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The enigma of Bismarck as Imperial Chancellor
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| Words: 900 | Submitted: 12-Feb-2009
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DescriptionThe enigma of Bismarck as Imperial Chancellor
With such two opposing views is it any wonder that there is a varied response from Historians when studying Bismarck and the Unification of Germany. In the 1980s other views were seen. We still had a separated Germany and communist writers in the east were careful to use their Marxist view of the world (where events occurred due to an uprising of the lower classes against the upper classes and History was viewed by Marxist Historians as one large on going struggle.) but not all Historians used Marxist notions in their views
• Engelberg held the view that Bismarck was a unique Historical individual, a conservative statesman. He was careful to avoid Marxist terminology. This was a big departure from the writing of previous Historians. In a Marxist climate to call Bismarck a conservative was as startling as Gall’s reinterpretation. This is not new Bruce Waller himself has argued that Bismarck lead his country from barren conservatism to moderate liberalism.
There are vast differences in Historians approachs to studying Bismarck there is very little room for consensus this is due to the following points:
1. History does not clearly reflect reality. It shows things changing according to one’s position. So it is not as clear cut and open to interpretation.
2. Bismarck was a great revolutionary who altered things for the better or worse. Other things were then affected in a chain of events.
3. The man was not straight forward. His mind and personality encompassed many contradictions so did the things he did.
4. There is a last approach to studying Bismarck that looks at a psychoanalytical reinterpretation of his relationship with his mother and its effects later in his life.!!
1. Bismarck as a Bungler Gall’s interpretation
Was he a fumbler or a dictatorial moderniser? What evidence is there?
It is gall’s view that Bismarck realised that Prussia needed to modernise and expand if she was to be a great leader of a unified Germany with this in mind he set about modernising Prussia and setting her ready for her future role. Bismarck wanted to ensure that he remained in control. However he goes on to say that Bismarck changed his view once the Empire has been created he began to think that the cost had been great. Gall believes that signs of regret and frustration set in. He sees Bismarck’s behaviour as so clumsy that one could loose sight of the long term good that came from his time in office ( the creation of Gemany)
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