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Robert Dale Owen
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/28/20

Robert D. Owen
Robert Dale Owen as he appeared in the 1840s.
U.S. Minister to the Two Sicilies
In office: 1853–1858
President Franklin Pierce
Preceded by Edward Joy Morris
Succeeded by Joseph Ripley Chandler
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 76th district
In office
In office
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847
Preceded by George H. Proffit
Succeeded by Elisha Embree
Personal details
Born: November 7, 1801, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Died: June 24, 1877 (aged 75), Lake George, New York, U.S.
Nationality: British-American
Political party: Working Men's (1829–1831)
Democratic (1832–1858)
Spouse(s) Mary Jane Robinson
(m. 1832; her death 1871);
Lottie Walton Kellogg
(m. 1876; his death 1877)[1]
Children Florence
Julian Dale
Parents Robert Owen and Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale Owen

Robert Dale Owen (November 7, 1801 – June 24, 1877) was a Scottish-born social reformer who immigrated to the United States in 1825, became a U.S. citizen, and was active in Indiana politics as member of the Democratic Party in the Indiana House of Representatives (1835–39 and 1851–53) and represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives (1843–47). As a member of Congress, Owen successfully pushed through the bill that established Smithsonian Institution and served on the Institution's first Board of Regents. Owen also served as a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850 and was appointed as U.S. chargé d'affaires (1853–58) to Naples.

Owen was a knowledgeable exponent of the socialist doctrines of his father, Robert Owen, and managed the day-to-day operation of New Harmony, Indiana, the socialistic utopian community he helped establish with his father in 1825. Throughout his adult life, Robert Dale Owen wrote and published numerous pamphlets, speeches, books, and articles that described his personal and political views, including his belief in spiritualism. Owen co-edited the New-Harmony Gazette with Frances Wright in the late 1820s in Indiana and the Free Enquirer in the 1830s in New York City. Owen was an advocate of married women's property and divorce rights, secured inclusion of an article in the Indiana Constitution of 1851 that provided tax-supported funding for a uniform system of free public schools, and established the position of Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. Owen is also noted for a series of open letters he wrote in 1862 that favored the abolition of slavery and supported general emancipation, as well as a suggestion that the federal government should provide assistance to freedmen.

Early life and education

Robert Dale Owen was born on November 7, 1801, in Glasgow, Scotland, to Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale and Robert Owen. His mother was the daughter of David Dale, a Scottish textile manufacturer; his Welsh-born father became part-owner and manager of the New Lanark Mills, his father-in-law's textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland.[2][3] Robert Dale was the eldest surviving son of eight children; his younger siblings (three brothers and three sister) were William, Ann (or Anne) Caroline, Jane Dale, David Dale, Richard Dale, and Mary.[4]

Owen grew up in Braxfield, Scotland, and was privately tutored before he was sent at the age of sixteen to Philipp Emanuel von Fellenberg's school at Hofwyl, Switzerland. The Swiss school exposed Owen to Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi's method of education. After completing his formal education, Owen returned to Scotland to join his father in the textile business at New Lanark.[5][6]

Owen's father, a successful textile manufacturer and philanthropist, became a noted socialist reformer whose vision of social equality included, among other projects, the establishment of experimental utopian communities in the United States and the United Kingdom.[7] Robert Dale Owen, who shared many of his father's views on social issues immigrated to the United States in 1825, became a U.S. citizen, and helped his father manage the socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana. Owen's three surviving brothers (William, David, and Richard) and his sister, Jane, also immigrated to the United States and became residents of New Harmony.[8][9]

Early career

Between 1825 and 1828, Owen managed the day-to-day operations of the socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, while his father returned to Britain to resume his social reform and philanthropic work in Europe.[10] In addition to his other work, Owen and Frances Wright, a wealthy, Scottish philanthropist and radical reformer, published articles in the New-Harmony Gazette, the town's liberal weekly newspaper, and served as its co-editors. Established in 1825, the Gazette was one of Indiana's earliest newspapers; however, it ceased publications in February 1829.[11][12]

After the New Harmony utopian community dissolved in 1827, Owen traveled in Europe before returning to the United States in 1829. During this period Owen wrote Moral Physiology; or, A Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question (1830), a controversial pamphlet on the topic of population control.[13] It was the first book in the United States to advocate birth control.[14][15]

Owen moved to New York City, where he and Wright co-edited the weekly Free Enquirer until 1831–32.[16][17] As they had done in the New Harmony Gazette, the Free Enquirer continued to express their radical views on a variety of subjects, including abolition of slavery, women's rights, universal suffrage, free public education, birth control, and religion. Owen returned to New Harmony, Indiana, in 1833, after he and Wright discontinued their editorship of the New York newspaper.[16]

Marriage and family

Owen and Mary Jane Robinson were married before a justice of the peace on April 12, 1832, in New York City. After an extended trip to Europe, they relocated to New Harmony, Indiana. The couple had six children, two of whom died at an early age. Their surviving children were Florence (b. 1836), Julian Dale (b. 1837), Ernest (b. 1838), and Rosamond (b. 1843).[18][19]

On June 23, 1876, five years after the death of his first wife, Owen married Lottie Walton Kellogg at Caldwell, New York; he died a year later.[1]

Politician and statesman

Working Men's Party leader

During 1829–30, Owen became an active leader in the Working Men's Party in New York City. In contrast to other Democrats of the era, Owen was opposed to slavery, although his radical partisanship distanced him from the leading abolitionists of the era.[20]

Indiana legislator

After Owen's return to New Harmony, Indiana, in 1833, he became active in state politics.[16] Owen served in the Indiana House of Representatives (1835–38; 1851–53).[6] He distinguished himself as an influential member of the Indiana General Assembly during his first term by securing appropriations for the state's tax-supported public school system.[17] In addition, Owen was instrumental in introducing legislation and argued in support of widows and married women's property rights, but the bill was defeated. He also proposed laws granting women greater freedom of divorce.[14]

In addition to serving in the state legislature, Owen was elected as a delegate from Posey County, Indiana, to the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850.[21] At the convention, Owen initiated a proposal to include provisions for women's property rights in the state constitution. Although it was not approved, this early effort to protect women's rights led to later laws that were passed to secure women's property, divorce, and voting rights.[22] One of Owen's lasting legacies was his authorship and efforts to secure the inclusion of an article in the Indiana Constitution of 1851 that provided state funding for a uniform system of common schools that are free and open to all and established the office of the state's superintendent of public instruction.[23]

U.S. Congressman

After his first term in the Indiana legislature and two unsuccessful campaigns for election to the U.S. Congress in 1838 and in 1840, Owen was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1842. He served from 1843 to 1847 in the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses. Owen was chairman of the Committee on Roads and Canals during the Twenty-eighth Congress. He was also involved in the debates about the annexation of Texas and an Oregon boundary dispute in 1844 that led to the establishment of the U.S-British boundary at the 49th parallel north, the result of the Oregon Treaty (1846).[24]

While serving as a member of Congress, Owen introduced and helped to secure passage of the bill that founded the Smithsonian Institution in 1846.[25] Owen was appointed to the Smithsonian Institution's first Board of Regents and chaired its Building Committee, which oversaw the construction of the Smithsonian Institution Building in Washington, D.C., and recommended James Renwick, Jr. as architect, James Dixson and Gilbert Cameron as the contractors, and the Seneca Quarry for its distinct, dark-red sandstone.[26]

Robert Dale Owen as he appeared in his later years.

Owen, his brother David Dale Owen, and architect Robert Mills, were involved in developing preliminary plans for the Smithsonian Building. These early plans influenced Renwick's choice of the Romanesque Revival architectural style (sometimes referred to as Norman-style architecture) and his three-story design for the building, which was finally selected, although not without controversy.[27] Owen's book Hints on Public Architecture (1849) argued the case for the suitability of Renwick's Romanesque Revival (Norman) architectural style for public buildings such as the Smithsonian "Castle," which he discussed in detail. Seven full-page illustrations and details of the building's architectural elements were prominently featured in the book, leading some to criticize Owen for his bias toward Renwick and his preference for Norman-style architecture over other popular styles.[28][29]

U.S. diplomat

Owen was defeated in his bid for re-election to Congress in 1846; however, he remained active in public service and was once again elected to serve in the Indiana General Assembly.[6] On May 24, 1853, while Owen was serving as a state legislator in Indiana, President Franklin Pierce appointed him as U.S. minister (Chargé d'Affaires and Minister Resident) to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies at Naples.[30] Owen served in the diplomatic post until September 20, 1858, and then retired from political life, although he remained actively interested in public affairs and social reform issues.[6]

Other political activities

During the American Civil War, Owen served in the Ordnance Commission to supply the Union army; on March 16, 1863, he was appointed to the Freedman's Inquiry Commission. The commission was a predecessor to the Freedmen's Bureau.[17][31]

In 1862 Owen wrote a series of open letters to U.S. government officials, including President Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, to encourage them to support general emancipation. Owen's letter of July 23, 1862, was published in the New York Evening Post on August 8, 1862, and his letter of September 12, 1862, was published in the same newspaper on September 22, 1862. In another open letter that Owen wrote to President Lincoln on September 17, 1862,[32] he urged the president to abolish slavery on moral grounds. Owen also believed that emancipation would weaken the Confederate forces and help the Union army win the war.[16] On September 23, 1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation[33] (as he had first resolved to do in mid-July[34]). In Emancipation is Peace, a pamphlet that Owen wrote in 1863, he confirmed his view that general emancipation was a means to end the war. In The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the African Race, a report that Owen wrote in 1864, he also suggested that the Union should provide assistance to freedmen.[16]

Toward the end of his political career, Owen continued his effort to obtain federal voting rights for women. In 1865 he submitted an initial draft for a proposed Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would not restrict voting rights to males. However, Article XIV, Section 2, in the final version of the Amendment, which became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1868, was modified to limit suffrage to males who were U.S. citizens over the age of twenty-one.[35]


In The authenticity of the Bible (1833), Owen remarked :

For a century and a half, then, after Jesus' death, we have no means whatever of substantiating even the existence of the Gospels, as now bound up in the New Testament. There is a perfect blank of 140 years; and a most serious one it is.[36]

Like his father, Owen converted to Spiritualism and was the author of two books on the subject: Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859) and The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1872).[37]

Later years

Although he retired from active public service at the conclusion of his work as a member of the Freedman's commission on May 15, 1864, Owen continued his writing career.[38] Major writing projects in retirement included Beyond the Breakers (1870), a novel;[39] The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1871), one of his two books on spiritualism;[39] and Threading My Way (1874), his autobiography.[40] Owen also wrote several articles that were published in the Atlantic Monthly and Scribner's Monthly.[41]

In 1875 Owen suffered a mental breakdown that was severe enough for him to be hospitalized at the Indiana Hospital for the Insane in Indianapolis, where he underwent three months of treatment. Owen recovered from the illness, was released from the hospital, and resumed writing.[42] On June 23, 1876, a year before his death, Owen married Lottie Walton Kellogg at Caldwell, New York.[1]

Death and legacy

On June 24, 1877, Owen died at his summer home at Crosbyville on Lake George, New York. Initially he was buried in the town of Lake George in Warren County, New York.[6] Later, his remains were exhumed and interred at New Harmony, Indiana, beside his first wife, Mary Jane Owen.[1]

One of Owen's most significant legacies in Indiana was to secure the inclusion of an article in the Indiana Constitution of 1851 that provided tax-supported funding for a uniform system of free public schools and established the position of Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.[23] His early efforts to protect women's rights were another of his political legacies.[16] Although he was unsuccessful in adding provisions to protect women's rights to Indiana's state constitution of 1851, his efforts paved the way for others to follow. Eventually, Indiana laws granted women's property and voting rights, as well as greater freedom in divorce.[22]

As a U.S. Congressman, Owen introduced federal legislation that founded the Smithsonian Institution in 1846.[25] He was also a member of the Smithsonian Institution's first Board of Regents and its Building Committee. His vision for the Smithsonian Institution Building, along with the preliminary plans and suggestions made by his brother, David Dale Owen, and architect Robert Mills, influenced architect James Renwick Jr.'s design for the Romanesque Revival-style building in Washington, D.C.[27]

Owen's impact on the issues of slavery and emancipation is less direct. In a series of open letters he wrote in 1862 and in publications that followed, Owen encouraged the abolition of slavery on moral grounds, supported general emancipation, and suggested that the federal government should provide assistance to freedmen.[16] Some historians have concluded that these open letters and Civil War-era pamphlets "helped immeasurably to solidify public opinion" in favor of emancipation.[43]

Honors and tributes

The town of Dale, Indiana, was named in Owen's honor.[44]

In 1911, the women of Indiana dedicated a memorial to Owen on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis that included a bronze bust of the statesman created by New Castle, Indiana native Frances Goodwin. The bust of Owen disappeared in the early 1970s; only its pedestal remains.[44][45]

Selected published works

Owen's published works included pamphlets, speeches, tracts, books, and numerous articles for periodicals and newspapers.[46]

• An Outline of the System of Education at New Lanark (1824)[13]
• Popular Tracts (1830)[13]
• Moral Physiology; or, A Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question (1830)[13][47]
• Discussion on the Existence of God, and The Authenticity of the Bible (1833), co-written with Origen Bacheler[36]
• Labor: Its History and its Prospects (1848), an address delivered at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1841; republished in 1851.[13][48]
• Hints on Public Architecture (1849)[49]
• Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859)[50]
• The Policy of Emancipation: In Three Letters (1863)[51]
• Emancipation is Peace (1863)[16]
• The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the African Race (1864)[16]
• Beyond the Breakers. A Story of the Present Day. Village Life in the West (1870), a novel that was initially published serially in Lippincott's Magazine in 1869.[39]
• The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1871)[39]
• Threading My Way: Twenty-Seven Years of Autobiography (1874)[39][40]
• "Touching Visitants from a Higher Life," published in The Atlantic Monthly, v. 35, no. 207, January 1875, pp. 57–69.[52]

See also

• Freedmen's town
• Josiah Warren
• Birth control movement in the United States


1. Elinor Pancoast and Ann E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: The Principia Press. p. 106. OCLC 2000563.
2. "Robert Owen Timeline". Robert Owen Museum. 2008. Retrieved 29 August2017.
3. Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, eds. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 269–70. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2. See also: Arthur H. Estabrook (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63–64, 69, 72. Retrieved August 29, 2017. See also: Frank Podmore (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. I. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 2, 4.
4. Estabrook, pp. 72, 80, 83.
5. Estabrook, p. 72. See also: Robert Dale Owen (1874). Threading My Way, Twenty-Seven Years of Autobiography. New York; London: G. W. Carleton and Company; Trubner and Company. p. 56.
6. "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
7. Estabrook, p. 68.
8. Estabrook, pp. 72–73.
9. Donald E. Pitzer (Spring 2014). "Why New Harmony is World Famous". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 11.
10. Estabrook, p. 72.
11. Pitzer, "Why New Harmony is World Famous," p. 13.
12. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 11.
13. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 145.
14. Pitzer, "Why New Harmony is World Famous," p. 12.
15. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 19–20.
16. Allison Brown and Kisha Tandy (Summer 2014). "To Be Morally Just: Robert Dale Owen and Abolitionism". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (3): 54–55.
17. Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Owen, Robert Dale" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
18. Estabrook, pp. 73–78.
19. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 23.
20. Eric Lott (1993). Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 129. ISBN 9780199717682.
21. Estabrook, pp. 72–74.
22. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 22.
23. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 56–57.
24. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 40–41.
25. Kenneth Hafertepe (1984). America's Castle: The Evolution of the Smithsonian Building and Its Institution, 1840–1878. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 0-87474-500-4.
26. Hafertepe, pp. 17, 27, 37
27. Hafertepe, p. 47, 60–61.
28. Garrett Peck (2013). The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry. The History Press. pp. 43–53.
29. Hafertepe, pp. 83–84.
30. "Robert Dale Owen". Department History. U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
31. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 91.
32. "Robert Dale Owen's Letter to President Lincoln". University of Evansville. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
33. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 87–89, and note 15, p. 135.
34. "Emancipation Proclamation". Lincoln Papers. Library of Congress and Knox College. 2002. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
35. "The Constitution: Amendments 11–27". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
36. Origen Bacheler and Robert Dale Owen (1833). Discussion on the Existence of God, and The Authenticity of the Bible. A.J. Matsell. p. 247. For a century and a half, then, after Jesus' death, we have no means whatever of substantiating even the existence of the Gospels, as now bound up in the New Testament. There is a perfect blank of 140 years; and a most serious one it is.
37. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 100.
38. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 98–99.
39. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 149.
40. Robert Dale Owen (1874). Threading My Way: Twenty-seven Years of Autobiography. New York: G. W. Carleton and Company.
41. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 149–50.
42. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 104–5.
43. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 109.
44. Burford, William (1920). Yearbook of the State of Indiana for the Year 1919. Indiana: Legislative Bureau Division of Accounting and Statistics and The State Board of Accounts.
45. Glory-June Greiff (2005). Remembrance, Faith and Fancy: Outdoor Public Sculpture in Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-87195-180-0. See also: "The Indiana Statehouse: A Self-Guided Tour" (PDF). Indiana Department of Administration. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
46. Pancoast and Lincoln, pp. 145– 50.
47. Multiple editions of Moral Physiology were published in the United States and elsewhere. For a digital version, see: Owen, Robert Dale (1842). Moral Physiology; or, A Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question. London: J. Watson.
48. "Labor: Its History and Its Prospects". Electronic Texts in American History. Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
49. David Dale Owen (1849). Hints on Public Architecture; Containing, among other illustrations, views and plans of the Smithsonian Institution; Together with an Appendix Relative to Building Materials. New York: George P. Putnam. See also: Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 147.
50. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 147.
51. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 148.
52. "Making of America". Cornell University Library. Retrieved 5 September 2017.


• Bacheler, Origen, and Robert Dale Owen (1833). Discussion on the Existence of God, and The Authenticity of the Bible. A.J. Matsell.
• Brown, Allison, and Kisha Tandy (Summer 2014). "To Be Morally Just: Robert Dale Owen and Abolitionism". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (3): 50–55.
• Burford, William (1920). Yearbook of the State of Indiana for the Year 1919. Indiana: Legislative Bureau Division of Accounting and Statistics and The State Board of Accounts.
• Estabrook, Arthur H. (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63–101. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
• Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Owen, Robert Dale" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
• Greiff, Glory-June (2005). Remembrance, Faith and Fancy: Outdoor Public Sculpture in Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87195-180-0.
• Gugin, Linda C., and James E. St. Clair, eds. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2.
• "The Indiana Statehouse: A Self-Guided Tour" (PDF). Indiana Department of Administration. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
• Labor: Its History and Its Prospects. Electronic Texts in American History. Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
• Leopold, Richard William (1940). Robert Dale Owen: A Biography. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. OCLC 774894.
• Lott, Eric (1993). Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199717682.
• "Making of America". Cornell University Library. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
• "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
• Owen, Robert Dale (1874). Threading My Way, Twenty-seven Years of Autobiography. New York; London: G. W. Carleton and Company; Trubner and Company.
• Pancoast, Elinor, and Anne E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: Principia Press. OCLC 2000563.
• Pitzer, Donald E. (Spring 2014). "Why New Harmony is World Famous". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 4–15.
• Peck, Garrett (2013). The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry. The History Press.
• Podmore, Frank (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. I. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
• "Robert Dale Owen". Department History. U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
• "Robert Dale Owen's Letter to President Lincoln". University of Evansville. Retrieved September 6, 2017.

