Otto von Bismarck Prime minister of Prussiaand founder and first chancellor of the German Empire.
His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck —was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken —was the well educated daughter of a senior government official in Berlin. He had two siblings: The world saw Bismarck as a typical Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing military uniforms.
Bismarck was well educated and cosmopolitan with a gift for conversation. Inwhile stationed as an army reservist in Greifswaldhe studied agriculture at the University of Greifswald.
Motley, who later became an eminent historian and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel inMorton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about life in a German university. In it he described Bismarck as a reckless and dashing eccentric, but also as an extremely gifted and charming young man.
Around age thirty, Bismarck formed an intense friendship with Marie von Thadden, newly married to one of his friends. Under her influence, Bismarck became a Pietist Lutheran, and later recorded that at Marie's deathbed from typhoid he prayed for the first time since his childhood.
Their long and happy marriage produced three children: Johanna was a shy, retiring and deeply religious woman—although famed for her sharp tongue in later life—and in his public life, Bismarck was sometimes accompanied by his sister Malwine "Malle" von Arnim.
Bismarck soon adopted his wife's pietism, and he remained a devout Pietist Lutheran for the rest of his life. Early political career Young politician In Bismarck, aged thirty-two, was chosen as a representative to the newly created Prussian legislature, the Vereinigter Landtag. There, he gained a reputation as a royalist and reactionary politician with a gift for stinging rhetoric; he openly advocated the idea that the monarch had a divine right to rule.
His selection was arranged by the Gerlach brothers, fellow Pietist Lutherans whose ultra-conservative faction was known as the "Kreuzzeitung" after their newspaper, the Neue Preussische Zeitungwhich was so nicknamed because it featured an Iron Cross on its cover.
The monarch, though initially inclined to use armed forces to suppress the rebellion, ultimately declined to leave Berlin for the safety of military headquarters at Potsdam.
Bismarck later recorded that there had been a "rattling of sabres in their scabbards" from Prussian officers when they learned that the King would not suppress the revolution by force. He offered numerous concessions to the liberals: Augusta would have none of it, and detested Bismarck thereafter,  despite the fact that he later helped restore a working relationship between Wilhelm and his brother the King.
Bismarck was not yet a member of the Landtag, the lower house of the new Prussian legislature. The liberal movement perished by the end of amid internal fighting. Meanwhile, the conservatives regrouped, formed an inner group of advisers—including the Gerlach brothers, known as the " Camarilla "—around the King, and retook control of Berlin.
Although a constitution was granted, its provisions fell far short of the demands of the revolutionaries. At this stage in his career, he opposed the unification of Germanyarguing that Prussia would lose its independence in the process.
He accepted his appointment as one of Prussia's representatives at the Erfurt Parliament, an assembly of German states that met to discuss plans for union, but he only did so to oppose that body's proposals more effectively.
The parliament failed to bring about unification, for it lacked the support of the two most important German states, Prussia and Austria. Bismarck gave up his elected seat in the Landtag, but was appointed to the Prussian House of Lords a few years later. In Frankfurt he engaged in a battle of wills with the Austrian representative Count Friedrich von Thun und Hohenstein.
He insisted on being treated as an equal by petty tactics such as imitating Thun when Thun claimed the privileges of smoking and removing his jacket in meetings. No longer under the influence of his ultraconservative Prussian friends, Bismarck became less reactionary and more pragmatic.
He became convinced that to countervail Austria's newly restored influence, Prussia would have to ally herself with other German states. As a result, he grew to be more accepting of the notion of a united German nation.
He gradually came to believe that he and his fellow conservatives had to take the lead in creating a unified nation to keep from being eclipsed.
He also believed that the middle-class liberals wanted a unified Germany more than they wanted to break the grip of the traditional forces over society.
Bismarck also worked to maintain the friendship of Russia and a working relationship with Napoleon III 's France, the latter being anathema to his conservative friends, the Gerlachs,  but necessary both to threaten Austria and to prevent France allying with Russia.
In a famous letter to Leopold von Gerlach, Bismarck wrote that it was foolish to play chess having first put 16 of the 64 squares out of bounds. This observation became ironic, as afterFrance indeed became Germany's permanent enemyand eventually allied with Russia against Germany in the s.
In the Eastern Crisis of the s, fear of a repetition of this turn of events would later be a factor in Bismarck's signing the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary in Introduction: Bismarck’s ‘Sovereign Self’ In a society in which court and courtiers occupied the centre of political life and intrigue, Bismarck stayed at home, dined at an unfashionably early hour, and spent much of his later career in the country as far from Berlin as possible.
Bismarck would have disappeared from history and. These groups were pitted against the Roman Catholic Center Party, the Socialist Party, and a variety of liberal and regional political groups opposed to Prussia's hegemony over Germany.
In the long term, Bismarck and his successors . Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck's foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany's Germany's new political leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in.
Abroad, Bismarck aimed to make the German empire the most powerful in Europe. In , he negotiated an alliance with Austria-Hungary to counteract . History of Germany. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Part of a combined with an introduction of health care and social security.
Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck's foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany's Germany's new political leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in. young chief minister in Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, began a still more important campaign of limited political reform and nationalist aggrandizement. The goal was to unite Germany under Prussia and to defuse liberal and radical agitation. The second part of Bismarck's strategy to destroy social democracy was the introduction of social legislation to woo the workers away from political radicalism. During the s, accident and old-age insurance as well as a form of socialized medicine were introduced and implemented by the government.
At the same time Bismarck tried to reduce the political influence of the emancipated Catholic financial opportunities, and political life. Working-class women were not welcome; they were organized by the. For example, Hamburg's memorial, unveiled in , is considered one of the greatest expressions of Imperial Germany's Bismarck cult and an important development in the history of German memorial art.