OTTO EDUARD LEOPOLD, PRINCE OF BISMARCK, DUKE OF LAUENBURG (1 April
1815 – 30 July 1898), known as OTTO VON BISMARCK (German: ( listen
)), was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and
European affairs from the 1860s until 1890. In the 1860s, he
engineered a series of wars that unified the German states ,
Austria , into a powerful
German Empire under
Prussian leadership. With that accomplished by 1871, he skillfully
used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a
Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace.
Eric Hobsbawm , it was Bismarck who "remained undisputed
world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost
twenty years after 1871, devoted himself exclusively, and
successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers". However, his
Alsace-Lorraine gave new fuel to French nationalism and
promoted Germanophobia in France. This helped set the stage for the
First World War.
In 1862, King
Wilhelm I appointed Bismarck as Minister President of
Prussia , a position he would hold until 1890 (except for a short
break in 1873). He provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark
Austria , and France , aligning the smaller German states behind
Prussia in its defeat of France. In 1871, he formed the German Empire
with himself as Chancellor , while retaining control of Prussia. His
diplomacy of realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the
nickname the "Iron Chancellor". German unification and its rapid
economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy. He disliked
colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was
demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a very complex
interlocking series of conferences, negotiations and alliances, he
used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position and used the
balance of power to keep Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s.
A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first
welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working
class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist enemies. In
the 1870s, he allied himself with the Liberals (who were low-tariff
and anti-Catholic) and fought the Catholic Church in what was called
Kulturkampf ("culture struggle"). He lost that battle as the
Catholics responded by forming a powerful Centre party and using
universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck then
reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals,
imposed protective tariffs , and formed a political alliance with the
Centre Party to fight the
Socialists . A devout Lutheran, he was loyal
to his king, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him
against the advice of his wife and his heir. While the Reichstag ,
Germany's parliament, was elected by universal male suffrage, it did
not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted
democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with
power in the hands of a traditional
Junker elite that consisted of the
landed nobility in eastern Prussia. Under Wilhelm I, Bismarck largely
controlled domestic and foreign affairs, until he was removed by the
young Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890, at the age of seventy-five.
Junker himself—was strong-willed, outspoken and
sometimes judged overbearing, but he could also be polite, charming
and witty. Occasionally he displayed a violent temper, and he kept his
power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again,
which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and
international vision but also the short-term ability to juggle complex
developments. As the leader of what historians call "revolutionary
conservatism ", Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists ; they
built many monuments honoring the founder of the new Reich. Many
historians praise him as a visionary who was instrumental in uniting
Germany and, once that had been accomplished, kept the peace in Europe
through adroit diplomacy.
* 1 Early years
* 2 Early political career
* 2.1 Young politician
* 2.2 Ambassador to
Russia and France
Minister President of Prussia
Minister President of Prussia
* 3.1 Blood and Iron speech
* 3.2 Defeat of Denmark
* 3.3 Defeat of
Franco-Prussian War 1870–71
Unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
* 4 Chancellor of the
* 4.2 Economy
* 4.4 Socialism
* 4.5 Foreign policies
* 4.5.1 Early relations with Europe and its government
* 4.5.2 France
* 4.5.3 Italy
* 4.5.5 Triple Alliance
* 4.5.6 Colonies
* 4.5.7 Avoiding war
* 4.6 Social legislation
* 4.6.1 Early legislation
* 4.6.2 Sickness Insurance Law of 1883
* 4.6.3 Accident Insurance Law of 1884
* 4.6.4 Old Age and Disability Insurance Law of 1889
* 5 Downfall
* 5.1 Final years and forced resignation
* 5.2 Last warnings and predictions
* 5.3 Death
* 6 Legacy and memory
* 6.1 Reputation
* 6.2 Memorials
* 6.3 Bismarck: memory and myth
* 6.4 Place names
* 7 Titles, styles, honours and arms
* 7.1 Titles and styles
Duke of Lauenburg
* 7.3 Honours
* 7.4 Arms
* 8 In popular culture
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 External links
Bismarck at 21, 1836
Bismarck was born in
Schönhausen , a wealthy family estate situated
west of Berlin in the Prussian province of Saxony . His father, Karl
Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck (1771–1845), was a
owner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine
Luise Mencken (1789–1839), was the well educated daughter of a
senior government official in Berlin. He had two siblings, Bernhard
(1810–1893) and Malwine (1827–1908). The world saw Bismarck as a
typical Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing
military uniforms. Bismarck was well educated and cosmopolitan with a
gift for conversation. In addition to his native German, he was fluent
in English, French, Italian, Polish and Russian.
Bismarck was educated at
Johann Ernst Plamann '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 , and then enrolled at the
University of Berlin (1833–35). In 1838, while stationed as an army
Greifswald , he studied agriculture at the University of
Greifswald . At Göttingen, Bismarck befriended the American student
John Lothrop Motley . Motley, who later became an eminent historian
and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel in 1839,
Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about life in a German
university. In it he described Bismarck 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
Potsdam , 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 , and then Isabella Loraine-Smith,
daughter of a wealthy clergyman. He also served in the army for a year
and became an officer in the
Landwehr (reserve), before returning to
run the family estates at
Schönhausen on his mother's death in his
Around age thirty, Bismarck formed an intense friendship with Marie
von Thadden, newly married to one of his friends. Under her influence,
Bismarck became a Pietist Lutheran, 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 (1824–94) at Alt-Kolziglow (modern
Kołczygłowy ) on 28
July 1847. Their long and happy marriage produced three children:
Marie (b. 1847), Herbert (b. 1849) and Wilhelm (b. 1852). 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.
Bismarck soon adopted his wife's pietism, and he remained a devout
Pietist Lutheran for the rest of his life.
EARLY POLITICAL CAREER
Bismarck at age 32, 1847
In 1847 Bismarck, aged thirty-two, was chosen as a representative to
the newly created Prussian legislature, the Vereinigter Landtag.
There, he gained a reputation as a royalist and reactionary politician
with a gift for stinging rhetoric; he openly advocated the idea that
the monarch had a divine right to rule . His selection was arranged by
the Gerlach brothers, fellow Pietist Lutherans whose
ultra-conservative faction was known as the "Kreuzzeitung" after their
Neue Preussische Zeitung , which was so nicknamed
because it featured an Iron Cross on its cover.
In March 1848,
Prussia faced a revolution (one of the revolutions of
1848 across Europe), which completely overwhelmed King Frederick
William IV . 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-gold revolutionary colours (as
seen on the flag of today's Germany), promised to promulgate a
constitution, agreed that
Prussia and other German states should merge
into a single nation-state , 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 travelled 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 Wilhelm ,
had fled to England, and Bismarck intrigued with Wilhelm's wife
Augusta to place their teenage son Frederick William on the Prussian
throne in Frederick William IV's place. Augusta would have none of it,
and detested Bismarck thereafter, despite the fact that he later
helped restore a working relationship between the King and his brother
Wilhelm. Bismarck was not yet a member of the Landtag, the lower house
of the new Prussian legislature . The liberal movement perished by the
end of 1848 amid internal fighting. Meanwhile, the conservatives
regrouped, formed an inner group of advisers—including the Gerlach
brothers, known as the "
Camarilla "—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 he only did so 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
Austria . In September 1850, after a dispute over Hesse, (the
Hesse Crisis of 1850 )
Prussia was humiliated and forced to back down
Austria (supported by Russia) in the so-called Punctation of
Olmütz ; a plan for the unification of
Germany under Prussian
leadership, proposed by Prussia's Minister President Radowitz, was
Frederick William IV
Frederick William IV appointed Bismarck as Prussia's envoy
to the Diet of the
German Confederation in
Frankfurt . Bismarck gave
up his elected seat in the Landtag, but was appointed to the Prussian
House of Lords 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 imitating Thun 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 that led
to a duel between Bismarck and Vincke and Carl von Bodelschwingh as an
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 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. He gradually came
to believe that he and his fellow conservatives had to take the lead
in the drive toward creating a unified nation in order to keep from
being eclipsed. He also believed that the middle-class liberals wanted
Germany more than they wanted to break the grip of the
traditional forces over society.
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 itself 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 became ironic, as after 1871, France
indeed became Germany\'s permanent enemy , and eventually allied with
Germany in the 1890s.
