Bismarck Otto Edward Leopold

(04.01.1815 - 30.07.1898)


German politician, Reich Chancellor.

Born into a family of small landed gentry on the estate Schönhausen in Brandenburg. Coming from the Pomeranian Junker.

Bismarck studied law first at the university in Göttingen, then at the university in Berlin. In 1835 he received a diploma, in 1936 he completed an internship in the Berlin Municipal Court.

In 1837-1838 he worked as an official in Aachen, then in Potsdam, in 1838 he entered military service.

In 1839, after the death of his mother, Bismarck resigned from service and was in charge of managing family properties in Pomerania.

In 1847-1848, Bismarck’s political activities began - he was elected to the first and second United Landtags (Parliament) of Prussia, during the 1848 revolution he advocated an armed suppression of unrest.

Bismarck became widely known for his conservative position during the constitutional struggle in Prussia in the years 1848-1850.Countering the liberals, he contributed to the creation of various political organizations and newspapers, including the Novaya Prusskaya Gazeta, and was one of the organizers of the Prussian conservative party.

He was a member of the lower house of Prussia’s parliament in 1849 and the Erfurt parliament in 1850.

In subsequent years, Bismarck was elected representative of Prussia in the Allied Diet in Frankfurt am Main, was the envoy of Prussia in Russia and France.

In September 1862, during the constitutional conflict between the Prussian royal power and the liberal majority of the Prussian Landtag, Bismarck was called up by King William I for the post of head of the Prussian government, and in October of the same year became the minister-president and foreign minister of Prussia. He stubbornly defended the rights of the crown and achieved a resolution of the conflict in her favor. In the 1860s he carried out military reform in the country, greatly strengthened the army.

Under the leadership of Bismarck, Germany was unified by the “revolution from above” as a result of three victorious wars of Prussia: in 1864, together with Austria against Denmark, in 1866 - against Austria, in 1870-1871 - against France.

After the formation of the North German Union in 1867, Bismarck became the Bundes Chancellor. In the German Empire proclaimed on January 18, 1871, he received the supreme state post of the imperial chancellor, becoming the first Reich chancellor, having received practically unlimited power in accordance with the 1871 constitution. However, he retained the post of Prussian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Bismarck carried out reforms of German law, management and finance. In 1872-1875, Bismarck initiated and under pressure from the Catholic Church laws to deprive the clergy of supervising schools, ban the Jesuit order in Germany, on compulsory marriage, on the abolition of articles of the constitution that provided for the autonomy of the church, etc. These events seriously limited the rights of the Catholic clergy. Attempts to disobey caused repression.

In 1878, Bismarck passed through the Reichstag an “exclusive law” against the socialists, banning the activities of social democratic organizations. He mercilessly pursued any manifestation of political opposition, for which he was nicknamed the "Iron Chancellor".

In the years 1881-1889, Bismarck conducted "social laws" (on insurance of workers in case of illness and injury, on old-age pensions and disability pensions), which laid the foundations for the social insurance of workers. At the same time, he demanded a tightening of anti-labor policies and, during the 1880s, successfully sought to extend the “exclusive law”.

Bismarck built his foreign policy based on the situation in 1871 after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war and the seizure of Alsace and Lorraine by Germany, promoted the diplomatic isolation of the French Republic and sought to prevent the formation of any coalition threatening the hegemony of Germany. Fearing a conflict with Russia and wanting to avoid a war on two fronts, Bismarck supported the creation of the Russian-Austro-German agreement “Union of Three Emperors” in 1873. At the same time, in 1879, on his initiative, an agreement was reached on an alliance with Austria-Hungary, and in 1882 - the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy), directed against France and Russia and initiated the division of Europe into two hostile coalitions . The German Empire became one of the leaders of international politics.

In March 1890, Bismarck was dismissed from his post as Reich Chancellor and Prussian Prime Minister as a result of conflicts with the new Emperor Wilhelm II and with the military command on foreign and colonial policy and on labor issues. He received the title of Duke of Lauenburg, but refused it.

The last eight years of his life Bismarck spent on his estate Friedrichsruhe. In 1891, he was elected to the Reichstag from Hanover, but he never took his seat there, and two years later refused to stand for re-election.


Bismarck's Mausoleum


Buried in a mausoleum in Friedrichsruhe, Duchy of Lauen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Cape on the northern island of New Earth north of Eks Bay. The name appeared on the map of the German geographer A. Peterman, compiled on the basis of data on the navigation of Norwegian industrialists in 1870.


Вернуться на главную страничку