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Unification of Germany Essays

Otto Van Bismarck and his Unification of Germany in the last 19th Century


Otto von Bismarck was a son key son born of the Prussian aristocracy who succeeded in unifying Germany at around 1870s. Bismarck in the real sense takes dominance of European affairs for a good number of years in what many refer to his act of brilliance and rather ruthless manner of implementation of realpolitik. Realpolitik as the name suggests is inherently a system of politics views that are grounded on practical ideas, as opposed to simply being focused on moral and ethical considerations. For many Bismarck was not the people who stand chances to scale the heights of political greatness. As a child, Bismarck is said to have shown quite rebellious, but nonetheless managed to carry on with his education up to the university level. Bismarck, who was born in early 1815, became almost the youngest lawyer at a remarkably tender age of 21 years. In sharp contrast to what Bismarck would end up being and the success who would achieve in the political front, Bismarck was not a success in his childhood. Actually, Bismarck was one child who due to his heavy drinking habits was seen by many as a drunkard who lacked in getting true direction in life. It was during his early 30s that he decided to take a complete turn. This was characterized by a transformation from a serious l atheist to being a vocal religious man. At this stage, Bismarck got himself a wife and decided to join politics. His political journey was a monumental success and saw him become a stand-in member of the famous Prussian parliament. Since then, Bismarck was a success and advanced from one diplomatic post to another year in year out. This paper is primarily a profound study of Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian Wars they occurred in Bismarck reign considering their political implications. The paper will also make an in depth look in Bismarck's accomplishments as a chancellor. Lastly the paper will discuss the parliament and council that Bismarck formed in Europe.

Discuss the different battles that occurred

Austro-Prussian War

It was about 1864 when Bismarck carefully used some precise tactical and highly diplomatic military exercises and succeeded in engineering a set of scenarios through which the Prussia section aggravated a war with Denmark. In this war, Austria joined to assist Prussia in the war because it was also getting some benefit from the war. This is actually who the war attained it name of Austro-Prussian war. In the Austro-Prussian War, Prussia won with sheer magnitude of success, and as a reward for loyalty, Austria got a fair and lenient terms of surrender. This victory that Prussia boosted of in the victory in the Austro-Prussian War give Prussia a sturdy platform to conquer and posses many more territories. It also as expected served to immensely increase Otto von Bismarck’s own power and leadership potential. However in the same dispensation a dispute came to be when the throne in Spain that had been left vacant was to be given to a German prince. The major concern of the French was on the possibility of an occurrence of Spanish and German grand alliance, and as such a French minister advanced to meet Wilhelm, who was the Prussian king then and who at that time had his residence in the town of Ems. What followed was actually unexpected news from when the Prussian king; Wilhelm in response did send a report that had been done in writing indicating of the desired meeting to Bismarck. Bismarck also extended the issue and went as far as publishing edited account of the report he had received from the king and called it Ems Telegram. This article made French to confirm the fact that was at hand that Prussia was prepared to go to battle. This is what France used as an alleged reason to announce war that started on July 19, 1870. At the end of the day, it is French that was taken to be aggressors, and in this, all German states cooperated with Prussia in forming a military alliance.

Franco-Prussian War

The Franco Prussian War is the battle that German formed a military coalition with Prussia having Prussia as the battle leader and they succeed in defeating France. This battle motivated the end of French domination in Europe continental facilitated the creation of an absolutely unified Germany. For France, the Franco- Prussian war was a bitter pill and always worked against them. Actually it took only six weeks for Prussian to take captive Napoleon III at literally forced Napoleon III army to surrender at a place called Sedan. Even Alsace-Lorraine was taken over by Prussia. Paris in a self declaration kind of an act declared that it was as at that time a republic, and this served to motivate the Prussians to besiege the city. French could no longer take it, and at exactly January 28, 1871, it surrendered in defeat. A fact that did amaze people was where Bismarck was drawing his motivation from. His adversaries and those of Prussia did not at any point get a clear reason why Bismarck had to stir up this war. However, it is believed that what motivated Bismarck in Franco Prussian War was a deep sited desire to create a situation that will motivate South German states and make them want to get united Prussia. Courtesy of these battles, Bismarck got into a position to form the Reich, which is simply a unified German state under the leadership of the Prussians.