Further reading

• Elliott, Josephine Mirabella (December 1964). "The Owen Family Papers". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 60 (4): 331–52. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
• Epps, Garrett. Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America. New York: Henry Holt, 2006.
• Joshua R. Greenberg, Advocating The Man: Masculinity, Organized Labor, and the Household in New York, 1800-1840 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 154-189.
• Himes, Norman E. "Robert Dale Owen, The Pioneer of American Neo-Malthusianism," American Journal of Sociology vol. 35, no. 4 (Jan. 1930), pp. 529–547. In JSTOR
• Humphreys, Sexson E. "New Considerations on the Mission of Robert Dale Owen to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, 1853-1858," Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 46, no. 1 (March 1950), pp. 1–24. In JSTOR
• Lindley, Harlow. "Robert Dale Owen and Indiana's Common School Fund," Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 25, no. 1 (March 1929), pp. 52–60. In JSTOR
• Pawa, Jay M. "Workingmen and Free Schools in the Nineteenth Century: A Comment on the Labor-Education Thesis," History of Education Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 3 (Autumn 1971), pp. 287–302. In JSTOR
• Pessen, Edward. Most Uncommon Jacksonians: The Radical Leaders of the Early Labor Movement. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1967.
• Schlesinger Jr., Arthur M. The Age of Jackson. [1945] Boston: Little, Brown, 1953.
• Sears, Louis Martin. "Robert Dale Owen As A Mystic," Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 24, no. 1 (March 1928), pp. 15–25. In JSTOR
• Sears, Louis Martin. "Some Correspondence of Robert Dale Owen," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 10, no. 3 (Dec. 1923), pp. 306–324. In JSTOR
• Winther, Oscar Osburn. "Letters from Robert Dale Owen to General Joseph Lane," Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 36, no. 2 (June 1940), pp. 139–146. In JSTOR

External links

• United States Congress. "Robert Dale Owen (id: O000152)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
• Transcript of Owen's letter to President Lincoln, University of Evansville, Indiana
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:08 am

Francis J. Lippitt
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/28/20

Francis J. Lippitt (1812–1902) was an American lawyer and veteran of the Mexican–American War, the Bald Hills War and the American Civil War. For the later he was made a brevet brigadier general.

Early life

He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1812. After graduating from Brown University, Lippitt, who could speak and read French fluently, was hired by Alexis de Tocqueville to read the American pamphlets that he had collected during his visit to the United States and summarize them in French.[1]

To California with the New York Regiment

In 1846 Lippitt was made a captain of Stevenson's 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers for service in California and during the war with Mexico during the Mexican War.[2] In 1847, he served as captain commanding the garrison in Santa Barbara, California. After mustering out in 1848, he remained in the territory and was afterwards a member of the California Constitutional Convention, held in Monterey, California in 1849.

Civil War and the Bald Hills War

In 1861 Lippitt raised the 2nd California Infantry Regiment and served as its colonel. As such he was made the first commander of the Humboldt Military District between January 9, 1862 and July 13, 1863. He was tasked with prosecuting the Bald Hills War against the Indians in the counties of northwestern California. Under his command several posts were established as bases for operations against the Indians and for the defense of the settlers. He was relieved on July 13, 1863 by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen G. Whipple of the 1st Battalion California Volunteer Mountaineers, who advocated a more active prosecution of the war with men used to the hardships of war in the redwood forests. Colonel Lippitt and his regimental headquarters was transferred to Benicia Barracks, July 20, 1863, and from there to Fort Miller, Fresno County, California, August 11, 1863, where they were stationed until October 1, 1864. They returned to the Presidio of San Francisco, October 9, 1864. There during the month of October 1864, Colonel Lippitt was mustered out with men of his regiment who had completed their terms of enlistment. He was made brevet brigadier general, March 13, 1865, for faithful service during the war.

Later life

Following the civil War, General Lippitt wrote four military books, A Treatise on the Tactical Use of The Three Arms, Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry in 1865, A treatise on intrenchments in 1866, The Special Operations of War: comprising the forcing and defence of defiles; the forcing and defence of rivers in retreat; the attack and defence of open towns and villages; the conduct of detachments for special purposes; and notes on tactical operations in sieges in 1868, and Field service in war: Comprising marches, camps and cantonments, outposts, convoys, reconnaissances, foraging, and notes on logistics in 1869.

He became interested in spiritualism and wrote Physical Proofs of Another Life in 1888. In 1902 he published his autobiography, Reminiscences of Francis J. Lippitt, written for his family, his near relatives and intimate friends. He died in New York on September 27, 1902 at the age of ninety.[3]

See also

• List of American Civil War brevet generals (Union)


1. "The Bibliography". In Search of Tocqueville. C-SPAN. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
2. Captain Jim Balance, Stevenson's Regiment: First Regiment of New York Volunteers, The California Military Museum
3. Reminiscences of Francis J. Lippitt, written for his family, his near relatives and intimate friends, Preston & Rounds Co., Providence, R.I., 1902.

External links

• Works by Francis J. Lippitt at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Francis J. Lippitt at Internet Archive
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Lotos Club
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/28/20

Lotos Club
The Lotos Club at 5 East 66th St., designed by Richard Howland Hunt
Motto In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon
Formation March 15, 1870[1]
Type Private social club
Headquarters 5 East 66th Street
New York, New York

A table d'hôte menu from the dinner for Walter Damrosch at the Lotos Club, 1893.

The Lotos Club was founded in 1870 as a gentlemen's club in New York City; it has since also admitted women as members. Its founders were primarily a young group of writers and critics. Mark Twain, an early member, called it the "Ace of Clubs".[1] The Club took its name from the poem "The Lotos-Eaters" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which was then very popular. Lotos was thought to convey an idea of rest and harmony. Two lines from the poem were selected for the Club motto:

In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon[2]

The Lotos Club has always had a literary and artistic bent, with the result that it has accumulated a noted collection of American paintings. Its "State Dinners" (1893 menu at right) are legendary fetes for scholars, artists and sculptors, collectors and connoisseurs, writers and journalists, and politicians and diplomats. Elaborate souvenir menus are produced for these dinners.


The Lotos Club's first home was at Two Irving Place, north of 14th Street near the Academy of Music and on the site of the Consolidated Edison Building. Journalist DeWitt Van Buren was the Lotos Club's first president; he was succeeded by A. Oakey Hall. Other early Club officers included Vice President F.A. Schwab, Secretary George Hows, and Treasurer Albert Weber. New York Tribune editor Whitelaw Reid was elected Club president in 1877, at which time the Lotos Club moved to 149 Fifth Avenue at 21st Street.

In 1893, the Club moved to 556-558 Fifth Avenue at 46th Street, purchasing their first clubhouse.

It was at the Lotos Club in 1906 that George Harvey, editor of Harper's Weekly, sent up his first trial balloon by proposing Woodrow Wilson for the office of President of the United States.[3] In 1909, with financial backing from Andrew Carnegie, the clubhouse was moved to 110 West 57th Street, in a building designed by architect Donn Barber.[4]

Frank R. Lawrence was the Club's longest serving president, from March 1889 until his death on October 26, 1918.[5] Lawrence was succeeded as president by Chester S. Lord, who served for five years. In 1923, Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Butler was elected president of the Club.[5]

The Club has a long history of showing the work of its artist members and has also held exhibitions of work from the collections of its members including one in 1910 that featured works by Degas, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt and Hassam.[6]

In October 1941 the club held a mortgage-burning ceremony to mark payment of the $389,000 owed on the West 57th Street building.[6] But in 1945 members began considering a move to a "simpler clubhouse."[6] The club has been housed since 1947 in a 1900 clubhouse designed by Richard Howland Hunt at 5 East 66th Street. (The building had been commissioned by Margaret Shepard as a gift for her daughter, Mrs. William Jay Schieffelin.)

In 1977, the Club amended its constitution to admit women.


The objectives of this institution shall be to promote and develop literature, art, sculpture, music, architecture, journalism, drama, science, education and the learned professions, and to that end to encourage authors, artists, sculptors, architects, journalists, educators, scientists and members of the musical, dramatic, and learned professions in their work, and for these purposes to provide a place of assembly for them and other persons interested in and sympathetic to them, and their objectives, effort and work.

Lotos Club Medal of Merit

The Lotos Club issues a Medal of Merit; previous recipients include general David Petraeus, scientist James D. Watson, flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, and puppeteer Bil Baird.

The Club also awards a Foundation Prize and an Award of Distinction.

Notable members

• Brooke Astor
• Mikhail Baryshnikov
• Kathleen Battle
• Andrew Carnegie
• Walter P. Chrysler
• Mary Higgins Clark
• Samuel Clemens
• George M. Cohan
• Hume Cronyn
• Mario Cuomo
• David Dinkins
• Dwight D. Eisenhower
• Renee Fleming
• Gilbert and Sullivan
• Alan Gilbert
• Solomon R. Guggenheim
• William Randolph Hearst
• David M. Heyman
• Marilyn Horne
• Leslie Howard
• Alleyne Ireland
• Sir Henry Irving
• Angela Lansbury
• Wynton Marsalis
• Margaret Mead
• Burgess Meredith
• Peter O'Toole
• William S. Paley
• Christopher Plummer
• Julian Rix
• Linda Saidel
• Charles M. Schwab
• Cyrus Ingerson Scofield
• Bobby Short
• Beverly Sills
• Stephen Sondheim
• Isaac Stern
• Elaine Stritch
• Susan Stroman
• Arthur Hays Sulzberger
• Jessica Tandy
• J. Walter Thompson
• Orson Welles
• P. G. Wodehouse
• Tom Wolfe
• James Wolfensohn
• Frank Winfield Woolworth
• Andrew Wyeth
• Yo-Yo Ma

See also

• List of American gentlemen's clubs


1. "The Lotos Club," official website. Accessed May 11, 2011.
2. "The Lotos Club: History and Objectives," Lotos Club official website. Accessed May 10, 2011.
3. A.S. Link, "Woodrow Wilson: The American as Southerner", The Journal of Southern History, 1970.
4. Architecture, Volume 19, number 6, page 81
5. Price, Charles W. (Lotos Club Vice President). Letter to the editor, New York Times (June 29, 1927).
6. Where Fancy Took Flight: Rusty Traces of Sumptuous Architecture on West 57th Street. The New York Times (2014, July 17): retrieved July 20, 2014.

External links

• Official website
• A Brief History of the Lotus Club (1895)
• Lotus Leaves: Stories, Essays and Poems (written by various Lotus members including Mark Twain); 1875, 1887
• Documenting the Gilded Age: New York City Exhibitions at the Turn of the 20th Century A New York Art Resources Consortium project. Exhibition catalogs from the Lotos Club.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:01 am

Part 1 of 3

Otto von Bismarck
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/28/20

Otto von Bismarck
Chancellor of the German Empire
In office
21 March 1871 – 20 March 1890
Monarch Wilhelm I
Friedrich III
Wilhelm II
Deputy Otto Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode
Karl Heinrich von Boetticher
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
Minister President of Prussia
In office
9 November 1873 – 20 March 1890
Monarch Wilhelm I
Friedrich III
Wilhelm II
Preceded by Albrecht von Roon
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
In office
23 September 1862 – 1 January 1873
Monarch Wilhelm I
Preceded by Adolf zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen
Succeeded by Albrecht von Roon
Chancellor of the North German Confederation
In office
1 July 1867 – 21 March 1871
President Wilhelm I
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
23 November 1862 – 20 March 1890
Prime Minister Himself
Albrecht von Roon
Preceded by Albrecht von Bernstorff
Succeeded by Leo von Caprivi
Personal details
Born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck-Schönhausen
1 April 1815
Schönhausen, Kreis Jerichow II, Province of Saxony, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 30 July 1898 (aged 83)
Friedrichsruh, Kreis Herogtum Lauenburg, Province of Schleswig-Holstein, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Johanna von Puttkamer
(1847–1894; her death)
Children Marie
Parents Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck (1771–1845)
Wilhelmine Luise Mencken (1789–1839)
Alma mater University of Göttingen
University of Berlin
University of Greifswald[1]
Profession Lawyer
Net worth ℳ12 million (1887)[2] (equivalent to 76 million 2009 €)

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (Born von Bismarck-Schönhausen; German: Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst[3] von Bismarck, Herzog zu Lauenburg; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), known as Otto von Bismarck (German: [ˈɔto fɔn ˈbɪsmaʁk] (About this soundlisten)), was a conservative German statesman who masterminded the unification of Germany in 1871 and served as its first chancellor until 1890, in which capacity he dominated European affairs for two decades. He had previously been Minister President of Prussia (1862–1890) and Chancellor of the North German Confederation (1867–1871). He provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark, Austria, and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state, aligning the smaller North German states behind Prussia. Receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire (which excluded Austria) and united Germany.

With Prussian dominance accomplished by 1871, Bismarck skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a peaceful Europe. To historian Eric Hobsbawm, Bismarck "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost twenty years after 1871, [and] devoted himself exclusively, and successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers".[4] However, his annexation of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsaß-Lothringen) gave new fuel to French nationalism and Germanophobia.[5] This helped set the stage for the First World War. Bismarck's diplomacy of Realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy. He disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a very complex interlocking series of conferences, negotiations and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position.

A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist enemies.[6] In the 1870s, he allied himself with the low-tariff, anti-Catholic Liberals and fought the Catholic Church in what was called the Kulturkampf ("culture struggle"). He lost that battle as the Catholics responded by forming the powerful German Centre Party and using universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck then reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs, and formed a political alliance with the Centre Party to fight the Socialists. A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his king, Wilhelm I, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him against the advice of his wife and his heir. While Germany's parliament was elected by universal male suffrage, it did not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite that consisted of the landed nobility in eastern Prussia. He largely controlled domestic and foreign affairs, until he was removed by the young new headstrong Kaiser Wilhelm II. He retired to write his memoirs.

Bismarck – a Junker himself – was strong-willed, outspoken and overbearing, but he could also be polite, charming and witty. Occasionally he displayed a violent temper, and he kept his power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision but also the short-term ability to juggle complex developments. As the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism",[7] Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists; they built many monuments honoring the founder of the new Reich. Many historians praise him as a visionary who was instrumental in uniting Germany and, once that had been accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy.

Early years

Bismarck in 1836, at age 21

Bismarck was born in 1815 at Schönhausen, a noble family estate west of Berlin in the Prussian province of Saxony. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck (1771–1845), was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken (1789–1839), was the well educated daughter of a senior government official in Berlin. In 1816, the family moved to its Pomeranian estate, Kniephof (now Konarzewo, Poland), northeast of Stettin (now Szczecin), in the then-Prussian province of Farther Pomerania. There Bismarck spent his childhood in a bucolic setting.[8]

Bismarck had two siblings: his older brother Bernhard (1810–1893) and his younger sister Malwine (1827–1908). The world saw Bismarck as a typical backwoods Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing military uniforms. However, he was well educated and cosmopolitan with a gift for conversation, and knew English, French, Italian, Polish and Russian.[9]

Bismarck was educated at Johann Ernst Plamann's elementary school,[10] and the Friedrich-Wilhelm and Graues Kloster secondary schools. From 1832 to 1833, he studied law at the University of Göttingen, where he was a member of the Corps Hannovera, and then enrolled at the University of Berlin (1833–35). In 1838, while stationed as an army reservist in Greifswald, he studied agriculture at the University of Greifswald.[1] At Göttingen, Bismarck befriended the American student John Lothrop Motley. Motley, who later became an eminent historian and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel in 1839, Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about life in a German university. In it he described Bismarck as a reckless and dashing eccentric, but also as an extremely gifted and charming young man.[11]

Although Bismarck hoped to become a diplomat, he started his practical training as a lawyer in Aachen and Potsdam, and soon resigned, having first placed his career in jeopardy by taking unauthorized leave to pursue two English girls: first Laura Russell, niece of the Duke of Cleveland, and then Isabella Loraine-Smith, daughter of a wealthy clergyman. He also served in the army for a year and became an officer in the Landwehr (reserve), before returning to run the family estates at Schönhausen on his mother's death in his mid-twenties.

Around age 30, Bismarck formed an intense friendship with Marie von Thadden [de], newly married to one of his friends, Moritz von Blanckenburg [de]. Under her influence, Bismarck became a Pietist Lutheran, and later recorded that at Marie's deathbed (from typhoid) he prayed for the first time since his childhood. Bismarck married Marie's cousin, the noblewoman Johanna von Puttkamer (1824–94) at Alt-Kolziglow (modern Kołczygłowy) on 28 July 1847. Their long and happy marriage produced three children: Marie (b. 1847), Herbert (b. 1849) and Wilhelm (b. 1852). Johanna was a shy, retiring and deeply religious woman—although famed for her sharp tongue in later life—and in his public life, Bismarck was sometimes accompanied by his sister Malwine "Malle" von Arnim. Bismarck soon adopted his wife's pietism, and he remained a devout Pietist Lutheran for the rest of his life.

Early political career

Young politician

In 1847 Bismarck, aged thirty-two, was chosen as a representative to the newly created Prussian legislature, the Vereinigter Landtag. There, he gained a reputation as a royalist and reactionary politician with a gift for stinging rhetoric; he openly advocated the idea that the monarch had a divine right to rule. His selection was arranged by the Gerlach brothers, fellow Pietist Lutherans whose ultra-conservative faction was known as the "Kreuzzeitung" after their newspaper, the Neue Preußische Zeitung, which was so nicknamed because it featured an Iron Cross on its cover.[12][13]

Bismarck in 1847, at age 32

In March 1848, Prussia faced a revolution (one of the revolutions of 1848 across Europe), which completely overwhelmed King Frederick William IV. The monarch, though initially inclined to use armed forces to suppress the rebellion, ultimately declined to leave Berlin for the safety of military headquarters at Potsdam. Bismarck later recorded that there had been a "rattling of sabres in their scabbards" from Prussian officers when they learned that the King would not suppress the revolution by force. He offered numerous concessions to the liberals: he wore the black-red-gold revolutionary colours (as seen on the flag of today's Germany), promised to promulgate a constitution, agreed that Prussia and other German states should merge into a single nation-state, and appointed a liberal, Gottfried Ludolf Camphausen, as Minister President.[14]

Bismarck had at first tried to rouse the peasants of his estate into an army to march on Berlin in the King's name.[15] He travelled to Berlin in disguise to offer his services, but was instead told to make himself useful by arranging food supplies for the Army from his estates in case they were needed. The King's brother, Prince Wilhelm, had fled to England; Bismarck tried to get Wilhelm's wife Augusta to place their teenage son Frederick William on the Prussian throne in Frederick William IV's place. Augusta would have none of it, and detested Bismarck thereafter,[16] despite the fact that he later helped restore a working relationship between Wilhelm and his brother the King. Bismarck was not yet a member of the Landtag, the lower house of the new Prussian legislature. The liberal movement perished by the end of 1848 amid internal fighting. Meanwhile, the conservatives regrouped, formed an inner group of advisers—including the Gerlach brothers, known as the "Camarilla"—around the King, and retook control of Berlin. Although a constitution was granted, its provisions fell far short of the demands of the revolutionaries.[17]

In 1849, Bismarck was elected to the Landtag. At this stage in his career, he opposed the unification of Germany, arguing that Prussia would lose its independence in the process. He accepted his appointment as one of Prussia's representatives at the Erfurt Parliament, an assembly of German states that met to discuss plans for union, but he only did so to oppose that body's proposals more effectively. The parliament failed to bring about unification, for it lacked the support of the two most important German states, Prussia and Austria. In September 1850, after a dispute over Hesse (the Hesse Crisis of 1850[18]), Prussia was humiliated and forced to back down by Austria (supported by Russia) in the so-called Punctation of Olmütz;[19] a plan for the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership, proposed by Prussia's Minister President Radowitz, was also abandoned.

