BBC - History - Otto von Bismarck

Bismarck was born to a Prussian family in Schönhausen, just east of the Elbe in . The Bismarck family was ancient but undistinguished. Bismarck's mother, born Wilhelmine Menken, came from a Prussian civil service family, and her father had been a close advisor to . Her intelligence, learnedness and attraction to city life made her ill-suited to her husband Ferdinand von Bismarck's leisurely country life-style. Otto took after his mother, but resented her coldness and admired his father, whom he idolized as an exemplar of the Prussian junker tradition. As A.J.P. Taylor writes, "He was the clever, sophisticated son of a clever, sophisticated mother, masquerading all his life as his heavy, earthy father."

Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor

Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor and architect of German unification.

Otto von Bismarck - Prime minister | German …

Germany became a modern, unified nation under the leadership of the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), who between 1862 and 1890 effectively ruled first Prussia and then all of Germany. A master strategist, Bismarck initiated decisive wars with Denmark, Austria and France to unite 39 independent German states under Prussian leadership. Although an arch-conservative, Bismarck introduced progressive reforms—including universal male suffrage and the establishment of the first welfare state—in order to achieve his goals. He manipulated European rivalries to make Germany a world power, but in doing so laid the groundwork for both World Wars.

Otto Von Bismarck Speech - Blood and Iron

In 1847, Bismarck married Johanna von Puttkamer, who provided him with stability. It was a year of significant change in his life, when he also embraced the Christian tradition of Lutheranism, and began his political career in the Prussian legislature, where he gained a reputation as an ultra-conservative royalist. In 1851, King Frederick Wilhelm IV appointed Bismarck as Prussian representative to the German Confederation. He then served as ambassador to Russia and France. In 1862, he returned to Prussia and was appointed prime minister by the new king, Wilhelm I.

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Otto von Bismarck - Prime minister | German chancellor …

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck was born April 1, 1815, at his family’s estate in the Prussian heartland west of Berlin. His father was a fifth-generation Junker (a Prussian landowning noble), and his mother came from a family of successful academics and government ministers. Throughout his life Bismarck would emphasize his rural Junker roots, underplaying his considerable intellect and cosmopolitan outlook.

Otto von Bismarck, Reichskanzler (Chancellor of the …

Although German leader Otto von Bismarck wore a general's uniform in public for much of his later life (and successfully prosecuted three wars as chancellor), his only prior military service was a brief, unwilling stint in a reserve unit.

Read a biography of Otto von Bismarck - the first chancellor of united Germany.


After reading law at the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin, Otto von Bismarck entered Prussian service and became a judicial administrator at Aachen. Bismarck gained prominence in 1851 when he was chosen to represent Prussia in the Federal diet.

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The Austro-Prussian war was short and victorious. Moltke and Von Roon had re-organized the Prussian army and turned it into an exceptionally effective fighting machine, and defeated Austria in . Austria was humiliated, but rather than press on Bismarck got Wilhelm to stop the war early, and forced Austria to cede all of its German possessions (Prussia could have gone for more, but Bismarck did not want to engender future disagreements over this). The result of the war was threefold: first Austria was no longer a player in Germany politics, second the German confederation was disbanded, and third Prussia was acknowledged as the new leader of Germany internationally. To solidify his successes Bismarck as a federation between the Northern German allies from the last war and Prussia, with Prussia at its head with King Wilhelm as President, and Bismarck as chancellor. This successful war ended the domestic disturbances at home, helped Bismarck's supporters into the Prussian Landtag, and provided support to Bismarck in the times to come.

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Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), born on April 1, 1815 at Schönhausen, is considered the founder of the German Empire. For nearly three decades he shaped the fortunes of Germany, from 1862 to 1873 as prime minister of Prussia and from 1871 to 1890 as Germany's first Chancellor.