Bismarck was alarmed by Prussia's isolation during the
Crimean War of
the mid-1850s, in which
Austria sided with Britain and France against
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
Austria-Hungary in 1879.
AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA AND FRANCE
Bismarck with Roon (centre) and Moltke (right), the three
Prussia in the 1860s
In October 1857,
Frederick William IV
Frederick William IV suffered a paralysing stroke,
and his brother Wilhelm took over the Prussian government as Regent.
Wilhelm was initially seen as a moderate ruler, whose friendship with
liberal Britain was symbolised by the recent marriage of his son
Frederick William to
Queen Victoria 's eldest daughter . As part of
his "New Course", Wilhelm brought in new ministers, moderate
conservatives known as the Wochenblatt after their newspaper.
The Regent soon replaced Bismarck as envoy in
Frankfurt and made him
Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. In theory, this was a
Russia was one of Prussia's two most powerful neighbors.
But Bismarck was sidelined from events in
Germany and could only watch
impotently as France drove
Austria out of
Lombardy during the Italian
War of 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, a rank that the ambassador to St Petersburg
was expected to hold. This was an important refusal as
Russia were close military allies, whose heads of state often
communicated through military contacts rather than diplomatic
channels. Bismarck stayed in
St 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 as the new Chief of Staff of
the Prussian Army, and
Albrecht von Roon as Minister of War with the
job of reorganizing the army. Over the next twelve years, Bismarck,
Moltke and Roon transformed Prussia; Bismarck would later refer 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 Roon,
with whom Bismarck formed a lasting friendship and political alliance.
In May 1862, he was sent to Paris to serve as ambassador to France,
and also visited England that summer. These visits enabled him to meet
and take the measure of several adversaries:
Napoleon III in France,
and in Britain, Prime Minister Palmerston , Foreign Secretary Earl
Russell , and Conservative politician
Benjamin Disraeli . Disraeli,
who would become Prime Minister in the 1870s, later claimed to have
said of Bismarck, "Be careful of that man—he means every word he
MINISTER PRESIDENT OF PRUSSIA
Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck as Minister President of Prussia, shown
wearing insignia of a knight of the Johanniterorden
Prince Wilhelm became King of
Prussia upon his brother Frederick
Wilhelm IV's death in 1861. The new monarch often came into conflict
with the increasingly liberal Prussian Diet (Landtag). 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 in favour of his son Crown
Prince Frederick William , who opposed his doing so, believing 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. It was in September 1862,
when the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies) overwhelmingly rejected
the proposed budget, that Wilhelm was persuaded to recall Bismarck to
Prussia on the advice of Roon. On 23 September 1862, Wilhelm appointed
Bismarck Minister President and Foreign Minister .
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 and the Italian War. In the midst of this
disarray, the European balance of power was restructured with the
creation of the
German Empire as the dominant power in continental
Europe apart from Russia. This was achieved by Bismarck's diplomacy,
Roon's reorganization of the army and 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. Under the Constitution, the budget could be passed only
after the king and legislature agreed on its terms. Bismarck contended
that since the Constitution did not provide for cases in which
legislators failed to approve a budget, there was a "legal loophole "
in the Constitution and so he could apply the previous year's budget
to keep the government running. Thus, on the basis of the 1861 budget,
tax collection continued for four years.
Bismarck's conflict with the legislators intensified in the coming
years. Following the
Alvensleben Convention of 1863, the House of
Deputies resolved 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—which, under the
Constitution, was responsible solely to the king. Bismarck then issued
an edict restricting the freedom of the press, an edict that even
gained the public opposition of the Crown Prince. Despite (or perhaps
because of) his 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 , won over two-thirds of the seats. The
House made repeated calls for Bismarck to be dismissed, but the King
supported him, fearing that if he did dismiss the Minister President,
he would most likely be succeeded by a liberal.
BLOOD AND IRON SPEECH
Main article: Blood and Iron speech Bismarck at 48, 1863
German unification had been a major objective of the revolutions of
1848, when representatives of the German states met in
drafted a constitution, creating a federal union with a national
parliament to be elected by universal male suffrage. In April 1849,
Frankfurt Parliament offered the title of Emperor to King
Frederick William IV. Fearing the opposition of the other German
princes and the military intervention of
Austria and Russia, the King
renounced this popular mandate. Thus, the
Frankfurt Parliament ended
in failure for the German liberals.
On 30 September 1862, Bismarck made a famous speech to the Budget
Committee of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies in which he expounded on
the use of "iron and blood " to achieve Prussia's goals:
Prussia must concentrate and maintain its power for the favorable
moment which has already slipped by several times. Prussia's
boundaries according to the Vienna treaties are not favorable to a
healthy state life. The great questions of the time will not be
resolved by speeches and majority decisions—that was the great
mistake of 1848 and 1849—but by iron and blood.
DEFEAT OF DENMARK
Prior to the 1860s,
Germany consisted of a multitude of
principalities loosely bound together as members of the German
Confederation . Bismarck used both diplomacy and the Prussian military
to achieve unification, excluding
Austria from a unified Germany. This
Prussia the most powerful and dominant component of the new
Germany but also ensured that it remained authoritarian, rather than a
liberal parliamentary regime.
Bismarck faced a diplomatic crisis when
Frederick VII of Denmark died
in November 1863. Succession to the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein
was disputed; they were claimed by Christian IX , Frederick VII's heir
as King, and by
Frederick von Augustenburg , a Danish duke. Prussian
public opinion strongly favoured Augustenburg's claim, as the
Holstein and southern Schleswig were primarily
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 denounced
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
Prussia invaded, sparking the
Second Schleswig War . Denmark was
ultimately forced to renounce its claim on both duchies.
At first this seemed like a victory for Augustenburg, but Bismarck
soon removed him from power by making a series of unworkable demands,
Prussia should have control over the army and navy of the
duchies. Originally, it had been 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 . Under this agreement signed 20 August 1865, Prussia
received Schleswig, while
Austria received Holstein. In that year he
was given the title of
Graf (Count) von Bismarck-Schönhausen.
DEFEAT OF AUSTRIA
King William on a black horse with his suite, Bismarck, Moltke,
Roon, and others, watching the
Battle of Königgrätz
Austria reneged on the agreement and demanded that the Diet
determine the Schleswig–
Holstein issue. Bismarck used this as an
excuse to start a war with
Austria by accusing them of violating the
Gastein Convention. Bismarck sent Prussian troops to occupy Holstein.
Austria called for the aid of other German states, who
quickly became involved in the
Austro-Prussian War . Thanks to Roon's
reorganization, the Prussian army was nearly equal in numbers to the
Austrian army. With the strategic genius of Moltke, the Prussian army
fought battles it was able to win. Bismarck had also made a secret
alliance with Italy, who desired Austrian-controlled
Veneto . Italy's
entry into the war forced the Austrians to divide their forces.
Meanwhile, as the war began, a German radical named Ferdinand
Cohen-Blind attempted to assassinate Bismarck in Berlin, shooting him
five times at close range. Bismarck had only minor injuries.
Subsequently, Cohen-Blind committed suicide while in custody.
The war lasted seven weeks; Germans called it a Blitzkrieg
("lightning war"), a term also used in 1939.
Austria had a seemingly
powerful army that was allied with most of the north German and all of
the south German states. Nevertheless,
Prussia won the decisive Battle
of Königgrätz . The King and his generals wanted to push onward,
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 Königgrätz,
to dissuade his father after stormy meetings. Bismarck insisted on a
"soft peace" with no annexations and no victory parades, so as to be
able to quickly restore friendly relations with Austria.
As a result of the
Peace of Prague (1866) , the German Confederation
Prussia annexed Schleswig, Holstein,
Hanover , Hesse-Kassel , and Nassau . Furthermore,
Austria had to
promise not to intervene in German affairs. To solidify Prussian
Prussia forced the 21 states north of the River Main to join
it in forming the North
German Confederation in 1867. The
confederation was governed by a constitution largely drafted by
Bismarck. Executive power was vested in a president, an hereditary
office of the kings of Prussia, who was assisted by a chancellor
responsible only to him. As president of the confederation, Wilhelm
appointed Bismarck as chancellor of the confederation. Legislation was
the responsibility of the Reichstag , a popularly elected body, and
the Bundesrat , an advisory body representing the states. The
Bundesrat was, in practice, the stronger chamber. Bismarck was the
dominant figure in the new arrangement; as Foreign Minister of
Prussia, he instructed the Prussian deputies to the Bundesrat.