The German Confederation 1815–1866. Prussia (in blue) considerably expanded its territory.

In 1851, Frederick William IV appointed Bismarck as Prussia's envoy to the Diet of the German Confederation in Frankfurt. Bismarck gave up his elected seat in the Landtag, but was appointed to the Prussian House of Lords a few years later. In Frankfurt he engaged in a battle of wills with the Austrian representative Count Friedrich von Thun und Hohenstein. He insisted on being treated as an equal by petty tactics such as imitating Thun when Thun claimed the privileges of smoking and removing his jacket in meetings.[20] This episode was the background for an altercation in the Frankfurt chamber with Georg von Vincke that led to a duel between Bismarck and Vincke with Carl von Bodelschwingh as an impartial party, which ended without injury.[21]

Bismarck's eight years in Frankfurt were marked by changes in his political opinions, detailed in the numerous lengthy memoranda, which he sent to his ministerial superiors in Berlin. No longer under the influence of his ultraconservative Prussian friends, Bismarck became less reactionary and more pragmatic. He became convinced that to countervail Austria's newly restored influence, Prussia would have to ally herself with other German states. As a result, he grew to be more accepting of the notion of a united German nation. He gradually came to believe that he and his fellow conservatives had to take the lead in creating a unified nation to keep from being eclipsed. He also believed that the middle-class liberals wanted a unified Germany more than they wanted to break the grip of the traditional forces over society.

Bismarck also worked to maintain the friendship of Russia and a working relationship with Napoleon III's France, the latter being anathema to his conservative friends, the Gerlachs,[22] but necessary both to threaten Austria and to prevent France allying with Russia. In a famous letter to Leopold von Gerlach, Bismarck wrote that it was foolish to play chess having first put 16 of the 64 squares out of bounds. This observation became ironic, as after 1871, France indeed became Germany's permanent enemy, and eventually allied with Russia against Germany in the 1890s.[23]

Bismarck was alarmed by Prussia's isolation during the Crimean War of the mid-1850s, in which Austria sided with Britain and France against Russia; Prussia was almost not invited to the peace talks in Paris. In the Eastern Crisis of the 1870s, fear of a repetition of this turn of events would later be a factor in Bismarck's signing the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary in 1879.

Ambassador to Russia and France

In October 1857, Frederick William IV suffered a paralysing stroke, and his brother Wilhelm took over the Prussian government as Regent. Wilhelm was initially seen as a moderate ruler, whose friendship with liberal Britain was symbolised by the recent marriage of his son Frederick William to Queen Victoria's eldest daughter. As part of his "New Course", Wilhelm brought in new ministers, moderate conservatives known as the Wochenblatt after their newspaper.

Bismarck with Roon (centre) and Moltke (right), the three leaders of Prussia in the 1860s

The Regent soon replaced Bismarck as envoy in Frankfurt and made him Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire.[24] In theory, this was a promotion, as Russia was one of Prussia's two most powerful neighbors. But Bismarck was sidelined from events in Germany and could only watch impotently as France drove Austria out of Lombardy during the Italian War of 1859. Bismarck proposed that Prussia should exploit Austria's weakness to move her frontiers "as far south as Lake Constance" on the Swiss border; instead, Prussia mobilised troops in the Rhineland to deter further French advances into Venetia.

As a further snub, the Regent, who scorned Bismarck as a Landwehrleutnant (reserve lieutenant), had declined to promote him to the rank of major-general, a rank that the ambassador to St. Petersburg was expected to hold. This was an important refusal as Prussia and Russia were close military allies, whose heads of state often communicated through military contacts rather than diplomatic channels.[citation needed] Bismarck stayed in St Petersburg for four years, during which he almost lost his leg to botched medical treatment and once again met his future adversary, the Russian Prince Gorchakov, who had been the Russian representative in Frankfurt in the early 1850s. The Regent also appointed Helmuth von Moltke as the new Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army, and Albrecht von Roon as Minister of War with the job of reorganizing the army. Over the next twelve years, Bismarck, Moltke and Roon transformed Prussia; Bismarck would later refer to this period as "the most significant of my life".[This quote needs a citation]

Despite his lengthy stay abroad, Bismarck was not entirely detached from German domestic affairs. He remained well-informed due to Roon, with whom Bismarck formed a lasting friendship and political alliance. In May 1862, he was sent to Paris to serve as ambassador to France, and also visited England that summer. These visits enabled him to meet and take the measure of several adversaries: Napoleon III in France, and in Britain, Prime Minister Palmerston, Foreign Secretary Earl Russell, and Conservative politician Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli, who would become Prime Minister in the 1870s, later claimed to have said of Bismarck, "Be careful of that man—he means every word he says".[This quote needs a citation]

Minister President of Prussia

Otto von Bismarck as Minister President of Prussia, shown wearing insignia of a knight of the Johanniterorden

Prince Wilhelm became King of Prussia upon his brother Frederick Wilhelm IV's death in 1861. The new monarch often came into conflict with the increasingly liberal Prussian Diet (Landtag). A crisis arose in 1862, when the Diet refused to authorize funding for a proposed re-organization of the army. The King's ministers could not convince legislators to pass the budget, and the King was unwilling to make concessions. Wilhelm threatened to abdicate in favour of his son Crown Prince Frederick William, who opposed his doing so, believing that Bismarck was the only politician capable of handling the crisis. However, Wilhelm was ambivalent about appointing a person who demanded unfettered control over foreign affairs. It was in September 1862, when the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies) overwhelmingly rejected the proposed budget, that Wilhelm was persuaded to recall Bismarck to Prussia on the advice of Roon. On 23 September 1862, Wilhelm appointed Bismarck Minister President and Foreign Minister.[25]

Bismarck, Roon and Moltke took charge at a time when relations among the Great Powers (Great Britain, France, Austria and Russia) had been shattered by the Crimean War and the Italian War. In the midst of this disarray, the European balance of power was restructured with the creation of the German Empire as the dominant power in continental Europe apart from Russia. This was achieved by Bismarck's diplomacy, Roon's reorganization of the army and Moltke's military strategy.[26]

Despite the initial distrust of the King and Crown Prince and the loathing of Queen Augusta, Bismarck soon acquired a powerful hold over the King by force of personality and powers of persuasion. Bismarck was intent on maintaining royal supremacy by ending the budget deadlock in the King's favour, even if he had to use extralegal means to do so. Under the Constitution, the budget could be passed only after the king and legislature agreed on its terms. Bismarck contended that since the Constitution did not provide for cases in which legislators failed to approve a budget, there was a "legal loophole" in the Constitution and so he could apply the previous year's budget to keep the government running. Thus, on the basis of the 1861 budget, tax collection continued for four years.[27]

Bismarck's conflict with the legislators intensified in the coming years. Following the Alvensleben Convention of 1863, the House of Deputies resolved that it could no longer come to terms with Bismarck; in response, the King dissolved the Diet, accusing it of trying to obtain unconstitutional control over the ministry—which, under the Constitution, was responsible solely to the king. Bismarck then issued an edict restricting the freedom of the press, an edict that even gained the public opposition of the Crown Prince. Despite (or perhaps because of) his attempts to silence critics, Bismarck remained a largely unpopular politician. His supporters fared poorly in the elections of October 1863, in which a liberal coalition, whose primary member was the Progress Party, won over two-thirds of the seats. The House made repeated calls for Bismarck to be dismissed, but the King supported him, fearing that if he did dismiss the Minister President, he would most likely be succeeded by a liberal.[28]

Blood and Iron speech

Main article: Blood and Iron speech

German unification had been a major objective of the revolutions of 1848, when representatives of the German states met in Frankfurt and drafted a constitution, creating a federal union with a national parliament to be elected by universal male suffrage. In April 1849, the Frankfurt Parliament offered the title of Emperor to King Frederick William IV. Fearing the opposition of the other German princes and the military intervention of Austria and Russia, the King renounced this popular mandate. Thus, the Frankfurt Parliament ended in failure for the German liberals.

Bismarck at 48, 1863

On 30 September 1862, Bismarck made a famous speech to the Budget Committee of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies in which he expounded on the use of "iron and blood" to achieve Prussia's goals:

Prussia must concentrate and maintain its power for the favorable moment which has already slipped by several times. Prussia's boundaries according to the Vienna treaties are not favorable to a healthy state life. The great questions of the time will not be resolved by speeches and majority decisions – that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by iron and blood.[29]

Defeat of Denmark

Prior to the 1860s, Germany consisted of a multitude of principalities loosely bound together as members of the German Confederation. Bismarck used both diplomacy and the Prussian military to achieve unification, excluding Austria from a unified Germany. This made Prussia the most powerful and dominant component of the new Germany, but also ensured that it remained an authoritarian state and not a liberal parliamentary democracy.[30]

Bismarck faced a diplomatic crisis when King Frederick VII of Denmark died in November 1863. The succession to the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein was disputed; they were claimed by Christian IX, Frederick VII's heir as King, and also by Frederick von Augustenburg, a Danish duke. Prussian public opinion strongly favoured Augustenburg's claim, as the populations of Holstein and southern Schleswig were primarily German-speaking.[citation needed] Bismarck took an unpopular step by insisting that the territories legally belonged to the Danish monarch under the London Protocol signed a decade earlier. Nonetheless, Bismarck denounced Christian's decision to completely annex Schleswig to Denmark. With support from Austria, he issued an ultimatum for Christian IX to return Schleswig to its former status.[citation needed] When Denmark refused, Austria and Prussia invaded, sparking the Second Schleswig War. Denmark was ultimately forced to renounce its claim on both duchies.

At first this seemed like a victory for Augustenburg, but Bismarck soon removed him from power by making a series of unworkable demands, namely that Prussia should have control over the army and navy of the duchies. Originally, it had been proposed that the Diet of the German Confederation, in which all the states of Germany were represented, should determine the fate of the duchies; but before this scheme could be effected, Bismarck induced Austria to agree to the Gastein Convention. Under this agreement signed on 20 August 1865, Prussia received Schleswig, while Austria received Holstein. In that year Bismarck was given the title of Count (Graf) of Bismarck-Schönhausen.[31]

King William on a black horse with his suite, Bismarck, Moltke, Roon, and others, watching the Battle of Königgrätz

Defeat of Austria

In 1866, Austria reneged on the agreement and demanded that the Diet determine the Schleswig–Holstein issue. Bismarck used this as an excuse to start a war with Austria by accusing them of violating the Gastein Convention. Bismarck sent Prussian troops to occupy Holstein. Provoked, Austria called for the aid of other German states, who quickly became involved in the Austro-Prussian War.[32] Thanks to Roon's reorganization, the Prussian army was nearly equal in numbers to the Austrian army. With the strategic genius of Moltke, the Prussian army fought battles it was able to win. Bismarck had also made a secret alliance with Italy, who desired Austrian-controlled Veneto. Italy's entry into the war forced the Austrians to divide their forces.[33]

Meanwhile, as the war began, a German radical named Ferdinand Cohen-Blind attempted to assassinate Bismarck in Berlin, shooting him five times at close range. Bismarck had only minor injuries.[34] Subsequently, Cohen-Blind committed suicide while in custody.

Cartoon from 1867 making fun of Bismarck's different roles, from general to minister of foreign affairs, federal chancellor, hunter, diplomat and president of the parliament of the Zollverein, the Prussian-dominated German customs union

The war lasted seven weeks; Germans called it a Blitzkrieg ("lightning war"), a term also used in 1939.[35] Austria had a seemingly powerful army that was allied with most of the north German and all of the south German states. Nevertheless, Prussia won the decisive Battle of Königgrätz. The King and his generals wanted to push onward, conquer Bohemia and march to Vienna, but Bismarck, worried that Prussian military luck might change or that France might intervene on Austria's side, enlisted the help of the Crown Prince, who had opposed the war but had commanded one of the Prussian armies at Königgrätz, to dissuade his father after stormy arguments. Bismarck insisted on a "soft peace" with no annexations and no victory parades, so as to be able to quickly restore friendly relations with Austria.[36]

As a result of the Peace of Prague (1866), the German Confederation was dissolved. Prussia annexed Schleswig, Holstein, Frankfurt, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, and Nassau. Furthermore, Austria had to promise not to intervene in German affairs. To solidify Prussian hegemony, Prussia forced the 21 states north of the River Main to join it in forming the North German Confederation in 1867. The confederation was governed by a constitution largely drafted by Bismarck.[citation needed] Executive power was vested in a president, an hereditary office of the kings of Prussia, who was assisted by a chancellor responsible only to him. As president of the confederation, Wilhelm appointed Bismarck as chancellor of the confederation. Legislation was the responsibility of the Reichstag, a popularly elected body, and the Bundesrat, an advisory body representing the states. The Bundesrat was, in practice, the stronger chamber. Bismarck was the dominant figure in the new arrangement; as Foreign Minister of Prussia, he instructed the Prussian deputies to the Bundesrat.[citation needed]

Prussia had only a plurality (17 out of 43 seats) in the Bundesrat despite being larger than the other 21 states combined, but Bismarck could easily control the proceedings through alliances with the smaller states. This began what historians refer to as "The Misery of Austria" in which Austria served as a mere vassal to the superior Germany, a relationship that was to shape history until the end of the First World War.[citation needed] Bismarck had originally managed to convince smaller states like Saxony, Hesse-Kassel, and Hanover to join with Prussia against Austria, after promising them protection from foreign invasion and fair commercial laws.

"Politics is the art of the possible."
– Bismarck, 1867 interview

Bismarck, who by now held the rank of major in the Landwehr, wore this uniform during the campaign and was at last promoted to the rank of major-general in the Landwehr cavalry after the war. Although he never personally commanded troops in the field, he usually wore a general's uniform in public for the rest of his life, as seen in numerous paintings and photographs. He was also given a cash grant by the Prussian Landtag, which he used to purchase a country estate in Varzin, now part of Poland.[citation needed]

Military success brought Bismarck tremendous political support in Prussia. In the elections of 1866 the liberals suffered a major defeat, losing their majority in the House of Deputies. The new, largely conservative House was on much better terms with Bismarck than previous bodies; at the Minister President's request, it retroactively approved the budgets of the past four years, which had been implemented without parliamentary consent. Bismarck suspected it would split the liberal opposition. While some liberals argued that constitutional government was a bright line that should not be crossed, most of them believed it would be a waste of time to oppose the bill, and supported it in hopes of winning more freedom in the future.[citation needed]

Jonathan Steinberg says of Bismarck's achievements to this point:

The scale of Bismarck's triumph cannot be exaggerated. He alone had brought about a complete transformation of the European international order. He had told those who would listen what he intended to do, how he intended to do it, and he did it. He achieved this incredible feat without commanding an army, and without the ability to give an order to the humblest common soldier, without control of a large party, without public support, indeed, in the face of almost universal hostility, without a majority in parliament, without control of his cabinet, and without a loyal following in the bureaucracy. He no longer had the support of the powerful conservative interest groups who had helped him achieve power. The most senior diplomats in the foreign service ... were sworn enemies and he knew it. The Queen and the Royal Family hated him and the King, emotional and unreliable, would soon have his 70th birthday. ... With perfect justice, in August 1866, he punched his fist on his desk and cried "I have beaten them all! All!"[37]

Surrender of Napoleon III after the Battle of Sedan, 1 September 1870

Franco-Prussian War 1870–71

Main article: Franco-Prussian War

Prussia's victory over Austria increased the already existing tensions with France. The Emperor of France, Napoleon III, had tried to gain territory for France (in Belgium and on the left bank of the Rhine) as a compensation for not joining the war against Prussia and was disappointed by the surprisingly quick outcome of the war.[38] Accordingly, opposition politician Adolphe Thiers claimed that it was France, not Austria, who had really been defeated at Königgrätz. Bismarck, at the same time, did not avoid war with France, though he feared the French for a number of reasons. First, he feared that Austria, hungry for revenge, would ally with the French. Similarly, he feared that the Russian army would assist France to maintain a balance of power.[39] Still, however, Bismarck believed that if the German states perceived France as the aggressor, they would then unite behind the King of Prussia. To achieve this he kept Napoleon III involved in various intrigues, whereby France might gain territory from Luxembourg or Belgium. France never achieved any such gain, but it was made to look greedy and untrustworthy.[40]

A suitable pretext for war arose in 1870, when the German Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered the Spanish throne, vacant since a revolution in 1868. France pressured Leopold into withdrawing his candidacy. Not content with this, Paris demanded that Wilhelm, as head of the House of Hohenzollern, assure that no Hohenzollern would ever seek the Spanish crown again. To provoke France into declaring war with Prussia, Bismarck published the Ems Dispatch, a carefully edited version of a conversation between King Wilhelm and the French ambassador to Prussia, Count Benedetti. This conversation had been edited so that each nation felt that its ambassador had been slighted and ridiculed, thus inflaming popular sentiment on both sides in favor of war. Langer, however, argues that this episode played a minor role in causing the war.[41]

Bismarck wrote in his Memoirs that he "had no doubt that a Franco-German war must take place before the construction of a united Germany could be realised."[42] Yet he felt confident that the French army was not prepared to give battle to Germany's numerically larger forces: " If the French fight us alone they are lost." He was also convinced that the French would not be able to find allies since " France, the victor, would be a danger to everybody – Prussia to nobody." He added, "That is our strong point."[43]

France mobilized and declared war on 19 July. The German states saw France as the aggressor, and—swept up by nationalism and patriotic zeal—they rallied to Prussia's side and provided troops. Both of Bismarck's sons served as officers in the Prussian cavalry. The war was a great success for Prussia as the German army, controlled by Chief of Staff Moltke, won victory after victory. The major battles were all fought in one month (7 August to 1 September), and both French armies were captured at Sedan and Metz, the latter after a siege of some weeks. Napoleon III was taken prisoner at Sedan and kept in Germany for a time in case Bismarck had need of him to head the French regime; he later died in exile in England in 1873. The remainder of the war featured a siege of Paris, the city was "ineffectually bombarded";[44] the new French republican regime then tried, without success, to relieve Paris with various hastily assembled armies and increasingly bitter partisan warfare.

Bismarck quoted the first verse lyrics of "La Marseillaise", amongst others, when being recorded on an Edison phonograph in 1889, the only known recording of his voice. A biographer stated that he did so, 19 years after the war, to mock the French.[45]

Anton von Werner's patriotic, much-reproduced depiction of the proclamation of Wilhelm I as German emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Bismarck is in the center, wearing a white uniform. (1885)

Unification of Germany

Main article: Unification of Germany

Bismarck acted immediately to secure the unification of Germany. He negotiated with representatives of the southern German states, offering special concessions if they agreed to unification. The negotiations succeeded; patriotic sentiment overwhelmed what opposition remained. While the war was in its final phase, Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors in the Château de Versailles.[46] The new German Empire was a federation: each of its 25 constituent states (kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, and free cities) retained some autonomy. The King of Prussia, as German Emperor, was not sovereign over the entirety of Germany; he was only primus inter pares, or first among equals. However, he held the presidency of the Bundesrat, which met to discuss policy presented by the Chancellor, whom the emperor appointed.

In the end, France had to cede Alsace and part of Lorraine, as Moltke and his generals wanted it as a buffer. Historians debate whether Bismarck wanted this annexation or was forced into it by a wave of German public and elite opinion.[47] France was also required to pay an indemnity;[48] the indemnity figure was calculated, on the basis of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnity that Napoleon I had imposed on Prussia in 1807.

