Day 329 of Colourisation Project – April 1
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
“The great questions of the day will not be decided by speeches and resolutions of majorities… but by blood and iron.”
While the judgment of history on Bismarck is mixed, one thing cannot be disputed; he unified Germany, transforming it into a modern power. Bismarck emerges from history as a quasi-mythic figure often invoked by political leaders calling for strong German leadership or for war. Thus for some Bismarck’s imprint on Germany’s history was tainted by the Nazi regime decades later, seeking to portray themselves as Bismarck’s heirs they adopted the ‘Blood and Iron’ metaphor as a military slogan during WWII. Most historians agree that Bismarck would have been horrified by Nazis.
Born this day, April 1, 1815, Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg was a towering figure of European politics who as prime minister of Prussia, and founder and first chancellor of the German Empire, put his stamp on his epoch.
Bismarck introduced progressive reforms, including the establishment of the first welfare state, developing a common currency, a central bank, and a single code of commercial and civil law for Germany.
When Bismarck became prime minister of Prussia in 1862, the kingdom was universally considered the weakest of the five European powers. A master strategist, Bismarck initiated decisive wars with Denmark, Austria and France to unite 39 independent German states under Prussian leadership. Within less than nine years he drove a weak disparate conglomeration of states into a unified German Empire, unrivaled as a military and industrial power on the European Continent.
When Bismarck left office in 1890, after 28 years at the helm, the map of Europe had significantly changed.
Otto von Bismarck died on 30 July 1898 at the age of 83 in Friedrichsruh, where he is entombed in the Bismarck Mausoleum.