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9 octobre 2011 7 09 /10 /octobre /2011 03:20

Paternalistic welfare state

Germany had a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as the 1840s. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

In the 1880s his social insurance programs were the first in the world and became the model for other countries and the basis of the modern welfare state. Bismarck introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

He won conservative support by promising to undercut the appeal of Socialists—the Socialists always voted against his proposals, fearing they would reduce the grievances of the industrial workers. His paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working classes for the Empire and reduce the outflow of immigrants to America,Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery

where wages were higher but welfare did not exist.Politically, he did win over the Centre Party which represented Catholic workers, but Socialists remained hostile.

Foreign policies

Bismarck had unified his nation and now he devoted himself to promoting peace in Europe with his skills in statesmanship.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

He was forced to contend with French revanchism – the desire to avenge the losses of the Franco-Prussian War and Alsace-Lorraine. 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 the United Kingdom. Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

In 1872, Bismarck offered friendship to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia, whose rulers joined Wilhelm I in the League of the Three Emperors, also known as the Dreikaiserbund.

Also in 1872, a protracted quarrel began to fester between Bismarck and Count Harry von Arnim, a career diplomat and the imperial ambassador to France. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Arnim was a member of a prominent Pomeranian family, related to Bismarck by marriage, and someone who saw himself as a rival and competitor for the chancellorship. The ambassador disagreed unsuccessfully with Bismarck over policy vis-à-vis France. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

As a penalty for this indiscretion, Bismarck intended to remove Arnim from Paris and reassign him as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at Constantinople, which Arnim saw as a demotion given the relative importance of France to Germany as opposed to the Ottoman Empire. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

Rumors also circulated that Bismarck had made overtures toward Arnim's wife, which further inflamed tensions. Arnim refused this reassignment and continued to put forth his views in opposition to Bismarck, going so far as to remove sensitive records from embassy files at Paris to back up his attacks on the chancellor. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

The controversy lasted for two years, with Arnim being "protected" by powerful friends before he was formally accused of misappropriating official documents, indicted, tried, and convicted. While his sentence was under appeal, he fled to Switzerland and died in exile. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ35B/B Battery

After this episode, no one again openly challenged Bismarck in foreign policy matters until his resignation.


By 1875 France had recovered from defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and a new government began to militarily expand and reassert itself again as a player in European politics. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ54B/B Battery

The German general staff under Moltke was alarmed and managed to have Bismarck ban a French procurement of ten thousand cavalry horses from Germany. There followed some informal debate of the necessity of preventive war. The printing by a prominent newspaper of an article entitled "Is War in Sight?" caused a crisis to develop that was not to Bismarck's advantage. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55B/B Battery

The British government dispatched a polite warning to Berlin. Russia's Tsar Alexander II and his chancellor Prince Gorchakov, at the time on a state visit to Germany, seized the opportunity to inject themselves as European peace makers. This action initiated a lasting estrangement between Bismarck and Gorchakov over the latter's "interference" in a Franco-German spat.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55GN/B Battery

Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of France's neighbors. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ56 Battery

This was not merely a by-product of the Kulturkampf, but part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism in France by strategically and ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of PresidentPatrice de Mac-Mahon. It was hoped that by ringing France with a number of liberal states,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ561N Battery

French republicanism could defeat Mac-Mahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept ofcontainment provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.


Bismarck maintained good relations with Italy, although he had a personal dislike for Italians and their country.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ562N Battery

He can be seen as marginal contributor to Italian unification. Politics surrounding the 1866 war against Austria allowed Italy to annex Venetia, which had been a kingdom of the Austrian Empire since the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ57N Battery

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 two events, Italian unification would have been a more prolonged process.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN Battery


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).Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN/C Battery

Bismarck and other European leaders opposed the growth of Russian influence and tried to protect the potency of the Ottoman Empire (see Eastern Question). As a result, Russo-German relations further suffered, with the Russian chancellor Gorchakov denouncing Bismarck for compromising his nation's victory. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58N Battery

