Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor by Volker Ullrich (2008)

Books & Boots

Bismarck, a potted biography

A high-level overview of his career is that, born in 1815, once he’d completed university he began the tedious exam-passing career path of becoming a civil servant but rejected it as boring and went back to manage his father’s lands in Prussia, gaining a reputation as a fast-living, hard-drinking, traditional Prussian Junker or minor aristocrat, who loved hunting and sounding off about how the world was going to the dogs.

Local politics Because of his status as local landowner, during the 1840s Bismarck became involved in local administration, then in local parliamentary business, coming to the attention of local conservative politicians, one of whose brothers was a personal adviser to the king of Prussia. Useful connections.

The Vereinigter Landtag In 1847 he stood in for a member of the provincial parliament, who was ill, and made his first speech on 17 May, proceeding to make a…

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