Cartoon from 1867 making fun of Bismarck's different roles, from
general to minister of foreign affairs, federal chancellor, hunter,
diplomat and president of the parliament of the
Zollverein , the
Prussian-dominated German customs union.
Prussia had only a plurality (17 out of 43 seats) in the Bundesrat
despite being larger than the other 21 states combined, but Bismarck
could easily control the proceedings through alliances with the
smaller states. This began what historians refer to as "The Misery of
Austria" in which
Austria served as a mere vassal to the superior
Germany, a relationship that was to shape history until the end of the
First World War. Bismarck had originally managed to convince smaller
states like Saxony, Hesse-Kassel, and Hanover to join with Prussia
against Austria, after promising them protection from foreign invasion
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 purchase a country estate in
Varzin , now part of Poland.
Military success brought Bismarck tremendous political support in
Prussia. In the elections of 1866 the liberals suffered a major
defeat, losing their majority in the House of Deputies. 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. Bismarck suspected it would
split the liberal opposition. While some liberals argued that
constitutional government was a bright line that should not be
crossed, most of them believed it would be a waste of time to oppose
the bill, and supported it in hopes of winning more freedom in the
Jonathan Steinberg says of Bismarck's achievements to this point:
The scale of Bismarck's triumph cannot be exaggerated. He alone had
brought about a complete transformation of the European international
order. He had told those who would listen what he intended to do, how
he intended to do it, and he did it. He achieved this incredible feat
without commanding an army, and without the ability to give an order
to the humblest common soldier, without control of a large party,
without public support, indeed, in the face of almost universal
hostility, without a majority in parliament, without control of his
cabinet, and without a loyal following in the bureaucracy. He no
longer had the support of the powerful conservative interest groups
who had helped him achieve power. The most senior diplomats in the
foreign service ... were sworn enemies and he knew it. The Queen and
the Royal Family hated him and the King, emotional and unreliable,
would soon have his 70th birthday. ... With perfect justice, in August
1866, he punched his fist on his desk and cried "I have beaten them
FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 1870–71
Franco-Prussian War Surrender of Napoleon III
Battle of Sedan , September 1, 1870
Prussia's victory over
Austria increased the already existing
tensions with France. The Emperor of France,
Napoleon III , had tried
to gain territory for France (in Belgium and on the left bank of the
Rhine ) as a compensation for not joining the war against
was disappointed by the surprisingly quick outcome of the war.
Accordingly, opposition politician
Adolphe Thiers claimed that it was
France, not Austria, who had really been defeated at Königgrätz.
Bismarck, at the same time, did not avoid war with France, though he
feared the French for a number of reasons. First, he feared that
Austria, hungry for revenge, would ally with the French. Similarly, he
feared that the Russian army would assist France to maintain a balance
of power. Still, however, Bismarck believed that if the German states
perceived France as the aggressor, they would then unite behind the
King of Prussia. To achieve this he kept
Napoleon III involved in
various intrigues, whereby France might gain territory from Luxembourg
or Belgium. France never achieved any such gain, but it was made to
look greedy and untrustworthy.
A suitable pretext for war arose in 1870, when the German Prince
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered the Spanish throne,
vacant since a revolution in 1868. France pressured Leopold into
withdrawing his candidacy. Not content with this, Paris demanded that
Wilhelm, as head of the House of Hohenzollern, assure that no
Hohenzollern would ever seek the Spanish crown again. To provoke
France into declaring war with Prussia, Bismarck published the Ems
Dispatch , 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 slighted and ridiculed, thus inflaming popular
sentiment on both sides in favor of war. Langer, however, argues that
this episode played a minor role in causing the war.
Bismarck wrote in his Memoirs that he "had no doubt that a
Franco-German war must take place before the construction of a united
Germany could be realised. " Yet he felt confident that the French
army was not prepared to give battle to Germany’s numerically larger
forces: " If the French fight us alone they are lost." He was also
convinced that the French would not be able to find allies since "
France, the victor, would be a danger to everybody –
nobody." He added, "That is our strong point. "
France mobilized and declared war on 19 July. The German states saw
France as the aggressor, and—swept up by nationalism and patriotic
zeal—they rallied to Prussia's side and provided troops. Both of
Bismarck's sons served as officers in the Prussian cavalry. The war
was a great success for
Prussia as the German army, controlled by
Chief of Staff Moltke, won victory after victory. The major battles
were all fought in one month (7 August to 1 September), and both
French armies were captured at Sedan and Metz , the latter after a
siege of some weeks.
Napoleon III was taken prisoner at Sedan and kept
Germany for a time in case Bismarck had need of him to head the
French regime; he later died in exile in England in 1873. The
remainder of the war featured a siege of Paris , 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 sang "
La Marseillaise " when recording his voice on an
Edison phonograph in 1889. A biographer stated that he did so, 19
years after the war, to mock the French.
UNIFICATION OF GERMANY
Unification of Germany
Unification of Germany
Anton von Werner
Anton von Werner 's
patriotic, much-reproduced depiction of the proclamation of Wilhelm I
as German emperor in the
Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Focus is on
Bismarck, center, wearing white uniform. (1885)
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; patriotic sentiment overwhelmed what
opposition remained. While the war was in its final phase, Wilhelm I
Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 in the
Hall of Mirrors in the
Château de Versailles . The new German Empire
was a federation: 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 , or
first among equals. However, he held the presidency of the Bundesrat ,
which met to discuss policy presented by the Chancellor, whom the
In the end, France had to cede Alsace and part of Lorraine , as
Moltke and his generals wanted it as a buffer. Historians debate
whether Bismarck wanted this annexation or was forced into it by a
wave of German public and elite opinion. France was also required to
pay an indemnity ; the indemnity figure was calculated, on the basis
of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnity that
Napoleon I had imposed on
Prussia in 1807.
Historians debate whether Bismarck had a master plan to expand the
German Confederation of 1866 to include the remaining
independent German states into a single entity or simply to expand the
power of the
Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia . They conclude that factors in
addition to the strength of Bismarck's
Realpolitik led a collection of
early modern polities to reorganize political, economic, military, and
diplomatic relationships in the 19th century. Reaction to Danish and
French nationalism provided foci for expressions of German unity.
Military successes—especially those of Prussia—in three regional
wars generated enthusiasm and pride that politicians could harness to
promote unification. This experience echoed the memory of mutual
accomplishment in the Napoleonic Wars, particularly in the War of
Liberation of 1813–14. By establishing a
Germany without Austria,
the political and administrative unification in 1871 at least
temporarily solved the problem of dualism.
Jonathan Steinberg said of Bismarck's creation of the German Empire
the first phase of great career had been concluded. The
genius-statesmen had transformed European politics and had unified
Germany in eight and a half years. And he had done so by sheer force
of personality, by his brilliance, ruthlessness, and flexibility of
principle. ... marked the high point of career. He had achieved the
impossible, and his genius and the cult of genius had no limits. ...
When he returned to Berlin in March 1871, he had become immortal ...
CHANCELLOR OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE
Bismarck in 1873
In 1871, Bismarck was raised to the rank of
Fürst (Prince). He was
also appointed as the first Imperial Chancellor (Reichskanzler) 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 bought a former hotel in Friedrichsruh
near Hamburg, which became an estate. He also continued to serve as
his own foreign minister. 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 of
Prussia was temporarily separated from that of Chancellor in 1873,
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
Bismarck launched an anti-Catholic
Kulturkampf ("culture struggle")
Prussia in 1871. This was partly motivated by Bismarck's fear that
Pius IX and his successors would use papal infallibility to achieve
the "papal desire for international political hegemony.... The result
was the Kulturkampf, which, with its largely Prussian measures,
complemented by similar actions in several other German states, sought
to curb the clerical danger by legislation restricting the Catholic
church's political power." In May 1872 Bismarck thus attempted to
reach an understanding with other European governments to manipulate
future papal elections; governments should agree beforehand on
unsuitable candidates, and then instruct their national cardinals to
vote appropriately. The goal was to end the pope's control over the
bishops in a given state, but the project went nowhere.
