Bismarck: Master Planner or Opportunist?

Topics: Otto von Bismarck, Prussia, Franco-Prussian War Pages: 8 (1367 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Unification of Germany Example Essays.
Bismarck Master Planner or Opportunist?

| | | | |Bismarck later declared that he had carefully planned unification of Germany in 5 clear | | |steps from 1862. He said that he had planned: 1.To Obtain Russian Neutrality; 2.To trick | | |Austria into declaring War; 3.To ensure French Neutrality; 4.To Treat Austria Leniently | | |after Defeat; 5.To Trick France into Declaring War. | |INTRODUCTION: |Other Historians have recently claimed that rather than plan unification, Bismarck was a | | |skilful diplomat who used events as opportunities to promote Prussian interests. | | |Regardless of whether Bismarck planned unification or used events as opportunities he | | |definitely had a favourable ‘hand of cards’ which he inherited when he became | | |Minister-President in 1862 which allowed him to unify Germany by 1871. | | | | | |1. To obtain Russian Neutrality. | | | | | |Evidence for Plan: | | |He obtained Russian neutr\ality for the later War with Austria through the Alvensleben | | |Convention of 1863. This meant Russian Poles who escaped over the border into Prussian | | |Poland would be returned to the Tsar. | | | | | |Evidence against Plan: | | |It is unlikely that Bismarck knew the Poles would revolt in advance and it seems more likely| |STAGE 1 MASTER PLAN |that he helped the Tsar to prevent the Prussian Poles rebelling too. | | |The International condemnation at Alvensleben led Bismarck to play down the event’s | | |significance which outraged the Tsar. | | |It almost led to him being sacked by William I. | | | | | |Analysis: | | |Despite gaining Russian neutrality in the following War against Austria Bismarck achieved it| | |through luck rather than planning. The Tsar was angrier at Austria not supporting Russia in | | |the Crimean War than at Bismarck’s public back down over Alvensleben. He did achieve | | |neutrality but it seems unlikely that he would have planned such a dangerous route. | | |...
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