The relationship was additionally strained due to Germany's protectionist trade policies. Some in the German military clamored for a preemptive war with Russia, but Bismarck knew better than that, saying "Preemptive war is like committing suicide for fear of death."Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61MN/B Battery

Triple Alliance

The 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. This became the Triple Alliance in 1882 with the addition of Italy, while Italy and Austria-Hungary soon reached the "Mediterranean Agreement" with Britain. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61VN/X Battery

Attempts to reconcile Germany and Russia did not have lasting effect: the Three Emperors' League was re-established in 1881, but quickly fell apart (the end of the Russian-Austrian-Prussian solidarity which had existed in various forms since 1813), Sony VAIO VGN-SZ61WN/C Battery

and theReinsurance Treaty of 1887 (in which both powers promised to remain neutral towards one another unless Russia attacked Austria-Hungary) was allowed to expire in 1890 after Bismarck's departure.


Bismarck had opposed colonial acquisitions, arguing that the burden of obtaining, maintaining and defending such possessions would outweigh any potential benefit.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ640N/B Battery

But during the late 1870s and early 1880s public opinion shifted to favor colonies, and Bismarck gave limited support for these demands, arguing the home economy would not be able to support colonies.  Bismarck was influenced by Hamburg merchants and traders, his neighbors at Friedrichsruh.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ645P3 Battery

The establishment of the German colonial empire proceeded smoothly, starting with German New Guinea in 1884. Other European nations, with Britain and France in the lead, had earlier acquired colonies in a rapid fashion (see New Imperialism). During the 1880s, Germany joined the European powers in the Scramble for Africa. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ650N/C Battery

Among Germany's colonies were Togoland (now part of Ghana and Togo), Cameroon, German East Africa (now Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania), and German South-West Africa (now Namibia). TheBerlin Conference (1884–85) established regulations for the acquisition of African colonies; Sony VAIO VGN-SZ660N/C Battery

in particular, it protected free trade in certain parts of the Congo basin. Germany later also acquired colonies in the Pacific.

Avoiding war

In February 1888, during a Bulgarian crisis, Bismarck addressed the Reichstag on the dangers of a European war.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ670N/C Battery

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 demonstrates its futility: "Bulgaria, that little country between the Danube and the Balkans, is far from being an object of adequate importance... Sony VAIO VGN-SZ680ND Battery

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. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ691N/X Battery

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 between Austria and Russia.

Only a year later [1876], he is faced by the alternative of espousing the cause of Russia or that of Austria. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71E/B Battery

Immediately after the last crisis, in the summer of 1875, the mutual jealousies between Russia and 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. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71VN/X Battery

"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:Sony VAIO VGN-SZ71WN/C Battery

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 of Germany in these matters, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ74B/B Battery

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."

According to Taylor, "The more familiar grenadier took the musketeer's place in a speech of 1888". Sony VAIO VGN-SZ750N/C Battery

Last years

In 1888, the German Emperor, Wilhelm I, died leaving the throne to his son, Friedrich III. The new monarch was already suffering from an incurable throat cancer and died after reigning for only 99 days. He was replaced by his son, Wilhelm II.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ75B/B Battery

The new Emperor opposed Bismarck's careful foreign policy, preferring vigorous and rapid expansion to protect Germany's "place in the sun".

Bismarck was 16 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.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ76 Battery

Conflicts between Wilhelm II and his chancellor soon poisoned their relationship. Perhaps on account of his prominent role in Wilhelm's upbringing, Bismarck believed that he could dominate the young Kaiser and showed little respect for his policies in the late 1880s.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ770N/C Battery

However, Wilhelm wanted to be his own master and was surrounded by sycophants telling him that Frederick the Great would not have been so great with a Bismarck at his side. Their final split occurred after Bismarck tried to implement far-reaching anti-Socialist laws in early 1890. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ77N Battery

The Kartell majority in the Reichstag, of the amalgamated Conservative Party and the National Liberal Party, was willing to make most of the laws permanent. But it was split about the law allowing the police the power to expel socialist agitators from their homes, a power used excessively at times against political opponents. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ780 Battery

