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1BISMARCK AND HIS INFLUENCE IN THE GERMAN AND PRUSSIAN REVOLUTIONS OF 1848Alex CruzHIST 310: Age of Revolutions 30 November 2018
2Bismarck and His Influence in the Prussian and German RevolutionsWhen news of a rebellion broke out at the Royal Palace in Berlin on 19 March 1848, Ottovon Bismarck, the Statesman, immediately set out with his army of “loyal” peasants to retake thecapital and to crush the revolutionaries. He believed that if the revolution were to be successful, his presence and everything he built would be on the line. “His pride was touched, his courage stimulated, so that it seems to him the first need is to hit back against the Reds.”1Before leaving the village of Schönhausen, he was confronted by his neighbor, who had been a long time liberal and supporter of the current revolution and attempted to stop Bismarck and his army from traveling to Berlin. Bismarck declared that if he would not move aside, he would have no choice but to shoot him. Bismarck’s neighbor assumed the statesman was bluffing, but Bismarck responded, “You know that I am a quiet man, but if you do that I will shoot you…I give you my word of honor that I will, and you know that I keep my word: so drop that!”2And so, Bismarck marched to Berlin, in an attempt to liberate the Prussian King and to defeat the revolutionaries. This would be Otto von Bismarck’s first action against the German and Prussian revolutions of 1848 and the road he walked would not be a simple one, for there would be many challenges thatBismarck would face until the revolution was defeated. This paper will discuss the actions of Otto von Bismarck during the course of the year as Prussia and the German Union were embroiled in the uprising. While the revolutionaries of both countries experienced similar ideas that they were fighting for, Bismarck believed that the ideas in Prussia would cause more damage than their German counterparts. He had to act quickly if thePrussian monarchy were to continue in power. In the first few months of the revolution, he would1Emil Ludwig, Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter, (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1927) 80.2Louis L Snyder, The Blood and Iron Chancellor: A Documentary-Biography of Otto von Bismarck, (Canada,D. Van Nostrand Company,1967) 70.
3attempt to influence the decisions of his peers at the Prussian Diet with strong speeches that opposed the liberal agenda and the revolution, while also making it challenging for them to pass any form of legislation. As he was not well known during this period, his colleagues did not take his words sincerely, so he began looking for more powerful figures that could have an impact. Working alongside other conservatives, the Prussian monarchs, like King Frederick Wilhelm IV, who is also referred as William, and Prince William I, were his next objective as they were the powerful figures of the Prussian monarchy at this time. Finally, his last objective was to convincethe people that a united Germany would bring the end of Prussia and to discredit the revolutionaries through the media.