Otto von Bismarck: The German Empire’s first Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck is most well known for being a German-Prussian statesman in the late 1800’s as well as being the first Chancellor of the German Empire.
Otto von Bismarck was born in April 1815 in Brandenburg, in the Prussian Province of Saxony, west of Berlin. He went to school at the Graues Kloster and Friedrich-Wilhelm secondary schools and later attended the University of Gottingen where he studied law from 1832 to 1833.
At the age of 32, Otto von Bismarck became a representative in the Vereinigter Landtag, the new Prussian legislature, where he became known as a reactionary politician and Royalist. He was then elected into the lower house of the Prussian legislature, the Landtag, in 1849. Here he opposed unification of Germany the Parliament eventually failed to bring unification to Germany.
Otto von Bismarck later left the Landtag and was obtained a seat on the Prussian House of Lords, where he slowly lessened his reactionary views. In 1862, he was appointed by King Wilhelm I to be the Minister-President as well as the Foreign Minister. From here into the 1860’s, Otto von Bismarck helped reorganize Germany with the goal of unification under Prussian Leadership.
1n 1870, Otto von Bismarck felt that if France was shown to be an aggressor against the German states, the states would be unified behind the King of Prussia. Otto von Bismarck instigated the Franco-Prussian War by publishing a heavily edited transcription of a conversation between the French Ambassador to Prussia and the King of Prussia.
Because of Otto von Bismarck’s actions, France declared war five days later, resulting in a victory for Prussia. Otto von Bismarck used this to secure Germany’s unification. At the end of the war, France surrendered some of Lorraine and Alsace to Prussia.
At the end of the war, Otto von Bismarck was made into the Prince Von Bismarck as well the Imperial Chancellor of the German Empire.
One of Otto von Bismarck’s most significant contributions to society was his creation of the first welfare state. In the 1880’s he introduced many different programs in Germany regarding social insurance to promote the well-being for the citizens, particularly workers which would also help keep the economy running efficiently.
Because of his ideas, the German system started to provide worker’s compensation, retirement benefits, disability benefits, accident insurance, unemployment insurance and health insurance. None of these had ever been included in any previous society. Despite his right wing views, Otto von Bismarck is often thought of as a socialist because of these policies.