Hamerow begins his introduction with a defense of the theory that history is determined by the great people of society or The Great Man Theory of history. He goes on to say that "They are the makers of the world in which we live. Otto Von Bismarck belongs in this Company."
The controversies surrounding his life still go on between historians today. He is portrayed as a destroyer of liberty and also as a compromiser of liberalism. Some see Bismarck as trying to preserve the old order of Europe. Bismarck worked against liberal plans for unification of Germany but stood proudly in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles as the German Empire he helped to create was proclaimed. Bismarck as man and as statesman has been a point of interests for many history scholars' interpretations. Bismarck's empire lasted only 20 years after him. Bismarck believed that armed force was necessary in relations among governments Blood and Iron his methods. Through three successful wars Bismarck united Germany. With the creation of the 2nd German Reich Germany become the strongest nation on the continent. After the union of the German states Bismarck became an outspoken activist for peace on the continent. Bismarck never succumbed to the temptation of conquest. Bismarck led the German people to empire but is criticized by not training the nation in self-governing. Bismarck never talked about racial supremacy or unlimited conquest. He believed in a balance of power resting upon the existence of strong nation states. Introduction Evaluation
Hamerow's introduction gives a very good foundation of German history and review of his and others thoughts on Bismarck. He sets up very well a good basis for what the rest of the book will be about. He puts out several different areas of consideration on Bismarck that will later be discussed in the book and keeps it interesting. A Country Squire
At a young age Bismarck was more interested in his estates and farming than in politics. Even in his later years he kept watch over his estate in Vorzin. It was during these years that he learned to know the land and its people well. This knowledge was to aid him later in his political career. Much of his earlier life was spent on his lands and it is from here that he learned to love Germany. He believed later in life that it was country life that made people more practical and city life took away from life. He never forgot his love for the country and it shaped his views accordingly. A Country Squire Evaluation
Marks gives a good history study of Bismarck's young life. An interesting look on this powerful mans early upbringing in a more rural setting than always thinking of him as the powerful politician. Formative Intellectual Experiences
Bismarck's youth was one that he led on his own not wanting to be led or ordered by anyone but himself. It was not until his conversion to Christianity and his marriage that he started to become a force in Germany, although he did not care for the Christian dogmas. Bismarck believed strongly that God had set up government and it was not to be changed as the liberals had wanted. Bismarck viewed war as to honor the state not as just for prestige. He never believed that Parliament should have too much power as he believed that the power should rest in the monarchy or top elite. Bismarck was opposed to parliamentary government but he accepted and worked with it. To Bismarck the strong state required a strong leader and he saw in himself that leader.
Formative Intellectual Experiences Evaluation
Holburn speaks more of the Christian religion and aspect of it in Bismarck. He brought out questions on Bismarck that it was his Christian views having to do with some of his political policies. Holburn seemed to be on the side of Bismarck and supports him. The Road to Damascus
From the beginning of Bismarck's political career other saw in him...