Essay about Otto Von Bismarck And The 19th Century

Essay about Otto Von Bismarck And The 19th Century

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19th century European politics saw the creation of countries and the forging of alliances that are still relevant today. However, the latter part of the 19th century was dominated by one powerful force: nationalism. This force was especially present in Germany, and when the German people demanded to be unified under one flag, Otto von Bismarck answered the call. By single-handedly unifying the German states, Otto von Bismarck secured his place as one of the greatest contemporary European statesmen.
Otto von Bismarck was born in Prussia in 1815, to a Junker father, and a middle-class mother. The Junkers in Prussia, were a sort of aristocracy, but with less wealth and political influence than, say, the 19th century English aristocracy. Since his father was a Junker, so was Bismarck (Eyck 1).
As a Junker, Bismarck had the choice of a career in the army, or working as an official in the Prussian administration. Since he had no fondness for the strict discipline of military service, Bismarck went for the latter. Bismarck began work as an unpaid member of the judiciary. However, it soon became evident to Bismarck that this career was not his liking, and he handed in his resignation. At this point in his life, Bismarck, who was almost 30, had not the slightest clue what to make of himself (Eyck 13-14).
In 1847, two important things happened in Bismarck 's life. The first was, he married Johanna von Puttkamer, their marriage would last 47 years until Johanna died. The second was, Bismarck was selected to participate in the "United Diet". This was a national assembly of sort, however it did not have much power, as Prussia was still an absolute monarchy. There, in the Diet, surrounded by liberal representatives, Bismarck became the leade...


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...marck outmaneuvered his contemporaries, is worthy of immense praise. His strategies as a statesman are still studied today. Bismarck took Prussia, which was considered the weakest of the 5 European powers, and guided her through 3 successful wars, defeating two other powers along the way. He then unified 39 German states, into one empire. However, his accomplishments were tarnished decades after his death. World War 1 was disastrous for Germany, and some historians question whether or not Bismarck deserves some of the blame. For example, he made a permanent enemy of France after forcing her to accept a harsh peace treaty in 1871. France spent the next decades looking for revenge, and found it in World War 1. Still, Germany is a nation that still exists and is still dominant today. This makes Bismarck not only a champion of the German people, but of nationalism itself.

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