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Otto von Bismarck

1815–1898
Civilization: European — Prussia
   Field of Renown:  statesman — Prime Minister
Era:  Rise of Germany

Bismarck
OTTO VON BISMARCK
Known as the Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck was largely responsible for the unification of the separate German states and the many successful wars that ultimately led to the alliance. He served as both Prime Minister of Prussia and first Chancellor of the new German Empire, and he was widely renowned as a brilliant political statesman.

Following the revolution of 1848, Bismarck was elected to the Prussian parliament and later chosen as the country’s envoy to Frankfurt, where discussions over a potential Northern German union were being held. Although he originally opposed the unification of the German states, Bismarck began to agree that such an idea might be the only way to counter Austria’s rising influence and allow Prussia to remain a significant power. After eight years in Frankfurt, a newly inspired Bismarck returned to Prussia and was appointed Prime Minister by William I, in an effort to appease the increasingly liberal parliament. Bismarck remained a highly unpopular politician during his early years as Minister, but the king supported him for fear that a liberal ministry might follow his resignation.

Bismarck brought about Germany’s unification by initiating and emerging victorious from several wars, most importantly the Franco Prussian War that convinced the southern states of North Germany’s cause. Celebrated as a hero, Bismarck was elected Chancellor of the new Empire. He began his reign with an anti-Catholic campaign, meant to check the power of the Church, that ultimately failed but won him new support. He also passed several Anti-Socialist laws that restricted socialists’ influence and disbanded workers’ unions, though he tried to reconcile with the working class by instituting several reforms. He was a skilled diplomat, and he spent his later years promoting peace in Europe. He ruled until his dismissal by William II prior to the First World War, a conflict that he himself predicted before his discharge.


Key events during the life of Otto von Bismarck:


Year
Event
1815
Born
1847
Married Johanna von Puttkamer
1848
Revolution in Prussia
1849
Elected to Prussia's lower house of legislation
1851
Was appointed as Prussia's envoy at the Diet in Frankfurt, meant to discuss possible unification
1862-1890
Served as Prussian Prime Minister
1867
Became Chancellor of North German Confederation
1871
Designed modern-day German empire
  Became Chancellor of Germany
1890
Dismissed by William II
1898
Died

Book Links
Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire  by  J. W. Headlam

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
Count Von Bismarck  in  Famous Men of Modern Times  by  John Haaren
The Man of Sedan  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Old Empire and the New  in  Historical Tales - German  by  Charles Morris
The Franco-Prussian War  in  Europe and the Great War  by  Charles Morris
Bismarck and the Empire  in  Europe and the Great War  by  Charles Morris
Founding the German Empire  in  Growth of the British Empire  by  M. B. Synge
Schleswig and Holstein  in  History of Prussia  by  John S. C. Abbott
Policy of Count Bismarck  in  History of Prussia  by  John S. C. Abbott


Image Links


After the Battle of Sedan; First meeting of Napoleon III and Bismarck
 in Boys' Book of Battles

Napoleon III and Bismarck at Sedan
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

Bismarck at Versailles
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

Bismarck
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Schonhausen Church; Interior
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Luise Wilihelmine von Bismarck
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Karl Wilhem Ferd. von Bismarck
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Bismarck in 1834
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Bismarck in 1848
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Princess Bismarck
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Bismarck in 1860
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Bismarck
 in Bismarck and German Empire

The capitulation at Sedan
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Bismarck and his dogs
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Napoleon III and Bismarck on the morning after the battle of Sedan
 in Bismarck and German Empire

The Congress of Berlin, 1878
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Friedrichsruhe
 in Bismarck and German Empire

Emperor Frederick
 in Bismarck and German Empire
The Berlin Conference
The Berlin Conference
 in Statesmen and Sages
Prince Von Bismarck
Prince Von Bismarck
 in Statesmen and Sages
Proclamation of the German Empire at Versilles
Proclamation of the German Empire at Versilles
 in Statesmen and Sages
Bismarck Before Paris
Bismarck Before Paris
 in Statesmen and Sages

Prince Bismarck
 in Two German Giants

Chairs were brought that Napoleon and the minister might sit out of doors
 in The Story of France


Contemporary
Short Biography
Napoleon III Nephew of Napoleon, elected emperor of France after revolution of 1848. Deposed after disastrous Franco-Prussian War.
William I First 'Kaiser' of a United German Empire. With Bismarck as P.M. defeated Austria and France.
Victor Emmanuel II First king of United Italy won for him by his father Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, and Garibaldi.