Bismarck-Schönhausen, Eduard Leopold, Prince von (18151898)

Bismarck-Schönhausen, Eduard Leopold, Prince von, born at Schönhausen; woke up into civil life by the events of 1848; took a bold stand against revolutionary ideas and measures; conceived the idea of freeing the several States of Germany from foreign control, and welding them into one under the crown of Prussia. Summoned in 1862 by King William to be his political adviser, his influence was at first distrusted, but the annexation of Sleswig-Holstein by force of arms in 1863 raised him into general favour. His next feat, the humiliation of Austria at Königgrätz in 1866, and the consequent erection of a German Confederation, with Prussia at its head, made him the idol of the nation. His treatment of Napoleon III. provoked the latter into a declaration of war, and to an advance on the part of the French against Berlin. To the surprise of nearly all Europe, the Germans proved to be a nation of soldiers, marshalled as army never was before, and beat the French ignominiously back from the Rhine. Count Bismarck had the satisfaction of seeing the power of France, that still threatened, as well as that of Austria, helpless at his feet, the German empire restored under a Hohenzollern king, and himself installed as chancellor of the monarch he had served so well. Nothing he did after this—though he reformed the coinage, codified the law, established protection, increased the army, and repressed Socialism—equalled this great feat, and for this a grateful nation must ever honour his name. If he ceased to be chancellor of Germany on the accession of William II., it was because the young king felt he would have a freer hand with a minister more likely to be under his control (18151898).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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