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->''"Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden -- das ist der große Fehler von 1848 und 1849 gewesen -- sondern durch Eisen und Blut." [[labelnote:translation]]"Not by speeches and votes of the majority are the great questions of time decided -- that was the great error of 1848 and 1849 -- but by iron and blood."[[/labelnote]]''

Born to a wealthy {{Prussia}}n family in 1815, Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck is most famous for the role he played in creating the [[ImperialGermany German Empire]], his Blood and Iron speech, and for having been a MagnificentBastard.

Bismarck had a long career in politics, starting with being appointed as a representative to the Prussian legislature, Minister President of Prussia, and eventually becoming [[TheChancellorsOfGermany Chancellor of the German Empire]]. It should be said, that while the [[PuppetKing Chancellor was supposed to be subservient to the Emperor, Bismarck tended to just do what he wanted]]. [[VetinariJobSecurity He really only kept his position for so long because he was ''just that good'' at running Germany, and was the only one skilled enough to maintain the complicated foreign policy he had set up.]] Unfortunately for Bismarck (and [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne eventually]] Germany) Wilhelm II quickly got fed up with him [[TheChessmaster having his own agenda]], and got rid of him.

!!Tropes Associated With Otto von Bismarck

* {{Badass}}:
** {{Ambadassador}}: He spent a bit of time as the ambassador to the Russian Empire.
** BadassMoustache
** BaldOfEvil / BaldOfAwesome
* BreadAndCircuses: One of the main motivations behind things like the welfare reform, and on a more general note.
* ChekhovsSkill: He learned to speak French when he was young, a skill he later used to [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar instigate war between Prussia and France]] by simply ''shortening'' the report of a conversation between Wilhelm I and the French ambassador so it looked like each of them had been horribly disrespected by the other.
* TheChessmaster
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: Unifying a bunch of small, defenceless states into the badass German Empire.
* CunningLinguist: He spoke and wrote English, French, and Russian (as well as his native German) fluently. We even have [[http://www.nps.gov/edis/photosmultimedia/prince-bismarck-and-count-moltke-before-the-recording-horn.htm a recording]] now to prove it.
* TheDogBitesBack: Considering his [[DomesticAbuser treatment]] of Wilhelm II, the latter's sacking of him could well be read as this.
* DragonInChief: To the first two Kaisers, anyway, though a very loyal one.
* TheEmperor: Ironically, since he was only the Chancellor, but he is a prototypical Shadow Emperor.
* TheEmpire: [[ImperialGermany Duh.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Famously predicted that "One day the great European War will come out of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria some damned silly thing in the Balkans"]]. [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI He was right.]] He also stated that Germany would collapse twenty years after his death. He died in 1898.
** At the end of the UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar, Bismarck knew that demanding the French pay war reparations would only guarantee the French would do it to the Germans [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI the next time they fought.]] He only did it because he knew the German people wouldn't be satisfied any other way.
* GenghisGambit: Could just as easily be called the Bismarck Gambit.
* GermanicEfficiency: Was both an example and the TropeCodifier.
* GloriousLeader
* HilariousInHindsight: He was originally opposed to the idea of a united German nation.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: During the reign of Wilhelm I, Bismark commonly got what he wanted simply by threatening to resign. He was just that good. However, when he did the same thing under Wilhelm II, the ambitious Emperor was only too happy to oblige. Oops.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown:
--> "Nothing should be left to an invaded people except their eyes for weeping."
* LargeAndInCharge: Over six feet tall and around two hundred sixty pounds at his heaviest.
* MadeOfIron: Was once shot five times at point-blank range. Bismarck seized the would-be assassin [[NeckLift by the throat]] and held him till the guards came up to help.
* MagnificentBastard: Bismarck ruthlessly manipulated everyone around him (up to and including the Emperor himself) to get his way.
* TheManBehindTheMan: He played his own king (and later Emperor) like a flute. As the king put it: "It's hard to be king under such a chancellor."
* ManipulativeBastard
* MoralityPet: Germany.
