Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold von

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck

b. 1 Apr 1815, Schönhausen/Elbe, Brandenburg, Prussia
d. 30 Jul 1898, Friedrichsruh, near Hamburg, German Reich

Title: Bundeskanzler des Norddeutschen Bundes (Federal Chancellor of the North German Confederation)
Term: 14 Jul 1867 - 20 Mar 1890
Chronology: 14 Jul 1867, appointed by the King of Prussia on behalf of the North German Confederation (König von Preußen im Namen des Norddeutschen Bundes) [1]
  18 Jan 1871, proclamation of the German Reich (Deutsches Reich), Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France [2]
  20 Mar 1890, discharged by the Emperor acting on resignation
Names/titles: Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen (count of Bismarck-Schönhausen) [from 15 Sep 1865]; Fürst von Bismarck-Schönhausen (prince of Bismarck-Schönhausen) [from 21 Mar 1871]; Herzog von Lauenburg (duke of Lauenburg) [from 20 Mar 1890]

The son of a German aristocrat, Otto von Bismarck studied law at the University of Göttingen (1832-1835). In 1847 he became a member of the Prussian United Diet. During the 1848 Revolutions Bismarck did not support constitutional reform but as a member (1851-1859) of the Federal German Diet at Frankfurt demanded equal rights for Prussians. He served as a foreign ambassador to the courts of Russia (1859-1862) and France (1862). Recalled in 1862 he was appointed President of the Prussian government (23 Sep 1862 - 1 Jan 1873). Bismarck helped to reorganize Germany under the hegemony of Prussia attained by means of military conflicts with Denmark (1864) and Austria (1866). The North German Confederation was established in 1867 under the Prussian supremacy. In 1870 Bismarck provoked the Franco-Prussian War and as a result was able to obtain Alsace and Lorraine from France. In January 1871 the southern German states joined the North German Confederation to create the German Empire. The German Emperor Wilhelm I appointed Bismarck as first Reich Chancellor. The government of Bismarck initiated the Kulturkampf campaign against Catholic political influence. In 1872 and 1873 it passed several laws limiting the powers of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. On 1 Jan 1873 Bismarck relinquished the office of President of the Prussian government in favor of Albrecht Graf von Roon, but after 11 months he resumed this post (9 Nov 1873), which he occupied until 20 Mar 1890. In 1873 Bismarck negotiated the Three Emperors' League with Austria and Russia, but at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, he forced Russia to abandon some of its recent diplomatic gains in the Balkan Peninsula. Germany formed the Dual Alliance with Austria (1879), which required the two countries to stand together in case of an attack by Russia. In 1882, Italy, fearing French hostility, joined the Dual Alliance, making it into the Triple Alliance. Bismarck dealt severely with trade unionists but in an effort to reduce the appeals of socialism, his administration introduced the world's first modern welfare scheme (1883-1887). After a dispute with the new Emperor, Wilhelm II, and foreseeing the consequences of elections won by liberals, Bismarck resigned from office in March 1890. He spent the rest of his life in retirement. Biography source: [3]

[1] Bundes-Gesetzblatt des Norddeutschen Bundes, 1867, S. 23.
[2] Appointed Bundeskanzler on 14 Jul 1867; styles Kanzler des Deutschen Reichs and Reichskanzler gradually replaced the Bundeskanzler after the proclamation of the Deutsches Reich on 18 Jan 1871; the style Reichskanzler is prescribed by the Constitution (Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs) effective 18 Apr 1871. For instance, Bekanntmachung des 5. Verzeichnisses der höheren Lehranstalten vom März 1871 is signed on 28 Mar 1871 by Der Bundeskanzler. Fürst v. Bismarck. (Bundes-Gesetzblatt des Deutschen Bundes, № 15, S. 59, ausgegeben zu Berlin den 1. April 1871). An imperial decree, Allerhöchster Erlaß, betreffend das Rangverhältniß der Posträthe und Ober-Posträthe, signed by Wilhelm I. on 1 Apr 1871 is addressed "An den Reichskanzler." (Reichs-Gesetzblatt, № 22, S. 103, ausgegeben zu Berlin den 2. Juni 1871) and the same way of addressing is found in Allerhöchster Erlaß, betreffend die Ausgabe verzinslicher Schatzanweisungen... of 29 Apr 1871 (Reichs-Gesetzblatt, № 19, S. 95, ausgegeben zu Berlin den 8. Mai 1871). The first issue of the official gazette titled Reichs-Gesetzblatt (№ 19) was published 8 May 1871, and the chancellery was renamed from Bundeskanzleramt to Reichskanzleramt according to an imperial decree of 12 May 1871 (Reichs-Gesetzblatt, № 21, S. 102, ausgegeben zu Berlin den 25. Mai 1871)
[3] "Biographisches Handbuch des deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes 1871-1945" (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2000), Band 1: A-F, S. 167-168.
Last updated on: 25 Jun 2009 20:00:00