereinigter Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

. There, he gained a reputation as a royalist
Royalist
A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...

 and reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 politician with a gift for stinging rhetoric; he openly advocated the idea that the monarch had a divine right to rule
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

. His selection was arranged by the Gerlach brothers, who were also Pietist Lutherans and whose ultra-conservative faction was known as the "Kreuzzeitung" after their newspaper, which featured an Iron Cross on its cover.

In March 1848, Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 faced a revolution
Revolutions of 1848 in the German states
The Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, also called the March Revolution – part of the Revolutions of 1848 that broke out in many countries of Europe – were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the states of the German Confederation, including the Austrian Empire...

 (one of the revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 in various European nations), which completely overwhelmed King Frederick William IV
Frederick William IV of Prussia
|align=right|Upon his accession, he toned down the reactionary policies enacted by his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a constitution at some point, but he refused to enact a popular legislative assembly, preferring to work with the aristocracy through "united committees" of...

. The monarch, though initially inclined to use armed forces to suppress the rebellion, ultimately declined to leave Berlin for the safety of military headquarters at Potsdam (Bismarck later recorded that there had been a "rattling of sabres in their scabbards" from Prussian officers when they learned that the King would not suppress the revolution by force). He offered numerous concessions to the liberals: he wore the black-red-and-gold revolutionary colors (as seen on the flag of today's democratic Germany), promised to promulgate a constitution, agreed that Prussia and other states should merge into a single nation, and appointed a liberal, Ludolf Camphausen, as Minister-President.

Bismarck had at first tried to rouse the peasants of his estate into an army to march on Berlin in the King's name. He traveled to Berlin in disguise to offer his services, but was instead told to make himself useful by arranging food supplies for the Army from his estates in case they were needed. The King's brother Prince William (the future King and Emperor William I
William I, German Emperor
William I, also known as Wilhelm I , of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor .Under the leadership of William and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the...

) had fled to England, and Bismarck intrigued with William's wife Augusta
Augusta of Saxe-Weimar
Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was the Queen of Prussia and the first German Empress as the consort of William I, German Emperor.-Early life:...

 to place their teenage son (the future Frederick III) on the Prussian throne in King Frederick William IV's place—Augusta would have none of it, and detested Bismarck thereafter, although Bismarck did later help to restore a working relationship between the King and his brother, who were on poor terms. Bismarck was not yet a member of the Landtag—the lower house of the new Prussian legislature. The liberal victory perished by the end of 1848; the movement became weak due to internal fighting, while the conservatives regrouped, formed an inner group of advisers—including the Gerlach brothers—known as the "Camarilla
Camarilla
Camarilla may refer to:*Camarilla, an unofficial group of courtiers or favorites surrounding and influencing a king or ruler, specifically the two such groups prominent in German history....

" around the King, and retook control of Berlin. Although a constitution was granted, its provisions fell far short of the demands of the revolutionaries.

In 1849, Bismarck was elected to the Landtag. At this stage in his career, he opposed the unification of Germany, arguing that Prussia would lose its independence in the process. He accepted his appointment as one of Prussia's representatives at the Erfurt Parliament, an assembly of German states that met to discuss plans for union, but only in order to oppose that body's proposals more effectively. The Parliament failed to bring about unification, for it lacked the support of the two most important German states, Prussia and Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

. In 1850, after a dispute over Hesse, Prussia was humiliated and forced to back down by Austria (supported by Russia) in the so-called Punctation of Olmütz
Punctation of Olmütz
The Punctation of Olmütz , also called the Agreement of Olmütz, was a treaty between Prussia and Austria, dated 29 November 1850, by which Prussia abandoned the Erfurt Union and accepted the revival of the German Confederation under Austrian leadership....

; a plan for the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership, proposed by Prussia's Prime Minister Radowitz, was also abandoned.

In 1851, Frederick William appointed Bismarck as Prussia's envoy to the Diet of the German Confederation in Frankfurt
Diet (assembly)
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries.-Etymology:...

. Bismarck gave up his elected seat in the Landtag, but was appointed to the Prussian House of Lords
Prussian House of Lords
The Prussian House of Lords was the first chamber of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1850-1918. The second chamber was the Prussian House of Representatives . The House of Lords was created on January 31, 1850 with the adoption of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Prussia...

 a few years later. In Frankfurt he engaged in a battle of wills with the Austrian representative Count Friedrich von Thun und Hohenstein, insisting on being treated as an equal by petty tactics such as insisting on doing the same when Thun claimed the privileges of smoking and removing his jacket in meetings. This episode was the background for an altercation in the Frankfurt chamber with Georg von Vincke
Georg von Vincke
Georg von Vincke was a Prussian politician, officer, landowner and aristocrat of the Vincke family.-Biography:He was born at Hagen, the son to Ludwig von Vincke....

 which lead to a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

 between Bismarck and Vincke and Carl von Bodelschwingh
Karl von Bodelschwingh-Velmede
Karl von Bodelschwingh-Velmede was a Prussian politician.Von Bodelschwingh-Velmede was born in Velmede, near Hamm in the County of Mark...

 as impartial party, which ended without injury.

Bismarck's eight years in Frankfurt were marked by changes in his political opinions, detailed in the numerous lengthy memoranda which he sent to his ministerial superiors in Berlin. No longer under the influence of his ultraconservative Prussian friends, Bismarck became less reactionary and more pragmatic. He became convinced that in order to countervail Austria's newly restored influence, Prussia would have to ally herself with other German states. As a result, he grew to be more accepting of the notion of a united German nation. Bismarck also worked to maintain the friendship of Russia and a working relationship with Napoleon III's France—the latter being anathema to his conservative friends the Gerlachs, but necessary both to threaten Austria and to prevent France allying herself to Russia. In a famous letter to Leopold von Gerlach, Bismarck wrote that it was foolish to play chess having first put 16 of the 64 squares out-of-bounds. This observation was ironic as after 1871 France would indeed become Germany's permanent enemy and would indeed eventually ally with Russia against Germany in the 1890s.

Bismarck was also horrified by Prussia's isolation during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 of the mid-1850s (in which Austria sided with Britain and France against Russia; Prussia was almost not invited to the peace talks in Paris). In the Eastern crisis of the 1870s, fear of a repetition of this turn of events would later be a factor in Bismarck's signing the Dual Alliance
Dual Alliance, 1879
The Dual Alliance was a defensive alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, which was created by treaty on October 7, 1879 as part of Bismarck's system of alliances to prevent/limit war. In it, Germany and Austria-Hungary pledged to aid one another in case of an attack by Russia...

 with Austria-Hungary in 1879. However, in the 1850s Bismarck correctly foresaw that by failing to support Russia (after Russian help in crushing the Hungarian Revolt in 1849, and at Olmütz in 1850, the Austrian leader Schwarzenberg
Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg
Prinz Felix zu Schwarzenberg was an Austrian statesman who restored the Habsburg Empire as a European power following the disorders of 1848....

 had said that "Austria would astonish the world by the depth of her ingratitude") Austria could no longer count on Russian support in Italy and Germany, and had thus exposed herself to attack by France and Prussia.

In 1858, Frederick William IV suffered a stroke that paralyzed and mentally disabled him. His brother, William
William I, German Emperor
William I, also known as Wilhelm I , of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor .Under the leadership of William and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the...

, took over the government of Prussia as regent. At first William was seen as a moderate ruler, whose friendship with liberal Britain was symbolised by the recent marriage of his son (the future Frederick III) to Queen Victoria's eldest daughter
Victoria, Princess Royal
The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert. She was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. She became German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III...

; their son (the future Wilhelm II) was born in 1859. As part of William's "New Course" he brought in new ministers, moderate conservatives known as the "Wochenblatt" party after their newspaper.

Soon the Regent replaced Bismarck as envoy in Frankfurt and made him Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. In theory this was a promotion as Russia was one of the two most powerful neighbors of Prussia (the other was Austria). In reality Bismarck was sidelined from events in Germany, watching impotently as France drove Austria out of Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 during the Italian War of 1859
Second Italian War of Independence
The Second War of Italian Independence, Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War, or Austro-Piedmontese War , was fought by Napoleon III of France and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859...