* [[EvilChancellor Morally]] [[TheGoodChancellor Ambiguous]] [[TheChancellorsOfGermany Chancellor.]]
* NiceHat: Often seen on photos wearing a ''Pickelhaube''.
* OutGambitted: By himself no less! You see, he had taken Wilhelm II under his wing to influence him into going against his father. Though this worked in turning Wilhelm away from his father's policies, Bismark didn't account on Wilhelm's father being Emperor for only 99 days, and thus created a monster (Wilhelm) that he himself couldn't control. Then, Bismark was outgambitted again by Wilhelm - who managed to out gambit himself by out gambitting Bismarck, see WhatAnIdiot below.
* PetTheDog: He originated the modern social insurance system. Ironically, as a means of reducing worker support for the socialist parties, which he loathed.
** Of course, it was a very sneaky pet. He picked 65 (which has become the standard in a lot of Western countries) as the retirement age because the average age was barely over 50, which meant almost nobody would receive benefits.
* PragmaticVillainy: He had [[AvertedTrope only few scruples]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards he wasn't willing to override]]. He just found more expedient and effective ways to get what he wanted than by kicking the dog, such as refraining from picking a fight with Britain.
* {{Realpolitik}}: The TropeCodifier. He even said "Politics is the art of the possible."
* RedBaron: The Iron Chancellor.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem
* StartOfDarkness: While it's indisputable he did not and would not have approved of the actions of [[TheChancellorsOfGermany most of]] [[NaziGermany his successors]], the centralization and authoritarianism he fostered in the nascent German Empire turned out quite unhealthy for Germany's prospects in the early-mid 20th century.
* StayInTheKitchen: When Prussia faced a revolution in 1848, and King Frederick William IV [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere decided to leave Berlin for the safety of Potsdam]], Bismarck tried to [[CrazyAwesome rally the peasants of his estate and march on Berlin in the name of the king]], but was told that he would be more useful providing food for the Army.
** Of course, considering that he practically advocated rather...[[ObligatoryWarCrimeScene extreme measures]] be carried out during the march, the matter of political expediency and preventing Berlin from falling apart even further also came into play.
* WhatAnIdiot: On the part of Wilhelm II. Yeah, ''firing'' the MagnificentBastard who put your country together and has been running it for the past twenty years, in the middle of a diplomatic semi-crisis that he instigated and was in the process of resolving, was the [[SarcasmMode best possible thing you could have done]]. Of course, in his eyes, it ''was''. Particularly since he calculated (correctly) that Germany could ride the crisis out, ''bitterly'' resented Bismarck on a personal (''[[DomesticAbuser very]]'' [[FreudianExcuse personal]]) and hardly unjustified level, and was tired of being hemmed in by the Iron Chancellor's power. He just didn't take into account the long term, and the fact that [[JerkassHasAPoint there might have been a]] [[MagnificentBastard very good reason]] for keeping [[RoyallyScrewedUp him]] out of the loop.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: What would have happened if Bismarck had never influenced Wilhelm II and remained in power? Would the World Wars, Russian Revolution, and the Cold War never have happened? Possibly.
** At least not in the way they did eventually happen.
** Alternatively: what if he never succeeded (at least to the way he did) in unifying Germany under as authoritarian a nation as it was?
*** Go even further. What if Prussia had lost the Austro-Prussian War, leaving Austria as the dominant leader of the German Confederation instead of Prussia?
*** Even further, what if Bismark's advice to treat Austria leniently in the Austrian-Prussian war had gone ignored. Maybe Austria would not have mended fences with Germany farther down the line. Or, conversely if Austria had not been forced out of Germany entirely by the conflict and allowed to remain a part of Germany, if junior to Prussia. Großdeutschland anyone?

!!Works In Which Otto von Bismarck Appears Or Is Cited Include:
* Played magnificently by Curd Jürgens in two episodes (''The English Princess'' and ''The Honest Broker'') of the 1974 BBC miniseries ''Series/FallOfEagles''.
* A major character in the second {{Flashman}} book, where he masterfully manipulates Flashman into preenacting ThePrisonerOfZenda.
* [[BeamMeUpScotty Slightly misquoted]] in an episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Admiral Nechayev tells Picard "Diplomacy is the art of the possible." Bismarck actually said "Politics is the art of the possible."
* He is the main leader of Germany since ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization III]]''.