Prince Otto Furst von Bismarck-Schonhausen


General Information

  • aka The Iron Chancellor
  • Architect of the German Empire. Credited with the 1871 unification of Germany.
  • Warned against taking the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine from France after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.
  • Warned against the violation of Belgian neutrality as dictated by the Schlieffen Plan.
  • Had difficulty winning approval of alliance with Austria-Hungary. Wilhelm I was worried it would offend Russia.
  • Dismissed as Chancellor by Wilhelm II in Mar-1890.
  • His legacy of alliances proved difficult for his successors to manage.

political cartoon This 1887 American political cartoon depicts the Chancellor balancing the figures of war and peace on a teeter-totter made up of a powder keg and a board named "European politics". At the same time, he is juggling the great powers of Europe. An artillery piece lies in the foreground.


"I am bored. The great things are done. The German Reich is made."
Bismarck after the German unification of 1871

"A generation that has taken a beating is always followed by a generation that deals one."
Bismarck on France

"Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans,"
Bismarck's prediction on what would provoke the next war