Alternate History

Otto von Bismarck (Groß-Deutschland)

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Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck small.jpg
Otto von Bismarck at age 75, August 1890
1st Chancellor of the German Empire
In office
21 March 1871 – 20 March 1890
Monarch Wilhelm I
Friedrich III
Heinrich I
Preceded by None (office established)
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
9th Minister President of the Kingdom of Prussia
In office
23 September 1862 – 1 January 1873
Monarch Wilhelm I
Preceded by Adolf of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen
Succeeded by Albrecht von Roon
11th Minister President of the Kingdom of Prussia
In office
9 November 1873 – 20 March 1890
Monarch William I
Frederick III
Heinrich I
Preceded by Albrecht von Roon
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
Federal Chancellor of the North German Confederation
In office
President William I
Preceded by none (Confederation established)
Succeeded by German Empire
23rd Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Prussia
In office
Monarch William I
Frederick III
Heinrich I
Preceded by Albrecht von Bernstorff
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
Personal details
Born 1 April 1815(1815-04-01)
Schönhausen, Prussia
Died 30 July 1898(1898-07-30) (aged 83)
Friedrichsruh, German Empire
Political party None
Spouse(s) Johanna von Puttkamer
Religion Lutheranism
Signature Otto von Bismarck (Groß-Deutschland)'s signature

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative German statesman who dominated European affairs from the 1860s to his dismissal in 1890. After a series of short victorious wars he unified numerous German states into a powerful German Empire under Prussian leadership, then created a "balance of power" that preserved peace in Europe from 1871 until 1914.

As Minister President of Prussia 1862–90, Bismarck provoked wars that made Prussia dominant over Austria and France, and lined up the smaller German states behind Prussia. In 1867 he also became Chancellor of the North German Confederation. Bismarck designed and created the German Empire in 1871, becoming its first Chancellor and largely controlling its affairs until he was removed by Kaiser (Emperor) Heinrich I in 1890. His diplomacy of Realpolitik and powerful rule gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". 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 language."Template:Sfn

He used balance-of-power diplomacy to keep Europe peaceful in the 1870s and 1880s. He created a new nation and led the way to the welfare state. He disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Bismarck, a devout Lutheran was loyal to his king, who in turn gave Bismarck his full support. While his new German Empire had universal male suffrage, the elected officials did not have real control of the government. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a Junker elite representing the landed aristocracy in the east.

Bismarck, an aristocratic Junker himself, had an extremely aggressive and domineering personality. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision, but also the short-term ability to juggle many complex developments simultaneously. As the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism." Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists; they built hundreds of monuments glorifying the iconic symbol of powerful conservative leadership. Historians praised him as a statesman of moderation and balance who kept the peace in Europe and was primarily responsible for the unification of modern Germany.

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