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Bismarck- Opportunist or Architect? Historiography.

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1 Bismarck- Opportunist or Architect? Historiography

2 The Debate Later in life, after Germany had been unified, Bismarck encouraged the belief that his actions to achieve unification had been part of a carefully- orchestrated plan. However, in terms of historiography, it is possible to find evidence to support both of the key approaches * That he had very broad goals and seized opportunities to further these goals as and when they arose, through his own efforts and/or through, for example, the mistakes of others. * That he did have clearly-defined goals and an approximate programme for unification

3 Bismarck the Opportunist A statesman is like a man wandering in the forest who knows his general direction but not the exact point at which he will emerge from the wood.Bismarck Bismarcks task of unifying Germany was made easier by circumstances. If he played his hand with great skill, it was a good one in the first place.G.L. Mosse

4 Opportunist contd. His policies can at best be regarded as flexible Aronson Bismarck did not fashion German unity alone. He exploited powerful forces which already existed – economic, liberalism and nationalism. Williamson His diplomacy was much more subtle, flexible and many-sided than his utterances sometimes suggest. William Carr He did not control events, but was influenced by them. McKichan

5 Bismarck as Architect. Prussia must gather and consolidate her strength for the favourable moment. Bismarck It was he [Bismarck] who created the conditions which rendered possible the creation of Great Germany. Hitler Only under the stimulation provided by Bismarck….did German nationalism begin to move the masses. Pflanze

6 Architect contd. The smith who forged the Reich. Hitler There is absolutely no doubt that he [Bismarck] set his sights on Austria…..and worked to isolate her from the other European powers. Cameron, Robertson and Henderson. I did not doubt that a Franco-German war must take place before the construction of a united Germany could be realised. Bismarck

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