. Bismarck proposed that Prussia should exploit Austria's weakness to move her frontiers "as far south as Lake Constance" on the Swiss border; instead Prussia mobilised troops in the Rhineland to deter further French advances into Venetia. As a further snub, the Regent, who scorned Bismarck as a "Landwehrleutnant" (reserve lieutenant), had declined to promote him to the rank of major-general, normal for the ambassador to Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 (and important as Prussia and Russia were close military allies, whose heads of state often communicated through military contacts rather than diplomatic channels). Bismarck stayed in Saint Petersburg for four years, during which he almost lost his leg to botched medical treatment and once again met his future adversary, the Russian Prince Gorchakov, who had been the Russian representative in Frankfurt in the early 1850s. The Regent also appointed Helmuth von Moltke
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field...

 as the new Chief of Staff for the Prussian Army, and Albrecht von Roon as Prussian Minister of War and to the job of reorganizing the army. These three people over the next twelve years transformed Prussia. Bismarck later referred to this period as "the most significant of my life."

Despite his lengthy stay abroad, Bismarck was not entirely detached from German domestic affairs. He remained well-informed due to his friendship with Roon, and they formed a lasting political alliance. In 1862 Bismarck was offered a place in the Russian diplomatic service after the Tsar misunderstood a comment about his likelihood of missing Saint Petersburg. Bismarck courteously declined the offer. In May 1862, he was sent to Paris, so that he could serve as ambassador to France. He also visited England that summer. These visits enabled him to meet and get the measure of his adversaries Napoleon III, and the British Prime Minister Palmerston and Foreign Secretary Earl Russell, and also of the British Conservative politician Disraeli, later to be Prime Minister in the 1870s—who later claimed to have said of Bismarck's visit "Be careful of that man—he means every word he says".

Ministerpräsident (Prime Minister) of Prussia



The regent became King Wilhelm I upon his brother's death in 1861. The new monarch was often in conflict with the increasingly liberal Prussian Diet. A crisis arose in 1862, when the Diet refused to authorize funding for a proposed re-organization of the army. The King's ministers could not convince legislators to pass the budget, and the King was unwilling to make concessions. Wilhelm threatened to abdicate (though his son was opposed to his abdication) and believed that Bismarck was the only politician capable of handling the crisis. However, Wilhelm was ambivalent about appointing a person who demanded unfettered control over foreign affairs. When, in September 1862, the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies) overwhelmingly rejected the proposed budget, Wilhelm was persuaded to recall Bismarck to Prussia on the advice of Roon. On 23 September 1862, Wilhelm appointed Bismarck Minister-President
Prime Minister of Prussia
The office of Minister President or Prime Minister of Prussia existed in one form or another from 1702 until the dissolution of Prussia in 1947. When Prussia was an independent kingdom the Minister President or Prime Minister functioned as the King's Chief Minister and presided over the Prussian...

 and Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister of Prussia
This page lists Foreign Ministers of Prussia. See also Foreign Minister of Germany and Prime Minister of Prussia. After the creation of the German Empire in 1871, the Imperial Chancellor was normally also Foreign Minister of Prussia...

.

Bismarck, Roon and Moltke took charge at a time when relations among the Great Powers—Great Britain, France, Austria and Russia—had been shattered by the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 of 1854–55 and the Italian War of 1859
Second Italian War of Independence
The Second War of Italian Independence, Franco-Austrian War, Austro-Sardinian War, or Austro-Piedmontese War , was fought by Napoleon III of France and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia against the Austrian Empire in 1859...

. In the midst of this disarray, the European balance of power was restructured with the creation of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 as the dominant power in Europe. This was achieved by Bismarck's diplomacy, by Roon's reorganization of the army, and by Moltke's military strategy.

Despite the initial distrust of the King and Crown Prince, and the loathing of Queen Augusta, Bismarck soon acquired a powerful hold over the King by force of personality and powers of persuasion. Bismarck was intent on maintaining royal supremacy by ending the budget deadlock in the King's favour, even if he had to use extralegal means to do so. He contended that, since the Constitution did not provide for cases in which legislators failed to approve a budget, he could merely apply the previous year's budget. Thus, on the basis of the budget of 1861, tax collection continued for four years.

Bismarck's conflict with the legislators grew more heated during the following years. Following the Alvensleben Convention
Alvensleben Convention
The Alvensleben Convention was a treaty between the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, named after general Gustav von Alvensleben. It was signed in St. Petersburg on 8 February 1863 by Alvensleben and Alexander Gorchakov.- The Convention :...

 of 1863, the House of Deputies passed a resolution declaring that it could no longer come to terms with Bismarck; in response, the King dissolved the Diet, accusing it of trying to obtain unconstitutional control over the ministry. Bismarck then issued an edict restricting the freedom of the press; this policy even gained the public opposition of the Crown Prince, Friedrich Wilhelm (the future Emperor Friedrich III). Despite attempts to silence critics, Bismarck remained a largely unpopular politician. His supporters fared poorly in the elections of October 1863, in which a liberal coalition (whose primary member was the Progress Party
German Progress Party
The German Progress Party was the first modern political party with a program in Germany, founded by the liberal members of the Prussian Lower House in 6 June, 1861....

) won over two-thirds of the seats in the House. The House made repeated calls to the King to dismiss Bismarck, but the King supported him as he feared that if he dismissed Bismarck, a liberal ministry would follow.

Blood and Iron speech


German unification had been one of the major objectives during the widespread revolutions of 1848–49
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

, when representatives of the German states met in Frankfurt
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 and drafted a constitution creating a federal union with a national parliament to be elected by universal male suffrage. In April 1849, the Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 offered the title of Emperor to the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The Prussian king, fearing the opposition of the other German princes and the military intervention of Austria and Russia, refused to accept this popular mandate. Thus, the Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 ended in failure for the German liberals. On September 30, 1862, Bismarck made a speech to the Budget Committee of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies
Blood and Iron (speech)
Blood and Iron is the title of a speech by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck given in 1862 about the unification of the German territories...

, which included Bismarck's emphasis on using "iron and blood"—that is, military power—to achieve his goals.

Defeat of Denmark


Germany prior to the 1860s consisted of a multitude of principalities loosely bound together as members of the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

. Bismarck used both diplomacy and the Prussian military to achieve unification, excluding Austria from unified Germany. Not only did he make Prussia the most powerful and dominant component of the new Germany, but also he ensured that Prussia would remain an authoritarian state, rather than a liberal parliamentary regime.

Bismarck faced a diplomatic crisis when Frederick VII of Denmark
Frederick VII of Denmark
Frederick VII was a King of Denmark. He reigned from 1848 until his death. He was the last Danish monarch of the older Royal branch of the House of Oldenburg and also the last king of Denmark to rule as an absolute monarch...

 died in November 1863. Succession to the duchies
Duchy
A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess.Some duchies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms only during the Modern era . In contrast, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the Medieval era...

 of Schleswig and Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

 was disputed; they were claimed by Christian IX
Christian IX of Denmark
Christian IX was King of Denmark from 16 November 1863 to 29 January 1906.Growing up as a prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg which had ruled Denmark since 1448, Christian was originally not in the immediate line of succession to the Danish...

 (Frederick VII's heir as King) and by Frederick von Augustenburg (a German duke). Prussian public opinion strongly favoured Augustenburg's claim, as Holstein and southern Schleswig were (and are) German-speaking. Bismarck took an unpopular step by insisting that the territories legally belonged to the Danish monarch under the London Protocol signed a decade earlier. Nonetheless, Bismarck did denounce Christian's decision to completely annex Schleswig to Denmark. With support from Austria, he issued an ultimatum for Christian IX to return Schleswig to its former status; when Denmark refused, Austria and Prussia invaded, commencing the Second war of Schleswig
Second War of Schleswig
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...

 and Denmark was forced to cede both duchies. According to Harold Temperley
Harold Temperley
Harold William Vazeille Temperley was a British historian, Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge from 1931, and Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.- Overview :...

 "Britain was humiliated and left impotent, as it was unwilling to commit ground troops to Denmark and failed to receive support from France".

At first this seemed like a victory for Frederick of Augustenburg, but Bismarck soon removed him from power by making a series of unworkable demands, namely that Prussia should have control over the army and navy of the Duchies. Originally, it was proposed that the Diet of the German Confederation (in which all the states of Germany were represented) should determine the fate of the duchies; but before this scheme could be effected, Bismarck induced Austria to agree to the Gastein Convention
Gastein Convention
In diplomacy, the Gastein Convention, also called the Convention of Badgastein, a treaty signed at Bad Gastein in Austria on August 20, 1865, embodied agreements between the two principal powers of the German Confederation, Prussia and Austria, over the governing of the provinces of Schleswig and...