The National Liberals refused to make this law permanent, while the Conservatives supported only the entirety of the bill and threatened to and eventually vetoed the entire bill in session because Bismarck would not agree to a modified bill.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ78N Battery

As the debate continued, Wilhelm became increasingly interested in social problems, especially the treatment of mine workers who went on strike in 1889, and keeping with his active policy in government, routinely interrupted Bismarck in Council to make clear his social policy. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N/X Battery

Bismarck sharply disagreed with Wilhelm's policy and worked to circumvent it. Even though Wilhelm supported the altered anti-socialist bill, Bismarck pushed for his support to veto the bill in its entirety. But when his arguments could not convince Wilhelm, Bismarck became excited and agitated until uncharacteristically blurting out his motive to see the bill fail:Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84NS Battery

to have the socialists agitate until a violent clash occurred that could be used as a pretext to crush them. Wilhelm replied 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, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84PS Battery

and even suggested a European council to discuss working conditions, presided by the German Emperor.

Despite this, a turn of events eventually led to his distancing from Wilhelm. Bismarck, feeling pressured and unappreciated by the Emperor and undermined by ambitious advisers,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84S Battery

refused to sign a proclamation regarding the protection of workers along with Wilhelm, as was required by the German Constitution, to protest Wilhelm's ever increasing interference to Bismarck's previously unquestioned authority. Bismarck also worked behind the scenes to break the Continental labour council on which Wilhelm had set his heart.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ84US Battery

The final break came as Bismarck searched for a new parliamentary majority, with his Kartell voted from power due to the anti-socialist bill fiasco. The remaining forces in the Reichstag were the Catholic Centre Party and the Conservative Party. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85NS Battery

Bismarck wished to form a new block with the Centre Party, and invited Ludwig Windthorst, the parliamentary leader to discuss an alliance. This would be Bismarck's last political manoeuvre. Wilhelm was furious to hear about Windthorst's visit. In a parliamentary state, the head of government depends on the confidence of the parliamentary majority, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85S Battery

and certainly has the right to form coalitions to ensure his policies a majority. 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.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ85US Battery

After a heated argument in Bismarck's office Wilhelm, whom Bismarck had allowed to see a letter from Tsar Alexander III describing him 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 to report directly to the King of Prussia, requiring them instead to report via the Prime Minister.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94NS Battery

Bismarck, forced for the first time into a situation he could not use to his advantage, wrote a blistering letter of resignation, decrying Wilhelm's interference in foreign and domestic policy, which was only published after Bismarck's death. As it turned out, Bismarck became the first victim of his own creation, and when he realized that his dismissal was imminent:Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94PS Battery

All Bismarck's resources were deployed; he even asked Empress Frederick to use her influence with her son on his behalf. But the wizard had lost his magic; his spells were powerless because they were exerted on people who did not respect them, and he who had so signally disregarded Kant's command to use people as ends in themselves had too small a stock of loyalty to draw on.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94S Battery

As Lord Salisbury told Queen Victoria: 'The very qualities which Bismarck fostered in the Emperor in order to strengthen himself when the Emperor Frederick should come to the throne have been the qualities by which he has been overthrown.' The Empress, with what must have been a mixture of pity and triumph, told him that her influence with her son could not save him for he himself had destroyed it.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ94US Battery

Bismarck resigned at Wilhelm II's insistence on 18 March 1890, at age 75, to be succeeded as Chancellor of Germany and Minister-President of Prussia by Leo von Caprivi. Bismarck was discarded ("dropping the pilot" in the words of the famous Punch cartoon),Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95NS Battery

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) and given a new title, Duke of Lauenburg, which he joked would be useful when travelling incognito.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95S Battery

He was soon elected as a National Liberal to the Reichstag for Bennigsen's old and supposedly safe Hamburg seat, but was embarrassed by being forced to a second ballot by a Social Democrat rival, and never actually took up his seat. He entered into restless, resentful retirement to his estates at Varzin (in today's Poland). Sony VAIO VGN-SZ95US Battery

Within one month after his wife died on 27 November 1894, he moved to Friedrichsruh near Hamburg, waiting in vain to be petitioned for advice and counsel.

