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What Does This Otto von Bismarck Quote Mean?

3/26/2015 • Ask Mr. History

What does the Otto Von Bismarck quote “I am bored. The great things are done. The German Reich is made.” mean?

Mark

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Dear Mark,

Since his appointment as ambassador to the German Diet at Frankfurt in 1851, where he first declared that Prussia regarded itself as Austria’s equal as a European power, Otto von Bismarck had devoted his political life to making that statement a reality, by eclipsing the local power of Denmark in 1864, Austria-Hungary in 1866, and finally achieving what he regarded as the ultimate triumph by defeating France and in the process uniting the German kingdoms and duchies into a united nation with Prussia as the central political entity in 1871. Having thus attained the dream of a lifetime, Bismarck felt it a good moment to wonder what else was there to do (he thought Kaiser Wilhelm II’s worldwide ambitions an unnecessary and potentially harmful case of overreach—and he was sacked a chancellor for expressing those misgivings), and therefore look forward to life thereafter as a dull anticlimax.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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