Bismarck accelerated the Kulturkampf. In its course, all Prussian
bishops and many priests were imprisoned or exiled. Prussia's
population had greatly expanded in the 1860s and was now one-third
Catholic. Bismarck believed that the pope and bishops held too much
power over the German Catholics and was further concerned about the
emergence of the
Catholic Centre Party , organised in 1870. With
support from the anticlerical National Liberal Party , 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. Moreover, in 1872, the
Jesuits were expelled from Germany. More anti-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 civil weddings.
Hitherto, weddings in churches were civilly recognized. Between
Berlin and Rome, Bismarck (left) confronts the Pope, 1875
Kulturkampf became part of Bismarck's foreign-policy, as he sought to
destabilize and weaken Catholic regimes, especially in Belgium and
France, but he had little success.
The British ambassador Odo Russell reported to London in October 1872
that Bismarck's plans were backfiring by strengthening the
ultramontane (pro-papal) position inside German Catholicism: "The
German Bishops, who were politically powerless in
theologically in opposition to the Pope in Rome, have now become
powerful political leaders in
Germany and enthusiastic defenders of
the now infallible Faith of Rome, united, disciplined, and thirsting
for martyrdom, thanks to Bismarck's uncalled for antiliberal
declaration of War on the freedom they had hitherto peacefully
The Catholics reacted by organizing themselves and strengthening the
Centre Party. Bismarck, a devout pietistic Protestant, was alarmed
that secularists and socialists were using the
Kulturkampf to attack
all religion. He abandoned it in 1878 to preserve his remaining
political capital since he now needed the Centre Party votes in his
new battle against socialism.
Pius IX died that year, replaced by the
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII who negotiated away most of the
anti-Catholic laws. The Pope kept control of the selection of bishops,
and Catholics for the most part supported unification and most of
Bismarck's policies. However, they never forgot his culture war and
preached solidarity to present organized resistance should it ever be
The anti-Catholic hysteria in many European countries belongs in its
European setting. Bismarck's campaign was not unique in itself, but
his violent temper, intolerance of opposition, and paranoia that
secret forces had conspired to undermine his life's work, made it more
relentless. His rage drove him to exaggerate the threat from Catholic
activities and to respond with very extreme measures. ... As Odo
Russell wrote to his mother, "The demonic is stronger in him than in
any man I know." ... The bully, the dictator, and the "demonic"
combined in him with the self-pity and the hypochondria to create a
constant crisis of authority, which he exploited for his own ends. ...
Opponents, friends, and subordinates all remarked on Bismarck as
"demonic," a kind of uncanny, diabolic personal power over men and
affairs. In these years of his greatest power, he believed that he
could do anything.
Germany and much of Europe and America entered the Long
Depression , 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 and established protectionist import-tariffs, which alienated
the National Liberals who demanded free trade. The
Kulturkampf and its
effects had also stirred up public opinion against the party that
supported it, and Bismarck used this opportunity to distance himself
from the National Liberals. That 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.
Imperial and provincial government bureaucracies attempted to
Germanise the state's national minorities situated near the borders of
the empire: the Danes in the North, the Francophones in the West and
Poles in the East . As minister president of
Prussia and as imperial
chancellor, Bismarck "sorted people into their linguistic
‘tribes’", however, he pursued a policy of hostility in
particular toward the Poles, which was an expedient rooted in Prussian
history. "He never had a Pole among his peasants" working the
Bismarckian estates; it was the educated Polish bourgeoisie and
revolutionaries he denounced from personal experience, and "because of
them he disliked intellectuals in politics." Bismarck’s antagonism
is revealed in a private letter to his sister in 1861: "Hammer the
Poles until they despair of living I have all the sympathy in the
world for their situation, but if we want to exist we have no choice
but to wipe them out: wolves are only what God made them, but we shoot
them all the same when we can get at them." Later that year, the
public Bismarck modified his belligerence and wrote to Prussia’s
foreign minister: "Every success of the Polish national movement is a
defeat for Prussia, we cannot carry on the fight against this element
according to the rules of civil justice, but only in accordance with
the rules of war." With Polish nationalism the ever-present menace,
Bismarck preferred expulsion rather than Germanisation.
Worried by the growth of the socialist movement, the Social
Democratic Party in particular, Bismarck instituted the Anti-Socialist
Laws in 1878. Socialist organizations and meetings were forbidden, as
was the circulation of socialist literature. Police officers could
stop, search and arrest socialist party members and their leaders, a
number of whom were then tried by police courts. Despite these
efforts, the socialist 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.
Bismarck's strategy in the 1880's was to win the workers over for the
conservative regime by implementing social benefits. He added accident
and old-age insurance as well as a form of socialized medicine. He did
not completely succeed, however. Support for the Social Democrats
increased with each election.
Early Relations With Europe And Its Government
Main article: International relations of the Great Powers
(1814–1919) A main objective of Bismarck's was to prevent
other powers from becoming allies of France (shown as the lonely girl
on the far left)
Having unified his nation, Bismarck now devoted himself to promoting
peace in Europe with his skills in statesmanship. He was forced to
contend with French revanchism , the desire to avenge the losses of
the Franco-Prussian War. 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 Great Britain.
Historians emphasize that he wanted no more territorial gains after
1871, and vigorously worked to form cross-linking alliances that
prevented any war in Europe from starting.
A. J. P. Taylor , a leading
British diplomatic historian, concludes that, "Bismarck was an honest
broker of peace; and his system of alliances compelled every Power,
whatever its will, to follow a peaceful course."
Well aware that Europe was skeptical of his powerful new Reich,
Bismarck turned his attention to preserving peace in Europe based on a
balance of power that would allow Germany's economy to flourish.
Bismarck feared that a hostile combination of Austria, France, and
Russia would crush Germany. If two of them were allied, then the third
would ally with
Germany only if
Germany conceded excessive demands.
The solution was to ally with two of the three. In 1873 he formed the
League of the Three Emperors
League of the Three Emperors (Dreikaiserbund), an alliance of Wilhelm,
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II of Russia , and Emperor Francis Joseph of
Austria-Hungary. Together they would control Eastern Europe, making
sure that restive ethnic groups such as the Poles were kept under
Balkans posed a more serious issue, and Bismarck's
solution was to give
Austria predominance in the western areas, and
Russia in the eastern areas. This system collapsed in 1887.
In 1872, a protracted quarrel began to fester between Bismarck and
Harry von Arnim , the imperial ambassador to France. Arnim saw
himself as a rival and competitor for the chancellorship, but the
rivalry escalated out of hand, and Arnim took sensitive records from
embassy files at Paris to back up his case. He was formally accused of
misappropriating official documents, indicted, tried and convicted,
finally fleeing into exile where he died. No one again openly
challenged Bismarck in foreign policy matters until his resignation.
Main article: International relations of the Great Powers
(1814–1919) § War in Sight crisis of 1875 Bismarck ca. 1875
Between 1873 and 1877, according to Stone (1994),
manipulated the internal affairs of France's neighbors to hurt France.
Bismarck put heavy pressure on Belgium, Spain, and Italy hoping to
obtain the election of liberal, anticlerical governments. His plan was
to promote republicanism in France by isolating the
clerical-monarchist regime of President MacMahon . He hoped that
surrounding France with liberal states would help the French
republicans defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters.
The bullying, however, almost got out of hand in mid-1875, when an
editorial entitled "Krieg-in-Sicht" ("War in Sight") was published in
a Berlin newspaper close to the government, the Post. The editorial
indicated that highly influential Germans were alarmed by France's
rapid recovery from defeat in 1875 and its announcement of an increase
in the size of its army, as well as talks of launching a preventive
war against France. Bismarck denied knowing about the article ahead of
time, but he certainly knew about the talk of preventive war. The
editorial produced a war scare, with Britain and
Russia warning that
they would not tolerate a preventive war against France. Bismarck had
no desire for war either, and the crisis soon blew over. It was a rare
instance where Bismarck was outmaneuvered and embarrassed by his
opponents, but from that he learned an important lesson. It forced him
to take into account the fear and alarm that his bullying and
Germany's fast-growing power was causing among its neighbors, and
reinforced his determination that
Germany should work in proactive
fashion to preserve the peace in Europe, rather than passively let
events take their own course and reacting to them.
