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Otto von Bismarck Quotes:

With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half.

Otto von Bismarck

When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

Otto von Bismarck

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

Otto von Bismarck

When you say you agree to a thing in principle you mean that you have not the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.

Otto von Bismarck

Politics is not an exact science.

Otto von Bismarck

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Politics is the art of the next best.

Otto von Bismarck

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.

Otto von Bismarck

When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.

Otto von Bismarck

A statesman… must wait until he hears the steps of God sounding through events, then leap up and grasp the hem of His garment.

Otto von Bismarck

To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.

Otto von Bismarck

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.

Otto von Bismarck

The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.

Otto von Bismarck

The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood.

Otto von Bismarck

A government must not waiver once it has chosen it’s course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward.

Otto von Bismarck

A journalist is a person who has mistaken their calling.

Otto von Bismarck

I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

Otto von Bismarck

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

Otto von Bismarck

The main thing is to make history, not to write it.

Otto von Bismarck

Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.

Otto von Bismarck

An appeal to fear never finds an echo in German hearts.

Otto von Bismarck

Politics ruins the character.

Otto von Bismarck

All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.

Otto von Bismarck

No civilization other than that which is Christian, is worth seeking or possessing.

Otto von Bismarck

Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.

Otto von Bismarck

Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: it is a geographical expression.

Otto von Bismarck

Politics is the art of the possible.

Otto von Bismarck

Who is Otto von Bismarck?

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (born von Bismarck-Schönhausen; German: Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst von Bismarck, Herzog zu Lauenburg; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), known as Otto von Bismarck (About this soundlist), was a conservative German statesman who mastered Germany’s unification in 1871 and served as its first chancellor until 1890, in which capacity he served as its first chancellor.

He was previously Minister President of Prussia (1862–1890) and Chancellor of the Confederation of North Germany (1867–1871).

Three short, decisive wars he provoked against Denmark, Austria and France. He abolished the supranational German Confederation after the victory against Austria, and then established the North German Confederation as the first German national state, aligning the smaller North German states behind Prussia.

Having obtained assistance from the independent South German states in the defeat of France by the Confederation, he established the German Empire (which excluded Austria) and unified Germany.

With Prussian supremacy achieved by 1871, Bismarck skilfully used diplomatic balance of power to preserve Germany ‘s position in a stable Europe. To historian Eric Hobsbawm, Bismarck “remained for nearly twenty years after 1871 an undisputed world champion in the multilateral diplomatic chess game, dedicated himself solely and effectively to preserving peace between the nations.”

His annexation of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsaß-Lothringen), however, gave new fuel to French nationalism and Germanophobia. Bismarck’s Realpolitik diplomacy and strong domestic law gave him the title of “Chancellor of the Iron.”

The foundation of his foreign policy has been German unification and its rapid economic growth. He disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when both the elite and the mass opinion demanded it. Juggling a rather complicated series of interlocking conferences, agreements and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to preserve the position of Germany.

Bismarck, a master of complex politics at home, created the first welfare state in the western world, with the goal of winning support from the working class which would otherwise go to his communist enemies. He supported the low-tariff, anti-Catholic liberals in the 1870s and opposed the Catholic Church in what was called the Culture Campf.

He lost the battle as the Catholics reacted by creating the powerful German Center Party and using universal male suffrage to gain a seat block. Bismarck then reversed, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs and formed a political alliance to fight the Socialists with the Center Party.

A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his husband, Wilhelm I, who had disagreed with Bismarck but ended up supporting him against his wife and his heir’s advice. While Germany’s parliament had been elected by universal male suffrage, it had little control over government policy.

Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled the landed aristocracy in eastern Prussia through a powerful, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite.

He dominated both domestic and foreign affairs, until the young new headstrong Kaiser Wilhelm II replaced him. He retired to write his memoirs. Bismarck, a Junker himself, was strong-willed, open-minded and overbearing, but he could also be polite, charming and witty.

Occasionally he displayed a violent temper and preserved his control by continually threatening melodramatically resignation, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international perspective but also the capacity to juggle dynamic changes in the short term.

Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists; numerous monuments were built to honor the founder of the new Reich. Many historians praise him as a visionary who played an instrumental role in uniting Germany and, once that was accomplished, maintained peace in Europe through skilful diplomacy