Biography of Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold von - Archontology
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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 (Federal Chancellor)
Term: 14 Jul 1867 - 3 May 1871
Chronology: 14 Jul 1867, appointed by an order of the King of Prussia in the name of the North German Confederation (König von Preußen im Namen des Norddeutschen Bundes) (Reichsgesetzblatt, No. 1, 2 Aug 1867, p. 23)
Title: Reichskanzler (Reich Chancellor)
Term: 4 May 1871 - 20 Mar 1890
  4 May 1871, the name of the office is changed from Bundeskanzler to Reichskanzler in accordance with the Constitution of the German Reich (Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs) promulgated by the German Emperor on 16 Apr 1871 and coming into effect on the 14th day after the end of the day on which it was published (4 May 1871) (Reichsgesetzblatt, No. 16, 20 Apr 1871, pp. 63-85)
  20 Mar 1890, discharged by an order of the German Emperor acting on resignation (Deutscher Reichsanzeiger, No. 72, 20 Mar 1890 (evening edition), p. 1)
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: "Biographisches Handbuch des deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes 1871-1945" (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2000), Band 1: A-F, S. 167-168.