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Bismarck and the Development of Germany 1815 1871 Otto Pflanze

Bismarck and the Development of Germany 1815 1871

Otto Pflanze

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PrefaceTHE career of a historical personality, observed Wil helm Dilthey, is marked byreciprocating influences. In his early years such a n individual is molded by forces the course of whose development he himself later helps to determine. BecauseMorePrefaceTHE career of a historical personality, observed Wil helm Dilthey, is marked byreciprocating influences. In his early years such a n individual is molded by forces the course of whose development he himself later helps to determine. Because of this interaction the biographer of Schleier-macher was compelled to broaden his subject to include the intellectual history of a whole epoch.What was true of Schleiermacher, the theologian, is also true of Bismarck, the statesmanThe customary biographical formcannot capture the significance of a political figure of his stature. As important as the man himself were the many forces—social, political, intellectual, and institutional— which shaped his environment and with which he dealt. This work is concerned with the interaction between these forces and the will of apolitical genius. It is a study of the effect of one man of extraordinary talent upon the historical process. Hence the more personal and anecdotal aspects of Bismarcks life are included only where they indicate attitudes or affected policy and events. The purpose is to expose the elements of thought and outlook which determined his political aims, the techniques of strategy by which he strove for their achievement, and the ultimate consequences of both for Germanpolitical development.Usually the period of German unification has been studied from the standpoint offoreign affairs. Such an orientation gives to the year 1871 the appearance of an endrather than a beginning. This book seeks to relate t he story of diplomatic maneuver, war, and victory to the greater problem of Germanys internal political growth. The concentration is upon the internal consequences of both domestic and foreign policy and events. Seen from this viewpoint, the period of unification was one of revolution and reconstruction which established the characterof German political attitudes and institutions until recent times. The subsequent period of consolidation, including the domestic history of the North German Confederation, has been reserved for a sequel volume.During the years of research consumed by this project I incurred personal debts of many kinds. By far the greatest is that howed to Hajo Holborn of Yale University. It was he who more than a decade ago first pointed out to me the need for a fresh approach to the Bismarck problem. Without his advice, support, and encouragement along the way this volume would never have been completed. I am also d eeply grateful to Herbert Kaplan and Theodore Hamerow, who read the entire manuscript and were responsible for many improvements- to Walter Steiner, my research assist ant, for his patient help on many boring tasks- to Lawrence Steefel for graciously permitting me to profit from the manuscript of his work on the war of 1870- to Frank Rodgers and the library staff of the University of Illinois for much technical assistance- and to my wife, Hertha HaberlanderPflanze, whose keen literary sense pruned away many stylistic errors. In 1951-1952 I was aided by a research grant from the American Councilof Learned Societies and during 1955-1957 by a United States government grant under the Fulbright act for research in Germany. The Universities of Massachusetts and Illinois also provided financial assistance. To the history department of the Univer sity of Minnesota I am particularly indebted for the recognition accorded the manuscript.Otto PflanzeMinneapolis March 1, 1962