Bismarck maintained good relations with Italy , although he had a
personal dislike for Italians and their country. He can be seen as a
marginal contributor to
Italian unification . Politics surrounding the
Austro-Prussian War allowed Italy to annex Venetia , which had
been a kronland ("crown land") of the
Austrian Empire since the 1815
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna . 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
Italian unification would have been a more prolonged
After Russia's victory over the
Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish
War of 1877–78, Bismarck helped negotiate a settlement at the
Congress of Berlin . The Treaty of Berlin revised the earlier Treaty
of San Stefano , 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
integrity of the
Ottoman Empire (see
Eastern Question ). As a result,
Russo-German relations further deteriorated, 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; Bismarck refused, stating: "Preemptive
war is like committing suicide for fear of death."
Caricature of the Triple alliance
League of the Three Emperors
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. He also negotiated the
Triple Alliance in 1882 with
Austria-Hungary and Italy, and Italy and
Austria-Hungary soon reached the "Mediterranean Agreement" with
Britain. Attempts to reconcile
Russia did not have a
lasting effect: the Three Emperors' League was re-established in 1881
but quickly fell apart, ending Russian-Austrian-Prussian solidarity,
which had existed in various forms since 1813. Bismarck therefore
negotiated the secret
Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 with Russia, in order
to prevent Franco-Russian encirclement of Germany. Both powers
promised to remain neutral towards one another unless
Austria-Hungary. However, after Bismarck's departure from office in
1890, the Treaty was not renewed, thus creating a critical problem for
Germany in the event of a war.
Hoisting the German flag at Mioko ,
German New Guinea in 1884
Bismarck had opposed colonial acquisitions, arguing that the burden
of obtaining, maintaining, and defending such possessions would
outweigh any potential benefit. He felt that colonies did not pay for
themselves, that the German bureaucratic system would not work well in
the easy-going tropics, and that the diplomatic disputes colonies
brought would distract
Germany from its central interest, Europe
itself. As for French designs on
Morocco , Chlodwig, Prince of
Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst wrote in his memoirs that Bismarck had told
Germany "could only be pleased if France took possession of
the country" since "she would then be very occupied" and distracted
from the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. However, in 1883–84 he suddenly
reversed himself and overnight built a colonial empire in Africa and
the South Pacific. Historians have debated the exact motive behind
this sudden and short-lived move. He was aware that public opinion
had started to demand colonies for reasons of German prestige. He also
wanted to undercut the anti-colonial liberals who were sponsored by
the Crown Prince, who—given Wilhelm I's old age—might soon become
emperor and remove Bismarck. Bismarck was influenced by Hamburg
merchants and traders, his neighbors at Friedrichsruh. The
establishment of the
German colonial empire proceeded smoothly,
German New Guinea in 1884. Other European nations, led
by Britain and France, were acquiring colonies in a rapid fashion (see
New Imperialism ). Bismarck therefore joined in the Scramble for
Africa . Germany's new colonies included Togoland (now
Togo and part
German Kamerun (now
Cameroon and part of
Nigeria ), German
East Africa (now
Rwanda , Burundi, and the mainland part of Tanzania
German South-West Africa (now
Namibia ). 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 .
Germany also acquired colonies in the Pacific, such
German New Guinea .
In February 1888, during a Bulgarian crisis , Bismarck addressed the
Reichstag on the dangers of a European war:
He warned of the imminent possibility that
Germany will have to fight
on two fronts; he spoke of the desire for peace; then he set forth the
Balkan case for war and demonstrated its futility:
"Bulgaria, that little country between the
Danube and the
is far from being an object of adequate importance... for which to
plunge Europe from Moscow to the
Pyrenees , and from the
North Sea to
Palermo , into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At the end of the
conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought."
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
Austria and Russia:
Only a year later , he is faced by the alternative of espousing the
Russia or that of Austria. Immediately after the last crisis,
in the summer of 1875, the mutual jealousies between
Austria had been rendered acute by the fresh risings in the Balkans
against the Turks. Now the issues hung upon Bismarck's decision.
Immediately after the peace, he had tried to paralyse the Balkan
rivals by the formation of the Three Emperors' League. "I have no
thought of intervening," he said privately. "That might precipitate a
European war.... If I were to espouse the cause of one of the parties,
France would promptly strike a blow on the other side.... I am holding
two powerful heraldic beasts by their collars, and am keeping them
apart for two reasons: first of all, lest they should tear one another
to pieces; and secondly, lest they should come to an understanding at
our expense." In the Reichstag, he popularises the same idea in the
words: "I am opposed to the notion of any sort of active participation
Germany in these matters, so long as I can see no reason to suppose
that German interests are involved, no interests on behalf of which it
is worth our risking—excuse my plain speaking—the healthy bones of
one of our Pomeranian musketeers ."
A leading diplomatic historian of the era,
William L. Langer sums up
Bismarck's two decades as Chancellor:
Whatever else may be said of the intricate alliance system evolved by
the German Chancellor, it must be admitted that it worked and that it
tided Europe over a period of several critical years without a
rupture.... there was, as Bismarck himself said, a premium upon the
maintenance of peace.
His had been a great career, beginning with three wars in eight years
and ending with a period of 20 years during which he worked for the
peace of Europe, despite countless opportunities to embark on further
enterprises with more than even chance of success.... No other
statesman of his standing had ever before shown the same great
moderation and sound political sense of the possible and desirable....
Bismarck at least deserves full credit for having steered European
politics through this dangerous transitional period without serious
conflict between the great powers."
Franz von Lenbach
Franz von Lenbach 's portrait of Bismarck in his 75th year.
In domestic policy Bismarck pursued a conservative state-building
strategy designed to make ordinary Germans—not just his own Junker
elite—more loyal to throne and empire, implementing the modern
welfare state in
Germany in the 1880s. According to Kees van
Kersbergen and Barbara Vis, his strategy was:
granting social rights to enhance the integration of a hierarchical
society, to forge a bond between workers and the state so as to
strengthen the latter, to maintain traditional relations of authority
between social and status groups, and to provide a countervailing
power against the modernist forces of liberalism and socialism.
Bismarck worked closely with large 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
Hermann Wagener and
Theodor Lohmann , advisers who
persuaded him to give workers a corporate status in the legal and
political structures of the new German state. In March 1884, Bismarck
The real grievance of the worker is the insecurity of his
existence; he is not sure that he will always have work, he is not
sure that he will always be healthy, and he foresees that he will one
day be old and unfit to work. If he falls into poverty, even if only
through a prolonged illness, he is then completely helpless, left to
his own devices, and society does not currently recognize any real
obligation towards him beyond the usual help for the poor, even if he
has been working all the time ever so faithfully and diligently. The
usual help for the poor, however, leaves a lot to be desired,
especially in large cities, where it is very much worse than in the
Bismarck's idea was to implement welfare programs that were
acceptable to 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. 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 in November 1881 in the
Imperial Message to the Reichstag, using the term practical
Christianity to describe his program. Bismarck's program centred
squarely on insurance programs designed to increase productivity, and
focus the political attentions of German workers on supporting the
Junkers' government. The program included sickness insurance, accident
insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of
which were then in existence to any great degree.
Based on Bismarck's message, the Reichstag filed three bills to deal
with the concepts of accident and sickness 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
Germany but also the differential in "indirect wages",
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 further reduced the
Sickness Insurance Law Of 1883
The first successful bill, passed in 1883, was the Sickness Insurance
Bill. Bismarck considered the program, established to provide sickness
insurance for German industrial laborers, the least important and the
least politically troublesome. The health service was established on
a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the
employed. The employers contributed one third, and the workers
contributed two thirds. 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 Law Of 1884
Bismarck's government had to submit three draft bills before it 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 wanted to demonstrate the willingness
of the German government to reduce the hardship experienced by the
German workers so as to wean them away from supporting the various
left-wing parties, most importantly the Social Democrats. The National
Liberals took this program to be an expression of
State Socialism ,
against which they were dead set. The Centre 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
actually administer the program whose benefits kicked in to replace
the sickness insurance program as of the 14th week. It paid for
medical treatment and a pension of up to two thirds of earned wages if
the worker were fully disabled. This program was expanded, in 1886, to
include agricultural workers.
Old Age And Disability Insurance Law Of 1889
The old age pension program, insurance equally financed by employers
and workers, was designed to provide a pension annuity for workers who
reached the age of 70. Unlike the accident and sickness insurance
programs, this program covered all categories of workers (industrial,
agrarian, artisans and servants) from the start. Also, unlike the
other two programs, the principle that the national 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
FINAL YEARS AND FORCED RESIGNATION
Phonograph recording of Bismarck\'s voice (1889) The only
known recording of Bismarck's voice. See the file's page for a
transcript and other details.