. Under this agreement signed 20 August 1865, Prussia received Schleswig, while Austria received Holstein. In that year he was made Graf (Count) von Bismarck-Schönhausen.

Defeat of Austria


In 1866, Austria reneged on the prior agreement by demanding that the Diet determine the Schleswig-Holstein issue. Bismarck used this as an excuse to start a war with Austria by charging that the Austrians had violated the Convention of Gastein. Bismarck sent Prussian troops to occupy Holstein. Provoked, Austria called for the aid of other German states, who quickly became involved in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

. With the aid of Albrecht von Roon's army reorganization, the Prussian army was nearly equal in numbers to the Austrian army. With the organizational genius of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field...

, the Prussian army fought battles it was able to win. Bismarck had also made a secret alliance with Italy, who desired Austrian-controlled Venetia. Italy's entry into the war forced the Austrians to divide their forces.

As the war began, a German radical named Ferdinand Cohen-Blind
Ferdinand Cohen-Blind
Ferdinand Cohen-Blind was a German student who attempted to assassinate Otto von Bismarck, then the Minister President of Prussia. He committed suicide shortly after his arrest.-Childhood and youth:...

 attempted to assassinate Bismarck in Berlin, shooting him five times at close range. Cohen-Blind was a democrat who hoped that killing Bismarck would prevent a war among the German states. Bismarck survived with only minor injuries. Cohen-Blind committed suicide while in custody.

To the surprise of the rest of Europe, Prussia quickly defeated Austria and its allies, at the Battle of Königgrätz
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

 (aka "Battle of Sadowa"). The King and his generals wanted to push on, conquer Bohemia and march to Vienna, but Bismarck, worried that Prussian military luck might change or that France might intervene on Austria's side, enlisted the help of the Crown Prince (who had opposed the war but had commanded one of the Prussian armies at Sadowa) to change his father's mind after stormy meetings.

As a result of the Peace of Prague (1866)
Peace of Prague (1866)
The Peace of Prague was a peace treaty signed at Prague on 23 August 1866, which ended the Austro-Prussian War. The treaty was lenient toward the Austrian Empire because Otto von Bismarck had persuaded William I that maintaining Austria's place in Europe would be better in the future for Prussia...

, the German Confederation was dissolved; Prussia annexed Schleswig, Holstein, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

, Hesse-Kassel
Hesse-Kassel
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

 (or Hesse-Cassel), and Nassau
Nassau (state)
Nassau was a German state within the Holy Roman Empire and later in the German Confederation. Its ruling dynasty, now extinct in male line, was the House of Nassau.-Origins:...

; and Austria promised not to intervene in German affairs. To solidify Prussian hegemony, Prussia and several other North German states joined the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

 in 1867; King Wilhelm I served as its President, and Bismarck as its Chancellor. From this point on begins what historians refer to as "The Misery of Austria", in which Austria served as a mere vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 to the superior Germany, a relationship that was to shape history up to the two World Wars. Bismarck had originally managed to convince smaller states like Saxony, Hesse-Kassel, and Hanover to join Prussia against Austria, after promising them protection from foreign invasion, morale unity, and fair commercial laws.

Bismarck, who by now held the rank of major in the Landwehr, wore this uniform during the campaign, and was at last promoted to the rank of major-general in the Landwehr cavalry after the war. Although he never personally commanded troops in the field, he usually wore a general's uniform in public for the rest of his life, as seen in numerous paintings and photographs. He was also given a cash grant by the Prussian Landtag, which he used to buy a new country estate, Varzin, larger than his existing estates combined.

Military success brought Bismarck tremendous political support in Prussia. In the elections to the House of Deputies in 1866, liberals suffered a major defeat, losing their large majority. The new, largely conservative House was on much better terms with Bismarck than previous bodies; at the Minister-President's request, it retroactively approved the budgets of the past four years, which had been implemented without parliamentary consent.

Franco-Prussian War 1870–71



Prussia's victory over Austria increased tensions with France. The French Emperor, Napoleon III, feared that a powerful Germany would change the balance of power
Balance of power in international relations
In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behavior of states in that system...

 in Europe (the French opposition politician Adolphe Thiers
Adolphe Thiers
Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers was a French politician and historian. was a prime minister under King Louis-Philippe of France. Following the overthrow of the Second Empire he again came to prominence as the French leader who suppressed the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871...

 had correctly observed that it had really been France who had been defeated at Sadowa). Bismarck, at the same time, did not avoid war with France. He believed that if the German states perceived France as the aggressor, they would unite behind the King of Prussia. In order to achieve this Bismarck kept Napoleon III involved in various intrigues whereby France might gain territory from Luxembourg or Belgium – France never achieved any such gain, but was made to look greedy and untrustworthy.

A suitable premise for war arose in 1870, when the German Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
-Noble jurisdictions:Prince Karl Eitel of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and descendants of his nephew Ferdinand ruled over the Kingdom of Romania, as Karl Eitel did not have children...

 was offered the Spanish throne, which had been vacant since a revolution in 1868. France blocked the candidacy and demanded assurances that no member of the House of Hohenzollern become King of Spain. To provoke France into declaring war with Prussia, Bismarck published the Ems Dispatch
Ems Dispatch
The Ems Dispatch , sometimes called the Ems Telegram, caused France to declare the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870. The actual dispatch was an internal message from the Prussian King's vacationing site to Bismarck in Berlin, reporting demands made by the French ambassador; it was Bismarck's...

, a carefully edited version of a conversation between King Wilhelm and the French ambassador to Prussia, Count Benedetti. This conversation had been edited so that each nation felt that its ambassador had been disrespected and ridiculed, thus inflaming popular sentiment on both sides in favor of war.

France mobilized and declared war on 19 July, five days after the dispatch was published in Paris. It was seen as the aggressor and German states, swept up by nationalism and patriotic zeal, rallied to Prussia's side and provided troops. After all, it came as a sort of déjà vu: current French public musings of the river Rhine as "the natural French border" and the memory of the French revolutionary/Napoleonic wars 1790/1815 (many German territories were devastated serving as theatres of war and the sacking the old German empire by Napoleon) was still alive. Russia remained aloof and used the opportunity to remilitarise the Black Sea, demilitarised after the Crimean War of the 1850s. Both of Bismarck's sons served as officers in the Prussian cavalry. The Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 (1870) was a great success for Prussia. The German army, under nominal command of the King but controlled by Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field...

, won victory after victory. The major battles were all fought in one month (7 August till 1 September), and both French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 armies were captured at Sedan and Metz, the latter after a siege of some weeks. (Napoleon III was taken prisoner at Sedan and kept in Germany for a while in case Bismarck had need of him to head a puppet regime; he later died in exile in England in 1873.) The remainder of the war featured a siege of Paris
Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....

, the city was ”ineffectually bombarded”; the new French republican regime then tried, without success, to relieve Paris with various hastily assembled armies and increasingly bitter partisan warfare.

Bismarck acted immediately to secure the unification of Germany. He negotiated with representatives of the southern German states, offering special concessions if they agreed to unification. The negotiations succeeded; while the war was in its final phase King Wilhelm
William I, German Emperor
William I, also known as Wilhelm I , of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor .Under the leadership of William and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the...

 of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors in the Château de Versailles. The new German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 was a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

: each of its 25 constituent states (kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, and free cities) retained some autonomy. The King of Prussia, as German Emperor, was not sovereign over the entirety of Germany; he was only primus inter pares
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

, or first among equals. But he held the presidency of the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

, which met to discuss policy presented from the Chancellor (whom the president appointed).

At the end, France had to surrender Alsace and part of Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east...

, because Moltke and his generals insisted that it was needed as a defensive barrier. Bismarck opposed the annexation because he did not wish to make a permanent enemy of France. France was also required to pay an indemnity.

Chancellor of the German Empire



In 1871, Otto von Bismarck was raised to the rank of Fürst
Fürst
Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

 (Prince) von Bismarck
. He was also appointed Imperial Chancellor of the German Empire, but retained his Prussian offices (including those of Minister-President and Foreign Minister). He was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and given another country estate, Friedrichsruh, near Hamburg, which was larger than Varzin, making him a very wealthy landowner. Because of both the imperial and the Prussian offices that he held, Bismarck had near complete control over domestic and foreign policy. The office of Minister-President (M-P) of Prussia was temporarily separated from that of Chancellor in 1873, when Albrecht von Roon was appointed to the former office. But by the end of the year, Roon resigned due to ill health, and Bismarck again became M-P.