As soon as he had to leave his office, citizens started to praise him, collecting money to build monuments like the Bismarck Memorial or towers dedicated to him. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ121 Battery

Much honour was given to him in Germany, many buildings have his name, books about him were best-sellers, and he was often painted, e.g., by Franz von Lenbachand C.W. Allers.

Bismarck spent his final years composing his memoirs (Gedanken und Erinnerungen, or Thoughts and Memories),Sony VAIO VGN-TZ13 Battery

a work of literary genius but questionable accuracy, in which he increased the drama around every event and always presented himself favorably. He died in October 1898 (at the age of 83) at Friedrichsruh, where he is entombed in the Bismarck-Mausoleum. He was succeeded as Fürst von Bismarck-Schönhausen by Herbert.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ130N/B Battery

He continued his feud with Wilhelm II by attacking him in his memoirs and by publishing the text of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, a breach of national security for which any individual of lesser status would have been prosecuted.

He managed one final attack on Wilhelm by having his tombstone inscribed with the epitaph "Here lies a true servant of the Emperor Wilhelm I".Sony VAIO VGN-TZ131 Battery

Last warning and prediction

In December 1897, Wilhelm II visited Bismarck for the last time. Bismarck again warned the Kaiser about the dangers of improvising government policy based on the intrigues of courtiers and militarists. Bismarck's last warning was:

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.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132/N Battery

Subsequently, Bismarck made these accurate predictions:

"Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this" ? a prophecy fulfilled almost to the month.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ132N Battery

"One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans".

Bismarck had warned in February 1888 of a Balkan crisis turning into a world war (although when that war did come in 1914, the Balkan country was Serbia, notBulgaria).Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/B Battery

Bismarck's social legislation

Bismarck implemented the world's first welfare state in the 1880s. He worked closely with big 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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N/N Battery

Bismarck especially listened to Hermann Wagener and Theodor Lohmann, advisers who persuaded Bismarck to give workers a corporate status in the legal and political structures of the new German state. On 20 March 1884, Bismarck declared:Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160CB Battery

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, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ160N/B Battery

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 country.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16GN/B Battery

Bismarck's idea was to implement welfare programs that were acceptable to the 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, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N Battery

because 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 on 17 November 1881 in the Imperial Message to the Reichstag, using the term practical Christianity to describe his program.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ16N/B Battery

Bismarck's program centered squarely on insurance programs designed to increase productivity, and focus the political attentions of German workers on supporting the Junker's government. The program included health insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of which were then currently in existence to any great degree.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17/N Battery

Based on Bismarck's message, the Reichstag filed three bills designed to deal with the concept of Accident insurance, and one for Health Insurance. The subjects of Retirement pensions and Disability Insurance were placed on the back burner for the time being.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ170N/N Battery

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 States and Germany but also the differential in 'indirect wages,' that is, social benefits, which favored staying in Germany. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/B Battery

The young men went to German industrial cities, so that Bismarck's insurance system partly offset low wage rates in Germany and furthered the fall of the emigration rate.

Health Insurance Bill of 1883

The first bill that had success was the Health Insurance bill, which was passed in 1883. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17N Battery

The program was considered the least important from Bismarck's point of view, and the least politically troublesome. The program was established to provide health care for the largest segment of the German workers. The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18/N Battery

The employers contributed 1/3, while the workers contributed 2/3s . 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, Sony VAIO VGN-TZ180N/RC Battery

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.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ185N/WC Battery

Accident Insurance Bill of 1884

Bismarck's government had to submit three draft bills before they 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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18GN/X Battery

Bismarck's motive was a demonstration of the willingness of the German government to lessen the hardship experienced by the German workers as a means of weaning them away from the various left-wing parties, most importantly the Social Democrats. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ18N Battery

