Prince Otto von Bismarck was born on the 4th January 1815 at Schönhausen, Brandenburg, into an old family of landed nobility (“Junkers”) and in his early twenties determined to “make his own music in his own way or none at all” (letter to his father, 29 Sept. 1838). Not surprisingly, his reputation is a mixed one, ranging from the “golden legend” of Bismarck the architect of German unification and European order, to the “black legend” of Bismarck the evil power monger and precursor of the Nazi dictatorship. With his unique sense of timing and foresight he became a skillful player on the European stage who employed the art of the possible in foreign affairs (“Realpolitik”). For this r…

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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Otto von Bismarck". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 March 2005
[, accessed 30 May 2015.]