Anti-Catholic Kulturkampf


Bismarck launched an anti-Catholic Kulturkampf
Kulturkampf
The German term refers to German policies in relation to secularity and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, enacted from 1871 to 1878 by the Prime Minister of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck. The Kulturkampf did not extend to the other German states such as Bavaria...

("culture struggle") in Prussia in 1871. In its course all the Prussian bishops and many priests were imprisoned or exiled. Prussia's population greatly expanded in the 1860s and now was one-third Catholic. Bismarck believed that the Catholic Church held too much political power; he was further concerned about the emergence of the Catholic Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 (organised in 1870). With support from the anticlerical National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Germany)
The National Liberal Party was a German political party which flourished between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by Prussian liberals who put aside their differences with Bismarck over domestic policy due to their support for his highly successful foreign policy, which resulted in the unification of...

, which had become Bismarck's chief ally in the Reichstag, he abolished the Catholic Department of the Prussian Ministry of Culture. That left the Catholics without a voice in high circles. In 1872, the Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 were expelled from Germany. More severe anti-Roman Catholic laws of 1873 allowed the Prussian government to supervise the education of the Roman Catholic clergy, and curtailed the disciplinary powers of the Church. In 1875, civil ceremonies were required for weddings, which could hitherto be performed in churches. The Catholics reacted by organizing themselves; they strengthened the Centre Party. Bismarck, a devout pietistic Protestant, was alarmed that secularists and socialists were using the Kulturkampf to attack all religion. He abandoned the Kulturkampf in 1878 to preserve his remaining political capital; indeed, he needed the Centre Party votes in his new battle against socialism. Pius IX died that same year, replaced by a more pragmatic Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 who negotiated away most of the anti-Catholic laws.


Economy


In 1873, Germany and much of Europe and America entered the Long Depression
Long Depression
The Long Depression was a worldwide economic crisis, felt most heavily in Europe and the United States, which had been experiencing strong economic growth fueled by the Second Industrial Revolution in the decade following the American Civil War. At the time, the episode was labeled the Great...

 beginning with the crash of the Vienna Stock Exchange in 1873, the Gründerkrise. A downturn hit the German economy for the first time since industrial development began to surge in the 1850s. To aid faltering industries, the Chancellor abandoned free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 and established protectionist tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

s (taxes on imports), which alienated the National Liberals who demanded free trade. The Kulturkampf and its effects also stirred up public opinion against the party that supported it, and Bismarck used this opportunity to distance himself from the National Liberals. This marked a rapid decline in the support of the National Liberals, and by 1879 their close ties with Bismarck had all but ended. Bismarck instead returned to conservative factions—including the Centre Party—for support. He helped foster support from the conservatives by enacting several tariffs protecting German agriculture and industry from foreign competitors in 1879.

Poles


To prevent the Austro-Hungarian problems of different nationalities within one state, the government tried to Germanize the state's national minorities, situated mainly in the borders of the empire, such as the Danes in the North of Germany, the French of Alsace-Lorraine and the Poles in the East of Germany
Germanisation of Poles during Partitions
After partitioning Poland in the end of 18th century, the Kingdom of Prussia and later German Empire imposed a number of Germanisation policies and measures in the newly gained territories, aimed at limiting the Polish ethnic presence in these areas...

.

His policies concerning the Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 of Prussia were generally unfavourable to them, furthering enmity between the German and Polish peoples.
The policies were usually motivated by Bismarck's view that Polish existence was a threat to the German state; Bismarck, who himself spoke Polish, wrote about Poles: "One shoots the wolves if one can."
He also said: "Beat Poles until they lose faith in a sense of living. Personally, I pity the situation they're in. However, if we want to survive—we've got only one option—to exterminate them.

Socialism


Bismarck worried about the growth of the socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 movement—in particular, that of the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

. In 1878, he instituted the Anti-Socialist Laws
Anti-Socialist Laws
The Anti-Socialist Laws or Socialist Laws were a series of acts, the first of which was passed on October 19, 1878 by the German Reichstag lasting till March 31, 1881, and extended 4 times...

. Socialist organizations and meetings were forbidden, as was the circulation of socialist literature. Socialist leaders were arrested and tried by police courts. But despite these efforts, the movement steadily gained supporters and seats in the Reichstag. Socialists won seats in the Reichstag by running as independent candidates, unaffiliated with any party, which was allowed by the German Constitution.

Welfare state


Germany had a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as the 1840s. In the 1880s his social insurance programs were the first in the world and became the model for other countries and the basis of the modern welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

. Bismarck introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance. He won conservative support by promising to undercut the appeal of Socialists—the Socialists always voted against his proposals, fearing they would reduce the grievances of the industrial workers. His paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working classes for the Empire and reduce the outflow of immigrants to America, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist. Politically, he did win over the Centre Party which represented Catholic workers, but Socialists remained hostile.

Corruption


In order to undermine the royal couple, when the future Kaiser William II was still a teenager, Bismarck would separate him from his parents and would place him under his tutelage. Bismarck planned to use Wilhelm as a weapon against his parents in order to retain his own power. Bismarck would drill Wilhelm on his prerogatives and would teach him to be insubordinate to his parents. Consequently, Wilhelm II developed a dysfunctional relationship with his father and especially with his English mother.

Foreign policies



Bismarck had unified his nation and now he devoted himself to promoting peace in Europe with his skills in statesmanship. He was forced to contend with French revanchism
Revanchism
Revanchism is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement. Revanchism draws its strength from patriotic and retributionist thought and is often motivated by economic or...

 – the desire to avenge the losses of the Franco-Prussian War and Alsace-Lorraine. Bismarck therefore engaged in a policy of diplomatically isolating France while maintaining cordial relations with other nations in Europe. He had little interest in naval or colonial entanglements and thus avoided discord with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. In 1872, Bismarck offered friendship to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, whose rulers joined Wilhelm I in the League of the Three Emperors
League of the Three Emperors
The League of the Three Emperors was an unstable alliance between Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary and Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany.- Formation 1873 :...

, also known as the Dreikaiserbund.

Also in 1872, a protracted quarrel began to fester between Bismarck and Count Harry von Arnim, a career diplomat and the imperial ambassador to France. Arnim was a member of a prominent Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

n family, related to Bismarck by marriage, and someone who saw himself as a rival and competitor for the chancellorship. The ambassador disagreed unsuccessfully with Bismarck over policy vis-à-vis France. As a penalty for this indiscretion, Bismarck intended to remove Arnim from Paris and reassign him as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 at Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, which Arnim saw as a demotion given the relative importance of France to Germany as opposed to the Ottoman Empire. Rumors also circulated that Bismarck had made overtures toward Arnim's wife, which further inflamed tensions. Arnim refused this reassignment and continued to put forth his views in opposition to Bismarck, going so far as to remove sensitive records from embassy files at Paris to back up his attacks on the chancellor. The controversy lasted for two years, with Arnim being "protected" by powerful friends before he was formally accused of misappropriating official documents, indicted, tried, and convicted. While his sentence was under appeal, he fled to Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and died in exile. After this episode, no one again openly challenged Bismarck in foreign policy matters until his resignation.

France


By 1875 France had recovered from defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and a new government began to militarily expand and reassert itself again as a player in European politics. The German general staff under Moltke was alarmed and managed to have Bismarck ban a French procurement of ten thousand cavalry horses from Germany. There followed some informal debate of the necessity of preventive war. The printing by a prominent newspaper of an article entitled "Is War in Sight?" caused a crisis to develop that was not to Bismarck's advantage. The British government dispatched a polite warning to Berlin. Russia's Tsar Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 and his chancellor Prince Gorchakov, at the time on a state visit to Germany, seized the opportunity to inject themselves as European peace makers. This action initiated a lasting estrangement between Bismarck and Gorchakov over the latter's "interference" in a Franco-German spat.
Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of France's neighbors. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments. This was not merely a by-product of the Kulturkampf, but part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 in France by strategically and ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon. It was hoped that by ringing France with a number of liberal states, French republicanism could defeat Mac-Mahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept of containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.

