Bismarck, Otto von.

Back to all people

- Medals

Bismarck, Otto von, born on 01-04-1815 in Schönhoven was “The Iron Chancellor”, Prussian statesman, architect of German unity and eventual elder statesman of Europe. His father, Ferdinand von Bismarck-Schönhausen, was a Junker squire descended from a Swabian family that had ultimately settled as estate owners in Pomerania. Ferdinand was a typical member of the Prussian landowning elite. The family’s economic circumstances were modest—Ferdinand’s farming skills being perhaps less than average—and Bismarck was not to know real wealth until the rewards flowed in after the achievement of German unification. His mother, Wilhelmine, born, Mencken, came from an educated bourgeois family that had produced a number of higher civil servants and academics. She had been married to Ferdinand von Bismarck at age 16 and found provincial life confining. When her son Otto was seven, she enrolled him in the progressive Plamann Institute in Berlin and moved to the capital to be near him. The young Bismarck resented exchanging an easy life in the country for a more circumscribed life in a large city, where in school he was pitted against the sons of Berlin’s best-educated families. He spent five years at the school and went on to the Frederick William gymnasium for three years. He took his university entrance examination (Abitur) in 1832.
Otto was posted as ambassador to St Petersburg, then to Paris, and finally he was summoned to become the chief minister of Prussia in September 1862. He used the Franco-Prussian war to bring together the scattered principalities of Germany under one banner, the Second Reich being proclaimed at Versailles in January 1871. He thus became the first chancellor of a united Germany, which had become the foremost power in Europe. Bismarck’s tenure was ultimately cut off in 1890 by the insecure and impetuous young Kaiser Wilhelm II
and it can be argued that the ‘balance of tension’ he had created unravelled in the unsteady hands of his successors, leading ultimately to WW I. Historical estimates of Otto von Bismarck remain condtradictory. The later political failure of the state he created has led some to argue that by his own standards Bismarck was himself a failure. He is, however, widely regarded as an extraordinarily astute statesman who understood that to Field power successfully a leader must assess not only its strength but also the circumstances of its application. In his analysis and management of these circumstances, Bismarck showed himself the master of realpolitik. The Bismarckian era closed with the death of Emperor Frederick III. A struggle for supremacy between Bismarck and Willem II developed immediately upon that emperor’s accession in 1888 and ended with Bismarck’s dismissal in 1890. Bismarck, created prince after the Franco-Prussian War, was now made duke (Herzog) of Lauenburg. He retired and spent the remainder of his life in oral and written criticism of the emperor and his ministers and in defence of his own policies.

Death and burial ground of Bismarck, Otto von.

 Bismarck died  on 30-07-1898, at the age of 83, at Friedrichsruh, where he is entombed in the Bismarck-Mausoleum. On his gravestone it is written “Loyal German Servant of Kaiser William I”.
After his death, hundreds of monuments were erected in Germany. This often took the form of a tower. Examples of this can be found in Glauchau, Konstanz, Stuttgart and Wuppertal. In Hamburg in 1906 a huge Bismarck monument by the sculptor Hugo Lederer was placed. In Berlin there is the Bismarck National Memorial and in Grunewald there is a statue of the walking statesman with a dog.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:


Eddie Albert Eddie Albert

Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *