Otto von Bismarch : biography
Otto von Bismarch was famous among Prussian conservators as a representative of junkers’ interests. He served as a diplomat (1851-1862) during the reaction time. In 1862 he was appointed to be the minister and president of Prussian government. During the constitutional crisis he opposed to liberals in defence of monarchy. He was the minister of foreign affairs and turned Prussia into dominating force in Germany after Danish war of 1864. In French-Prussian war of 1870-871 he was motive power of decision of the German question about Small German way and took part in organization of the Second Reich.
When Otto von Bismarch was a Reich chancellor and Prussian minister and president he had considerable influence on Reich’s politics till his retirement in 1890. In foreign policy Bismarch stuck to the principle of forces’ balance (or European balance).
In internal policy his governing since 1866 can be divided into two parts. Firstly he made an alliance with moderate liberals. In this period he held numerous internal reforms, for example, he introduceв civil marriage which was used to weaken the influence of Catholic church. Since the end of 1870-s Bismarch started to separate from liberals. During this period he used politics of protectionism and governmental interference in economics. In 1880-s he adopted anti-socialist law. But disagreements with keiser Wilhelm II led to Bismarch’s retirement.
During following years Bismarch had a considerable political role, criticizing his successors. Owing to popularity of his memoirs he managed to influence on formation of his image in public mind for a long time.
In the middle of XX century positive appraisal of Bismarch’s role dominated in German historic literature, he was introduced as a politician who united German princedoms in integrated national country which was a reflection of national interests. After his death a lot of monuments in his honor was erected as a symbol of strong personal power. He made a new nation and realized progressive systems of social support. Bismarch was loyal to the king and he strengthened government with strong, well prepared bureaucracy. After the Second World War critical opinions about Otto von Bismarch started to appear, accusing him in particular in cutting down oа democracy in Germany. More attention was paid to shwas considered ortages of his politics an his activity in context of the present situation.
Otto von Bismarch was born on the 1st of April in 1815 in a family of noblemen owing a small estate in Branderburg province (now Saxony-Anhalt). All generations of Bismarchs family served to Brandenburg’s sovereigns in peaceful and military fields, but they wasn’t outstanding. Simply speaking Bismarchs were junkers and descendants of knights-conquerors who founded settlings on the territory to the east of Elbe. Bismarchs couldn’t boast spacious land ownership, wealth or aristocratic luxury but they were considered as noble people.
From 1822 till 1827 Otto studied in Plaman’s school which laid special stress on physical development. But young Otto wasn’t pleased with it and often wrote his parents about it. At the age of twelve he left the school but didn’t leave Berlin and continued studying in the Frederick the Great’s gymnasium on Frederickstrasse. When he was fifteen he changed gymnasium and started to attend the gymnasium “Near Grey monastery”. He was a medium, not an outstanding student. But he learnt French and German languages very well and was keen on reading foring literature. The main interests of young man were politics of past years, stories about war and peaceful rivalry of different countries. This time he unlike his mother was far from religion.
When he finished studying his mother sent him to the University of Georg August in Gottingen in kingdom Hannover. He was supposed to learn law and become a diplomat. But Bismarch wasn’t ready to study seriously and he preferred entertainments with friends – he had many friends in Gottingen. Otto took part in 27 duels, once he was injured – he had a scar on his cheak after this injury. On the whole Otto von Bismarch wasn’t very different from German “gold” youth.
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