Historians debate whether Bismarck had a master plan to expand the North German Confederation of 1866 to include the remaining independent German states into a single entity or simply to expand the power of the Kingdom of Prussia. They conclude that factors in addition to the strength of Bismarck's Realpolitik led a collection of early modern polities to reorganize political, economic, military, and diplomatic relationships in the 19th century. Reaction to Danish and French nationalism provided foci for expressions of German unity. Military successes—especially those of Prussia—in three regional wars generated enthusiasm and pride that politicians could harness to promote unification. This experience echoed the memory of mutual accomplishment in the Napoleonic Wars, particularly in the War of Liberation of 1813–14. By establishing a Germany without Austria, the political and administrative unification in 1871 at least temporarily solved the problem of dualism.[citation needed]

Jonathan Steinberg said of Bismarck's creation of the German Empire that:

the first phase of [his] great career had been concluded. The genius-statesmen had transformed European politics and had unified Germany in eight and a half years. And he had done so by sheer force of personality, by his brilliance, ruthlessness, and flexibility of principle. ... [It] marked the high point of [his] career. He had achieved the impossible, and his genius and the cult of genius had no limits. ... When he returned to Berlin in March 1871, he had become immortal ...[49]

Chancellor of the German Empire

Bismarck in 1873

In 1871, Bismarck was raised to the rank of Fürst (Prince). He was also appointed as the first Imperial Chancellor (Reichskanzler) of the German Empire, but retained his Prussian offices, including those of Minister-President and Foreign Minister. He was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and bought a former hotel in Friedrichsruh near Hamburg, which became an estate. He also continued to serve as his own foreign minister. Because of both the imperial and the Prussian offices that he held, Bismarck had near complete control over domestic and foreign policy. The office of Minister President of Prussia was temporarily separated from that of Chancellor in 1873, when Albrecht von Roon was appointed to the former office. But by the end of the year, Roon resigned due to ill health, and Bismarck again became Minister-President.
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Bismarck launched an anti-Catholic Kulturkampf ("culture struggle") in Prussia in 1871. This was partly motivated by Bismarck's fear that Pius IX and his successors would use papal infallibility to achieve the "papal desire for international political hegemony.... The result was the Kulturkampf, which, with its largely Prussian measures, complemented by similar actions in several other German states, sought to curb the clerical danger by legislation restricting the Catholic church's political power."[50] In May 1872 Bismarck thus attempted to reach an understanding with other European governments to manipulate future papal elections; governments should agree beforehand on unsuitable candidates, and then instruct their national cardinals to vote appropriately. The goal was to end the pope's control over the bishops in a given state, but the project went nowhere.

Between Berlin and Rome, Bismarck (left) confronts the Pope, 1875

Bismarck accelerated the Kulturkampf. In its course, all Prussian bishops and many priests were imprisoned or exiled.[51] Prussia's population had greatly expanded in the 1860s and was now one-third Catholic. Bismarck believed that the pope and bishops held too much power over the German Catholics and was further concerned about the emergence of the Catholic Centre Party, organised in 1870. With support from the anticlerical National Liberal Party, which had become Bismarck's chief ally in the Reichstag, he abolished the Catholic Department of the Prussian Ministry of Culture. That left the Catholics without a voice in high circles. Moreover, in 1872, the Jesuits were expelled from Germany. In 1873, more anti-Catholic laws allowed the Prussian government to supervise the education of the Roman Catholic clergy and curtailed the disciplinary powers of the Church. In 1875, civil ceremonies were required for civil weddings. Hitherto, weddings in churches were civilly recognized.[52][53]

Kulturkampf became part of Bismarck's foreign-policy, as he sought to destabilize and weaken Catholic regimes, especially in Belgium and France, but he had little success.[54]

The British ambassador Odo Russell reported to London in October 1872 that Bismarck's plans were backfiring by strengthening the ultramontane (pro-papal) position inside German Catholicism: "The German Bishops, who were politically powerless in Germany and theologically in opposition to the Pope in Rome, have now become powerful political leaders in Germany and enthusiastic defenders of the now infallible Faith of Rome, united, disciplined, and thirsting for martyrdom, thanks to Bismarck's uncalled for antiliberal declaration of War on the freedom they had hitherto peacefully enjoyed."[55]

The Catholics reacted by organizing themselves and strengthening the Centre Party. Bismarck, a devout pietistic Protestant, was alarmed that secularists and socialists were using the Kulturkampf to attack all religion. He abandoned it in 1878 to preserve his remaining political capital since he now needed the Centre Party votes in his new battle against socialism. Pius IX died that year, replaced by the more pragmatic Pope Leo XIII who negotiated away most of the anti-Catholic laws. The Pope kept control of the selection of bishops, and Catholics for the most part supported unification and most of Bismarck's policies. However, they never forgot his culture war and preached solidarity to present organized resistance should it ever be resumed.[56]

Steinberg comments:

The anti-Catholic hysteria in many European countries belongs in its European setting. Bismarck's campaign was not unique in itself, but his violent temper, intolerance of opposition, and paranoia that secret forces had conspired to undermine his life's work, made it more relentless. His rage drove him to exaggerate the threat from Catholic activities and to respond with very extreme measures. ... As Odo Russell wrote to his mother, [Lady Emily Russell,] "The demonic is stronger in him than in any man I know." ... The bully, the dictator, and the "demonic" combined in him with the self-pity and the hypochondria to create a constant crisis of authority, which he exploited for his own ends. ... Opponents, friends, and subordinates all remarked on Bismarck as "demonic," a kind of uncanny, diabolic personal power over men and affairs. In these years of his greatest power, he believed that he could do anything.[57]


The Krupp factory in Essen, 1880

In 1873, Germany and much of Europe and America entered the Long Depression, the Gründerkrise. A downturn hit the German economy for the first time since industrial development began to surge in the 1850s. To aid faltering industries, the Chancellor abandoned free trade and established protectionist import-tariffs, which alienated the National Liberals who demanded free trade. The Kulturkampf and its effects had also stirred up public opinion against the party that supported it, and Bismarck used this opportunity to distance himself from the National Liberals. That marked a rapid decline in the support of the National Liberals, and by 1879 their close ties with Bismarck had all but ended. Bismarck instead returned to conservative factions, including the Centre Party, for support. He helped foster support from the conservatives by enacting several tariffs protecting German agriculture and industry from foreign competitors in 1879.[58]


Imperial and provincial government bureaucracies attempted to Germanise the state's national minorities situated near the borders of the empire: the Danes in the North, the Francophones in the West and Poles in the East. As minister president of Prussia and as imperial chancellor, Bismarck "sorted people into their linguistic [and religious] 'tribes'"; he pursued a policy of hostility in particular toward the Poles, which was an expedient rooted in Prussian history.[59] "He never had a Pole among his peasants" working the Bismarckian estates; it was the educated Polish bourgeoisie and revolutionaries he denounced from personal experience, and "because of them he disliked intellectuals in politics."[60] Bismarck's antagonism is revealed in a private letter to his sister in 1861: "Hammer the Poles until they despair of living [...] I have all the sympathy in the world for their situation, but if we want to exist we have no choice but to wipe them out: wolves are only what God made them, but we shoot them all the same when we can get at them."[61][62][63] Later that year, the public Bismarck modified his belligerence and wrote to Prussia's foreign minister: "Every success of the Polish national movement is a defeat for Prussia, we cannot carry on the fight against this element according to the rules of civil justice, but only in accordance with the rules of war."[61][64] With Polish nationalism the ever-present menace, Bismarck preferred expulsion rather than Germanisation.[65]


See also: State Socialism (Germany)

Worried by the growth of the socialist movement, the Social Democratic Party in particular, Bismarck instituted the Anti-Socialist Laws in 1878. Socialist organizations and meetings were forbidden, as was the circulation of socialist literature. Police officers could stop, search and arrest socialist party members and their leaders, a number of whom were then tried by police courts. Despite these efforts, the socialist movement steadily gained supporters and seats in the Reichstag. Socialists won seats in the Reichstag by running as independent candidates, unaffiliated with any party, which was allowed by the German constitution.[66]

Bismarck's strategy in the 1880s was to win the workers over for the conservative regime by implementing social benefits. He added accident and old-age insurance as well as a form of socialized medicine. He did not completely succeed, however. Support for the Social Democrats increased with each election.

Foreign policies

Early relations with Europe and its government

Main article: International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919)

A main objective of Bismarck's was to prevent other powers from becoming allies of France (shown as the lonely girl on the far left).

Having unified his nation, Bismarck now devoted himself to promoting peace in Europe with his skills in statesmanship. He was forced to contend with French revanchism, the desire to avenge the losses of the Franco-Prussian War. Bismarck, therefore, engaged in a policy of diplomatically isolating France while maintaining cordial relations with other nations in Europe. He had little interest in naval or colonial entanglements and thus avoided discord with Great Britain. Historians emphasize that he wanted no more territorial gains after 1871, and vigorously worked to form cross-linking alliances that prevented any war in Europe from starting. By 1878 both the Liberal and Conservative spokesmen in Britain hailed him as the champion of peace in Europe.[67] A. J. P. Taylor, a leading British diplomatic historian, concludes that, "Bismarck was an honest broker of peace; and his system of alliances compelled every Power, whatever its will, to follow a peaceful course."[68]

Well aware that Europe was skeptical of his powerful new Reich, Bismarck turned his attention to preserving peace in Europe based on a balance of power that would allow Germany's economy to flourish. Bismarck feared that a hostile combination of Austria, France, and Russia would crush Germany. If two of them were allied, then the third would ally with Germany only if Germany conceded excessive demands. The solution was to ally with two of the three. In 1873 he formed the League of the Three Emperors (Dreikaiserbund), an alliance of Wilhelm, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary. Together they would control Eastern Europe, making sure that restive ethnic groups such as the Poles were kept under control. The Balkans posed a more serious issue, and Bismarck's solution was to give Austria predominance in the western areas, and Russia in the eastern areas. This system collapsed in 1887.[69][70]

In 1872, a protracted quarrel began to fester between Bismarck and Count Harry von Arnim, the imperial ambassador to France. Arnim saw himself as a rival and competitor for the chancellorship, but the rivalry escalated out of hand, and Arnim took sensitive records from embassy files at Paris to back up his case. He was formally accused of misappropriating official documents, indicted, tried and convicted, finally fleeing into exile where he died. No one again openly challenged Bismarck in foreign policy matters until his resignation.[71]

Bismarck c. 1875


Main article: International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) § War in Sight crisis of 1875
France was Bismarck's main problem. Peaceful relations with France became impossible after 1871 when Germany annexed all of the province of Alsace and much of Lorraine. Public opinion demanded it to humiliate France, and the Army wanted its more defensible frontiers. Bismarck reluctantly gave in—French would never forget or forgive, he calculated, so might as well take the provinces. (That was a mistaken assumption—after about five years the French did calm down and considered it a minor issue.)[72] Germany's foreign policy fell into a trap with no exit. "In retrospect it is easy to see that the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine was a tragic mistake."[73][74] Once the annexation took place the only policy that made sense was trying to isolate France so it had no strong allies. However France complicated Berlin's plans when it became friends with Russia. In 1905 a German plan for an alliance with Russia fell through because Russia was too close to France.[75]

Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly manipulated the internal affairs of France's neighbors to hurt France. Bismarck put heavy pressure on Belgium, Spain, and Italy hoping to obtain the election of liberal, anticlerical governments. His plan was to promote republicanism in France by isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President MacMahon. He hoped that surrounding France with liberal states would help the French republicans defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters.[76]

The bullying, however, almost got out of hand in mid-1875, when an editorial entitled "Krieg-in-Sicht" ("War in Sight") was published in a Berlin newspaper close to the government, the Post. The editorial indicated that highly influential Germans were alarmed by France's rapid recovery from defeat in 1875 and its announcement of an increase in the size of its army, as well as talks of launching a preventive war against France. Bismarck denied knowing about the article ahead of time, but he certainly knew about the talk of preventive war. The editorial produced a war scare, with Britain and Russia warning that they would not tolerate a preventive war against France. Bismarck had no desire for war either, and the crisis soon blew over. It was a rare instance where Bismarck was outmaneuvered and embarrassed by his opponents, but from that he learned an important lesson. It forced him to take into account the fear and alarm that his bullying and Germany's fast-growing power was causing among its neighbors, and reinforced his determination that Germany should work in proactive fashion to preserve the peace in Europe, rather than passively let events take their own course and reacting to them.[77][78]


Bismarck maintained good relations with Italy, although he had a personal dislike for Italians and their country.[79] He can be seen as a marginal contributor to Italian unification. Politics surrounding the 1866 Austro-Prussian War allowed Italy to annex Venetia, which had been a kronland ("crown land") of the Austrian Empire since the 1815 Congress of Vienna. In addition, French mobilization for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 made it necessary for Napoleon III to withdraw his troops from Rome and The Papal States. Without these two events, Italian unification would have been a more prolonged process.


After Russia's victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Bismarck helped negotiate a settlement at the Congress of Berlin. The Treaty of Berlin revised the earlier Treaty of San Stefano, reducing the size of newly independent Bulgaria (a pro-Russian state at that time). Bismarck and other European leaders opposed the growth of Russian influence and tried to protect the integrity of the Ottoman Empire (see Eastern Question). As a result, Russo-German relations further deteriorated, with the Russian chancellor Gorchakov denouncing Bismarck for compromising his nation's victory. The relationship was additionally strained due to Germany's protectionist trade policies. Some in the German military clamored for a preemptive war with Russia; Bismarck refused, stating: "Preemptive war is like committing suicide for fear of death."[80]

Bismarck realized that both Russia and Britain considered control of central Asia a high priority, dubbed the "Great Game". Germany had no direct stakes, however its dominance of Europe was enhanced when Russian troops were based as far away from Germany as possible. Over two decades, 1871–1890, he maneuvered to help the British, hoping to force the Russians to commit more soldiers to Asia.[81]

Triple Alliance

Caricature of the Triple alliance

The League of the Three Emperors having fallen apart, Bismarck negotiated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, in which each guaranteed the other against Russian attack. He also negotiated the Triple Alliance in 1882 with Austria-Hungary and Italy, and Italy and Austria-Hungary soon reached the "Mediterranean Agreement" with Britain. Attempts to reconcile Germany and Russia did not have a lasting effect: the Three Emperors' League was re-established in 1881 but quickly fell apart, ending Russian-Austrian-Prussian solidarity, which had existed in various forms since 1813. Bismarck therefore negotiated the secret Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 with Russia, in order to prevent Franco-Russian encirclement of Germany. Both powers promised to remain neutral towards one another unless Russia attacked Austria-Hungary. However, after Bismarck's departure from office in 1890, the Treaty was not renewed, thus creating a critical problem for Germany in the event of a war.

Colonies and imperialism

Hoisting the German flag at Mioko, German New Guinea in 1884

Bismarck had opposed colonial acquisitions, arguing that the burden of obtaining, maintaining, and defending such possessions would outweigh any potential benefit. He felt that colonies did not pay for themselves, that the German formal bureaucratic system would not work well in the easy-going tropics, and that the diplomatic disputes colonies brought would distract Germany from its central interest, Europe itself.[82] As for French designs on Morocco, Chlodwig, Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst wrote in his memoirs that Bismarck had told him that Germany "could only be pleased if France took possession of the country" since "she would then be very occupied" and distracted from the loss of Alsace-Lorraine.[83] However, in 1883–84 he suddenly reversed himself and overnight built a colonial empire in Africa and the South Pacific. The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 organized by Bismarck can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa.

Historians have debated the exact motive behind Bismarck's sudden and short-lived move.[84] He was aware that public opinion had started to demand colonies for reasons of German prestige. He also wanted to undercut the anti-colonial liberals who were sponsored by the Crown Prince, who—given Wilhelm I's old age—might soon become emperor and remove Bismarck.[85][86] Bismarck was influenced by Hamburg merchants and traders, his neighbors at Friedrichsruh. The establishment of the German colonial empire proceeded smoothly, starting with German New Guinea in 1884.[82][87]

European officials staking claims to Africa in the Conference of Berlin in 1884

Other European nations, led by Britain and France, were acquiring colonies in a rapid fashion (see New Imperialism). Bismarck therefore joined in the Scramble for Africa. Germany's new colonies included Togoland (now Togo and part of Ghana), German Kamerun (now Cameroon and part of Nigeria), German East Africa (now Rwanda, Burundi, and the mainland part of Tanzania), and German South-West Africa (now Namibia). The Berlin Conference (1884–85) established regulations for the acquisition of African colonies; in particular, it protected free trade in certain parts of the Congo basin. Germany also acquired colonies in the Pacific, such as German New Guinea.[88]

Hans-Ulrich Wehler argues that his imperialistic policies were based on internal political and economic forces; they were not his response to external pressure. At first he promoted liberal goals of free trade commercial expansionism in order to maintain economic growth and social stability, as well as preserve the social and political power structure. However he changed, broke with the liberals, and adopted tariffs to win Catholic support and shore up his political base. Germany's imperialism in the 1880s derived less from strength and instead represented Bismarck's solution to unstable industrialization. Protectionism made for unity at a time when class conflict was rising. Wehler says the chancellor's ultimate goal was to strengthen traditional social and power structures, and avoid a major war.[89]

Avoiding war

In February 1888, during a Bulgarian crisis, Bismarck addressed the Reichstag on the dangers of a European war:

He warned of the imminent possibility that Germany will have to fight on two fronts; he spoke of the desire for peace; then he set forth the Balkan case for war and demonstrated its futility:

"Bulgaria, that little country between the Danube and the Balkans, is far from being an object of adequate importance... for which to plunge Europe from Moscow to the Pyrenees, and from the North Sea to Palermo, into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At the end of the conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought."[90]

Bismarck also repeated his emphatic warning against any German military involvement in Balkan disputes. Bismarck had first made this famous comment to the Reichstag in December 1876, when the Balkan revolts against the Ottoman Empire threatened to extend to a war between Austria and Russia:

Only a year later [1876], he is faced by the alternative of espousing the cause of Russia or that of Austria. Immediately after the last crisis, in the summer of 1875, the mutual jealousies between Russia and Austria had been rendered acute by the fresh risings in the Balkans against the Turks. Now the issues hung upon Bismarck's decision. Immediately after the peace, he had tried to paralyse the Balkan rivals by the formation of the Three Emperors' League. "I have no thought of intervening," he said privately. "That might precipitate a European war.... If I were to espouse the cause of one of the parties, France would promptly strike a blow on the other side.... I am holding two powerful heraldic beasts by their collars, and am keeping them apart for two reasons: first of all, lest they should tear one another to pieces; and secondly, lest they should come to an understanding at our expense." In the Reichstag, he popularises the same idea in the words: "I am opposed to the notion of any sort of active participation of Germany in these matters, so long as I can see no reason to suppose that German interests are involved, no interests on behalf of which it is worth our risking—excuse my plain speaking—the healthy bones of one of our Pomeranian musketeers."[91]

A leading diplomatic historian of the era, William L. Langer sums up Bismarck's two decades as Chancellor:

Whatever else may be said of the intricate alliance system evolved by the German Chancellor, it must be admitted that it worked and that it tided Europe over a period of several critical years without a rupture.... there was, as Bismarck himself said, a premium upon the maintenance of peace.[92]

Langer concludes:

His had been a great career, beginning with three wars in eight years and ending with a period of 20 years during which he worked for the peace of Europe, despite countless opportunities to embark on further enterprises with more than even chance of success.... No other statesman of his standing had ever before shown the same great moderation and sound political sense of the possible and desirable.... Bismarck at least deserves full credit for having steered European politics through this dangerous transitional period without serious conflict between the great powers."[93]

Franz von Lenbach's portrait of Bismarck in his 75th year

Social legislation

Early legislation

In domestic policy Bismarck pursued a conservative state-building strategy designed to make ordinary Germans—not just his own Junker elite—more loyal to throne and empire, implementing the modern welfare state in Germany in the 1880s.[94] According to Kees van Kersbergen and Barbara Vis, his strategy was:

granting social rights to enhance the integration of a hierarchical society, to forge a bond between workers and the state so as to strengthen the latter, to maintain traditional relations of authority between social and status groups, and to provide a countervailing power against the modernist forces of liberalism and socialism.[95]

Bismarck worked closely with large industry and aimed to stimulate German economic growth by giving workers greater security.[96] A secondary concern was trumping the Socialists, who had no welfare proposals of their own and opposed Bismarck's. Bismarck especially listened to Hermann Wagener and Theodor Lohmann, advisers who persuaded him to give workers a corporate status in the legal and political structures of the new German state.[97] In March 1884, Bismarck declared:

The real grievance of the worker is the insecurity of his existence; he is not sure that he will always have work, he is not sure that he will always be healthy, and he foresees that he will one day be old and unfit to work. If he falls into poverty, even if only through a prolonged illness, he is then completely helpless, left to his own devices, and society does not currently recognize any real obligation towards him beyond the usual help for the poor, even if he has been working all the time ever so faithfully and diligently. The usual help for the poor, however, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in large cities, where it is very much worse than in the country.[98]

Bismarck's idea was to implement welfare programs that were acceptable to conservatives without any socialistic aspects. He was dubious about laws protecting workers at the workplace, such as safe working conditions, limitation of work hours, and the regulation of women's and child labor. He believed that such regulation would force workers and employers to reduce work and production and thus harm the economy. Bismarck opened debate on the subject in November 1881 in the Imperial Message to the Reichstag, using the term practical Christianity to describe his program.[99] Bismarck's program centred squarely on insurance programs designed to increase productivity, and focus the political attentions of German workers on supporting the Junkers' government. The program included sickness insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, and a retirement pension, none of which were then in existence to any great degree.