Bismarck's accomplishments as a chancellor

Bismarck has so much in terms of success that can be appended to his name particularly when served as an Imperial Chancellor. One of the principal achievements is the decision on policy outlines and structure and his proposal to execute both the selection and removal from office of state secretaries. These state secretaries were the ones that were directly responsible for ministries administration in the entire Reich. Bismarck also boasts of greater achievements particularly in the area of financial and economic growth. In other words, his reform agenda was more administrative reforms than political. Bismarck succeeded in coming up with a common currency for all the states, formulation and establishment of a central bank, and a bigger success in the institution of a single code of profit-making and civil pieces of the legislature for the entire Germany. As earlier indicated Bismarck successes were far too many. He successfully became the very first in Europe leadership history, to come up with an all rounded system of social security. The system that he developed was aimed at countering the Social Democrats by offering betters services to workers which included insurance cover against personal accident, sickness and even old age. Bismarck also while working with and in the department of foreign affairs, took advantage of what people perceived him to be that is as an expert of making alliances and quick to respond to counter-alliances, took up the challenge of serving as a mediator. He appeared to do quite well in his mediation process particularly between Russia and Austria.

Councils and parliaments

With the declaration of coming to be of the imperial constitution at around April 1871, Bismarck got direct appointed as the imperial chancellor. However, it was not the responsibility of the chancellor to establish a parliament, but rather it was a mandate that was left in the hands of the Emperor. The North German Confederation at this juncture decided to join Zollverein as a fully recognized member of according to the German customs union. It was around 1868, actually early 1868 the system saw a complete change from the old system to the close organization with a new set of institutions. These included a council to directly serve the governments and the legislature or the parliament. In his opinion, Bismarck thought that Zollverein had all the chances of serving as the longed for vehicle towards unifying German. The idea of councils and parliament did not see the light of the day in Bismarck reign because people particularly those in South Germans voted against Prussian parties.

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Otto Edward Leopold von Bismarck, who was also referred to as the Germanys “Iron Chancellor” was a particularly significant figure in the 19th century and is considered as the founder of the empire of Germany. He helped in the major transformation of Germany to an empire that showed its dominance in the whole of Europe by the end of the 19th century. He changed it from a weak and weak confederation whose kingdoms and principalities were always conflicting. The new German empire was created under Prussian monarchy and also combined it with Prussian anti democratic military traditions. He began his reign representing Prussian Junker interests and sought support from the growing and rising German industrial class. He was led by the solo aim of uniting the Germans and making them one and whole, which after he achieved his objective mastered how to balance European peace and by doing so isolating every European country from the French. His skills in diplomacy were unrivalled, and he was the first European to advocate for social security system that helped workers.

Otto von Bismarck was the child of Wilehelmine Mencken (mother) and Ferdinand Von Bismarck. His father was a descendant of Prussian family, who had been an officer but was retired at the age of twenty three to his father Pomeranian estate. This action angered the king. His mother was much younger compared to his father and was of middle class origin. The mother was always noble hostile. As Bismarck grew he came to resent her mother’s attitude towards the nobles and the ancestors. He also resented the fact that she wanted to break his pride of birth. She always dominated the family and mostly interested in matters concerning the society. He to her activeness Otto Von Bismarck thought she did not like him. This was also because they never had a kind word with each other. Her mother’s character made it hard for him to appreciate her and even during his old age he never had kind words of her mother. He was born in a family of three and was the middle one, the eldest being his brother with the youngest been her sister. Her younger sister married Count Rantzau becoming the Duchess Von Rantzau Bismarck. The sister bore three sons and one of them married the son of Otto von Bismarck.


Otto von Bismarck was born in the year 1815 at Schonhausen in Saxony. This was the year that Napoleon was defeated at the Waterloo. His childhood was dictated by an unloving mother. He also enjoyed the land they moved to and was called Herr Junker when he was a small boy. As a small boy, he dressed well and is described to have always been smart. He dressed consciously as a university student when all the other students dressed in just an ordinary manner. He was accepted to Plamann Academy, which was a Spartan boarding school, at the age of eight years and hated the idea of been sent there. Due to the hate he had for her mother as he blamed her for sending her far from home. He is known to have loved his home very much and even got a nick name from that. He went to high school at an age of twelve years and attended Graue Kloster High School which was also a gymnasium. He is remembered as an extremely poor student who was only accomplished in German and unusually poor in all other subjects including German. His teachers referred to him as arrogant. After high school, he proceeded to the University of Gottingen where he studied law. In the university, Otto Von Bismarck felt himself and regarded himself as superior to all other students. He hated liberalism and joined the students association where he spent most of his time drinking. As an aristocratic fraternity, he showed no aptitude as a student. He eventually transferred to university of Berlin and passed his examination in 1835 with the help of a Crammer.

