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Otto Von Bismarck was a great leader in the unification of Germany. His skill as a diplomat was unrivalled during his reign as chancellor of Prussia. The mastery he showed in foreign policy was such that he was able to outwit all other powers and make their leaders appear inadequate. Bismarck was an unrivalled diplomat during his reign. His German Reich constitution of April 1871 allowed him to dictate the government on his own terms. However, the parliament only had the power to initiate debate upon any point of his (Bismarck's) policy, but neither he nor any other minister was responsible to the assembly for his actions" (T.
A. Morris, p 116). Furthermore, the constitution was designed to give the impression that power was shared equally between the emperor and the chancellor, however Bismarck had the upper hand in all crucial decision-making, as he was adept at convincing Wilhelm of the correctness of his policy. A further example of the extent to which he was a great chancellor is the fact that he was able to deal with the internal opposition. Bismarck was able to gain the support of the National-Liberal party as they were sympathetic to the chancellor because he had brought about national unity, the party's major policy aim, and also because many short-term goals of the two partners coincided - most notably "consolidation of that national unity and the centralisation of the administration of the Reich" (Morris, p 118). His association with the National Liberals strengthened his position by giving him a strong presence in the Reichstag, and can therefore be seen as a preventive means of dealing with internal opposition.
Bismarck's political successes were remarkable, but he demonstrated an undeniably unethical way of treating internal opposition, coupled by significant opportunism. However, he was succumbing to the broad demands of the public only to be able to carry out the foreign politics necessary to secure the German Reich for the future. The mastery Bismarck demonstrated in foreign policy was such that he was able to outwit all other powers and make their leaders appear inadequate. Bismarck believed that the unification of German states was determined by Prussia's foreign policy. He was also persuaded that "nothing but a change in our foreign attitude can liberate the position of the Crown in domestic matters from the pressure which it will otherwise be impossible to resist. " On September 30, 1862 Bismarck followed through on this belief in his famous blood and iron speech, which implied that if Germany was to unify it would be with the use of military force. These armies would than be used in three wars which Bismarck intentionally started though an aggressive foreign policy to unify the country.
The Ems Telegram of 1870 was a prime example of Bismarck's ability to use a hostile foreign policy to outwit a country. After editing a letter sent to Napoleon, Bismarck ensured that the amended version was released to the newspapers and telegraphed to all of Prussia's foreign embassies. French court circles gratified Bismarck's deeper purposes by having the French Empire declare war on the Kingdom of Prussia on July 19 th, 1870. Bismarck's ultimate aim, a constitutional German nation-state was achieved through a patriotic frenzy generated by stunning military victories against French forces in the fall of 1870. Bismarck's military successes were noteworthy, but had been achieved at considerable risk.
Luck had played a part in the decisive victory at the Battle of Koeniggraetz; otherwise, the war might have lasted much longer than it did. However, this problem would have been a mere stepping stone to the goal that Bismarck eventually achieved, a united Germany established as the German Empire, and the Prussian king, Wilhelm I, crowned its emperor.
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Research essay sample on German Reich Foreign Policy