Problems playing this file? See media help .
In 1888 Kaiser
Wilhelm I died, leaving the throne to his son,
Friedrich III . The new monarch was already suffering from cancer of
the larynx and died after reigning for only 99 days. He was succeeded
by his son, Wilhelm II , who opposed Bismarck's careful foreign
policy, preferring vigorous and rapid expansion to enlarge Germany's
"place in the sun".
Bismarck was sixteen 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 and his chancellor soon poisoned their
relationship. Their final split occurred after Bismarck tried to
implement far-reaching anti-socialist laws in early 1890. The Kartell
majority in the Reichstag, including the amalgamated Conservative
Party and the National Liberal Party, was willing to make most of the
laws permanent. However, it was split about the law granting the
police the power to expel socialist agitators from their homes, a
power that had been 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,
threatening to and eventually vetoing the entire bill in session
because Bismarck would not agree to a modified bill. Lenbach
painting of Bismarck in retirement (1895)
As the debate continued, Wilhelm became increasingly interested in
social problems, especially the treatment of mine workers during their
strike in 1889. Keeping with his active policy in government, he
routinely interrupted Bismarck in Council to make clear his social
views. Bismarck sharply disagreed with Wilhelm's policies and worked
to circumvent them. Even though Wilhelm supported the altered
anti-socialist bill, Bismarck pushed for his support to veto the bill
in its entirety. 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 countered 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 over by the Emperor.
Still, a turn of events eventually led to his breaking with 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. His refusal to sign was
apparently to protest Wilhelm's ever increasing interference with
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, as his Kartell was voted from power as a consequence of the
anti-socialist bill fiasco. The remaining forces in the Reichstag were
Catholic Centre Party and the Conservative Party. Bismarck wished
to form a new block with the Centre Party and invited Ludwig
Windthorst , the parliamentary leader, to discuss an alliance. That
would be Bismarck's last political maneuver. Upon hearing about
Windthorst's visit, Wilhelm was furious.
In a parliamentary state, the head of government depends on the
confidence of the parliamentary majority and has the right to form
coalitions to ensure their policies have majority support. However, in
Germany, the Chancellor 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—to whom Bismarck had shown a letter from
Tsar Alexander III describing Wilhelm 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 from
reporting directly to the King of
Prussia and required them instead to
report via the Chancellor. Bismarck, forced for the first time into a
situation that he could not use to his advantage, wrote a blistering
letter of resignation, decrying Wilhelm's interference in foreign and
domestic policy. The letter, however, was published only after
Bismarck's death. "
Dropping the Pilot " – A famous caricature
John Tenniel (1820-1914), published in the English magazine
Punch, 29 March 1890.
Bismarck resigned at Wilhelm II's insistence on 18 March 1890, at the
age of seventy-five. Steinberg sums up:
Thus ended the extraordinary public career of Otto von Bismarck, who
... had presided over the affairs of a state he made great and
glorious. ... Now the humble posture that he had necessarily adopted
in his written communications with his royal master had become his
real posture. The old servant, no matter how great and how brilliant,
had become in reality what he had always played as on a stage: a
servant who could be dismissed at will by his Sovereign. He had
defended that royal prerogative because it had allowed him to carry
out his immense will; now the absolute prerogative of the Emperor
became what it has always been, the prerogative of the sovereign.
Having crushed his parliamentary opponents, flattened and abused his
ministers, and refused to allow himself to be bound by any loyalty,
Bismarck had no ally left when he needed it. It was not his cabinet
nor his parliamentary majority. He had made sure that it remained the
sovereign's, and so it was that he fell because of a system that he
preserved and bequeathed to the unstable young Emperor.
Bismarck was succeeded as Imperial Chancellor and Minister President
Leo von Caprivi . After his dismissal he was 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. He was also given a new title, Duke of Lauenburg, which
he joked would be useful when traveling incognito. He was soon elected
to the Reichstag as a National Liberal in Bennigsen's old and
Hamburg seat, but he was so humiliated by being taken
to a second ballot by a Social Democrat opponent that he never
actually took up his seat. Bismarck entered into resentful retirement,
Hamburg and sometimes on his estates at
Varzin , and waited in vain to be called upon for advice and counsel.
After his wife's death on 27 November 1894, his health worsened and
one year later he was finally confined to a wheelchair.
LAST WARNINGS AND PREDICTIONS
In December 1897, Wilhelm visited Bismarck for the last time.
Bismarck again warned him about the dangers of improvising government
policy based on the intrigues of courtiers and militarists:
Your Majesty, so long as you have this present officer corps, you
can do as you please. But when this is no longer the case, it will be
very different for you.
Subsequently, Bismarck made this prediction:
Jena came twenty years after the death of
Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great ; the
crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like
The year before his death, Bismarck again predicted:
One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish
thing in the
Bismarck on his deathbed, 30 July 1898 German Medal by
Schwenzer 1898 (ND) commemorating Bismarck's death Bismarck's
tomb bearing the inscription, Ein treuer deutscher Diener Kaiser
Bismarck spent his final years composing his memoirs (Gedanken und
Erinnerungen, or Thoughts and Memories), a work lauded by historians.
In the memoirs Bismarck continued his feud with Wilhelm II by
attacking him here, and by increasing the drama around every event and
by often presenting himself in a favorable light. He also published
the text of the
Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, a major breach of
national security, for which an individual of lesser status would have
been heavily prosecuted.
It was in 1896 that Bismarck's health began to fail. He was diagnosed
with gangrene in his foot, but refused to accept treatment for it; as
a result he had difficulty walking and was often confined to a
wheelchair. By July 1898 he was permanently wheelchair-bound, had
trouble breathing, and was almost constantly feverish and in pain. His
health rallied momentarily on the 28th, but then sharply deteriorated
over the next two days. He died just after midnight on July 30, 1898,
at the age of eighty-three in
Friedrichsruh , where he is entombed in
Bismarck Mausoleum . He was succeeded as Prince Bismarck by his
eldest son, Herbert . Bismarck managed a posthumous snub of Wilhelm II
by having his own sarcophagus inscribed with the words, "A loyal
German servant of Emperor Wilhelm I".
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. According to Steinberg, his
achievements in 1862–71 were "the greatest diplomatic and political
achievement by any leader in the last two centuries."
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 . Over the centuries various 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
Germany became one of the most powerful
nations in Europe. Bismarck's astute, cautious, and pragmatic foreign
Germany to peacefully retain the powerful position
into which he had brought it; maintaining amiable diplomacy with
almost all European nations. France was the main exception because of
the Franco–Prussian war and Bismarck's harsh subsequent policies;
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 , whose policies unified
other European powers against
Germany in time for World War I.
Bismarck statue in Berlin
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 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
decision making was overturned by 1914 as
Germany became an armed
Bismarck's psychology and personal traits have not been so favourably
received by scholars. The historian
Jonathan Steinberg portrays a
demonic genius who was deeply vengeful, even toward his closest
friends and family members:
began to see Bismarck as a kind of malign genius who, behind the
various postures, concealed an ice-cold contempt for his fellow human
beings and a methodical determination to control and ruin them. His
easy chat combined blunt truths, partial revelations, and outright
deceptions. His extraordinary double ability to see how groups would
react and the willingness to use violence to make them obey, the
capacity to read group behavior and the force to make them move to his
will, gave him the chance to exercise what called his "sovereign
Evans says he was "intimidating and unscrupulous, playing to others'
frailties, not their strengths." British historians, including
Steinberg, Evans, Taylor, Palmer and Crankshaw, see Bismarck 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 allowed no effective
constitutional check on the power of the Emperor, thus placing a time
bomb in the foundation of the
Germany that he created.
Observers at the time and ever since have commented on Bismarck's
skill as a writer. As
Henry Kissinger has noted, "The man of 'blood
and iron' wrote prose of extraordinary directness and lucidity,
comparable in distinctiveness to Churchill 's use of the English
During most of his nearly thirty-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 . Bismarck's
diplomatic moves relied on a victorious Prussian military, and these
two men 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, and the
anti-socialist laws. He waged a culture war (
Kulturkampf ) against the
Catholic Church until he realized the conservatism of the Catholics
made them natural allies against the Socialists. His king 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. Memorial to the young
Bismarck at the
Saxony-Anhalt The Bismarck Monument
Immediately after he left office, citizens started to praise him and
established funds to build monuments like the
Bismarck Memorial or
towers dedicated to him. Throughout Germany, the accolades were
unending, several buildings were named in his honour, portraits of him
were commissioned from artists such as
Franz von Lenbach
Franz von Lenbach and C.W.