Based on Bismarck's message, the Reichstag filed three bills to deal with the concepts of accident and sickness insurance. The subjects of retirement pensions and disability insurance were placed on the back-burner for the time being.[100] The social legislation implemented by Bismarck in the 1880s played a key role in the sharp, rapid decline of German emigration to America. Young men considering emigration looked at not only the gap between higher hourly "direct wages" in the United States and Germany but also the differential in "indirect wages", social benefits, which favored staying in Germany. The young men went to German industrial cities, so that Bismarck's insurance system partly offset low wage rates in Germany and further reduced the emigration rate.[101]

Sickness Insurance Law of 1883

The first successful bill, passed in 1883, was the Sickness Insurance Bill. Bismarck considered the program, established to provide sickness insurance for German industrial laborers, the least important and the least politically troublesome.[102][103] The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. The employers contributed one third, and the workers contributed two-thirds. The minimum payments for medical treatment and sick pay for up to 13 weeks were legally fixed. The individual local health bureaus were administered by a committee elected by the members of each bureau, and this move had the unintended effect of establishing a majority representation for the workers on account of their large financial contribution. This worked to the advantage of the Social Democrats who, through heavy worker membership, achieved their first small foothold in public administration.[100]

According to a 2019 study, the health insurance legislation caused a substantial reduction in mortality.[104]

Accident Insurance Law of 1884

Bismarck's government had to submit three draft bills before it could get one passed by the Reichstag in 1884. Bismarck had originally proposed that the federal government pay a portion of the accident insurance contribution. Bismarck wanted to demonstrate the willingness of the German government to reduce the hardship experienced by the German workers so as to wean them away from supporting the various left-wing parties, most importantly the Social Democrats. The National Liberals took this program to be an expression of State Socialism, against which they were dead set. The Centre Party was afraid of the expansion of federal power at the expense of states' rights.

As a result, the only way the program could be passed at all was for the entire expense to be underwritten by the employers. To facilitate this, Bismarck arranged for the administration of this program to be placed in the hands of "Der Arbeitgeberverband in den beruflichen Korporationen" (the Organization of Employers in Occupational Corporations). This organization established central and bureaucratic insurance offices on the federal, and in some cases the state level to actually administer the program whose benefits kicked in to replace the sickness insurance program as of the 14th week. It paid for medical treatment and a pension of up to two-thirds of earned wages if the worker were fully disabled. This program was expanded, in 1886, to include agricultural workers.[100]

Old Age and Disability Insurance Law of 1889

The old age pension program, insurance equally financed by employers and workers, was designed to provide a pension annuity for workers who reached the age of 70. Unlike the accident and sickness insurance programs, this program covered all categories of workers (industrial, agrarian, artisans and servants) from the start. Also, unlike the other two programs, the principle that the national government should contribute a portion of the underwriting cost, with the other two portions prorated accordingly, was accepted without question. The disability insurance program was intended to be used by those permanently disabled. This time, the state or province supervised the programs directly.[105]


Final years and forced resignation

In 1888 Kaiser Wilhelm I died, leaving the throne to his son, Friedrich III. The new monarch was already suffering from cancer of the larynx and died after reigning for only 99 days. He was succeeded by his son, Wilhelm II, who opposed Bismarck's careful foreign policy, preferring vigorous and rapid expansion to enlarge Germany's "place in the sun".[107]

Bismarck was sixteen years older than Friedrich; before the latter became terminally ill, Bismarck did not expect he would live to see Wilhelm ascend to the throne and thus had no strategy to deal with him. Conflicts between Wilhelm and his chancellor soon poisoned their relationship. Their final split occurred after Bismarck tried to implement far-reaching anti-socialist laws in early 1890. The Kartell majority in the Reichstag, including the amalgamated Conservative Party and the National Liberal Party, was willing to make most of the laws permanent. However, it was split about the law granting the police the power to expel socialist agitators from their homes, a power that had been used excessively at times against political opponents. The National Liberals refused to make this law permanent, while the Conservatives supported only the entirety of the bill, threatening to and eventually vetoing the entire bill in session because Bismarck would not agree to a modified bill.[108]

Lenbach painting of Bismarck in retirement (1895)

As the debate continued, Wilhelm became increasingly interested in social problems, especially the treatment of mine workers during their strike in 1889. Keeping with his active policy in government, he routinely interrupted Bismarck in Council to make clear his social views. Bismarck sharply disagreed with Wilhelm's policies and worked to circumvent them. Even though Wilhelm supported the altered anti-socialist bill, Bismarck pushed for his support to veto the bill in its entirety. When his arguments could not convince Wilhelm, Bismarck became excited and agitated until uncharacteristically blurting out his motive to see the bill fail: to have the socialists agitate until a violent clash occurred that could be used as a pretext to crush them. Wilhelm countered that he was not willing to open his reign with a bloody campaign against his own subjects. The next day, after realizing his blunder, Bismarck attempted to reach a compromise with Wilhelm by agreeing to his social policy towards industrial workers and even suggested a European council to discuss working conditions, presided over by the Emperor.[109]

Still, a turn of events eventually led to his breaking with Wilhelm. Bismarck, feeling pressured and unappreciated by the Emperor and undermined by ambitious advisers, refused to sign a proclamation regarding the protection of workers along with Wilhelm, as was required by the German constitution. His refusal to sign was apparently to protest Wilhelm's ever increasing interference with Bismarck's previously unquestioned authority. Bismarck also worked behind the scenes to break the Continental labour council on which Wilhelm had set his heart.[110]

The final break came as Bismarck searched for a new parliamentary majority, as his Kartell was voted from power as a consequence of the anti-socialist bill fiasco. The remaining forces in the Reichstag were the Catholic Centre Party and the Conservative Party. Bismarck wished to form a new block with the Centre Party and invited Ludwig Windthorst, the parliamentary leader, to discuss an alliance. That would be Bismarck's last political maneuver. Upon hearing about Windthorst's visit, Wilhelm was furious.[111]

In a parliamentary state, the head of government depends on the confidence of the parliamentary majority and has the right to form coalitions to ensure their policies have majority support. However, in Germany, the Chancellor depended on the confidence of the Emperor alone, and Wilhelm believed that the Emperor had the right to be informed before his minister's meeting. After a heated argument in Bismarck's office, Wilhelm—to whom Bismarck had shown a letter from Tsar Alexander III describing Wilhelm as a "badly brought-up boy"—stormed out, after first ordering the rescinding of the Cabinet Order of 1851, which had forbidden Prussian Cabinet Ministers from reporting directly to the King of Prussia and required them instead to report via the Chancellor. Bismarck, forced for the first time into a situation that he could not use to his advantage, wrote a blistering letter of resignation, decrying Wilhelm's interference in foreign and domestic policy. The letter, however, was published only after Bismarck's death.[112][113]

"Dropping the Pilot" – Cartoon by Sir John Tenniel (1820–1914), first published in the British magazine Punch, 29 March 1890

Bismarck resigned at Wilhelm II's insistence on 18 March 1890, at the age of seventy-five. Steinberg sums up:

Thus ended the extraordinary public career of Otto von Bismarck, who ... had presided over the affairs of a state he made great and glorious. ... Now the humble posture that he had necessarily adopted in his written communications with his royal master had become his real posture. The old servant, no matter how great and how brilliant, had become in reality what he had always played as on a stage: a servant who could be dismissed at will by his Sovereign. He had defended that royal prerogative because it had allowed him to carry out his immense will; now the absolute prerogative of the Emperor became what it has always been, the prerogative of the sovereign. Having crushed his parliamentary opponents, flattened and abused his ministers, and refused to allow himself to be bound by any loyalty, Bismarck had no ally left when he needed it. It was not his cabinet nor his parliamentary majority. He had made sure that it remained the sovereign's, and so it was that he fell because of a system that he preserved and bequeathed to the unstable young Emperor.[114]

Bismarck was succeeded as Imperial Chancellor and Minister President of Prussia by Leo von Caprivi.[115] After his dismissal he was promoted to the rank of "Colonel-General with the Dignity of Field Marshal", so-called because the German Army did not appoint full Field Marshals in peacetime. He was also given a new title, Duke of Lauenburg, which he joked would be useful when traveling incognito. He was soon elected to the Reichstag as a National Liberal in Bennigsen's old and supposedly safe Hamburg seat, but he was so humiliated by being taken to a second ballot by a Social Democrat opponent that he never actually took up his seat. Bismarck entered into resentful retirement, lived in Friedrichsruh near Hamburg and sometimes on his estates at Varzin, and waited in vain to be called upon for advice and counsel. After his wife's death on 27 November 1894, his health worsened and one year later he was finally confined to a wheelchair.[116][117][118][119]

Last warnings and predictions

In December 1897, Wilhelm visited Bismarck for the last time. Bismarck again warned him about the dangers of improvising government policy based on the intrigues of courtiers and militarists:

Your Majesty, so long as you have this present officer corps, you can do as you please. But when this is no longer the case, it will be very different for you.[120]

Subsequently, Bismarck made this prediction:

Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this.[121]

The year before his death, Bismarck again predicted:

One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.[122]

Bismarck on his deathbed, 30 July 1898

Bismarck's tomb bearing the inscription,
Ein treuer deutscher Diener Kaiser Wilhelms I
("A loyal servant of German Emperor Wilhelm I")


Bismarck spent his final years composing his memoirs (Gedanken und Erinnerungen, or Thoughts and Memories), a work lauded by historians.[123] In the memoirs Bismarck continued his feud with Wilhelm II by attacking him, and by increasing the drama around every event and by often presenting himself in a favorable light. He also published the text of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, a major breach of national security, for which an individual of lesser status would have been heavily prosecuted.

Bismarck's health began to fail in 1896. He was diagnosed with gangrene in his foot, but refused to accept treatment for it; as a result he had difficulty walking and was often confined to a wheelchair. By July 1898 he was permanently wheelchair-bound, had trouble breathing, and was almost constantly feverish and in pain. His health rallied momentarily on the 28th, but then sharply deteriorated over the next two days. He died just after midnight on 30 July 1898, at the age of eighty-three in Friedrichsruh,[124] where he is entombed in the Bismarck Mausoleum. He was succeeded as Prince Bismarck by his eldest son, Herbert. Bismarck managed a posthumous snub of Wilhelm II by having his own sarcophagus inscribed with the words, "A loyal German servant of Emperor Wilhelm I".[125]
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Legacy and memory


Historians have reached a broad consensus on the content, function and importance of the image of Bismarck within Germany's political culture over the past 125 years.[126][127] According to Steinberg, his achievements in 1862–71 were "the greatest diplomatic and political achievement by any leader in the last two centuries."[128]

Bismarck's most important legacy is the unification of Germany. Germany had existed as a collection of hundreds of separate principalities and Free Cities since the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. Over the centuries various rulers had tried to unify the German states without success until Bismarck. Largely as a result of Bismarck's efforts, the various German kingdoms were united into a single country.

Following unification, Germany became one of the most powerful nations in Europe. Bismarck's astute, cautious, and pragmatic foreign policies allowed Germany to peacefully retain the powerful position into which he had brought it, while maintaining amiable diplomacy with almost all European nations. France was the main exception because of the Franco–Prussian War and Bismarck's harsh subsequent policies; France became one of Germany's most bitter enemies in Europe. Austria, too, was weakened by the creation of a German Empire, though to a much lesser extent than France. Bismarck believed that as long as Britain, Russia and Italy were assured of the peaceful nature of the German Empire, French belligerency could be contained;[citation needed] his diplomatic feats were undone, however, by Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose policies unified other European powers against Germany in time for World War I.

Historians stress that Bismarck's peace-oriented, "saturated continental diplomacy" was increasingly unpopular, because it consciously reined in any expansionist drives.[citation needed] In dramatic contrast stands the ambition of Wilhelm II's Weltpolitik to secure the Reich's future through expansion, leading to World War I. Likewise Bismarck's policy to deny the military a dominant voice in foreign political decision making was overturned by 1914 as Germany became an armed state.

A statue of Bismarck in Berlin

German medal by Schwenzer 1898 (ND) commemorating Bismarck's death

Bismarck's psychology and personal traits have not been so favourably received by scholars. The historian Jonathan Steinberg portrays a demonic genius who was deeply vengeful, even toward his closest friends and family members:

[Bismarck's friend, German diplomat Kurd von Schlözer] began to see Bismarck as a kind of malign genius who, behind the various postures, concealed an ice-cold contempt for his fellow human beings and a methodical determination to control and ruin them. His easy chat combined blunt truths, partial revelations, and outright deceptions. His extraordinary double ability to see how groups would react and the willingness to use violence to make them obey, the capacity to read group behavior and the force to make them move to his will, gave him the chance to exercise what [Steinberg has] called his "sovereign self"[129]

Evans says he was "intimidating and unscrupulous, playing to others' frailties, not their strengths."[130] British historians, including Steinberg, Evans, Taylor, Palmer and Crankshaw, see Bismarck as an ambivalent figure, undoubtedly a man of great skill but who left no lasting system in place to guide successors less skilled than himself. Being a committed monarchist himself, Bismarck allowed no effective constitutional check on the power of the Emperor, thus placing a time bomb in the foundation of the Germany that he created.

Observers at the time and since have commented on Bismarck's skill as a writer. As Henry Kissinger has noted, "The man of 'blood and iron' wrote prose of extraordinary directness and lucidity, comparable in distinctiveness to Churchill's use of the English language."[131]

A 2011 biographer of Bismarck wrote that he was:

a political genius of a very unusual kind [whose success] rested on several sets of conflicting characteristics among which brutal, disarming honesty mingled with the wiles and deceits of a confidence man. He played his parts with perfect self-confidence, yet mixed them with rage, anxiety, illness, hypochrondria, and irrationality. ... He used democracy when it suited him, negotiated with revolutionaries and the dangerous Ferdinand Lassalle, the socialist who might have contested his authority. He utterly dominated his cabinet ministers with a sovereign contempt and blackened their reputations as soon as he no longer needed them. He outwitted the parliamentary parties, even the strongest of them, and betrayed all those ... who had put him into power. By 1870 even his closest friends ... realized that they had helped put a demonic figure into power.[132]

During most of his nearly thirty-year-long tenure, Bismarck held undisputed control over the government's policies. He was well supported by his friend Albrecht von Roon, the war minister, as well as the leader of the Prussian army Helmuth von Moltke. Bismarck's diplomatic moves relied on a victorious Prussian military, and these two men gave Bismarck the victories he needed to convince the smaller German states to join Prussia.[citation needed]

Bismarck took steps to silence or restrain political opposition, as evidenced by laws restricting the freedom of the press, and the anti-socialist laws. He waged a culture war (Kulturkampf) against the Catholic Church until he realized the conservatism of the Catholics made them natural allies against the Socialists. His king Wilhelm I rarely challenged the Chancellor's decisions; on several occasions, Bismarck obtained his monarch's approval by threatening to resign. However, Wilhelm II intended to govern the country himself, making the ousting of Bismarck one of his first tasks as Kaiser. Bismarck's successors as Chancellor were much less influential, as power was concentrated in the Emperor's hands.

Memorial to the young Bismarck at the Rudelsburg in Saxony-Anhalt

The Bismarck Monument, Hamburg


Immediately after he left office, citizens started to praise him and established funds to build monuments like the Bismarck Memorial or towers dedicated to him. Throughout Germany, the accolades were unending, several buildings were named in his honour, portraits of him were commissioned from artists such as Franz von Lenbach and C.W. Allers and books about him became best-sellers.[citation needed] The first monument built in his honour was the one at Bad Kissingen erected in 1877.

Numerous statues and memorials dot the cities, towns, and countryside of Germany, including the famous Bismarck Memorial in Berlin and numerous Bismarck towers on four continents. The only memorial depicting him as a student at Göttingen University (together with a dog, possibly his Reichshund Tyras) and as a member of his Corps Hannovera was re-erected in 2006 at the Rudelsburg.[citation needed] The gleaming white 1906 Bismarck Monument in the city of Hamburg, stands in the centre of the St. Pauli district, and is the largest, and probably best-known, memorial to Bismarck worldwide. The statues depicted him as massive, monolithic, rigid and unambiguous.[133] Two warships were named in his honour, the SMS Bismarck of the German Imperial Navy, and the Bismarck from the World War II–era.

Obverse of a WWI Judaica Silver Medal by Hugo Grünthal and Paul Sturm for Bismarck's 100th Birthday, 1915

The reverse of this medal is symbolising the war efforts by a giant carrying Germany.