Italy


Bismarck maintained good relations with Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

, although he had a personal dislike for Italians and their country. He can be seen as marginal contributor to Italian unification
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

. Politics surrounding the 1866 war
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 against Austria allowed Italy to annex Venetia, which had been a kingdom of the Austrian Empire since the 1815 Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

. In addition, French mobilization for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 made it necessary for Napoleon III to withdraw his troops from Rome and The Papal States. Without these two events, Italian unification would have been a more prolonged process.

Russia


After Russia's victory over the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Bismarck helped negotiate a settlement at the Congress of Berlin
Congress of Berlin
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans...

. The Treaty of Berlin
Treaty of Berlin, 1878
The Treaty of Berlin was the final act of the Congress of Berlin , by which the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdul Hamid II revised the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3 of the same year...

 revised the earlier Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78...

, reducing the size of newly independent Bulgaria (a pro-Russian state at that time). Bismarck and other European leaders opposed the growth of Russian influence and tried to protect the potency of the Ottoman Empire (see Eastern Question
Eastern Question
The "Eastern Question", in European history, encompasses the diplomatic and political problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. The expression does not apply to any one particular problem, but instead includes a variety of issues raised during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including...

). As a result, Russo-German relations further suffered, with the Russian chancellor Gorchakov denouncing Bismarck for compromising his nation's victory. The relationship was additionally strained due to Germany's protectionist trade policies. Some in the German military clamored for a preemptive war with Russia, but Bismarck knew better than that, saying "Preemptive war is like committing suicide for fear of death."

Triple Alliance


The League of the Three Emperors having fallen apart, Bismarck negotiated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, in which each guaranteed the other against Russian attack. This became the Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

 in 1882 with the addition of Italy, while Italy and Austria-Hungary soon reached the "Mediterranean Agreement" with Britain. Attempts to reconcile Germany and Russia did not have lasting effect: the Three Emperors' League was re-established in 1881, but quickly fell apart (the end of the Russian-Austrian-Prussian solidarity which had existed in various forms since 1813), and the Reinsurance Treaty
Reinsurance Treaty
The Reinsurance Treaty of June 18, 1887 was an attempt by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to continue to ally with Russia after the League of the Three Emperors had broken down in the aftermath of the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War....

 of 1887 (in which both powers promised to remain neutral towards one another unless Russia attacked Austria-Hungary) was allowed to expire in 1890 after Bismarck's departure.

Colonies


Bismarck had opposed colonial acquisitions, arguing that the burden of obtaining, maintaining and defending such possessions would outweigh any potential benefit. But during the late 1870s and early 1880s public opinion shifted to favor colonies, and Bismarck gave limited support for these demands, arguing the home economy would not be able to support colonies. Bismarck was influenced by Hamburg merchants and traders, his neighbors at Friedrichsruh. The establishment of the German colonial empire
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

 proceeded smoothly, starting with German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

 in 1884. Other European nations, with Britain and France in the lead, had earlier acquired colonies in a rapid fashion (see New Imperialism
New Imperialism
New Imperialism refers to the colonial expansion adopted by Europe's powers and, later, Japan and the United States, during the 19th and early 20th centuries; expansion took place from the French conquest of Algeria until World War I: approximately 1830 to 1914...

). During the 1880s, Germany joined the European powers in the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

. Among Germany's colonies were Togoland (now part of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 and Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

), Cameroon, German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

 (now Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, and Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

), and German South-West Africa
German South-West Africa
German South West Africa was a colony of Germany from 1884 until 1915, when it was taken over by South Africa and administered as South West Africa, finally becoming Namibia in 1990...

 (now Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

). The Berlin Conference (1884–85) established regulations for the acquisition of African colonies; in particular, it protected free trade in certain parts of the Congo basin
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

. Germany later also acquired colonies in the Pacific.

Avoiding war


In February 1888, during a Bulgarian crisis, Bismarck addressed the Reichstag on the dangers of a European war.
Bismarck also repeated his emphatic warning against any German military involvement in Balkan disputes. Bismarck had first made this famous comment to the Reichstag in December 1876, when the Balkan revolts against the Ottoman Empire threatened to extend to a war between Austria and Russia.
According to Taylor, "The more familiar grenadier took the musketeer's place in a speech of 1888".

Last years




In 1888, the German Emperor, Wilhelm I, died leaving the throne to his son, Friedrich III. The new monarch was already suffering from an incurable throat cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and died after reigning for only 99 days. He was replaced by his son, Wilhelm II. The new Emperor opposed Bismarck's careful foreign policy, preferring vigorous and rapid expansion to protect Germany's "place in the sun".

Bismarck was 16 years older than Friedrich. Before the latter became terminally ill, Bismarck did not expect he would live to see Wilhelm ascend to the throne, and thus had no strategy to deal with him. Conflicts between Wilhelm II and his chancellor soon poisoned their relationship. Perhaps on account of his prominent role in Wilhelm's upbringing, Bismarck believed that he could dominate the young Kaiser and showed little respect for his policies in the late 1880s. However, Wilhelm wanted to be his own master and was surrounded by sycophants telling him that Frederick the Great would not have been so great with a Bismarck at his side. Their final split occurred after Bismarck tried to implement far-reaching anti-Socialist laws in early 1890. The Kartell majority in the Reichstag, of the amalgamated Conservative Party and the National Liberal Party, was willing to make most of the laws permanent. But it was split about the law allowing the police the power to expel socialist agitators from their homes, a power used excessively at times against political opponents. The National Liberals refused to make this law permanent, while the Conservatives supported only the entirety of the bill and threatened to and eventually vetoed the entire bill in session because Bismarck would not agree to a modified bill.

As the debate continued, Wilhelm became increasingly interested in social problems, especially the treatment of mine workers who went on strike in 1889, and keeping with his active policy in government, routinely interrupted Bismarck in Council to make clear his social policy. Bismarck sharply disagreed with Wilhelm's policy and worked to circumvent it. Even though Wilhelm supported the altered anti-socialist bill, Bismarck pushed for his support to veto the bill in its entirety. But when his arguments could not convince Wilhelm, Bismarck became excited and agitated until uncharacteristically blurting out his motive to see the bill fail: to have the socialists agitate until a violent clash occurred that could be used as a pretext to crush them. Wilhelm replied that he was not willing to open his reign with a bloody campaign against his own subjects. The next day, after realizing his blunder, Bismarck attempted to reach a compromise with Wilhelm by agreeing to his social policy towards industrial workers, and even suggested a European council to discuss working conditions, presided by the German Emperor.

Despite this, a turn of events eventually led to his distancing from Wilhelm. Bismarck, feeling pressured and unappreciated by the Emperor and undermined by ambitious advisers, refused to sign a proclamation regarding the protection of workers along with Wilhelm, as was required by the German Constitution, to protest Wilhelm's ever increasing interference to Bismarck's previously unquestioned authority. Bismarck also worked behind the scenes to break the Continental labour council on which Wilhelm had set his heart.

The final break came as Bismarck searched for a new parliamentary majority, with his Kartell voted from power due to the anti-socialist bill fiasco. The remaining forces in the Reichstag were the Catholic Centre Party and the Conservative Party. Bismarck wished to form a new block with the Centre Party, and invited Ludwig Windthorst
Ludwig Windthorst
Ludwig Windthorst , was a German politician.-Biography:Windthorst was born at Kaldenhof, a country house near Osnabrück in the Kingdom of Hanover. He was raised by a Roman Catholic family, which for some generations had held important posts in the Hanoverian civil service...

, the parliamentary leader to discuss an alliance. This would be Bismarck's last political manoeuvre. Wilhelm was furious to hear about Windthorst's visit. In a parliamentary state, the head of government depends on the confidence of the parliamentary majority, and certainly has the right to form coalitions to ensure his policies a majority. However, in Germany, the Chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 depended on the confidence of the Emperor alone, and Wilhelm believed that the Emperor had the right to be informed before his minister's meeting. After a heated argument in Bismarck's office Wilhelm, whom Bismarck had allowed to see a letter from Tsar Alexander III describing him as a "badly brought-up boy", stormed out, after first ordering the rescinding of the Cabinet Order of 1851, which had forbidden Prussian Cabinet Ministers to report directly to the King of Prussia, requiring them instead to report via the Prime Minister. Bismarck, forced for the first time into a situation he could not use to his advantage, wrote a blistering letter of resignation, decrying Wilhelm's interference in foreign and domestic policy, which was only published after Bismarck's death. As it turned out, Bismarck became the first victim of his own creation, and when he realized that his dismissal was imminent:

Bismarck resigned at Wilhelm II's insistence on 18 March 1890, at age 75, to be succeeded as Chancellor of Germany and Minister-President of Prussia by Leo von Caprivi
Leo von Caprivi
Georg Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli was a German major general and statesman, who succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany...

