Otto Von Bismarck Essay

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Otto Von Bismarck was instrumental in the unification of German states up for 1871. His experience as ambassador in St. Petersburg and Paris gave him considerable experience in foreign affairs, and his aim sought to deliver Prussia a higher status in Europe. Representing the Junker class, Bismarck was a great opportunist, delivering and commanding decisions well by exploiting situations at the right time. He accomplished unification through diplomatic persuasion and well prepared wars. He would often have individual tactics from the King.

Germans awarded much praise to Bismarck in the era, even some pronouncing him as a political genius. Today’s’ Historians are perhaps not so defiant in Bismarck’s tactics, but rather his time of emergence and ability to exploit opportunities. An example is when Bismarck claimed “Man cannot create the current of events. He can only float with it and steer”. In the 1850’s, Prussia’s rival, Austria was declining in hierarchy and dominance. Bad decisions and long-term mistakes would creep into Austrian politics after the death Schwarzenberg in 1852. However, Prussia would continue it’s impressive economic position and this increased nationalistic views and attitudes.

Meternich was determined to keep Austria in the ‘drivers’ seat’. Perhaps influenced by France, Meternich saw Germany as ripe for revolution from a combination of political unrest and social discontent. Senior posts in the Army, political power and all forms of bureaucracy would stay only with the noble class, which agitated the Middle class. Agricultural labourers and urban workers lived and worked in terrible conditions. An era of new technology left many people unemployed and caused protests in several industries. Together with potato blight, cholera, drought and economic inflation, the position heightened in tension.

As if a long-term showdown was rumoured, Prussia had a head-start. Prussia had well trained military due to it’s huge disciplined army, and it...
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