Bismarck: memory and myth

Bismarck was the most memorable figure in Germany down to the 1930s. The dominant memory was the great hero of the 1860s, who defeated all enemies, especially France, and unified Germany to become the most powerful military and diplomatic force in the world. Of course, there were no monuments celebrating Bismarck's devotion to the cause of European peace after 1871.[134] But there were other German memories. His fellow Junkers were disappointed, as Prussia after 1871 became swallowed up and dominated by the German Empire. Liberal intellectuals, few in number but dominant in the universities and business houses, celebrated his achievement of the national state, a constitutional monarchy, and the rule of law, and forestalling revolution and marginalizing radicalism.[135][136] Social Democrats and labor leaders had always been his target, and he remained their bête noire.[137] Catholics could not forget the Kulturkampf and remained distrustful. Especially negative were the Poles who hated his Germanization programs.[138]

Robert Gerwarth shows that the Bismarck myth, built up predominantly during his years of retirement and even more stridently after his death, proved a powerful rhetorical and ideological tool.[139] The myth made him out to be a dogmatic ideologue and ardent nationalist when, in fact, he was ideologically flexible. Gerwarth argues that the constructed memory of Bismarck played a central role as an antidemocratic myth in the highly ideological battle over the past, which raged between 1918 and 1933. This myth proved to be a weapon against the Weimar Republic and exercised a destructive influence on the political culture of the first German democracy. Frankel in Bismarck's Shadow (2005) shows the Bismarck cult fostered and legitimized a new style of right-wing politics. It made possible the post-Bismarckian crisis of leadership, both real and perceived, that had Germans seeking the strongest possible leader and asking, "What Would Bismarck Do?" For example, Hamburg's memorial, unveiled in 1906, is considered one of the greatest expressions of Imperial Germany's Bismarck cult and an important development in the history of German memorial art. It was a product of the desire of Hamburg's patrician classes to defend their political privileges in the face of dramatic social change and attendant demands for political reform. To those who presided over its construction, the monument was also a means of asserting Hamburg's cultural aspirations and of shrugging off a reputation as a city hostile to the arts. The memorial was greeted with widespread disapproval among the working classes and did not prevent their increasing support for the Social Democrats.[140]

Place names

A number of localities around the world have been named in Bismarck's honour. They include:

• Bismarck Archipelago, near the former German colony of New Guinea.[141]
• Bismarck, Illinois[142]
• Bismarck, North Dakota, the only U.S. state capital named for a foreign statesman.[143]
• Bismarck, Missouri, a city in Missouri.[144]
• Bismarck Sea[145]
• Bismarck Strait, a channel in Antarctica.[146]
• Cape Bismarck, NE Greenland.[147]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Styles of The Prince of Bismarck
Reference style His Serene Highness
Spoken style Your Serene Highness
Alternative style Sir

Titles and styles

• 1 April 1815 – 1865: Junker Otto von Bismarck
• 1865–1871: His High-born The Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen
• 1871–1890: His Serene Highness The Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen
• 1890 – 30 July 1898: His Serene Highness The Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg

Bismarck was created Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen ("Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen") in 1865; this comital title is borne by all his descendants in the male line. In 1871, he was further created Fürst von Bismarck ("Prince of Bismarck") and accorded the style of Durchlaucht ("Serene Highness"); this princely title descended only to his eldest male heirs.

Duke of Lauenburg

Arms of Otto, Prince Bismarck

In 1890, Bismarck was granted the title of Herzog von Lauenburg ("Duke of Lauenburg"); the duchy was one of the territories that Prussia seized from the king of Denmark in 1864.

It was Bismarck's ambition to be assimilated into the mediatized houses of Germany. He attempted to persuade Kaiser Wilhelm I that he should be endowed with the sovereign duchy of Lauenburg, in reward for his services to the imperial family and the German empire. This was on the understanding that Bismarck would immediately restore the duchy to Prussia; all he wanted was the status and privileges of a mediatized family for himself and his descendants. This novel idea was rejected by the conservative emperor, who thought that he had already given the chancellor enough rewards. There is reason to believe that he informed Wilhelm II of his wishes. After being forced by the sovereign to resign, he received the purely honorific title of "Duke of Lauenburg", without the duchy itself and the sovereignty that would have transformed his family into a mediatized house. Bismarck regarded it as a mockery of his ambition, and he considered nothing more cruel than this action of the emperor.[148]

Upon Bismarck's death in 1898 his dukedom, held only for his own lifetime, became extinct.



• Kingdom of Prussia:
o Order of the Black Eagle, Knight with Collar and Diamonds
o Order of the Red Eagle, Grand Cross with Oak Leaves, Crown, Scepter and Swords
o Order of the Prussian Crown, Knight 1st Class with Diamonds
o Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Grand Commander with Diamonds
o Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves, 1884 (military);[151] 1896 (civil)[152]
o Iron Cross, 2nd and 1st Class, 1870; with Oak Leaves and Jubilee Clip, 1895
o Wilhelm-Orden, Knight with Collar, 1896
o Johanniter Order, Commander of Honour
o Lifesaving Medal
o Landwehr Service Medal, 1st Class
• Anhalt: Order of Albert the Bear, Grand Cross, 1862[153]
• Baden: House Order of Fidelity, Knight, 1869; with Golden Collar in Diamonds, 1871[154]
• Bavaria: Order of St. Hubert, Knight with Star in Diamonds, 1866[155]
• Brunswick: Order of Henry the Lion, Grand Cross, 1867[156]
• Ernestine duchies: Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Grand Cross, 1866[157]
• Hanover: Royal Guelphic Order, Grand Cross
• Hesse-Kassel: Order of the Golden Lion, Knight, 1 July 1865[158]
• Hesse and by Rhine:[159]
o Order of Philip the Magnanimous, Grand Cross, 7 January 1855
o Ludwig Order, Grand Cross, 9 March 1871
• Mecklenburg: House Order of the Wendish Crown, Grand Cross with Golden Crown
• Oldenburg: House and Merit Order of Duke Peter Frederick Louis, Grand Cross with Golden Crown, 24 October 1866; with Swords, 31 December 1870[160]
• Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach: Order of the White Falcon, Grand Cross with Diamonds, 3 September 1866[161]
• Saxony: Order of the Rue Crown, Knight with Diamonds, 1868[162]
• Württemberg: Order of the Württemberg Crown, Grand Cross with Diamonds, 1871[163]


• Austrian Empire:[164]
o Imperial Order of the Iron Crown, Knight 1st Class, 1853
o Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen, Grand Cross with Diamonds, 1864
• Belgium: Royal Order of Leopold, Grand Cordon
• Denmark: Order of the Dannebrog, Grand Cross, 11 June 1852[165]
• French Empire: Legion of Honour, Grand Cross, May 1865[166]
• Kingdom of Greece: Order of the Redeemer, Grand Cross
• Kingdom of Italy: Order of the Annunciation, Knight, 13 January 1867[167]
• Holy See: Supreme Order of Christ, Knight with Diamonds
• Empire of Japan: Order of the Chrysanthemum, Grand Cordon
• Netherlands: Order of the Netherlands Lion, Grand Cross
• Luxembourg: Order of the Oak Crown, Grand Cross
• Ottoman Empire:
o Order of Osmanieh, 1st Class with Diamonds
o Gold Imtiyaz Medal with Diamonds
• Beylik of Tunis: Husainid House Order
• Persian Empire:
o Order of the Lion and the Sun, 1st Class
o Order of the August Portrait in Diamonds
• Kingdom of Portugal: Order of the Tower and Sword, Grand Cross
• Kingdom of Romania: Order of the Star of Romania, Grand Cross
• Russian Empire:
o Order of St. Andrew, Knight in Diamonds
o Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, Knight
o Order of St. Anna, Knight 1st Class
o Order of St. Stanislaus, Knight 1st Class
o Imperial Order of the White Eagle, Knight
• San Marino: Order of San Marino, Grand Cross
• Kingdom of Serbia: Royal Order of the White Eagle, Grand Cross
• Siam: Order of the White Elephant, Grand Cross
• Spain: Order of the Golden Fleece, Knight, 6 March 1875[168]
• Sweden-Norway: Royal Order of the Seraphim, Knight, 31 May 1875[169]
• Zanzibar: Order of the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, Knight 1st Class (Princely Class)

In popular culture


• Historian Robert K. Massie has noted Bismarck's popular image was as "gruff" and "militaristic", while in reality "Bismarck's tool was aggressive, ruthless diplomacy."[170]
• Bismarck is one of the principal characters in Royal Flash, the second novel in the Flashman series written by George MacDonald Fraser.[171]


• Bismarck, portrayed by Curd Jürgens, appears as a major character in the 1974 British television series Fall of Eagles.[172]
• In the 2014 Danish series 1864, Bismarck is portrayed by Rainer Bock.[173]
• Bismarck appears as the leader of the German civilization in the computer strategy games, Civilization III, Civilization IV and Civilization V.[174]

See also

• Germany portal
• Politics portal
• Conservatism portal
• Conservatism in Germany
• Gerson von Bleichröder, Bismarck's banker and economics advisor
• House of Bismarck
• Landtag of Prussia
• Bismarck towers



1. Steinberg, Jonathan (2011). Bismarck: A Life. p. 51. ISBN 978-0199782529.
2. Pflanze 1990, p. 68.
3. Regarding personal names: Fürst is a title, translated as Prince, not a first or middle name. The feminine form is Fürstin.
4. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire: 1875–1914 (1987), p. 312.
5. Hopel, Thomas (23 August 2012) "The French-German Borderlands: Borderlands and Nation-Building in the 19th and 20th Centuries"
6. Steinberg, 2011, pp. 8, 424, 444; Bismarck specifically referred to Socialists, among others, as "Enemies of the Reich".
7. Hull, Isabel V. (2004). The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888–1918. p. 85. ISBN 978-0521533218.
8. George Hesekiel: Das Buch vom Fürsten Bismarck. Bielefeld und Leipzig 1873, p. 55.
9. Lowe, Charles (2005). Prince Bismarck: An Historical Biography With Two Portraits. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 538–40. ISBN 978-1419180033. French he speaks with the purity and fluency almost of a native, and the same may be said of his English. [...] Not so fluent is the Chancellor's Italian as his French, but yet he can read the journals of Rome. [...] Once, too, he boasted that he was 'about the only man in the Foreign Office who understands Russian'—a language which he [...] acquired during his residence at St. Petersburg. [...] And not only did he master Russian, but he also learned Polish to a degree enabling him to make himself understood.
10. Field 1898, pp. 603–04.
11. Steinberg, 2011, pp. 39–41.
12. Steinberg, 2011, p. 93.
13. Pflanze 1971, p. 56.
14. Steinberg, 2011, p. 89.
15. Steinberg, 2011, p. 86.
16. Steinberg, 2011, pp. 87–88.
17. Pflanze 1971, p. 64.
18. Alan Palmer, Bismarck [Charles Scribner Publishers: New York, 1976] p. 41.
19. Alan Palmer, Bismarck, p. 42.
20. Steinberg, 2011, p. 117.
21. Steinberg, 2011, pp. 142–43.
22. Quotations from letters between Leopold von Gerlach and Bismarck debating the topic of Napoleon III are in Steinberg, 2011, pp. 131–33.
23. Steinberg, 2011, ch. 5.
24. Steinberg, 2011, p. 147
25. Steinberg, 2011, ch. 6.
26. Eyck 1964, pp. 58–68.
27. Taylor 1969, pp. 48–51.
28. Eyck 1964, pp. 69–70.
29. Hollyday 1970, pp. 16–18.
30. Gordon A. Craig, Germany, 1866–1945 (1978), pp. 1–21.
31. Eyck 1964, pp. 58–106.
32. Eyck 1964, pp. 107–38.
33. Pearce 2010.
34. Staff (May 10, 1866) "Ueber das Attentat auf den Grafen Bismarck" Wiener Morgen-Post (Vienna) p. 1
35. Darmstaedter, Friedrich (2008). Bismarck and the Creation of the Second Reich. Transaction Publishers. p. 289. ISBN 978-1412807838.
36. Steinberg, 2011, p. 253.
37. Steinberg, 2011, p. 257.
38. Howard 1991, p. 40.
39. Bismarck, Otto von (1966). The Memoirs vol. II. New York: Howard Fertig. pp. 58–60.
40. Eyck 1964, pp. 139–86.
41. William Langer, "Bismarck as Dramatist," in Studies in Diplomatic History & Historiography in Honour of G.P. Gooch (1962) pp. 199–216.
42. Bismarck, Otto, The Man & the Statesman, Vol. 2, Cosimo Classics, 2013, 384 p. ISBN 978-1596051850, p. 58.
43. Poschinger, Heinrich, Conversations with Prince Bismarck, Kessinger Publishing, 2007, 304 p. ISBN 0548341362, p. 87.
44. Taylor 1969, p. 126.
45. Cowen, Rob (31 January 2012). "Restored Edison Records Revive Giants of 19th-Century Germany". The New York Times. p. D3.
46. Crankshaw 1981, pp. 294–96.
47. Stern, Fritz (2013). Gold and Iron. p. 139. ISBN 978-0307829863.
48. Taylor 1969, p. 133.
49. Steinberg, 2011, pp. 311–12.
50. Hollyday 1970, p. 6.
51. Blackbourn 1998, pp. 261–63.
52. Ross 2000.
53. Gross 2005.
54. Stone, James (1994). "Bismarck and the Containment of France, 1873–1877". Canadian Journal of History. 29 (2): 281–304. doi:10.3138/cjh.29.2.281. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014.
55. Quoted in Crankshaw 1981, pp. 308–09
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61. Crankshaw 1981, p. 149.
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77. Lothar Gall, Bismarck: The White Revolutionary, Volume 2: 1871–1898 (1986) pp. 46–48.
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80. Retallack 2008, p. 29.
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Further reading


• Crankshaw, Edward (1981). Bismarck. The Viking Press. ISBN 978-0670169825.
o Rich, Norman (January 10, 1982) "Sinking the Bismarck Legend" (review) The Washington Post
• Darmstaedter, Friedrich (2008). Bismarck and the Creation of the Second Reich. Russel & Russel. ISBN 978-0846206248.
• Dawson, William Harbutt (1908). The Evolution of Modern Germany. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1519547781.
• Engelberg, Ernst (1986–90). Bismarck (in German). 1–2. Fayard. ISBN 978-3827500243.
• Eyck, Erich (1964). Bismarck and the German Empire. W.W. Norton & Company; 1st edition. ISBN 978-0393002355.
• Feuchtwanger, Edgar (2002). Bismarck. Historical Biographies. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415216135.
• Gall, Lothar (1990). Bismarck: The White Revolutionary. 1. Unwin Hyman. ISBN 978-0044457787.
• Gall, Lothar (1990). Bismarck: The White Revolutionary. 2. Trans. J. A. Underwood. Unwin Hyman. ISBN 978-0044457794.
• Headlam, James Wycliffe (1899). Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire. IndyPublish. ISBN 978-1414232713.
• Heuston, Kimberley Burton (2010). Otto von Bismarck: Iron Chancellor of Germany. A Wicked History. Franklin Watts. ISBN 978-0531228241. for middle school students
• Hollyday, F. B. M. (1970). Bismarck. Great Lives Observed. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 978-0130773623.
• Kent, George O. (1978). Bismarck and His Times. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0809308590.
• Lerman, Katharine Anne. (2004). Bismarck: Profiles in Power. Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-03740-3.
• Ludwig, Emil (1927). Wilhelm Hohenzollern: The last of the Kaisers. Trans. Ethel Colburn Mayne. New York: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-0766143418.
• Ludwig, Emil (1927). Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1620871768.
• Pflanze, Otto (1971). Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815–1871. 1. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691007656.
• Pflanze, Otto (1990) [1963]. Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Consolidation, 1871–1880. 2. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05588-6.
• Pflanze, Otto (April 1955). "Bismarck and German Nationalism". American Historical Review. 60 (3): 548–66. doi:10.2307/1845577. JSTOR 1845577.
• Robertson, Charles Grant (1919). Bismarck. London: Constable and Company. ISBN 978-1357142797. online review calls it best study in any language
• Steinberg, Jonathan (2011). Bismarck: A Life. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199975396.
o Kissinger, Henry A (31 March 2011). "Otto von Bismarck, Master Statesman". The New York Times (book review).
• Stern, Fritz (1977). Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder and the Building of the German Empire. Vintage. ISBN 978-0394740348.
• Taylor, A.J.P. (1969) [1955]. Bismarck: the Man and the Statesman. New York: Alfred A Knopf. ISBN 978-0394703879.
• Berghahn, Volker (1994). Imperial Germany, 1871–1914: Economy, Society, Culture and Politics. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1845450113.
• Blackbourn, David (1998). History of Germany, 1780–1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (Revised second ed.). Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631231967.
• Clark, Christopher (2009). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947. Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674031968.
• Craig, Gordon A. (1978). Germany, 1866–1945. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195027242.
• Holborn, Hajo (1982). "The Constitutional Conflict in Prussia and the Early Years of the Bismarck Ministry". The History of Modern Germany 1840–1945. 3. Princeton University Press. pp. 131–72. ISBN 978-0691007977.
• Holborn, Hajo (1982). "The Founding of the New German Empire, 1865–71". The History of Modern Germany 1840–1945. Princeton University Press. pp. 173–229. ISBN 978-0691007977.
• Holborn, Hajo (1969). "Bismarck and the Consolidation of the German Empire, 1871–90". The History of Modern Germany 1840–1945. Princeton University Press. pp. 233–97. ISBN 978-0691007977.
• Langer, William L. (1931). European Alliances and Alignments, 1871–1890. ASIN B001GJV44A.
o Highly detailed diplomatic history of all major European powers.
• Retallack, James N. (2008). Imperial Germany, 1871–1918. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199204878.
• Robinson, Janet; Robinson, Joe (2009). Handbook of Imperial Germany. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1449021139.
• Sheehan, James J. (1989). German History, 1770–1866 (Reprint ed.). Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0198204329.
• Sheehan, James J. (1978). German liberalism in the ninetury century. University of Chicago Press; ACLS. hdl:2027/heb.01317.0001.001.

