The Life of Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898)

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Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898)

        Prince Otto Von Bismarck was born Otto Eduard Leopold on April 1st, 1815. He was born on the family estate at Schönhausen in Bandenburg. He is the third son of Ferdinand Von Bismarck- Schönhausen and Wilhelmina Mencken. His father was an old Junker family and his mother came from a family of intellectuals in government service. He took after his mother, but also admired his father, and so tried to disguise his sophistication under a Junker appearance.

        At 17 Bismarck entered the University of Göttingen, where he studied law. As a university student he acquired a reputation for roistering and fighting and was active in Hannovera (famous dueling corps). In 1837 he became judicial assessor at Aachen, and a year later he went to Potsdam in the same capacity. There he joined the Guard Jäger Regiment. In the autumn of 1838, Bismarck moved to Greifswald, where, in addition to his military duties, he studied husbandry at Eldena Academy.

His father's financial reverses, as well as his own innate dislike of the life of a Prussian civil servant, caused Bismarck to leave government service in 1839 and assume administration of the family estates, in Pomerania. He continued his studies by reading Hegel, Kant, Spinoza, D. F. Strauss, and Feuerbach; he also traveled in England and France. Later he joined the Pomeranian Pietists, a group of devout Lutherans.

        Bismarck possessed remarkable powers of observation, noted linguistic skill, and the ability to make quick decisions. He developed early a ruthlessness in carrying out policies, and this distinguished him later as a statesman.

        Upon the death of Bismarck's father in 1845, the family property was divided, and Otto received Schönhausen and Kniephof in Pomerania. In 1847 he married Johanna von Puttkamer. Among his new Pomeranian friends were General Leopold von...

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