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Distributed for Haus Publishing


Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) has gone down in history as the Iron Chancellor, a reactionary and militarist whose 1871 unification of Germany set Europe down the path of disaster to World War I. But as Volker Ullrich shows in this new edition of his accessible biography, the real Bismarck was far more complicated than the stereotype.

A leading historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history, Ullrich demonstrates that the “Founder of the Reich” was in fact an opponent of liberal German nationalism. After the wars of 1866 and 1870, Bismarck spent the rest of his career working to preserve peace in Europe and protect the empire he had created. Despite his reputation as an enemy of socialism, he introduced comprehensive health and unemployment insurance for German workers. Far from being a “man of iron and blood,” Bismarck was in fact a complex statesman who was concerned with maintaining stability and harmony far beyond Germany’s newly unified borders.

Comprehensive and balanced, Bismarck shows us the post-reunification value of looking anew at this monumental figure’s role in European history.

198 pages | 45 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2015

Life & Times

Biography and Letters

History: European History

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"Volker Ullrich's eminently readable biography of Otto von Bismarck is just delightful. Packed with quotes and fascinating anecdotes, it paints a vivid and balanced picture of the Iron Chancellor, bringing this complex historical figure to life. Ullrich's concise analysis loses none of its edge in the refreshing brevity. His book is a brilliant introduction into the life and times of Germany's first chancellor."

Katja Hoyer, author of Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1871–1918

"A brilliant, insightful and elegantly written biography of the most influential German of the 19th Century."

Roger Moorhouse, author of Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II

Table of Contents

Foreword by Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck
Early influences 1815-1832
The ‘Crazy Junker’ 1832-47
Bismarck’s path to politics 1847-51
Diplomatic apprenticeship 1851-62
Prime Minister in waiting 1862-63
I have beaten all of them, every single one! 1863-67
The Founder of the Reich 1866-71
Consolidation and preservation 1871-85
The long departure from power 1885-90
The Last Years 1890-98
Picture Sources

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