He was a realist from the beginning and abandoned religion at that tender age of 16 years after he was confirmed. In his own work, he confesses abandoning prayers because they conflicted with his beliefs. He has arrogant attitude since he was a small child, which he displays in the university. He does not enter the military and after joining the Yager guards, he finds himself always quarreling with his superiors. He joins the Prussian service but still quarrel with his superiors thus he is suspended. He retires and goes home where he starts reading and becomes a sub lieutenant and eventually a judicial administrator at Aachen.


Bismarck political life begins in the year 1847, where he was an ultra conservative champion of the Prussian Junker interests. After joining the conservative Gerlach group, he advocates for nobility interests. In the year 1848, a year in which Europe had widespread revolutionalism Prussian land was not left out. He went to Berlin and advised the king (King Frederick William IV) to forcibly subdue the uprising. He earned the kings gratitude in the year 1850 when he helped fail the German policy and was appointed to Prussians most diplomatic post. Through the post, he was able to gain dominance. As he serves in Prussia, he learns more about the German and Prussians politics. He hates Austria and blocks their expansion and influence in Germany. His main goal was making Prussia a more dominant power than in the whole of Germany and Europe. He used the phrase by blood and Iron describing the means and method he applied to make Germany whole and united. He understood that making Germany as one using peaceful methods would not bear any fruits. The only way he knew how was through the use of war. Both rivals who fought for control of German were the Prussians and Austrians, who both spoke German and followed German folk customs. He served in the German confederation, which was dominated by Austrians and was promote to be the chief Prussian minister in 1962. His sole objective was to expand Prussia and was not concerned in nationalism.

Prussians created Zollverrein which was a custom union that did not include Austria. He then architected a policy famously known as Realpolitik which meant practical politics as a means to strengthen Prussia. He started to support democracy as a way to fetch and gain internal support with no interest in liberal reform. As a brilliant leader, he watched international events with an aim of advancing his main agenda. Danish kings attempted to annex Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein presented to him a perfect opportunity to act. He encouraged Austria to fight with Denmark, to acquire Schleswig and Holstein. Since the Denmark’s were too weak for military war they were defeated and Bismarck made his first mark by back stabbing the Austrians. He formed an alliance with Napoleon III who was from France where he was reassured that he French would remain neutral during the military war between Prussia and Austria. He also enticed the Italians by promising them Venetia and in turn the Italians would support the Prussians. As tension mounted, the Austrians declared war against the Prussians, but they lacked weaponry that would match the Prussians power. They were crushed by the Prussians in just seven weeks after which they signed the treaty of Prague in August of 1866. After the treaty, Prussia was in control of Holstein and Schleswig. He also annexed Pro Austrian German states and formed North German Confederation ending the Austrian influence in Germany. A few of small German kingdoms remained free of Prussian control. The south German states feared Prussianization of Germany and eventually the lands were annexed by Bismarck.

Bismarck, a brilliant leader that he was seized the opportunity to begin the war with the French. This was when Queen Isabella of Spain abdicated her throne. This was in the year 1968. France opposed replacing the Isabella with Prussian Hohenzollern and demanded such response from the Prussian King. He was reluctant and crafted polite and diplomatic response which was conveyed by one of his officials to Bismarck. He edited the response to show no compliance for napoleons demands and eventually the French declared war against the Prussians. This was in the year 1870, and it eventually faded in the year 1871. This was after France was defeated by the Prussian forces. This resulted to Wilhelm I being crowned as the Kaiser of the new German empire in the year 1871 and had 39 million Germans. The treaty signed, humiliated the French. They also received an indemnity payment and Lorraine and Alsace territories.

The advancements made by Bismarck after the war utterly changed the balance of power in Europe making it the most powerful in Europe with the ability to rival Britain industrial wise and with military power. He was appointed the new German empires first chancellor in 1871. An area second to the emperor but only restricted to legislation. He was the one to propose appointment and dismissal of secretaries of state. Then he was referred to as Chancellor Bismarck.

Although he was a consummate politician and diplomat, his diplomacy turned German into a formidable enemy and eventually his work was undone by Wilhelm II. Eventually his time with Wilhelm II was over. They harmoniously split ways after he said he would be making and govern the most influential government decisions with the king only ratifying them and Kaiser there and then started to plan his departure. He made it clear that he was willing to serve, but Wilhelm II did not want him no more. This happened in 1890.

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