. Bismarck was discarded ("dropping the pilot" in the words of the famous Punch cartoon), promoted to the rank of "Colonel-General with the Dignity of Field Marshal" (so-called because the German Army did not appoint full Field Marshals in peacetime) and given a new title, Duke of Lauenburg, which he joked would be useful when travelling incognito. He was soon elected as a National Liberal to the Reichstag for Bennigsen's old and supposedly safe Hamburg seat, but was embarrassed by being forced to a second ballot by a Social Democrat rival, and never actually took up his seat. He entered into restless, resentful retirement to his estates at Varzin (in today's Poland). Within one month after his wife died on 27 November 1894, he moved to Friedrichsruh
Friedrichsruh
Friedrichsruh is a district in the municipality of Aumühle, Herzogtum Lauenburg district, Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.- History :After the victory over France and the establishment, in 1871, of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck received the Sachsenwald as a present from Emperor William I...

 near Hamburg, waiting in vain to be petitioned for advice and counsel.

As soon as he had to leave his office, citizens started to praise him, collecting money to build monuments like the Bismarck Memorial
Bismarck Memorial
The Bismarck Memorial , located in the Tiergarten in Berlin, is a prominent memorial statue dedicated to Prince Otto von Bismarck, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Prussia and the first Chancellor of the German Empire...

 or towers dedicated to him. Much honour was given to him in Germany, many buildings have his name, books about him were best-sellers, and he was often painted, e.g., by Franz von Lenbach
Franz von Lenbach
Franz von Lenbach was a German painter of Realist style.-Biography:Lenbach was born at Schrobenhausen, in Bavaria. His father was a mason, and the boy was intended to follow his father's trade or be a builder. With this view he was sent to school at Landsberg, and then to the polytechnic at Augsburg...

 and C.W. Allers
Christian Wilhelm Allers
Christian Wilhelm Allers was a German painter and printmaker.-Biography:Allers, the son of a merchant, was born in Hamburg. He first worked as a lithographer, and in 1877 he moved to Karlsruhe where he continued to work as a lithographer. In the Kunstakademie he was a scholar of Prof...

.

Bismarck spent his final years composing his memoirs (Gedanken und Erinnerungen, or Thoughts and Memories), a work of literary genius but questionable accuracy, in which he increased the drama around every event and always presented himself favorably. He died in October 1898 (at the age of 83) at Friedrichsruh
Friedrichsruh
Friedrichsruh is a district in the municipality of Aumühle, Herzogtum Lauenburg district, Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.- History :After the victory over France and the establishment, in 1871, of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck received the Sachsenwald as a present from Emperor William I...

, where he is entombed in the Bismarck-Mausoleum. He was succeeded as Fürst von Bismarck-Schönhausen by Herbert. He continued his feud with Wilhelm II by attacking him in his memoirs and by publishing the text of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, a breach of national security for which any individual of lesser status would have been prosecuted.

He managed one final attack on Wilhelm by having his tombstone inscribed with the epitaph "Here lies a true servant of the Emperor Wilhelm I".

Last warning and prediction




In December 1897, Wilhelm II visited Bismarck for the last time. Bismarck again warned the Kaiser about the dangers of improvising government policy based on the intrigues of courtiers and militarists. Bismarck's last warning was:
Subsequently, Bismarck made these accurate predictions:

Bismarck had warned in February 1888 of a Balkan crisis turning into a world war (although when that war
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 did come in 1914, the Balkan country was Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, not Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

).

Bismarck's social legislation


Bismarck implemented the world's first welfare state in the 1880s. He worked closely with big industry and aimed to stimulate German economic growth by giving workers greater security. A secondary concern was trumping the Socialists, who had no welfare proposals of their own and opposed Bismarck's. Bismarck especially listened to Hermann Wagener and Theodor Lohmann
Theodor Lohmann
Theodor Christian Lohmann was a 19th century German administrative lawyer, civil servant and social reformer, second in importance only to Otto von Bismarck in the formation of the German social insurance system...

, advisers who persuaded Bismarck to give workers a corporate status in the legal and political structures of the new German state.
On 20 March 1884, Bismarck declared:
Bismarck's idea was to implement welfare programs that were acceptable to the conservatives without any socialistic aspects. He was dubious about laws protecting workers at the workplace, such as safe working conditions, limitation of work hours, and the regulation of women's and child labor, because he believed that such regulation would force workers and employers to reduce work and production, and thus harm the economy.

Bismarck opened debate on the subject on 17 November 1881 in the Imperial Message to the Reichstag
Reichstag (German Empire)
The Reichstag was the parliament of the North German Confederation , and of the German Reich ....

, using the term practical Christianity to describe his program. Bismarck's program centered squarely on insurance programs designed to increase productivity, and focus the political attentions of German workers on supporting the Junker's government. The program included health insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of which were then currently in existence to any great degree.

Based on Bismarck's message, the Reichstag filed three bills designed to deal with the concept of Accident insurance, and one for Health Insurance. The subjects of Retirement pensions and Disability Insurance were placed on the back burner for the time being.
The social legislation implemented by Bismarck in the 1880s played a key role in the sharp rapid decline of German emigration to America. Young men considering emigration looked at not only the gap between higher hourly 'direct wages' in the United States and Germany but also the differential in 'indirect wages,' that is, social benefits, which favored staying in Germany. The young men went to German industrial cities, so that Bismarck's insurance system partly offset low wage rates in Germany and furthered the fall of the emigration rate.

Health Insurance Bill of 1883


The first bill that had success was the Health Insurance bill, which was passed in 1883. The program was considered the least important from Bismarck's point of view, and the least politically troublesome. The program was established to provide health care for the largest segment of the German workers. The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. The employers contributed 1/3, while the workers contributed 2/3s . The minimum payments for medical treatment and Sick Pay for up to 13 weeks were legally fixed. The individual local health bureaus were administered by a committee elected by the members of each bureau, and this move had the unintended effect of establishing a majority representation for the workers on account of their large financial contribution. This worked to the advantage of the Social Democrats who – through heavy Worker membership – achieved their first small foothold in public administration.

Accident Insurance Bill of 1884


Bismarck's government had to submit three draft bills before they could get one passed by the Reichstag in 1884. Bismarck had originally proposed that the Federal Government pay a portion of the Accident Insurance contribution. Bismarck's motive was a demonstration of the willingness of the German government to lessen the hardship experienced by the German workers as a means of weaning them away from the various left-wing parties, most importantly the Social Democrats. The National Liberals took this program to be an expression of State Socialism
State Socialism
State Socialism was a term introduced to describe Otto von Bismarck's social welfare policies. The term was actually coined by Bismarck's liberal opposition but later accepted by Bismarck...

, which they were dead set against. The Center party was afraid of the expansion of Federal Power at the expense of States Rights. As a result, the only way the program could be passed at all was for the entire expense to be underwritten by the Employers. To facilitate this, Bismarck arranged for the administration of this program to be placed in the hands of "Der Arbeitgeberverband in den beruflichen Korporationen" (the Organization of Employers in Occupational Corporations). This organization established central and bureaucratic insurance offices on the Federal, and in some cases the State level to perform the actual administration. The program kicked in to replace the health insurance program as of the 14th week. It paid for medical treatment and a Pension of up to 2/3s of earned wages if the worker was fully disabled. This program was expanded in 1886 to include Agricultural workers.

Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889


The Old Age Pension program, an insurance equally financed by employers and workers, was designed to provide a pension annuity for workers who reached the age of 70 years. Unlike the Accident Insurance and Health Insurance programs, this program covered Industrial, Agrarian, Artisans and Servants from the start. Also, unlike the other two programs, the principle that the Federal Government should contribute a portion of the underwriting cost, with the other two portions prorated accordingly, was accepted without question. The Disability Insurance program was intended to be used by those permanently disabled. This time, the State or Province supervised the programs directly.

Legacy and memory




Historians have reached a broad consensus on the content, function and importance of the image of Bismarck within Germany's political culture over the past 125 years.