Allers and books about him became best-sellers. The first monument
built in his honour was the one at Bad Kissingen erected in 1877.
Numerous statues and memorials dot the cities, towns, and countryside
of Germany, including the famous
Bismarck Memorial in Berlin and
numerous Bismarck towers on four continents. The only memorial
depicting him as a student at Göttingen University (together with a
dog, possibly his
Reichshund Tyras) and as a member of his Corps
Hannovera was re-erected in 2006 at the
Rudelsburg . The gleaming
white 1906 Bismarck Monument in the city of
Hamburg , stands in the
centre of the
St. Pauli district, and is the largest, and probably
best-known, memorial to Bismarck worldwide. The statues depicted him
as massive, monolithic, rigid and unambiguous. Two warships were
named in his honour, the SMS Bismarck of the German Imperial Navy ,
and the Bismarck from the World War II–era.
BISMARCK: MEMORY AND MYTH
Bismarck was the most memorable figure in
Germany down to the 1930s.
The dominant memory was the great hero of the 1860s, who defeated all
enemies, especially France, and unified
Germany to become the most
powerful military and diplomatic force in the world. Of course, there
were no monuments celebrating Bismarck's devotion to the cause of
European peace after 1871. But there were other German memories. His
fellow Junkers were disappointed, as
Prussia after 1871 became
swallowed up and dominated by the German Empire. Liberal
intellectuals, few in number but dominant in the universities and
business houses, celebrated his achievement of the national state, a
constitutional monarchy, and the rule of law, and forestalling
revolution and marginalizing radicalism. Social Democrats and labor
leaders had always been his target, and he remained their bête noire.
Catholics could not forget the
Kulturkampf and remained distrustful.
Especially negative were the Poles who hated his Germanization
Robert Gerwarth 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
antidemocratic myth in the highly ideological battle over the past,
which raged between 1918 and 1933. This myth proved to be a weapon
Weimar Republic and exercised a destructive influence on
the political culture of the first German democracy. Frankel in
Bismarck's Shadow (2005) shows the Bismarck cult fostered and
legitimized a new style of right-wing politics. It 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.
A number of localities around the world have been named in Bismarck's
honour. They include:
Bismarck Archipelago , near the former German colony of New Guinea
Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota , a city and state capital in the United
Bismarck, Missouri , a city in Missouri.
Bismarck Strait , a channel in
* Bismarckburg (
Kasanga , Tanzania)
TITLES, STYLES, HONOURS AND ARMS
THE PRINCE OF BISMARCK
Your Serene Highness
TITLES AND STYLES
* 1 APRIL 1815–1865:
Junker Otto von Bismarck
* 1865–1871: His High-born The Count 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 ("Prince of Bismarck") and accorded the style of
Durchlaucht ("Serene Highness"); this princely title descended only to
his eldest male heirs.
DUKE OF LAUENBURG
In 1890, Bismarck was granted the title of Herzog von Lauenburg
Duke of Lauenburg "); the duchy was one of the territories that
Prussia seized from the king of Denmark in 1864.
It was Bismarck's ambition to be assimilated into the mediatized
houses of Germany. He attempted to persuade Kaiser
Wilhelm I that he
should be endowed with the sovereign duchy of Lauenburg, in reward for
his services to the imperial family and the German empire. This was on
the understanding that Bismarck would immediately restore the duchy to
Prussia; all he wanted was the status and privileges of a mediatized
family for himself and his descendants. This novel idea was rejected
by the conservative emperor, who thought that he had already given the
chancellor enough rewards. There is reason to believe that he informed
Wilhelm II of his wishes. After being forced by the sovereign to
resign, he received the purely honorific title of "Duke of Lauenburg",
without the duchy itself and the sovereignty that would have
transformed his family into a mediatized house. Bismarck regarded it
as a mockery of his ambition, and he considered nothing more cruel
than this action of the emperor.
Upon Bismarck's death in 1898 his dukedom, held only for his own
lifetime, became extinct.
* Knight of the
Order of the Black Eagle
Order of the Black Eagle
Pour le Mérite
Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
* Knight of the
Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)
Lifesaving Medal (Prussia)
* Württemberg : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
Duchy of Hesse : Knight Grand Cross of the
Sweden : Knight Commander of the
Order of the Seraphim
Spain : Knight of the
Order of the Golden Fleece
Order of the Golden Fleece
Holy See : Knight of the
Supreme Order of Christ
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy : Knight of the Order of the Most Holy
Russia : Knight of the
Order of St. Andrew
Order of St. Andrew
Arms of Otto, Prince Bismarck
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Robert K. Massie has noted Bismarck's popular image was
as "gruff" and "militaristic", while in reality "Bismarck's tool was
aggressive, ruthless diplomacy."
* Bismarck, portrayed by
Curd Jürgens , appears as a major
character in the 1974 British television series
Fall of Eagles .
* Bismarck appears as the leader of the German civilization in the
computer strategy games,
Civilization III ,
Civilization IV and
Civilization V .
* Bismarck's image appears in the box art of the computer strategy
* Bismarck is one of the principal characters in
Royal Flash , the
second novel in the Flashman series written by George Macdonald Fraser
* Politics portal
* Conservatism portal
Conservatism in Germany
Gerson von Bleichröder , Bismarck's banker and economics advisor
House of Bismarck
House of Bismarck
* Landtag of
* Bismarck towers
* ^ A B Steinberg, Jonathan . Bismarck: A Life. p. 51. ISBN
Eric Hobsbawm , The Age of Empire: 1875–1914 (1987), p. 312.
* ^ Hopel, Thomas (August 23, 2012) "The French-German Borderlands:
Borderlands and Nation-Building in the 19th and 20th Centuries"
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 8, 424, 444; Bismarck specifically
referred to Socialists, among others, as "Enemies of the Reich".
* ^ Hull, Isabel V. (2004). The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II,
1888–1918. p. 85. ISBN 9780521533218 .
* ^ Lowe, Charles (2005). Prince Bismarck: An Historical Biography
With Two Portraits. Kessinger Publishing. p. 538. ISBN 9781419180033 .
* ^ Field 1898 , pp. 603–04.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 39–41.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 93.
* ^ Pflanze 1971 , p. 56.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 89.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 86.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 87–88.
* ^ Pflanze 1971 , p. 64.
* ^ Alan Palmer, Bismarck p. 41.
* ^ Alan Palmer, Bismarck, p. 42.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 117.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 142–43.
* ^ Quotations from letters between Leopold von Gerlach and
Bismarck debating the topic of
Napoleon III are in Steinberg, 2011,
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, ch. 5.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, ch. 6.
* ^ Eyck 1964 , pp. 58–68.
* ^ Taylor 1955 , pp. 48–51.
* ^ Eyck 1964 , pp. 69–70.
* ^ Hollyday 1970 , pp. 16–18.
* ^ Gordon A. Craig, Germany, 1866–1945 (1978), pp. 1–21.
* ^ Eyck 1964, pp. 58–106.
* ^ Eyck 1964, pp. 107–38.
* ^ Pearce 2010 .
* ^ Friedrich Darmstaedter (2008). Bismarck and the Creation of the
Second Reich. Transaction Publishers. p. 289. ISBN 9781412807838 .
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 253.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 257.
* ^ Howard 1991 , p. 40.
* ^ Bismarck, Otto von (1966). The Memoirs vol. II. New York, NY:
Howard Fertig. pp. 58–60.
* ^ Eyck 1964, pp. 139–86.
* ^ William Langer, "Bismarck as Dramatist," in Studies in
Diplomatic History & Historiography in Honour of G.P. Gooch (1962) pp.
* ^ Bismarck, Otto, The Man & the Statesman, Vol. 2, Cosimo
Classics, 2013, 384 p. ISBN 978-1596051850 , p. 58.
* ^ Poschinger, Heinrich, Conversations with Prince Bismarck,
Kessinger Publishing, 2007, 304 p. ISBN 0548341362 , p. 87.
* ^ Taylor 1969 , p. 126.
