25 Interesting Facts About Otto von Bismarck
Famous Otto von Bismarck, also known as the “Iron Chancellor”, was one of the most impressive figures in the history of the XIX century. He was an experienced diplomat and a skilled politician, and his influence in Germany was really huge.
Amazing facts about Bismarck
- Otto von Bismarck all his life purposefully pursued a policy of uniting the disparate German-speaking principalities into a single state. The result was Germany within its modern borders.
- Otto von Bismarck has written his own life biography. His memoirs were very popular, thanks to which the Iron Chancellor managed to shape his personal image in the eyes of the public as he saw it.
- The future Chancellor had a hard time as a child. His family wasn’t happy, and his father, according to Bismarck’s recollections, often beat his son.
- The German noble family of Bismarck served in both military and civil services from generation to generation.
- Despite the attempts of his mother, a very religious person, to instill in his son a love for the Church, Otto von Bismarck remained a pragmatist and atheist in his youth. However, this got changed later, and he went deeper into religion.
- The Iron Chancellor learned French well in his youth when he became seriously interested in reading foreign literature.
- Otto von Bismarck never completed his education at the University of Göttingen. He squandered all the money that his family provided for him, got into debt, and had to leave Göttingen to avoid arrest.
- Researchers of Bismarck’s biography have drawn attention to the fact that in his youth he was a pretty careless and frivolous person. He has managed to discipline himself only after his mother died when he had to take over the management of the family estate.
- Neighbors called Otto von Bismarck “a mad one” because of his bad temper and habits left over from his student days.
- Bismarck was determined to become a diplomat since he was young. When he finally succeeded and became a local deputy, he became famous after his first public speech.
- Otto von Bismarck spent three years in Russia as an ambassador. He mastered the Russian language very well during that time.
- During his stay in Russia, the iron Chancellor was repeatedly called to take a part in a hunt, a traditional Russian sport. Several times he agreed, but finally, he said that “it is not fair to go with a gun against unarmed animals.”
- Otto von Bismarck had a mistress in the Russian Empire, the wife of the Russian noble count Orlov. Once the lovers almost drowned while swimming, but luckily they were saved by a local lighthouse keeper. Bismarck himself regarded this event as a sign from above, and never cheated on his wife again.
- Bismarck once falsified a message to the French Emperor Napoleon III, preserving its meaning, but making the text more offensive and harsh. As a result, France declared war on Prussia and got defeated. Thus, the Iron Chancellor achieved his goal to weaken the French influence in Europe.
- Otto von Bismarck had a ring on which the Russian word meaning “nothing” was engraved. He considered it multifaceted, deep, and suitable for a variety of situations.
- Once he challenged the politician Rudolf Virchow to a duel. Virchow accepted the challenge, but he offered two small sausages one of which was poisoned, instead of weapons. It was assumed that the duelists would eat one sausage each, and one of them would be lucky. Otto von Bismarck decided not to rely on blind chance after some thought, and the duel was canceled.
- In the process of studying the origin and biography of Otto von Bismarck, it was discovered that one of his ancestors was the famous Rurik, the founder of the first Russian royal dynasty.
- When he came to power and became Chancellor of Germany, Bismarck declared that he would never pursue a colonial policy. However, German colonies were founded in Africa, despite the fact that the Chancellor was against it.
- His own son was a headache for him. Employed in the civil service, he has been making lots of problems by loafing and drinking constantly. Otto von Bismarck himself dejectedly said once that his son inherited only bad traits from him, not positive ones.
- Otto von Bismarck took a part in the coronation of the Emperor Nicholas II of Russia.
- Even after his retirement, the Iron Chancellor, being already at a very old age, tried to influence world politics. His memoirs and publications were extremely popular.
- Otto von Bismarck received many honorary awards in various countries, in addition to Germany – in France, Siam (Thailand nowadays), Tunisia, the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, the Vatican, Portugal, Japan, and others.
- There’s the Bismarck Sea off the coast of Papua New Guinea. It was named after the Iron Chancellor.
- The image of the late Otto von Bismarck was actively used in Germany to raise morale during World War I. The authorities insisted that the state created by the Iron Chancellor should be protected by all means. At the same time, they didn’t mention that Bismarck himself had always maintained that a large-scale war in the middle of Europe was unacceptable and should always be avoided.
- 250 memorial towers, known as “Bismarck Towers”, were built in memory of the Iron Chancellor in the XIX-XX centuries. Some of them still exist in Europe, Africa, Australia, and America.