Who was Otto Von Bismarck?
Otto Von Bismarck Eduard Leopold, was born at Schonausen of first April, 1815 in a farmer family of Bismarck’s. He was one of the oldest and most respectable families of Germany. His mother was extremely intelligent and skilled and came from Mencken family which could show off of providing many civil servants to the administration.
Otto was schooled in Berlin and wanted to be a big farmer. He studied law and agriculture at Gottingen and Griefswalld. But he was not interested in books and learning. He was more paying attention in fencing than anything else. He was married in 1847 to Johanna Von Putkammer.
Early Life Curiosity
Otto was a curtail supporter of aristocracy and considered monarchy the best of governance. In 1847 he became a member of the Prussian parliament and came to be known as ultra royalist.
He was against Austria’s majority and demanded equal rights for his State Prussia. Because of his great patriotic feelings and championship of nobility, he was made ambassador in the Germanic confederation in Frankfurt by the King Fredrick William IV.
During 1859-62 he also remained Prussian ambassador to Russia. In 1862 he was made prime minister. From then he never looked back and became a great power to be reckoned with for the next about forty years.
After the failure of revolutions of 1848. The German Association, made up of 40 States, was a house divided. Austria and Prussia were the strongest of these States but often struggled with each other for supremacy over the whole of Germany.
At the first Prussia was not very strong in comparison to Austria but during the 1850s the Prussian power and influence grew stronger with the increase in its trade and industry. the increase in its trade and industry. For these favorable developments the Prussian King Kaisar and his new prime minister, Otto Van Bismarck were solely responsible.
War against Denmark
Prussia and Austria went to war against Denmark over control of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. Denmark was defeated and both duchies came under German control. Both the Austria and Prussia soon fell out over the question of how the duchies should be administered.
During the “Seven weeks” war the ensured between the two states, Otto was a guiding and inspiring figure and so soon he became a national hero. He had very successfully weakened the Austrian Habsburg Empire following important defeat on July 3, 1866 at the Battle of Sadowa.
Bismarck after that set up the North German Confederation, with Prussia as the strongest member. Consequently Bismarck was made a Count in 1866, and created a prince and chancellor of the new German Empire.
The Peace of Prague was a great example of his sharp diplomacy and statesmanship. He wanted to make Austria an ally and not a permanent enemy. Austria was, after all a strong country. Bismarck then began consolidating and protecting the young empire. He initialed many new reforms of far reaching importance and consequence which included universal suffrage, new and reformed coinage and the codification of the law.
Bismarck provoked France into a war. In this war known was Franco-Prussia war, Prussia defeated France in 1871 and took control of Alasca and Lorraine. The rest of the German States also joined Prussia in 1871. Bismarck then formed the German Second Reich, with the King of Prussia I, as emperor. Thus, Bismarck very quickly and successively proved his extraordinary skills, strategies and diplomacy to enjoy the full confidence of his king and the people.
He possessed an excellent capacity to size up his opponents. He knew so well when to strike to his fullest advantage. He fully understood the strength of German nationalism and saw that Prussia must either swim the tide or be swamped by it. He took full advantage of the ongoing industrial revolution in the country and is no time modernized his army.
Architect of Prussia
Bismarck had declared in the Prussian assembly, “The great question of our day are not decided through speeches and majority votes- that was the great error of 1848 and 1849, but through iron and blood. “And the first opportunity to prove it came with Denmark. He comes to be known as First Chancellor”. He became the chief architect of the new Prussian empire.
After the defeat of France in 1871, he successfully isolated it and used its acquisition of Alsace-Lorraine ore to make Ruhr Valley the hub and centre of European heavy industry. During the period leading into the 1860s Prussian railway tracks were increased many-fold and its whole army underwent a radical changes of weapon technology.
The strategic network of railways in Prussian proved a great boon for Bismarck. They proved more valuable in coming war than fortresses. By 1860 Prussia possessed nearly 7,500 miles of railways, almost twice over that of France. Bismarck’s army was also first in Europe to adopt a breech-loading rifle, the needle gun, which allowed his soldiers to reload three to four times faster than their opponents.
Bismarck was really shrewd enough to take full advantage of these military potentials by turning them into strategic reality. However, his long conflict with the Vatican Pope proved a failure. His fight for civilization (Kultur Kampf) did not succeed at all.
Clash between Otto and William
His clash with Emperor William II over social reforms resulted in his resignation from the chancellorship which was accepted gladly. This happened in 1890. In the same year he was made Duke of Luneburg. He once said, “Twenty years after my departure Germany would crash to ruins.”
His visionary words proved right when 28 years after his resignation in 1890 Germany was defeated in the First World War, and Kaiser had flown to Holland in great disgrace. Bismarck was a great example of ardent patriotism, shrewd diplomacy and excellent strategy both in war and peace.
He had become a legend in his own time. Undoubtedly, he was a great driving force behind the association of Germany. He worked relentlessly to secure German’s position as a world power and succeeded in it brilliantly.