* ^ Cowen, Rob (January 31, 2012). "Restored Edison Records Revive
Giants of 19th-Century Germany".
The New York Times
The New York Times . p. D3.
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , pp. 294–96.
Fritz Stern (2013). Gold and Iron. p. 139.
* ^ Taylor 1969 , p. 133.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 311-12.
* ^ Hollyday 1970 , p. 6.
* ^ Blackbourn 1998 , pp. 261–63.
* ^ Ross 2000 .
* ^ Gross 2005 .
* ^ James Stone, "Bismarck and the Containment of France,
1873–1877," Canadian Journal of History (1994) 29#2 pp. 281–304
* ^ Quoted in Crankshaw 1981 , pp. 308–09
* ^ Rebecca Ayako Bennette, Fighting for the Soul of Germany: The
Catholic Struggle for Inclusion after Unification (Harvard U.P. 2012)
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 335–36.
* ^ E. J. Feuchtwanger, Bismarck (2002) p. 208.
* ^ Taylor 1955 , p. 124.
* ^ Taylor 1955 , p. 10.
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , p. 149 Cited from Bismarck: Die gesammelten
Werke, edited by H. von Petersdorff, et al. (Berlin, 1923), Volume
XIV, p. 568. Letter to Malwine von Arnim, 14 March 1861
* ^ Norman Davies, God's Playground, a History of Poland: 1795 to
the present (1982) p. 124 online
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , p. 149. Cited from Bismarck: Die gesammelten
Werke, edited by H. von Petersdorff, et al. (Berlin, 1923), Volume
III, pp. 289–90. Letter to Albrecht von Bernstorff, 13 November 1861
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , p. 404.
* ^ Friedrich Darmstaedter, Bismarck and the creation of the Second
Reich (2008) pp. xiv, xvii
* ^ A.J.P. Taylor, Europe: Grandeur and Decline (1967) p. 89.
* ^ Raymond James Sontag, European Diplomatic History: 1871–1932
(1933) pp. 3–58.
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , p. 322.
* ^ James Stone, "Bismarck and the Containment of France,
1873–1877", Canadian Journal of History (1994) 29#2 pp. 281–304,
* ^ Lothar Gall, Bismarck: The White Revolutionary, Volume 2:
1871–1898 (1986) pp. 46–48.
* ^ William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments,
1871–1890 (2nd ed. 1950) pp. 44–55.
* ^ Taylor 1969 , p. 212.
* ^ Retallack 2008 , p. 29.
* ^ A B Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann. "Domestic Origins of
Germany's Colonial Expansion under Bismarck." Past & Present (Feb
1969), Issue 42, pp. 140–59 in JSTOR.
* ^ Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfuerst, Memoirs, W. Heinemann,
1906, p. 259.
* ^ Kennedy 1988 , ch 10.
* ^ Eyck 1964 , pp. 273–76.
* ^ Wehler 1970 , pp. 119–55.
* ^ Crankshaw 1981 , pp. 395–97.
* ^ Firth, S. G. (1972). "The
New Guinea Company, 1885–1899: A
case of unprofitable imperialism". Historical Studies. 15 (59):
361–77. doi :10.1080/10314617208595478 .
* ^ Ludwig 1927a , p. 73.
* ^ Ludwig 1927b , p. 511.
* ^ William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments:
1871–1890 (2nd ed.) 1950 p. 459.
* ^ Langer, European Alliances and Alignments: 1871–1890 pp.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp.416–17.
* ^ Kersbergen, Kees van; Vis, Barbara (2013). Comparative Welfare
State Politics: Development, Opportunities, and Reform. Cambridge UP.
* ^ E. P. Hennock, The Origin of the Welfare State in England and
Germany, 1850–1914: Social Policies Compared (Cambridge University
* ^ E. P. Hennock. "Social Policy under the Empire: Myths and
Evidence" German History 1998 16(1): 58–74; Herman Beck, The Origins
of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia. Conservatives,
Bureaucracy, and the Social Question, 1815–70. 1995.
* ^ Frederic B. M. Hollyday, Bismarck (1970) p. 65.
* ^ Moritz Busch. Bismarck: Some secret pages from his history. New
York: Macmillan, 1898. Vol. II, p. 282.
* ^ A B C Holborn, Hajo. A History of Modern
1840–1945. Princeton UP, 1969. pp. 291–93.
* ^ Khoudour-Castéras, David (2008). "Welfare State and Labor
Mobility: The Impact of Bismarck's Social Legislation on German
Emigration Before World War I.". Journal of Economic History. 68 (1):
211–43. doi :10.1017/s0022050708000077 .
* ^ Leichter, Howard M. (1979). A comparative approach to policy
analysis: health care policy in four nations. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-521-22648-1 . The Sickness Insurance
Law (1883). Eligibility. The Sickness Insurance Law came into effect
in December 1884. It provided for compulsory participation by all
industrial wage earners (i.e., manual laborers) in factories,
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* ^ Cowen 2012 .
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* ^ Steinberg, 2011, pp. 429–64.
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* ^ Craig, (1978) pp. 171–79.
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* ^ Steinberg, 447–50.
* ^ Eyck (1958), p. 321.
* ^ Steinberg, 2011, p. 449.
* ^ Rich, Norman (1965). Friedrich von Holstein: politics and
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* ^ Steinberg, pp. 446, 459, 463.
* ^ Bismarck, Otto von (1921) "The Kaiser Vs. Bismarck: Suppressed
Letters by the Kaiser and New Chapters from the Autobiography of the
Iron Chancellor" Harper. p. 122
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* ^ Katharine Lerman (2014). Bismarck. Routledge. p. 257.
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* ^ Taylor 1969 , p. 264.
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* ^ George W. Egerton (1994). Political Memoir: Essays on the
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* ^ Steinberg, pp. 462–63.
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* ^ Müller (2008)
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* ^ Kissinger 2011 .
* ^ Sieglinde Seele, Lexikon der Bismarck-Denkmäler. Türme,
Standbilder, Büsten, Gedenksteine und andere Ehrungen, Michael Imhof
Verlag: Petersberg, 2005; 480 pp.
* ^ Frankel, Richard E. (2005) Bismarck's Shadow: The Cult of
Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898–1945
Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 184–96. ISBN 1845200349
* ^ Taylor, A. J. P. (1955) Bismarck, the Man and the Statesman New
York: Knopf. pp. 241–44, 267–69.
* ^ Feuchtwanger, Edgar (2002) Bismarck Routledge. pp. 253–63.
* ^ Steenson, Gary P. (1981) 'Not One Man, Not One Penny': German
Social Democracy, 1863-1914 Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
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* ^ Ku, Yangmo (2010) "The Politics of Historical Memory in
Germany: Brandt's Ostpolitik, the German-Polish History Textbook
Commission, and Conservative Reaction" Journal of Educational Media,
Memory, and Society 2.2 (2010): 75–92
* ^ Gerwarth, Robert (2007) The Bismarck Myth: Weimar
the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor. Oxford University Press. ISBN
* ^ Russell, Mark A. Russell (2000) "The Building of Hamburg's
Bismarck Memorial, 1898–1906." Historical Journal 43#1 (2000):
* ^ "A Veteran Diplomat" (27 September 1908). "The "Mediatized" –
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Empire (1899) 471 pp solid old biography online
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Chancellor of Germany, Franklin Watts .
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Kaisers, New York, ISBN 9780766143418 , popular.
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Brown , popular.
* Pflanze, Otto, Bismarck and the Development of
Germany ; 3 vols.,
1963–90. vol 1 online, Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The
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the Early Years of the Bismarck Ministry", The History of Modern
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* Gross, Michael B (2005), The War against Catholicism: Liberalism
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* Hennock, E. P. (2007) The Origin of the Welfare State in England
and Germany, 1850–1914: Social Policies Compared Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. 381 pp.
* Hennock, E. P. (June 2003) "Social Policy in the Bismarck Era: A
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* Kennedy, Paul M (1988), The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism,
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Bismarck," Daedalus Vol. 97, No. 3, (Summer, 1968), pp. 888–924 in
* Lord, Robert H. "Bismarck and
Russia in 1863," American Historical
Review, Vol. 29, No. 1 (October 1923), pp. 2–48. in JSTOR
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2012) 310 pp.
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* Gerwarth, Robert (2005), The Bismarck Myth: Weimar
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