Otto Von Bismarck is widely considered to be the man who unified the German Empire. This accomplishment is pretty extraordinary all on its own. At the same time, it is well worth appreciating everything else Von Bismarck accomplished, over the course of his remarkable life.
1. He Was Born Into Nobility
Born on April 1st, 1815, Otto Von Bismarck was born into a military family. His family also consisted of nobles, academics, and other individuals of note. His father was a fifth generation Junker (a Prussian noble who owned land). This would prove to be hugely influential on how Bismarck lived his life and dictated his affairs.
2. He Retired Young
One of the most interesting things about Otto Von Bismarck is the fact that he didn’t actually spend a lot of time with the military. Although he did briefly serve in a reserve unit, Bismarck actually spent much of his early life moving from one small diplomatic post to another. He retired at the age of twenty-four to run his family’s estate. Obviously, this was not the end of Bismarck’s career in politics.
3. He Became A Delegate
During his time as a delegate in the newly established Prussian parliament, he became a key voice against the Revolutions of 1848. From this point, Bismarck began taking on a series of ambassador positions. He learned a great deal during this time period. He would eventually use this knowledge when he was appointed Chief Minister in 1861.
4. The Road To Iron Chancellor
Once William I became the King of Prussia in 1861, he appointed Otto Von Bismarck to be his Chief Minister. It was during this period that Bismarck embarked on the road to some of his greatest achievements. Bismarck used his cunning and intellect to manipulate the king into doing what he felt was in the best interests of his nation. Beginning in 1864, Bismarck used his considerable influence to wage a series of wars. These wars would give his country an extraordinary degree of influence and power.
5. He Unified Germany
Through efforts such as the Austro-Prussian War, Bismarck was able to unite the German Empire into a truly formidable powerhouse. Although William I continued to hold the title of king, it was clear to most people that the real puppet master was Bismarck. Surprisingly, Bismarck was also responsible for establishing a number of welfare state measures. William II eventually forced Bismarck from power, and he died in 1898.