Specialized studies

• Beck, Hermann (1995). Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia, 1815–1870. The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08428-9.
• Brandenburg, Erich (1933). From Bismarck to the World War: A History of German Foreign Policy 1870–1914 (Reprint ed.). Howard Fertig Publisher. ISBN 978-0865274228. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017.
• Carroll, E. Malcolm (1975). Germany and the great powers, 1866–1914: A Study in Public Opinion and Foreign Policy. Octagon Books. ISBN 978-0374912994.
• Clark, Chester Wells (1934). Franz Joseph and Bismarck: The Diplomacy of Austria before the War of 1866. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ASIN B0006BUIOG.
• Field, W. G. (October 1898). "Bismarck's First School". The Journal of Education. 20: 603–04.
• Goddard, Stacie E. (2008). "When Right Makes Might: How Prussia Overturned the European Balance of Power". International Security. 33 (3 Winter): 110–42. doi:10.1162/isec.2009.33.3.110. JSTOR 40207143.
• Gross, Michael B. (2005). The War against Catholicism: Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Germany (New ed.). University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0472031306.
• Hennock, E. P. (2007). The Origin of the Welfare State in England and Germany, 1850–1914: Social Policies Compared. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521597708.
• Hennock, E. P. (2003). "Social Policy in the Bismarck Era: A Progress Report". German History. 21 (2): 229–38. doi:10.1191/0266355403gh283xx.
• Howard, Michael (1991) [1961]. The Franco-Prussian War: The German invasion of France, 1870–1871 (2nd ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0415266710.
• Kennedy, Paul M. (1988). The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 1860–1914. Humanity Books. ISBN 157392301X.
• Kissinger, Henry (1968). "The White Revolutionary: Reflections on Bismarck". Daedalus. 97 (3): 888–924. JSTOR 20023844.
• Lord, Robert H. (1923). "Bismarck and Russia in 1863". American Historical Review. 29 (1): 2–48. doi:10.2307/1839273. JSTOR 1839273.
• Medlicott, W. N. (1945). "Bismarck and the Three Emperors' Alliance, 1881-87". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 27: 61–83. doi:10.2307/3678575. JSTOR 3678575.
• Mork, Gordon R. (1971). "Bismarck and the 'Capitulation' of German Liberalism". Journal of Modern History. 43 (1): 59–75. doi:10.1086/240588. JSTOR 1877926.
• Paur, Philip (1981). "The Corporatist Character of Bismarck's Social Policy". European History Quarterly. 11: 427–60. doi:10.1177/026569148101100401.
• Ross, Ronald J. (1998). The Failure of Bismarck's Kulturkampf: Catholicism and State Power in Imperial Germany, 1871–1887. The Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 978-0813208947.
• Stone, James (2012). "Bismarck Ante Portas! Germany and the Seize Mai Crisis of 1877". Diplomacy & Statecraft. 23 (2): 209–35. doi:10.1080/09592296.2012.679466.
• Stern, Fritz (1979). Gold and Iron: Bismark, Bleichroder, and the Building of the German Empire. Vintage. ISBN 978-0394740348.
• Stone, James (1994). "Bismarck and the Containment of France, 1873–1877". Canadian Journal of History. 29 (2): 281–304. doi:10.3138/cjh.29.2.281.
• Waller, Bruce (1974). Bismarck at the Crossroads. The Reorientation of German Foreign Policy after the Congress of Berlin 1878–1880. The Athlone Press. ISBN 978-0485131352.
• Wawro, Geoffrey (2005). The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521617437.
• Wawro, Geoffrey (2012). "The War Scare of 1875: Bismarck and Europe in the Mid-1870s". German History. 30 (1): 140–41. doi:10.1093/gerhis/ghr079.
• Wehler, Hans-Ulrich (1970). "Bismarck's Imperialism 1862–1890". Past and Present. 4 8 (48): 119–55. doi:10.1093/past/48.1.119. JSTOR 650484.
• Wetzel, David (2012). A Duel of Nations: Germany, France, and the Diplomacy of the War of 1870–1871. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0299291341.
• Wetzel, David (2001). A Duel of Giants: Bismarck, Napoleon III, and the Origins of the Franco-Prussian War. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-17490-3.
Historiography and memory
• Cowen, Ron (30 January 2012). "Restored Edison Records Revive Giants of 19th-Century Germany". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
• Frankel, Richard E. (2003). "From the Beer Halls to the Halls of Power: The Cult of Bismarck and the Legitimization of a New German Right, 1898–1945". German Studies Review. 26 (3): 543–60. doi:10.2307/1432746. JSTOR 1432746.
• Frankel, Richard E (2005). Bismarck's Shadow. The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898–1945. Berg Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84520-033-6.
• Gerwarth, Robert (2007). "Inventing the Iron Chancellor". History Today. 57 (6): 43–49.
• Gerwarth, Robert (2005). The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0199236893.
• Hamerow, Theodore S. (1993). Otto von Bismarck and Imperial Germany: A Historical Assessment (2nd ed.). D C Heath & Co. ISBN 978-0669294446.
• Müller, Frank Lorenz (2008). "Man, Myth and Monuments: The Legacy of Otto von Bismarck (1866–1998)". European History Quarterly. 38 (4): 626–36. doi:10.1177/0265691408094517.
• O'Shea, John J. (1898). "Bismarck's Decline and Fall". The American Catholic Quarterly Review. XXIII: 836–51.
• Pearce, Robert (2010). "The Austro-Prussian War". History Review (66).
• Russell, Mark A. (2000). "The Building of Hamburg's Bismarck Memorial, 1898–1906". Historical Journal. 43 (1): 133–56. doi:10.1017/S0018246X99008961. JSTOR 3021016.
• Spencer, Frank. "Bismarck And The Franco-Prussian War" History 40#140 (1955), pp. 319–25 online historiography
• Steefel, Lawrence D. (1930). "Bismarck". Journal of Modern History. 2 (1): 74–95. doi:10.1086/235557. JSTOR 1871140.
• Stürmer, Michael (1971). "Bismarck in Perspective". Central European History. 4 (4): 291–331. doi:10.1017/S0008938900015399. JSTOR 4545614.
• Urbach, Karina (1998). "Between Saviour and Villain: 100 Years of Bismarck Biographies". Historical Journal. 41 (4): 1141–60. doi:10.1017/s0018246x98008206. JSTOR 3020865.

Primary sources

• Bismarck, Otto von (1899). Bismarck, the Man & the Statesman: Being the Reflections and Reminiscences of Otto, Prince von Bismarck. 1. Trans. A. J. Butler. New York and London: Harper & Brothers.
• Bismarck, Otto von (1898). Gedanken und Erinnerungen. I. Gotta. (German)
• Bismarck, Otto von (1898). Gedanken und Erinnerungen. II. Gotta. (German)
• Bismarck, Otto von (1898). Memoirs. II. New York Harper.
• Hohenzollern, William I; Bismarck, Otto von (1903). The correspondence of William I. and Bismarck: with other letters from and to Prince Bismarck. Trans. J. A. Ford. New York : Stokes.
• Coveney, Dorothy Kathleen; Medlicott, William Norton (1971). Bismarck and Europe. Hodder Arnold. ISBN 978-0312082253.

External links

• Otto von Bismarck at the Encyclopædia Britannica
• Otto von Bismarck at Curlie
• "Bismarck", BBC Radio 4 discussion with Richard J. Evans, Christopher Clark and Katharine Lerman, In Our Time, 22 March 2007
• Newspaper clippings about Otto von Bismarck in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:20 am

Annie Royle Taylor
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/30/20

Travellers taking this road are subjected to a first and very strict examination at the first gate-house at Phari. The first requisite is a witness, who for a consideration swears that the traveller is going into India on business for a short time, intending to come back. Then a little palm-oil procures the passport, armed with which he goes on to the second gate at Chumbi Samba. Here he produces the passport and goes on to the third gate at Pimbithang, where he is examined carefully by Chinese officials. The fourth gate is at Tomo Rinchen-gang at which the traveller receives a written certificate, which he has to show on reaching the great gate of Nyatong Castle. Here he has to do much bribery, and is strictly cross-examined. If he comes through the ordeal, he receives another paper which he has to take back to the fourth gate to be countersigned and viséd. At the fourth gate he gets some more papers which he has to take to the Chinese officer at Pimbithang, from whom he receives another document written in Chinese, which, together with the document received at the fourth gate, must be taken once more to the gate house at Nyatong Castle. At length, on the production of all these documents, he is allowed to pass through the castle gate into the village of Nyatong. Here he crosses a small bridge on the other side of which are some Chinese sentinels, the commander of these Chinese troops receiving from him the certificate which he has received at the third gate. The document from the fourth gate he takes with[621] him to his destination: its production on his return journey will enable him once more to be admitted to the sacred soil of Tibet.

Between Phari and Nyatong I came across a great number of friends and acquaintances—some of them were chance acquaintances, others who had known me at Darjeeling. There was a lady missionary, Miss Annie R. Taylor, who was living with her servants near the Nyatong Gate, and there were some ill-natured Tibetans who knew me so well that I was obliged to keep my eye constantly open. I might, I felt, have the good fortune to get into the gate-house, but whether I would come out again was a more difficult problem. I could hardly expect to get through without meeting any of my friends. If I were detained for any length of time at Phari, there was the danger that I might be arrested by messengers from Lhasa, though I knew that ten days must elapse before my absence from that city would be detected. The period from April 20 to April 30 (Tibetan style) is a period of confusion and bustle in Lhasa, and during that period it was almost impossible that I should be missed. The conclusion of the Panchen Lama’s rites would leave the officials with leisure on their hands: then my absence would be noted, and in the end they would send messengers after me.

The day on which I held my meditation was May 3, according to the Tibetan calendar, and I concluded therefore that two or three days more must elapse before my pursuers could reach me. But a delay of four or five days at Phari might be a very critical question for me, and it was just possible that while we were kept cooling our heels in the last of the gate-houses, the Government messengers might arrive, and all our labour be lost. Yet it was very strange that, in spite of all the difficulties of the way, it had been revealed to me in my meditation that the public road was the one I ought to take.

I had thought that the danger of the two roads was about equal; but I thought that I would rather be arrested on the public road and possibly be treated with violence, than fall among wild beasts or robbers on the secret path. I had moreover on several occasions tried the method of religious meditation, and always with success. I determined therefore to follow the path that had been revealed to me.

That night, I slept but very little, in a sitting position, and early the next morning I started off on horseback towards the great snowy peak of Chomo-Lhari. By going round the side of the mountain, and gradually proceeding south, after leaving lake Lham tso, we at last saw far to the east and south, the great peak towering up above the clouds almost like a snowy image of sitting Ḍharma. It was summer; yet the weather was so exceedingly cold that no plants could grow there, except lichens of flattened kinds. By dint of whipping my horse all the time, I tried very hard to reach Phari on that day; but as my servant walked on foot and could not keep up with me, it was quite dark when we came to the village of Chu-kya. It is on a very high plateau, and the climate is exceedingly cold. The land here is not only high, but large snow mountains stand round it on both sides in one continuous row and it has been said to be the bleakest and most barren wilderness in the Tsang district. At night unless dried yak dung can be collected, piled up and burned continually, the cold is almost intolerable. Notwithstanding that it was early summer, it was colder than our most rigorous winter in Japan: indeed it is the coldest, wildest, most barren place between Lhasa and Darjeeling. The next morning, June 11th, we took tea and started at four o’clock, going about five miles south along the river flowing through the wilderness. I came to the Phari Zong just at sunrise.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

Annie (Hannah) Royle Taylor
Miss Taylor with her Tibetan servant
Born: 7 October 1855, Egremont, Cheshire, England
Died: 9 September 1922, Cromwell Crescent, Kensington, London, England

Hannah Royle Taylor (7 October 1855 – 9 September 1922), known as Annie Royle Taylor, was an English explorer and Evangelical missionary to China. She was the first Western woman known to have visited Tibet. She attempted to reach the "forbidden" city of Lhasa in 1892-1893.

Early life

She was a daughter of John Taylor, one of the directors of the Black Ball Line of packet ships.[1] At the age of 13 she became converted to evangelical Christianity and determined to become a missionary, against her parent's wishes. After studying medicine and working in the slums of London and Brighton, she joined the China Inland Mission. (She was no relation to CIM founder Hudson Taylor.[2]) She sailed to Shanghai in 1884 and was posted to Lanzhou on the borders of Tibet in 1886. Recalled from Lanzhou in 1888 because of poor health, she recuperated in Australia and determined to evangelise within Tibet.

She described herself as a troublesome and unhealthy child.[3] She was a "lone bad at harmonious relationships with colleagues that she would have to be returned to Britain or stretched to her own limits." Hudson Taylor wrote in 1890 that she was "having a very hard time of it."[4] Her father's wealth permitted her to be independent, not needing financial support from CIM.[5]

Expedition to Tibet

In 1889, Taylor journeyed to Darjeeling, India and subsequently to Sikkim to study the Tibetan language at a Buddhist monastery. While there she converted to Christianity a young Tibetan named Pontso, about 19 years old, who was to accompany her on her expedition to Tibet. In March 1891, she left Sikkim with Pontso and traveled to China, making her way to Tianshui where she founded a mission. Tianshui was a jumping off spot for commerce with Tibet.[6]

Domka Nedo monastery near Gyegu. When Taylor passed through this region in November 1892 it was cold and snowy.

On 2 September 1892, Taylor and Pontso left Tianshui with three Chinese helpers (one died and another left the party shortly), sixteen horses, two months food and equipment, and the objective of reaching Lhasa, capital of Tibet, closed to foreigners. Taylor shaved her hair and wore Tibetan dress to disguise herself as a Tibetan.[7] They proceeded southwest, passing through lands belonging to Mongol and Golog nomads, losing some of their horses to bandits, and spending two months without seeing a house. They arrived in Gyegu (Jyekundo), the center of the tea trade between China and Tibet on 11 November, but bypassed the town, fearing they would be apprehended by the authorities. From Gyegu they followed a well-known caravan trail toward Lhasa.

By this time, the little caravan was riven with dissention with Taylor fearing that Noga, her hired Chinese Muslim guide, might betray or even murder her.[8] The transcriber of Taylor's diary, who knew Taylor well, suggests that Noga did not consider himself a servant, but rather an equal and that the dissention might have been due to misunderstanding of the hierarchy of their relationship. To Taylor's relief, Noga departed on 14 December.[9]

On 3 January 1893, cold, most of their horses dead or stolen and without food—but only three days march from Lhasa—Taylor, Pontsu, and another servant were apprehended by Tibetan authorities beyond Nagchu.[10] After several days of difficult negotiations, Taylor was told that she must return to China by the shortest route. She demanded food and horses from the Tibetans, complained about the quality of both, and traded her watch for a tent.[11] On 19 January, with a ten-soldier escort, she and her two companions departed Nagchu and returned to Gyegu. The soldiers soon left them in the company of merchants and she traveled onward in bitter cold, reaching Gyegu on 21 February. From Gyegu, she arranged to continue her journey with Chinese merchants via the tea road to Kangding (Tachienlu), paying Tibetans to carry their few remaining goods. On 12 April 1893 she and Pontso, her only remaining companion, arrived in Kangding. French missionaries there assisted her and two days later she departed to the coast of China and to return to England.[12]

Later life

Taylor became a minor celebrity in England. She formed an organization called the "Tibetan Pioneer Mission" and recruited 14 people to travel with her to Sikkim to study Tibetan and evangelize on the borders of Tibet. Within a year "the infant mission was in a shambles. The new missionaries repudiated her leadership and called on the CIM for assistance."[13] After the failure of the Tibetan Pioneer Mission Taylor remained in Sikkim and in 1904, she joined the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet, serving as a nurse.[14]

Taylor returned to London in 1907
, where she died on 9 September 1922. She was buried on 13 September 1922 at West Norwood Cemetery.


1., accessed 8 May 2011
2. Tucker, Ruth A. "Unbecoming Ladies" Christian History, 1 October 1996., accessed 8 May 2011)
3. Taylor, Annie R. Pioneering in Tibet London: Morgan and Scott, 1898, p. v
4. Tucker, "Unbecoming Ladies."
5. Taylor, Annie R., p. vi,
6. Carey, William. Travel and Adventures in Tibet. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1902, p. 164
7. "A Lady's Adventures in Tibet." China's Millions. Dec 1893. ... s_in_tibet, accessed 9 May 2011
8. Carey, pp. 219-222
9. Carey, p. 139, 236
10. Taylor, Annie R. "My Experiences in Tibet." The Scottish Geographical Magazine Vol X, Jan 1894, p. 6
11. Carey, 262
12. Carey, 278-285
13. Tucker,, accessed 9 May 2011
14., accessed 9 May 2011

Published works

• Taylor, Annie R. Pioneering in Tibet. London: Morgan and Scott, (1898)
• Taylor, A. R. My diary in Tibet, ed. W. Carey, in W. Carey, Travel and Adventure in Tibet: Including the Diary of Miss Annie R. Taylor's Remarkable Journey from Tau-Chau to Ta-Chien-Lu Through the Heart of the "Forbidden Land (1902) [1]

External links

• Taylor, Annie Royle (1855–1922), Dorothy Middleton, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 31 October 2010
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:45 am

Theos Casimir Bernard
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/30/20

Theos Bernard
Bernard practising Baddhapadmasana, in his 1943 Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience
Born: December 10, 1908, Pasadena, California
Died: 1947 (aged 38–39), Punjab, Pakistan
Nationality: American
Known for: Explorer, author, expert on Tibetan Buddhism, experiencing old-style hatha yoga
Viola Wertheim (m. 1934-1938; divorced)
Ganna Walska (m. 1942–1946; divorced)
Helen (m. 1947; survived him)

Theos Casimir Hamati Bernard[1] (1908–1947) was an explorer and author, known for his work on yoga and religious studies, particularly in Tibetan Buddhism. He was the nephew of Pierre Arnold Bernard, "Oom the Omnipotent",[2] like him becoming a yoga celebrity.[3]

His account of old-style hatha yoga as a spiritual path, Hatha Yoga: The Report of A Personal Experience, is a rare insight into the way these practices, known from medieval documents like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, actually worked.[4]

His biographer Paul Hackett states that many of the travel experiences that Bernard relates in his books are exaggerated or fabricated. There is however no doubt that he became fluent in the Tibetan language, travelled in Tibet, met senior figures and gathered an unmatched collection of photographs, field notes, manuscripts and ritual objects.


Early life

Theos was born on 10 December 1908 in Pasadena, the son of Glen Agassiz Bernard and Aura Georgina Crable.[5] The name Theos is the Greek for God.[1] His father's interest in the spiritual philosophy of the East and subsequent travel to India soon caused the marriage to fail. Aura and Theos, still a baby, went to live in her home town of Tombstone, Arizona.[6]

As a student of liberal arts at the new University of Arizona from 1926, he became seriously ill with rheumatic pneumonia after being thrown into a fountain during a hazing ritual on a cold day early in 1927, and was taken home to recuperate.[5] There, he read his mother's extensive library of books on yoga, and was intrigued by the claim in L. Adams Beck's The Story of Oriental Philosophy that it could provide "infinite energy", but none of the books gave any details on how to achieve any such results.[6][7]

From 1929 he trained in law at the University of Arizona, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1931 and began an internship in 1932.[8][9] During the summer holiday he worked as a court clerk in Los Angeles and by luck met his father, who introduced him to Indian philosophy and a variety of yogic practices;[2][5] his father had been trained in yoga by Sylvais Hamati, a Syrian-Bengali Hindu yogin, accounting for one of Bernard's middle names; his father's trip to India after Theos's birth was probably to visit Hamati there.[5][10] His father had the knowledge that Theos had been seeking, and as his guru instructed him systematically in hatha yoga, a study that he kept entirely secret. His father also persuaded him to go back to Arizona to study philosophy, and from February 1932 he spent another two years there reading philosophy and psychology. Theos never felt able to admit who his yoga guru was, and in his books such as his 1939 Heaven Lies Within Us, he invented a guru "In Arizona ... who had just arrived from India". His biographer Douglas Veenhof notes that while as was customary in Tantra, he claimed to have been sworn to secrecy, he wrote "at great length" about his tantric practices, refusing only to speak about "the first thing that teachers of Buddhism or Yoga philosophy tell their students: the lineage of their teachers."[11]

Running into debt, he discovered by a chance reading of Fortune magazine that he had a rich uncle in New York, Pierre Arnold Bernard, who had also trained under Hamati.[5] Pierre was known as "the father of Tantra in America",[12] but he was also, in Alan Watts's words, "a phenomenal rascal-master ... as well-versed in the ways of the world as of the spirit",[13] Theos went to meet his uncle, who had made his money by a variety of activities, including working as a matchmaker for the rich and using his yogic skills as entertainment, something which caused a serious rift between his father and his uncle.[5] He fell in love with one of his uncle's acquaintances, Viola Wertheim, a doctor from a wealthy family; she was the half-sister of the investment banker Maurice Wertheim. They married on 3 August 1934.[6][2][14] With the financial support of his uncle, Theos was able to study at Columbia University (in Upper Manhattan, New York). He gained his Master of Arts degree at Columbia in 1936.[2][5]

India and Tibet

'Tibetan Children', 1936-37, from Penthouse of the Gods

'Headdress Worn by Noblewomen of Central Tibet' from Penthouse of the Gods

In 1936, he toured India with his wife and father; both went home after a few months.[5][2][15] He travelled all over India, from Ceylon to Kashmir, meeting religious and yoga gurus. In Calcutta he arranged a meeting with Lama Tharchin of Kalimpong, and studied the Tibetan language. After nearly a year, he obtained permission in Sikkim from the British political officer to visit Tibet. He met several high officials of the government of Tibet, studied Tantric Yoga and collected many books on Tibetan Buddhism.[2][16]

