Posts Tagged ‘Bismarck’

Franco-Prussian war was more or less Bismarck’s war and he went after it on the conviction,’We could not have set up the German Reich in the Middle of Europe without having defeated France.’ His fame and place in history was laid on North German Confederation for which he had so vigorously followed as the Chancellor and in his calculation it was simple: Germany can only grow at the cost of France.

Napoleon did not want another war after the disastrous Mexican War but his Empress wanted it and so did the Court. The French Army could only muster 300,000 in the field with no reserves. The Prussians on the other hand hd 500,000 men and large reserves. When the Iron Chancellor was ready he precipitated a war crisis and to which he sent a doctored telegram from the French government. Kaiser William on reading it sent back a reply that Bismarck would qualify as ‘a red rag to the Gallic bull.’

If by optimism alone a war could be won how would have the Parisians celebrated it! Unaware of realities of war they celebrated the coming war night after night. If their optimism was all that needed the war would have taken Berlin in a flood.
The Germans crossed the border into Alsace on Aug.4,1870.

For the Emperor the tragedy was soon to come and it was at some seven miles from the Belgian frontier at a sleepy village called Sedan. The farce of his Imperial grandeur as a cuckoo compared to his illustrious uncle who was truly the Eagle,  had already sickened him. He was exhausted sick and much in agony with stones in bladder  In a way it was a release for him and the Second Republic was finished. (continued)  

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It is ridiculous to compare Bismarck with Hitler. Only frame of reference for both names is that they were Chancellors. Their approach and their vision were as different as a surgeon’s scalpel and a machete. Bismarck who for his calculated containment of belligerent France or Russia through diplomacy would have abhorred the arrant gambler’s approach of Hitler. For posterity Bismarck was made into a myth by striking out his true statesmanship by those who wanted a war. Hitler is for posterity a question mark as how collective madness of an otherwise sober nation could create such a mediocrity for their leader?
To quote Kissinger, ‘Hitler’s was the absence of measure and rejection of restraint. The idea of conquering Europe would never have come to Bismarck; it was always part of Hitler’s vision. Hitler could never have pronounced Bismarck’s famous dictum that statesmanship consisted of listening carefully to the footsteps of God through history and walking with him a few steps of the way. Hitler left a vacuum. Bismarck left a state strong enough to overcome two catastrophic defeats..’

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