1815 – 1898
Germany, unlike England and France was not a united nation, for quite a long time. Bismarck’s most important legacy is the unification of Germany. Germany had existed as a collection of a lot of separate principalities, and free cities, since the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. Bismarck was the first leader to unite a major portion of what is referred to as Germany, today.
Otto Von Bismarck was not the prince of Prussia – which was by far the largest constituent of the divided Germany. In 1848, Prussia faced a revolution, which resulted in the creation of the constitution and legislature (Landtag). Bismarck was even elected to this Landtag but later was made an envoy (Of Prussia) to Frankfurt, Russia and France.
In 1862, the King of Prussia – Wilhem appointed Bismarck as the Minister-President and Foreign Minister of Prussia. Bismarck used both diplomacy and the Prussian military to achieve unification of a multitude of principalities loosely bound together as members of the German Confederation. Prussia became the most powerful and dominant member of this new Germany, and Austria was excluded. The new German empire was a federation. Each of constituent states retained some autonomy. Bismarck was appointed the imperial chancellor of the German empire.
During most of his nearly 30 years long tenure, Bismarck held undisputed control over the Government policy. He was well supported by his friend Albrecht Von Roon, the War Minister and the leader of the Prussian Army – Helmuth Von Moltke. Bismarck mostly devoted himself to keeping peace in Europe so that the strength of the German empire would not be threatened.
Bismarck’s astute, cautious, and pragmatic foreign policies allowed Germany to retain peacefully the powerful position into which he had brought it. He maintained amiable diplomacy with almost all the European nations, except maybe France.
Some of Otto Von Bismarck’s famous quotations:
“Only self interest makes a war worthy cause for a major state. At the end of the conflict we would scarcely know why we had fought”
“Man cannot create the current of events. He can only float with them and steer”
“What we learn from History is that no one learns from History”
“The most significant event of the 20th Century will be that the North Americans speak English”
“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied”
“When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of putting it into practice”
“When you want to fool the world, tell the truth”
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