Bernard was an accomplished and energetic photographer, shooting "an astounding 326 rolls of film (11,736 exposures) as well as 20,000 feet of motion picture film"[17] during his three months in Tibet in a "near obsessive documentation"[17] of what he saw. In the view of Namiko Kunimoto, Bernard's photographs taken in the East served to authenticate the travel narrative and to construct Tibet "as a site of personal transformation."[17] Back in America, Bernard's photographs of himself, whether in Tibetan dress or performing yoga poses such as Baddhapadmasana in the studio (a photo that also appears as plate XX in his Hatha Yoga[a]), appeared frequently in The Family Circle magazine from 1938, "reveal[ing] his willingness to commodify spirituality and assumptions of exoticism".[17]

On his return to the United States in 1937, claiming to be a lama,[6] his experiences were published across the country over several weeks by the North American Newspaper Alliance and Bell Syndicate.[18] Viola divorced him soon afterwards.[2] This was followed by a series of lectures and radio appearances in 1939 and by the publication the same year of the memoir Penthouse of the Gods.[19] The book was released in Britain as Land of a Thousand Buddhas, attracting "sensationalistic reports" from the tabloid press about the "white lama", and the status of "a fraud and imposter" from British intelligence, who had been tracking him in Tibet.[2]

Bernard was also featured in popular magazines, including five cover stories in Family Circle in 1938 and 1939, followed shortly by his second book, Heaven Lies Within Us, which explored Hatha Yoga under the guise of an autobiography.[20][17] According to Paul Hackett's 2008 Barbarian Lands, many of the experiences Bernard describes in these books were exaggerated or fabricated, based on the experiences of his father.[21]

However, he had indeed learnt fluent Tibetan, travelled in Tibet, met senior lamas and government officials, and returned with an unmatched collection of photographs, film, field notes, and manuscripts, from essentially the only moment when Tibet had allowed foreigners in, and from its final years as an independent country with a vibrant spiritual culture. His Tibetan collection included 22 bronze statues of Buddhist gods, 40 thangka paintings, 23 rugs, 25 mandalas, over 100 cloth wood-block prints, 79 books, and many textiles, robes, hats, ritual implements, and household objects. The collection is stored at the University of California, Berkeley.[22]

In 1939, Bernard opened the American Institute of Yoga and Pierre Health Studios.[23][24]

Hatha yoga

Main article: Hatha Yoga: The Report of A Personal Experience

During the 1940s Bernard completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University under the supervision of Herbert Schneider.[2][25] It describes his experiences as a scholar-practitioner with asanas and the reason he was "prescribed" them, purifications (shatkarmas), pranayama, and mudras, and gives a more theoretical account of samadhi. He had learnt these around 1932-1933, while studying at the University of Arizona.[26] He published his dissertation in 1943 as the book Hatha Yoga: The Report of A Personal Experience.[27] It was illustrated with high-quality studio photographs of Bernard in the yoga practices he had mastered. It was one of the earliest references in the West, possibly the first in English,[ b] on the asanas and other practices of hatha yoga, as described in texts such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika.[28] It represents, in the yoga scholar-practitioner Norman Sjoman's words "virtually the only documentation of a [hatha yoga] practice tradition", the actual use of hatha yoga to achieve successive stages on a spiritual path towards moksha, liberation.[4]

Tibetland, Lotusland

Mansion entrance at Lotusland

While working on Hatha Yoga, he met and in 1942 married the Polish opera star Ganna Walska, becoming her sixth and last husband. They purchased the historic 37-acre (15 ha) "Cuesta Linda" estate in Montecito, California, naming it Tibetland as they hoped to invite Tibetan monks to come and stay. This proved impossible during the war. In 1946 they divorced and Walska renamed it to Lotusland.[2]

Final journey

In 1947, Bernard, with his third wife, Helen,[2] again visited northern India, on an expedition to the Ki monastery in Tibet in an attempt to discover special manuscripts. In October, while in the hills of Punjab in what is now Pakistan, inter-communal violence associated with the Partition of India broke out. He and his Tibetan companion were shot, and their bodies thrown in a river.[c][29] He was declared dead several months later, though his body was never found.[30]


• Penthouse of the Gods : a pilgrimage into the heart of Tibet and the sacred city of Lhasa (1939a)
• Heaven Lies Within Us: Yoga Gave Me Superior Health (1939b)
• Hatha Yoga: The Report of A Personal Experience (1943) illustrated with 37 black-and-white photographs of Bernard in different asanas
• The Philosophical Foundations of India (1945)


1. And as the lead image above
2. It was preceded by Sport és Jóga in Spanish in 1941.[28]
3. This account of his death was related by G. A. Bernard, Theos's father.


1. Veenhof 2011, p. 7.
2. "The Life and Works of Theos Bernard". Columbia University. Retrieved 11 August2016.
3. Love, Robert (2006). "Fear of Yoga". Columbia Journalism Review (November/December 2006).
4. Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. p. 38. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
5. Patel, Niral (16 October 2017). "Theos Bernard – The American Explorer of Tibet". Retrieved 25 February 2019.
6. Parachin 2018.
7. Veenhof 2011, pp. 13–15.
8. Hackett 2008, pp. 196–197.
9. Veenhof 2011, p. 16.
10. Veenhof 2011, pp. 17–18.
11. Veenhof 2011, pp. 19–21.
12. Veenhof 2011, p. 31.
13. Veenhof 2011, p. 29.
14. Veenhof 2011, p. 40.
15. "Viola Bernard". Omnipotent Oom. 28 February 2010. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
16. Syman 2010, pp. 119–120, 122.
17. Kunimoto, Namiko (2011). "Traveler-as-Lama Photography and the Fantasy of Transformation in Tibet". Trans Asia Photography Review. 2 (1: The Elu[va]sive Portrait: In Pursuit of Photographic Portraiture in East Asia and Beyond, Guest edited by Ayelet Zohar, Fall 2011).
18. Syman 2010, p. 123.
19. Hackett 2008, pp. 687-690.
20. Hackett 2008, pp. 695-701.
21. Hackett 2008, pp. 694-702.
22. Veenhof 2011, pp. 389–393, and passim.
23. Hackett 2008, pp. 726-730.
24. Syman 2010, p. 132.
25. Lopez Jr., Donald S. (2007). The Madman's Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel. University of Chicago Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-226-49317-6.
26. Veenhof 2011, pp. 21–25.
27. Patterson, Bobbi (13 March 2013). "Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life". Practical Matters A Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology. Retrieved 23 February2019.
28. Jain, Andrea (July 2016). "The Early History of Modern Yoga". Oxford Research Encyclopedias. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.163. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
29. Bernard, Theos (1982). Hatha yoga. Rider. p. vi. ISBN 0091500516.
30. Love, Robert (2010). The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America. Viking Adult. p. 315.


• DiValerio, David M. (2013). "Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life Reviewed" (PDF). Journal of Buddhist Ethics. 20.
• Hackett, Paul (2008). Barbarian Lands: Theos Bernard, Tibet, and the American Religious Life. Ph.D. dissertation. Columbia University.
• Hackett, Paul. Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life. Columbia University Press, 2012. ISBN 0231158866.
• Parachin, Victor M. (February 2018). "Theos Bernard | Yoga Pioneer" (PDF). Yoga Journal: 53–55.
• Syman, Stefanie (2010). The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-374-23676-2.
• Veenhof, Douglas (2011). White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet's Emissary to the New World. Harmony Books. ISBN 0385514328.

External links

• Columbia University: The Life and Works of Theos Bernard
• Tibet in the 1930s: Theos Bernard's Legacy at UC Berkeley (with a selection of his photographs)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:07 am

Pierre Bernard (yogi) [Perry Arnold Baker] [The Great Oom] [The Omnipotent Oom] [Oom the Magnificent] [Peter Coon] [Homer Stansbury Leeds]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/30/20

Pierre Bernard
Bernard in 1939
Born: Perry Arnold Baker, 31 October 1875, Leon, Iowa, United States
Died: 27 September 1955 (aged 79), New York City, United States
Spouse(s) Blanche DeVries Bernard [Wikidata]

Pierre Arnold Bernard (October 31, 1875 – September 27, 1955) — known as "The Great Oom", "The Omnipotent Oom" and "Oom the Magnificent"[1] — was a pioneering American yogi, scholar, occultist, philosopher, mystic and businessman.


Due to his practice of keeping his origins obscure, little is known for certain about his early life. He is reported to have been born Perry Arnold Baker[2] or Peter Coon[3] in Leon, Iowa, 31 October 1875,[4] the son of a barber.[5] He also called himself Homer Stansbury Leeds at some point.[5]

Bernard was trained in yoga by an accomplished Tantric yogi known as Sylvais Hamati, under whom Bernard studied for years.[6] He met Hamati in Lincoln, Nebraska in the late 1880s and they travelled together.[6] Hamati taught Bernard body-control techniques of hatha yoga. After several years of study, Bernard was able to put himself into deep trance, so his body could be pierced with long surgical needles.[7] He gave a public demonstration of what he termed the "Kali Mudra", a simulating death trance in January, 1898 to a group of physicians in San Francisco.[7] During the demonstration Dr. D. McMillan inserted a surgical needle "slowly through one of Bernard's earlobes". Needles were also pushed through his cheek, upper lip and nostril.[7] Bernard was featured on January 29, 1898, on the front page of The New York Times.[6]

Bernard took interest in hypnotism.[6] In 1905, he founded the Bacchante Academy with Mortimer K. Hargis to teach hypnotism and sexual practices.
The organization declined because of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and their partnership dissolved.[8]

Bernard claimed to have traveled to Kashmir and Bengal before founding the Tantrik Order of America in 1905 or 1906,[4][9] variously reported as starting in San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, Washington, or in Portland, Oregon; the New York Sanskrit College in 1910; and the Clarkstown Country Club (originally called the Braeburn Country Club), a seventy-two acre estate with a thirty-room mansion[10] in Nyack, New York, a gift from a disciple,[5] in 1918. He eventually expanded to a chain of tantric clinics in places such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York City. Bernard is widely credited with being the first American to introduce the philosophy and practices of yoga and tantra to the American people.[4] He also played a critical role in establishing a greatly exaggerated association of tantra with the use of sex for mystical purposes in the American mindset.[10]

Pierre Bernard demonstrating the "Kali Mudra" death trance.

In 1910, two teenage girls, Zella Hopp and Gertrude Leo,[5] feeling that he had taken too much psychic control over their lives, had him charged with kidnapping (alleging that Leo had been prevented three times from leaving the institute)[5] and briefly imprisoned.[10] Hopp reported that, for a pre-induction, Bernard had her strip and placed his hand upon her left breast, explaining that he was testing her heartbeat. "I cannot tell you how Bernard got his control over me or how he gets it over other people. He is the most wonderful man in the world. No women seem able to resist him.... He had promised to marry me many times. But when he began the same thing with my little sister [Mary, age sixteen] I decided I would expose the whole matter. If it had only been myself I wouldn't have done it for the whole world." Three months later, the charges were dropped.[5]

He remained popular with upper middle class women and the high society of New York throughout the 1920s and 30s. He married Blanche de Vries, who taught yoga in New York into her eighties,[4] combining yoga with Eastern-inspired sensual dance and contributing to a shift in attitudes about women's autonomy and sexuality.[11] Historian of religion Robert C. Fuller, has commented that Bernard's "sexual teachings generated such scandal that he was eventually forced to discontinue his public promulgation of Tantrism.
Yet by this time Bernard had succeeded in making lasting contributions to the history of American alternative spirituality."[12]

Bernard trained boxer Lou Nova in yoga.[13][14] Bernard was involved with more conventional businesses, including baseball stadiums, dog tracks, an airport, and became president of the State Bank of Pearl River in 1931.[10]

Lecturers at the Clarkstown Country Club included Ruth Fuller Everett and Leopold Stokowski. Among Bernard's students there was Ida Pauline Rolf.[15] Scholars from across the US visited Bernard's library, said to have been the best Sanskrit collection in the country and to contain some 7000 volumes of philosophy, ethics, psychology, education, metaphysics, and related material on physiology and medicine, to do research.[16]


He was uncle of Theos Bernard,[17] an American scholar of religion, explorer and famous practitioner of Hatha Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. His half-sister Ora Ray Baker married Inayat Khan after they met in 1912 at Bernard's Sanskrit College, and she subsequently became the mother of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan,[18] a Sufi teacher.


Bernard published the International Journal: Tantrik Order. Only one issue was published in 1906.[19][20]
• International Journal: Tantrik Order 1 (5).
• Vira Sadhana: A Theory and Practice of Veda (American Import Book Company, 1919)


1. Stirling 2006, pg. 6
2. Laycock 2013.
3. Tantra in America
4. Stirling 2006, pg. 7
5. Pierre Arnold Bernard[unreliable source?]
6. Kripal, Jeffrey J. (2007). Remembering Ourselves: On Some Countercultural Echoes of Contemporary Tantric Studies. Religions of South Asia 1.1: 11-28.
7. Weir, David. (2011). American Orient: Imagining the East from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-55849-879-2
8. Melton, J. Gordon. (1999). Religious leaders of America: A Biographical Guide to Founders and Leaders of Religious Bodies, Churches, and Spiritual Groups in North America. Gale Research. p. 52. ISBN 978-0810388789
9. Lattin, Don (August 19, 2013). "The Father of Tantra — Pierre Bernard". Spirituality & Health.
10. Urban, Hugh B. (2001). The Omnipotent Oom: Tantra and its Impact on Modern Western Esotericism. Esoterica: The Journal of Esoteric Studies 3: 218-259.
11. Joseph, Laycock (Winter 2013). "Yoga for the New Woman and the New Man: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation of Modern Postural Yoga". Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. 23 (1): 101-36. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
12. Fuller, Robert C. (2008). Spirituality in the Flesh: Bodily Sources of Religious Experiences. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-19-536917-5
13. Sann, Paul. (1967). Fads, Follies, and Delusions of the American People. Crown Publishers. p. 186
14. Love, Robert. (2010). The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America. Viking. p. 289. ISBN 978-0670021758
15. Stirling 2006, pg. 8
16. Library of Pierre Arnold Bernard
17. "The Life and Works of Theos Bernard". Retrieved 2008-05-27.
18. Columbia University Health Sciences Library: Archives & Special Collections. This is a link to a .doc file, but you can also see it as html at the Wayback Machine (archived November 8, 2005). See the content of "Box 20" and "Box 21".
19. Anonymous. (1908). The Tantrik Order in America. Historic Magazine and Notes and Queries 26: 163.
20. "Journal of the Tantrick Order". The International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals.


• Stirling, Isabel (2006), Zen Pioneer: The Life & Works of Ruth Fuller Sasaki; Counterpoint.
• Love, Robert (2010). The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America. Viking. ISBN 978-0670021758.
• Laycock, Joseph (2013). "Yoga for the New Woman and the New Man: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation of Modern Postural Yoga". Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. 23 (1): 101–136. doi:10.1525/rac.2013.23.1.101. JSTOR 10.1525/rac.2013.23.1.101.

External links

• Omnipotent Oom
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:14 am

Pirani Ameena Begum [Ora Ray Baker]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/30/20

Pirani Ameena Begum

Pirani Ameena Begum (Hindustani: अमीरा बेगम / امینہ بیگم) (born Ora Ray Baker; 8 May 1892 – 1 May 1949)[1] was the wife of Sufi Master Inayat Khan[2] and the mother of their four children: WWII heroine Noor-un-Nisa (1914-1944), [url]Vilayat[/url] (1916-2004), Hidayat (1917-2016) and Khair-un-Nisa (Cliaire) (1919-2011).[3]

Baker first met Khan when she attended one of his lectures in San Francisco, after which the pair quickly fell in love. However, resistance from Baker's family prevented them from marrying until 1913, at which point she took the name "Ameena Begum".[4] After living in London and Moscow for a time, the family settled in Suresnes, near Paris. She left a collection of 101 poems, "A Rosary of one hundred and one beads". Some poems were lost during World War II, but 54 have been preserved and were published in 1998. She was a cousin of Mary Baker Eddy,[5][6][7] founder of the Christian Science Church in the USA.

Hidayat Inayat Khan wrote: "In 1926, Hazrat Inayat Khan gave my Mother an exceptional initiation as "Pirani", which was only to be given to her. That special initiation was not to be given to any one else in the Sufi Movement, either in the present or in the future".[8] Hazrat Inayat Khan said in his Autobiography that without Ameena Begum's help he would never have been able to bring his Sufi Message to the Western world.[9][1].

Articles and poetry

• A Mother's Revelation, by Amina Begum Inayat Khan. "The Sufi" magazine No. 1 Vol. I, Febr. 1915
• Women's Seclusion in the East, by Amina Begum Inayat Khan. "The Sufi" magazine No. 3 Vol. I, Sept. 1915
• The children of today, by Amina Begum Inayat Khan. "The Sufi" magazine May. 1917
• Poems from Thy Rosary of a Hundred Beads, a collection of poems written by 'Sharda, Pirani Ameena Begum Ora-Ray Inayat Khan'. "Caravanseari" magazine (Canada) November 1988 pp. 31–34 [2]
• Poems from Thy Rosary of a Hundred Beads by 'Sharda, Pirani Ameena Begum Ora-Ray Inayat Khan'. Published in book of Hidayat Inayat Khan "Once upon a time..." Groningen (Netherlands) 1998 pp. 53–87
• Rosary of a Hundred Beads 'Sharda' to 'Daya by Pirani Ameena Begum Ora Ray Baker. Published by Petama books (Zurich) ISBN 978-3-907643-03-7, paperback, 64 p.

Sources and notes

1. Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan (Madeleine), George Cross, MBE, Croix de Guerre with Gold Star by Jean Overton Fuller. East-West Publications, London, Den Haag (1971); ISBN 0-85692-067-3; pp. 30-32, 47-49
2. The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States by Edward E. Curtis IV. Columbia University Press 2007 p. 47
3. Elisabeth de Jong-Keesing: Inayat Khan. A Biography, East-West Publications, London, Den Haag (1974); ISBN 0-7189-0243-2, pp. 106, 119.
4. Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Shrabani Basu. Omega Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (August 1, 2007); ISBN 0-930872-78-9, pp. 19-21
5. Camille Adams Helminski. Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure, Shambhala (2003); ISBN 1570629676, p. 158
6. Melton, J. Gordon (1999), Religious leaders of America (2 ed.), Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, p. 299, ISBN 0810388782, OCLC 41000889
7. Melton, J. Gordon; Clark, Jerome; Kelly, Aidan A. (1990), New Age Encyclopedia, Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, p. 442, ISBN 0810371596, OCLC 20022610
8. Once Upon a Time. Early Days Stories About My Beloved Father and Mother by Hidayat Inayat Khan. Groningen. Netherlands 1998
9. The Biography of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. London/The Hague: East-West Publications, 1979 ISBN 0-85692-012-6 (in "Personal account" pp. 115-118)
• HJ Witteveen. Universal Sufism. Publisher: Element Books Ltd (September 1997); ISBN 1-86204-093-1, pp. 36–37
• Russo-Indian Relations in 1900-1917. A Selection of Documents. (in Russian). Moscow: The Oriental Literature (Russian Academy of Science). 1999; ISBN 5-02-018155-2
• Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Shrabani Basu. Publisher: Omega Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (1 August 2007); ISBN 0-930872-78-9
• Encyclopedia of Hinduism / Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007 Facts On File, Inc. New York ISBN 0-8160-5458-4 (pp. 70–71)

External links

• "Noor Inayat Khan: Life of a Spy Princess",; accessed 24 September 2016.
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