Analysis of Life of Otto Von Bismarck


Otto Von Bismarck is a significant political leader in modern Germany. He was the first iron chancellor who unified the nation through effective leadership. Otto Von Bismarck was a master strategist who initiated decisive wars that realized the unification of the 39 independent German states. He introduced progressive reforms such as establishing the welfare state and universal male suffrage that ensured goal achievement. Bismarck’s leadership was significant in laying a foundation for the World Wars. This paper focuses on the early life and political achievement of Otto Von Bismarck through realpolitik utilization.

Otto Von Bismarck’s Early Life

Bismarck was born in Prussia that was in the West of Berlin in 1815. His father was a noble Prussian landowner, while the mother came from an academician family. Bismarck’s leadership progression depicted an emphasis on the rural Junker roots and a cosmopolitan intellectual outlook (Tawfeeq 31). Bismarck got his education in Berlin and, after completing the university, served as a diplomat in a series of minor positions before focusing on the family business in Kneiphof. He married in 1847 and worked in Berlin as the Prussian parliament delegate (Tawfeeq 39). Bismarck served in several ambassadorship positions from 1851 to 62, including Frankfurt and Paris as German Confederation, where he learned the vulnerabilities of Europe’s powers.

Otto Von Bismarck’s Political Achievements and Utilization of Realpolitik

Bismarck served as a chief minister in Prussia under King William I. in the position, and Bismarck utilized his intellectual ability to manipulate the king and used royal decrees to circumvent the elected officials’ power. As a Prussian ‘iron chancellor,’ Bismarck unified Germany through realpolitik application. Realpolitik also refers to the real political aspect in leadership advancement for goal attainment. According to Palmer et al. “… people should stop imagining that the new society would result from goodness or the love of justice and that social reformers must resort to the methods of politics – power and calculation” (505).

He utilized realpolitik to expand Prussian dominance in greater Europe. Bismarck began a war series in 1864 that enhanced Prussian dominance in the larger Europe. He first attacked Denmark, which resulted in the gaining of German-speaking territories and later provoked the commencement of the Austro-Prussian war in n1866 that ended in victory. Bismarck believed that realpolitik could enhance the state to achieve what it desired.

Historical knowledge depicts Bismarck in the popularized application of realpolitik. According to Palmer et al. “realpolitik was by no means confined to Germany despite its German name and although the famous German chancellor Bismarck became the famous practitioner” (505). Additionally, Bismarck’s tact progression depicts his line of thought that provoking warfare with other nations such as Austria and France would realize the unification of Prussia and Germany. His realpolitik tactics entailed editing the king’s telegram that ensured tension between Prussia and France as both nations felt insulted. Despite the French declaring war, the Prussians worked together with the German allies to ensure a handy defeat (Kelly 319). The situation enhanced the establishment of a unified Germany under Emperor William I.

Although the war waging action appeared a powerful and brutal solution, Bismarck’s smartest and effective progression created a large and powerful nation Prussia and Germany. This advancement was a significant realpolitik demonstration of allowing people’s solidarity in a crisis moment. Evidence that the warfare was just a unification factor was depicted in the process where Prussia did not take up Austria’s territory in the war victory.

Bismarck and William I embarked on establishing the domestic power after the unification achievement. During the 1870s, Bismarck pursued cultural struggle that involved the parochial school empowerment to the state control and expelled the Jesuits. Bismarck relented his actions in the decade progression and worked with the Catholics to counter the socialites’ threat development (Bennette 3). He set aside his conservative inclination in the 1880s and created Europe’s initial modern warfare that countered the socialites’ perspectives. He significantly contributed to the people’s well-being, particularly through the national healthcare establishment, accident insurance, and a pension plan for old age.

The death of William I preceded the leadership of his sons, who proved difficult to manipulate. Till his death, Bismarck left an outstanding legacy on political achievement through realpolitik application that ensured the unification of the larger German territories. William II’s leadership flourished on unified states and maintained the international rivalry balance.


In conclusion, Otto Von Bismarck is among the significant political figures in Germany. He ensured his education in Berlin and worked as a diplomat before focusing on the family business during the early years. He also worked on ambassadorship on several occasions, which contributed to the understanding of European powers. Bismarck’s political achievements in warfare entailed the realpolitik tactics that focused on expanding Prussia in the Europe dominance and Germany unification. Through provoking war with France and Austria, Bismarck realized Prussian and German solidarity in ensuring victory and unity. Bismarck contributed to the citizen’s welfare by establishing national healthcare, accident insurance, and pension plans for the aged.

Works Cited

Bennette, Rebecca Ayako. “Fighting for the soul of Germany: The Catholic struggle for inclusion after unification (Harvard Historical Studies).” 1-5.

Kelly, Duncan. “August Ludwig von Rochau and Realpolitik as historical political theory.” Global Intellectual History 3.3 (2018): 301-330.

Palmer, Robert Roswell, Joel Colton, Joel G. Colton, Lloyd Kramer, and Lloyd S. Kramer. A history of the modern world. Vol. 2. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2007.

Tawfeeq, Sulaiman Shafiq. “Otto Von Bismarck and German politics.” (2020). 1-63.

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