Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst von Bismarck, Herzog zu Lauenburg
(01.04.1815 – 30.07.1898)
place of birth:  Schönhausen/Elbe, Brandenburg
Königreich Preußen:  Ministerpräsident,  Generaloberst mdR GFM

                          

German statesman, known as the Iron Chancellor. He was born of an old Brandenburg Junker family and was elected to the Prussian Parliament in 1847. He was appointed Premier in 1862 by Wilhelm I in order to secure adoption of the King’s army program which was strenuously opposed in parliament. In direct violation of the constitution, he dissolved parliament and collected taxes for the army without parliamentary approval. 

To expel Austria from the German Confederation now became Bismarck’s chief aim. The disposition of Schleswig-Holstein, former Danish territory annexed by Austria and Prussia after their defeat of the Danes in 1864, provided the necessary pretext. He accused Austria of violating the Gastein Treaty of 1865 leading to the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, which ended after seven weeks with the defeat of Austria. Fear of France, skillfully propagated by Bismarck, was to bring the remaining German states into the Prussian orbit when the candidature of a Hohenzollern prince to the throne of Spain caused friction with the French Emperor Napoleon III. In the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), Southern Germany rallied to the Prussian cause as Bismarck had anticipated, and in January 1871, Wilhelm I was proclaimed Emperor of Germany.

Otto von Bismarck, the creator of the German empire, became its first chancellor. When added to his Prussian positions (Premier, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Commerce) the imperial chancellorship gave Bismarck almost complete control of foreign and domestic affairs. In 1872, he formed the Three Emperors League (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia) and also maintained friendly relations with. The death of Friedrich III led to a struggle for supremacy between Bismarck and Wilhelm II immediately upon the Kaiser’s accession in 1888 and ended with Bismarck’s dismissal in 1890. He retired and spent the remainder of his life in oral and written criticism of the emperor and his ministers and in defense of his own policies. He died in July of 1898 in Friedrichsruh near Hamburg.

     

Ministerpräsident ........... 23.09.1862 - 22.12.1872;   09.11.1873 - 20.03.1890

Generaloberst .................... 20.03.1890  (mit dem Range als GFM)

Pour le Mérite .................... 01.09.1884