Bismarck's most important legacy is the unification of Germany. Germany had existed as a collection of hundreds of separate principalities and Free Cities since the formation of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Over the next hundred years various kings and rulers had tried to unify the German states without success until Bismarck. Largely as a result of Bismarck's efforts, the various German kingdoms were united into a single country.
Following unification, Germany became one of the most powerful nations in Europe. Bismarck's astute, cautious, and pragmatic foreign policies allowed Germany to retain peacefully the powerful position into which he had brought it; maintaining amiable diplomacy with almost all European nations. France, the main exception, was devastated by Bismarck's wars and his harsh subsequent policies towards it; France became one of Germany's most bitter enemies in Europe. Austria, too, was weakened by the creation of a German Empire, though to a much lesser extent than France. Bismarck believed that as long as Britain, Russia and Italy were assured of the peaceful nature of the German Empire, French belligerency could be contained; his diplomatic feats were undone, however, by Kaiser Wilhelm II
William II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe...

, whose policies unified other European powers against Germany in time for World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Historians stress that Bismarck's peace-oriented, "saturated continental diplomacy" was increasingly unpopular, because it consciously reined in any expansionist drives. In dramatic contrast stands the ambition of Wilhelm II's Weltpolitik
Weltpolitik
The "Weltpolitik" strategy was adopted by Germany in the late 19th century, replacing the earlier "Realpolitik" approach.The start of this policy was signaled in 1897 with then Foreign Minister Bernhard von Bülow stating that Germany now pursued such a policy...

to secure the Reich's future through expansion, leading to World War I. Likewise Bismarck's policy to deny the military a dominant voice in foreign political decisionmaking was overturned by 1914 as Germany became an armed state; although the Emperor and his cabinet retained the power military officers played an increasingly influential role in the Cabinet.

In British writing (e.g. the biographies by Taylor, Palmer or Crankshaw) Bismarck is often seen as an ambivalent figure, undoubtedly a man of great skill but who left no lasting system in place to guide successors less skilled than himself. Being a committed monarchist himself, Bismarck could not envision any effective constitutional check to the power of the Emperor, thus placing a time bomb in a foundation of the State he created.

During most of his nearly 30 year-long tenure, Bismarck held undisputed control over the government's policies. He was well supported by his friend Albrecht von Roon, the war minister, as well as the leader of the Prussian army Helmuth von Moltke
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field...

. Bismarck's diplomatic moves relied on a victorious Prussian military, and these two people gave Bismarck the victories he needed to convince the smaller German states to join Prussia.


Bismarck took steps to silence or restrain political opposition, as evidenced by laws restricting the freedom of the press, the Kulturkampf, and the anti-socialist laws. His king (later Emperor) Wilhelm I rarely challenged the Chancellor's decisions; on several occasions, Bismarck obtained his monarch's approval by threatening to resign. However, Wilhelm II intended to govern the country himself, making the ousting of Bismarck one of his first tasks as Kaiser. Bismarck's successors as Chancellor were much less influential, as power was concentrated in the Emperor's hands.

Memorials


Numerous statues and memorials dot the cities, towns, and countryside of Germany, and the famous Bismarck Memorial
Bismarck Memorial
The Bismarck Memorial , located in the Tiergarten in Berlin, is a prominent memorial statue dedicated to Prince Otto von Bismarck, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Prussia and the first Chancellor of the German Empire...

 in Berlin, not to mention numerous Bismarck tower
Bismarck tower
Bismarck Towers are a unique genre of German monument, built to honour the ex-chancellor of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck. A total of 240 of these towers were built between German unification and the National Socialist takeover, i.e. between 1869 and 1934...

s on four continents. The only memorial showing him as a student at Göttingen University (together with his dog Tiran) and as a member of his Corps Hannovera
Corps Hannovera Göttingen
thumb|Bismarck 1836The Corps Hannovera Göttingen is one of the oldest German Student Corps, a Studentenverbindung or student corporation founded 18 January 1809 at the Georg August University of Göttingen by students like Georg Kloss. The name was chosen because the founders had their home...

 was re-erected in 2006 at the Rudelsburg
Rudelsburg
The castle ruin Rudelsburg lies on the east bank of the river Saale atop a rocky shell limestone ridge, approximately above the river and above Saaleck, a suburb of the town of Bad Kösen in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

. The gleaming white The Bismarck-Denkmal (German for Bismarck monument) is a monument in the city of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. It stands in the centre of the St. Pauli
St. Pauli
St. Pauli , located in the Hamburg-Mitte borough, is one of the 105 quarters of the city of Hamburg, Germany. Situated on the right bank of the Elbe river, the Landungsbrücken are a northern part of the port of Hamburg. St. Pauli contains a world famous red light district around the street Reeperbahn...

 district. Built in 1906, it is the largest and probably most well-known memorial to Bismarck worldwide. The statues depicted him as massive, monolithic, rigid and unambiguous. Two ships of the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

), and the from the World War II–era, were named after him.

Bismarck myth


Gerwarth (2007) shows that the Bismarck myth, built up predominantly during his years of retirement and even more stridently after his death, proved a powerful rhetorical and ideological tool. The myth made him out to be a dogmatic ideologue and ardent nationalist when, in fact, he was ideologically flexible. Gerwarth argues that the constructed memory of Bismarck played a central role as an anti-democratic myth in the highly ideological battle over the past which raged between 1918 and 1933. This myth proved to be a weapon against the Weimar Republic, and exercised a destructive influence on the political culture of the first German democracy. Frankel (2005) shows the Bismarck cult fostered and legitimized a new style of right-wing politics, and made possible the post-Bismarckian crisis of leadership, both real and perceived, that had Germans seeking the strongest possible leader and asking, "What Would Bismarck Do?"

For example, Hamburg's memorial, unveiled in 1906, is considered one of the greatest expressions of imperial Germany's Bismarck cult and an important development in the history of German memorial art. It was a product of the desire of Hamburg's patrician classes to defend their political privileges in the face of dramatic social change and attendant demands for political reform. To those who presided over its construction, the monument was also a means of asserting Hamburg's cultural aspirations and of shrugging off a reputation as a city hostile to the arts. The memorial was greeted with widespread disapproval among the working classes and did not prevent their increasing support for the Social Democrats.

Documentaries

  • Bismarck – Chancellor and Demon, a two-part German documentary from 2007 which sheds light on Bismarck's contradictory personality. Written and directed by Christoph Weinert.
  • Curt Jurgens
    Curd Jürgens
    Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens was a German-Austrian stage and film actor. He was usually billed in English-speaking films as Curt Jurgens.-Early life:...

     plays Bismarck in several episodes of the 1974 BBC TV
    BBC Television
    BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

     series Fall of Eagles
    Fall of Eagles
    Fall of Eagles is a 13-part British television drama aired by the BBC in 1974. The series was created by John Elliot and produced by Stuart Burge....

    .

Place names


A number of localities around the world have been named in Bismarck's honour. They include:
  • Bismarck Archipelago
    Bismarck Archipelago
    The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea.-History:...

    , near the former German colony of New Guinea
    New Guinea
    New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

    .
  • Bismarck, Illinois
    Bismarck, Illinois
    Bismarck is a village in Newell Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, United States. It is part of the 'Danville, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 542 at the 2000 census.-History:...

  • Bismarck, North Dakota
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    Bismarck is the capital of the U.S. state of North Dakota and the county seat of Burleigh County. It is the second most populous city in North Dakota after Fargo. The city's population was 61,272 at the 2010 census, while its metropolitan population was 108,779...

    , a city and state capital in the United States.
  • Bismarck, Missouri
    Bismarck, Missouri
    Bismarck is a city in St. Francois County, Missouri, United States. The estimated 2008 population was 1,538. The population was 1,470 at the 2000 census.-History:...

    , a city in Missouri.
  • Bismarck Sea
    Bismarck Sea
    The Bismarck Sea lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the north of the island of Papua New Guinea and to the south of the Bismarck Archipelago and Admiralty Islands. Like the Bismarck archipelago, it is named in honour of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck...

  • Bismarck Strait
    Bismarck Strait
    The Bismarck Strait is a channel in Antarctica.It is located between the southern end of Anvers and Wiencke Islands and the Wilhelm Archipelago. It was surveyed in 1874 by First Antarctic German expedition under Captain Eduard Dallmann....

    , a channel in Antarctica.
  • Bismarckburg (Kasanga
    Kasanga
    Kasanga is a town in southwestern Tanzania. It is located at around , on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, 810 m above sea level.-History:...