The National Liberals took this program to be an expression of State Socialism, which they were dead set against. The Center 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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/B Battery

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 perform the actual administration. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ190N/BC Battery

The program kicked in to replace the health insurance program as of the 14th week. It paid for medical treatment and a Pension of up to 2/3s of earned wages if the worker was fully disabled. This program was expanded in 1886 to include Agricultural workers. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ191N/XC Battery

Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889

The Old Age Pension program, an insurance equally financed by employers and workers,  was designed to provide a pension annuity for workers who reached the age of 70 years. Unlike the Accident Insurance and Health Insurance programs, this program covered Industrial, Agrarian, Artisans and Servants from the start.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ195N/XC Battery

Also, unlike the other two programs, the principle that the Federal 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 programs directly.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ198N/RC Battery

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.

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.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/B Battery

Over the next hundred years various kings and 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 single country. Following unification, Germany became one of the most powerful nations in Europe. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/N Battery

Bismarck's astute, cautious, and pragmatic foreign policies allowed Germany to retain peacefully the powerful position into which he had brought it; maintaining amiable diplomacy with almost all European nations. France, the main exception, was devastated by Bismarck's wars and his harsh subsequent policies towards it;Sony VAIO VGN-TZ250N/P Battery

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; Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27/N Battery

his diplomatic feats were undone, however, by Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose policies unified other European powers against Germany in time for World War I.

Historians stress that Bismarck's peace-oriented, "saturated continental diplomacy" was increasingly unpopular, because it consciously reined in any expansionist drives. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ270N/B Battery

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 decisionmaking was overturned by 1914 as Germany became an armed state; Sony VAIO VGN-TZ27N Battery

although the Emperor and his cabinet retained the power military officers played an increasingly influential role in the Cabinet.

In British writing (e.g. the biographies by Taylor, Palmer or Crankshaw) Bismarck is often seen 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.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28/N Battery

Being a committed monarchist himself, Bismarck could not envision any effective constitutional check to the power of the Emperor, thus placing a time bomb in a foundation of the State he created.

During most of his nearly 30 year-long tenure, Bismarck held undisputed control over the government's policies. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ285N/RC Battery

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 people gave Bismarck the victories he needed to convince the smaller German states to join Prussia.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ28N Battery

Bismarck took steps to silence or restrain political opposition, as evidenced by laws restricting the freedom of the press, the Kulturkampf, and the anti-socialist laws. His king (later Emperor) Wilhelm I rarely challenged the Chancellor's decisions; on several occasions, Bismarck obtained his monarch's approval by threatening to resign. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAB Battery

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.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAN Battery


Numerous statues and memorials dot the cities, towns, and countryside of Germany, and the famous Bismarck Memorial in Berlin, not to mention numerousBismarck towers on four continents. The only memorial showing him as a student at Göttingen University (together with his dog Tiran) and as a member of his Corps Hannovera was re-erected in 2006 at the Rudelsburg. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ290EAP Battery

The gleaming white The Bismarck-Denkmal (German for Bismarck monument) is a monument in the city ofHamburg. It stands in the centre of the St. Pauli district. Built in 1906, it is the largest and probably most well-known memorial to Bismarck worldwide. The statues depicted him as massive, monolithic, rigid and unambiguous.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ295N/XC Battery

Two ships of the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine), and the Bismarck from the World War II–era, were named after him.

Bismarck myth

Gerwarth (2007) 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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ298N/XC Battery

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 anti-democratic myth in the highly ideological battle over the past which raged between 1918 and 1933. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/B Battery

This myth proved to be a weapon against the Weimar Republic, and exercised a

destructive influence on the political culture of the first German democracy. Frankel (2005) shows the Bismarck cult fostered and legitimized a new style of right-wing politics, and made possible the post-Bismarckian crisis of leadership,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/N Battery

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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ33/W Battery

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. Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/B Battery

The memorial was greeted with widespread disapproval among the working classes and did not prevent their increasing support for the Social Democrats.Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/N Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ350N/P Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ370N/B Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/G Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/P Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/R Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-TZ37N/X Battery

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