“The German Empire of 1871–1918. Because the German-speaking part of the multinational Austrian Empire was excluded, this geographic construction represented a lesser Germany (Kleindeutsch) solution.”
Otto Von Bismarck, a Prussian leader who dominated European affairs from the 1860s until 1890, is largely credited with unifying the German nation in 1871. He was the first chancellor of the German Empire. Would German unification have occurred without Count von Bismarck?
The answer is “probably not.” Bismarck was a central figure in the unification of Germany, as this discussion on Quora.com details. He was viewed at the time as a conservative because he opposed the Marxists and socialists, indeed he banned the Social Democratic Party until he resigned from the government in 1890.
He believed in a strong central government. He believed that the chancellor should have strong, even authoritarian powers, but because of his long-standing Prussian belief in public service or advocating for the citizenry, he did not abuse his authority. Yet the very powers granted to him were later greatly abused by Adolph Hitler.
To co-opt the burgeoning socialist German labor movement, supported by the Protestant church, he proposed a cradle-to-grave social safety net — including national health insurance, old age pension, unemployment and disability insurance plan. “My thought was to win the working classes, or should I say to bribe them, to regard the state as a social institution, which consists because of them and to care for their welfare,” he said.
“He did a great job unifying Germany, but he was even better at establishing a diplomatic system that kept the European powers in balance. Had he been around in 1914, there might have been no WWI,” wrote , Modern Germans “generally acknowledge his political and diplomatic talent and his steps towards the modern welfare state,” he wrote. “They will generally not like his aristocratic and militaristic attitude and his oppression of worker’s rights movements.”
- How did Bismarck unify Germany? Discussion on Quora.com.
- Why is Bismarck not regarded as a German national hero? “Only Prussians and hardcore Prussians see him as “our boy Bismarck”. Even though Prussia has ceased to exist since the end of WWII, Prussia remains in spirit in Germany, and is subjected to jokes and poked fun at by other regions of Germany, like Saxony and Bavaria…Since reunification, Germany has been moving forward not as a German nation, but a multicultural European nation. Bismarck is a relic of a fractured past that is in sharp contrast to Europe today.”
- German national heroes as of 2003 included Conrad Adenauer, Martin Luther, Karl Marx, Willy Brandt, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Gutenberg, Bismarck, and Albert Einstein.
- What would Bismarck say to Angela Merkel?