    , Tanzania
    Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

    )

Titles and styles from birth to death


  • 1 April 1815 – 1865: Junker
    Junker
    A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

     Otto von Bismarck
  • 1865–1871: High Born Count Otto of Bismarck-Schönhausen
  • 1871–1890: His Serene Highness The Prince of Bismarck
  • 1890 – 30 July 1898: His Serene Highness The Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg


Bismarck was created Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen ("Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen") in 1865; this comital title is borne by all his descendants in the male line. In 1871, he was further created Fürst von Bismarck
Fürst von Bismarck
The great German statesman and diplomat Otto von Bismarck received several noble titles during the course of his career.Born into a Junker family as simply Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, he was created Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen in 1865, following the Prussian victory over Denmark in the...

("Prince of Bismarck") and accorded the style of Durchlaucht (equivalent to "Serene Highness"). This princely title descended only to his eldest male heirs. In 1890, Bismarck was created further Herzog von Lauenburg ("Duke of Lauenburg"). (The Duchy of Lauenburg was one of the territories which Prussia seized from the Danish king in 1864.) On Bismarck's death in 1898, his dukedom was extinguished and the princely title passed to his eldest son, Herbert
Herbert von Bismarck
Herbert, Prince of Bismarck was a German politician, who served as Foreign Secretary from 1886 to 1890. His political career was closely tied to that of his father, Otto von Bismarck, and he left office a few days after his father's dismissal...

.

See also

  • House of Bismarck
  • Wilhelm Stieber
    Wilhelm Stieber
    Wilhelm Johann Carl Eduard Stieber was Otto von Bismarck's master spy and director of the Prussian Feldgendarmerie. Stieber was both an agent of domestic surveillance and an external agent...

  • Wilhelminism
    Wilhelminism
    The Wilhelmine Period comprises the period between 1890 and 1918, embracing the reign of Wilhelm II and the First World War. By Wilhelminism is not meant a conception of society associated with the name Wilhelm, and traceable to an intellectual initiative of the German Emperor...

  • Film footage of Bismarck removing his military helmet

Biographical


  • Crankshaw, Edward. Bismarck. The Viking Press. (1981).
  • Eyck, Erich. Bismarck and the German Empire. (1964). excerpt and text search
  • Feuchtwanger, Edgar. Bismarck (Routledge Historical Biographies) (2002) 276 pp, basic starting point online
  • Gall, Lothar. Bismarck: The White Revolutionary (1986) 2 vol; major academic study
  • Heuston, Kimberley Burton. Otto von Bismarck: Iron Chancellor of Germany (Franklin Watts, 2010)
  • Hollyday, F. B. M. Bismarck (Great Lives Observed), Prentice-Hall, (1970).
  • Kent, George O. Bismarck and His Times 1978 online edition
  • Lerman, Katharine Anne. Bismarck: Profiles in Power. Longman, 2004. ISBN 0-582-03740-9; 312pp
  • Ludwig, Emil, Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter, (1927), popular
  • Pflanze, Otto. Bismarck and the Development of Germany. (3 vols. 1963–90). Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871 vol 1 online
  • Pflanze, Otto. "Bismarck and German Nationalism," American Historical Review, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Apr., 1955), pp. 548–566 in JSTOR
  • Steinberg, Jonathan
    Jonathan Steinberg
    Jonathan Steinberg is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History and former Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his A. B. from Harvard University and his Ph.D...

    . Bismarck: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2011), 592 pp; full-scale scholarly biography
  • Stern, Fritz
    Fritz Stern
    Fritz Richard Stern is a German-born American historian of German history, Jewish history, and historiography. He is a University Professor Emeritus and a former provost at New York's Columbia University...

    . Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder and the Building of the German Empire. Penguin. (1977).
  • Taylor, A. J. P. Bismarck: the Man and the Statesman. Alfred A Knopf, New York, (1969). online edition
  • Waller, Bruce. Bismarck at the Crossroads. The Reorientation of German Foreign Policy after the Congress of Berlin 1878-1880 (1974)
  • Wehler, Hans-Ulrich
    Hans-Ulrich Wehler
    Hans-Ulrich Wehler is a German historian known for his role in promoting social history through the "Bielefeld School", and for his critical studies of 19th century Germany.-Career:...

     "Bismarck's Imperialism 1862–1890" Past and Present, No. 48, August 1970. pages 119–155 online edition


Surveys


  • Berghahn, Volker. Imperial Germany, 1871–1914 (1994)
  • Craig, Gordon A. Germany, 1866–1945 (1978) online edition
  • Holborn, Hajo. "The Constitutional Conflict in Prussia and the Early Years of the Bismarck Ministry" pages 131–172, "The Founding of the New German Empire, 1865–71", pages 173–229, "Bismarck and the Consolidation of the German Empire, 1871–90", pages 233–297, from The History of Modern Germany 1840–1945. Alfred A Knopf (1969)
  • Langer, William L. European alliances and alignments, 1871–1890 (1964)
  • Robinson, Janet, and Joe Robinson. Handbook of Imperial Germany (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Sheehan, James J. German History, 1770–1866 (1989), dense, thorough political history
  • Sheehan, James J. German liberalism in the ninetury century 1978. online at ACLS e-books


Specialized studies


  • Clark, Chester Wells. Franz Joseph and Bismarck: The Diplomacy of Austria before the War of 1866 (Harvard University Press, 1934)
  • Goddard, Stacie E. "When Right Makes Might: How Prussia Overturned the European Balance of Power," International Security, Volume 33, Number 3, Winter 2008/09, pp. 110–142 in Project MUSE, covers 1864–71
  • Hennock, E. P. The Origin of the Welfare State in England and Germany, 1850–1914: Social Policies Compared (Cambridge University Press, 2007) 381 pp.
  • Howard, Michael. The Franco-Prussian War: The German invasion of France, 1870-1871 (1961) excerpt and text search
  • Kissinger, Henry. "The White Revolutionary: Reflections on Bismarck," Daedalus Vol. 97, No. 3, (Summer, 1968), pp. 888-924 in JSTOR
  • Lord, Robert H. "Bismarck and Russia in 1863," American Historical Review, Vol. 29, No. 1 (October 1923), pp. 2–48. in JSTOR
  • Mork, Gordon R. "Bismarck and the 'Capitulation' of German Liberalism," Journal of Modern History Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1971), pp. 59-75 in JSTOR
  • Paur, Philip. "The Corporatist Character of Bismarck's Social Policy," European History Quarterly, Oct 1981; vol. 11: pp. 427 – 460.
  • Ross, Ronald J. The Failure of Bismarck's Kulturkampf: Catholicism and State Power in Imperial Germany, 1871–1887 (The Catholic University of America Press. 1998) 219pp
  • Sigerist, Henry E. "From Bismarck to Beveridge: Developments and Trends in Social Security Legislation," Journal of Public Health Policy Vol. 20, No. 4 (1999), pp. 474-496 in JSTOR, a reprint of a 1943 article by Sigerist
  • von Strandmann, Hartmut Pogge. "Domestic Origins of Germany's Colonial Expansion under Bismarck," Past & Present No. 42 (Feb., 1969), pp. 140-159 in JSTOR
  • Wetzel, David. A Duel of Giants: Bismarck, Napoleon III, and the Origins of the Franco-Prussian War (U of Wisconsin Press, 2001). 244 pp. ISBN 0-299-17490-5


Historiography and memory


  • Frankel, Richard. "From the Beer Halls to the Halls of Power: The Cult of Bismarck and the Legitimization of a New German Right, 1898–1945," German Studies Review, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Oct., 2003), pp. 543–560 in JSTOR
  • Frankel, Richard E. Bismarck's Shadow. The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898–1945 (2005); 222 pp. ISBN 1845200330
  • Gerwarth, Robert. "Inventing the Iron Chancellor," History Today 2007 57(6): 43–49, in EBSCO
  • Gerwarth, Robert. The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor (2005) 216 pp.; 019928184X
  • Russell, Mark A. "The Building of Hamburg's Bismarck Memorial, 1898–1906," Historical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 133–156 in JSTOR
  • Steefel, Lawrence D. "Bismarck," Journal of Modern History, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Mar., 1930), pp. 74–95 in JSTOR
  • Stürmer, Michael. "Bismarck in Perspective," Central European History, Vol. 4, No. 4, 1870/71 (Dec., 1971), pp. 291–331 in JSTOR
  • Urbach, Karina. "Between Saviour and Villain: 100 Years of Bismarck Biographies," Historical Journal 1998 41(4): 1141–1160 in JSTOR


Primary sources




External links