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Full text of "Bismarck, the man and the statesman; being the reflections and reminiscences of Otto, Prince von Bismarck"

Co&nght 1 ,:llsctutfk 




Published by Harper&Brothers, New Yo-k 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE SECOND VOLUME 



CHAPTER XIX 

SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

PAGE 

Difference with Count R. von der Goltz concerning the Schleswig- 

Holstein question ......... i 

Bismarck's letter to Goltz ........ i 

Cabinet council concerning the attitude to be taken up in the Danish 

question ........... 10 

Possibilities of the solution . . . . . . . .11 

Impracticability of the course indicated by public opinion . . II 

Influence of Liberalism on the German Governments . . . .12 

On King William 12 

Public opinion on the side of the Prince of Augustenburg . . .13 
The last sign of life of the ' Wochenblatt ' party . . . .15 

Difficulties of the Gastein treaty . . . . . . 17 

Letter from Bismarck to the King . . . . . . .18 

Psychological change in the King's disposition since the occupation of 

Lauenburg .......... 20 

Attitude of the Progressive party in regard to Kiel and the Prussian 

fleet 20 

Extract from Bismarck's speech of June i, 1865 .21 
Absence of patriotism in political parties in Germany under the influ- 
ence of party hatred . . . . . . . . 24 i 

f A true German idea 24 

.^erman party spirit in politics and religion . . . . .25 

Bismarck receives the title of Count . . . . . . .25 

V 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Negotiations with Count Platen concerning an alliance between Prin- 
cess Frederica of Hanover and a son of Prince Albert . . .26 
Hanover arming .......... 26 

Interview with Prince Frederick William of Hesse . . . .27 

Refusal of the February conditions by the Hereditary Prince of Augus- 

tenburg ........... 28 

Guelfic lies 28 

A letter from the Hereditary Prince to Bismarck . . . .29 
Letters from the King to Bismarck in the matter of the Augusten- 

burger 30 

Memorandum of the Crown Prince of February 26, 1864 . . 31 

Interview with the Hereditary Prince on June i, 1864 . . .31 
'The peace of Vienna . . . . . . . ... 32 

The February conditions of 1865 32 

Importance of the Baltic canal 32 

Moltke's opposition to the formation of the canal . . . -33 
Importance of the canal connexion for the military security of the Ger- 
man coasts 33 

Of what value would a continuation of the canal to the Weser mouth 

or even to Jahde and Ems be ? . . . . . . 34 

Heligoland 35 



CHAPTER XX 

NIKOLSBURG 

With the headquarters at Reichenberg ...... 36 

Displeasure of the military at Bismarck's interference in matters relat- 
ing to their department ........ 36 

French interference after the battle of Koniggratz . . . -37 
Dilatory reply of the King . . . . . . . .37 

Moltke's opinion respecting the contingency of a war with France as 

well as with Austria 38 

^Bismarck for peace with Austria without any gain of territory from the 

Austrian imperial possessions 38 

Dangers of an alliance of French and South German forces . -38 
Bismarck advises the King to appeal to the Hungarian nationality . 39 
Council of war at Czermahora ........ 35 

Bismarck proposes the passage of the Danube at Pressburg instead of 

an attack upon the lines at Floridsdorf ..... 41 

Reluctant obedience of the staff 41 

Diplomatic considerations concerning the peace conditions to be im- 
posed on Austria 42 

Departmental and state policy in opposition . . . . .42 

vi 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

First draft of the peace conditions 43 

Increase in the King's demands . . . . 43 ', 
His desire to get back the Franconian principalities . . . 43 
What prevented the acquisition of Bavarian and Austrian territory ? . 44 
Karolyi refuses any cession of territory and demands the integrity of 

Saxony as a conditio sine qua non of a peace settlement . . 45 
Armistice ........... 47 

Action at Blumenau 47 

Negotiations with Karolyi and Benedetti concerning the conditions of 

the preliminary peace ........ 47 

Difficulties of the situation as regarded military influences . . .48 
T" "Bismarck's responsibility for the shaping of the future . . 48 \ 

Council of war of July 23 . . . . . . . .48 

A burst of tears -49 

Memorandum to the King ........ 49 

Report to the King 49 

The King's opinion . . . . . . . . 5 1 

His agitation at Bismarck's opposition ...... 5 2 

1 Bismarck's state of mind (thoughts of suicide) . . . . -53 

Mediation of the Crown Prince .... -53 

The King's marginal notes . . . . . . . 53 

The South German plenipotentiaries at Nikolsburg . . . -54 
Herr von Varnbiiler ......... 54 

The French relations with the Stuttgart court sustained by the Queen 

of Holland's predilection for France 54 

Her anti- Austrian disposition . . . . . . .55 

Varnbiiler's repulse at Nikolsburg, his reception at Berlin . . 5 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE NORTH GERMAN CONFEDERATION 

Internal condition of Prussia after the war . . . . -57 

War with France a necessity, if Prussia crosses the line of the Main . 57 
Napoleon Ill's reminiscences of the confederation of the Rhine . -57 
An error concerning the national disposition in South Germany . . 58 \ 
Bismarck's reasons for postponing the war with France . . . 58 
Settlement of the Conflict by a request for indemnity . . . 59 

Uncertainty of a league with Italy ....... 60 

Attitude of Italian policy during the Austrian war . . . .60 

of a triple alliance of France. Austria, and Italy . . 61 
Russia's uneasiness at Prussia's growtrPj ...... 61 

Diatonic attitude of Fnp-Hsh poliry ^*^ 62 

Results on Bismarck's home policy of considerations upon the situation 

abroad - 62 

vii 






BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Short-sightedness of the progressive politicians . . . . .64 

\ Universal suffrage as a means towards the national aim . . -65 
KBismarck's views of the value of universal suffrage . . . 65 

The secrecy of the ballot favours the rise of ambitious demagogues and 

keeps the influence of educated men out of its rightful sphere . 66 
A preponderance of those who possess over those who want is advan- 
tageous to the state ......... 66 

A preponderance of the wanting element easily leads to a return of the 

state to dictatorship, government by violence and absolutism . 67 
Necessity of criticism in a monarchical state . . . . .68 

A free press and parliaments as organs of criticism . . . .68 

The task of a Conservative policy ....... 69 

Reactionary tendencies inside the Conservative party and their repre- 
sentatives in Prague ......... 69 

-"Proposals for a revision of the Constitution . . . . .69 

Project for a Prusso- Russian alliance as a settlement of the internal 

conflict and of the German question in the year 1863 . . .70 
Examination of the Russian proposal by Bismarck . . . .71 

The probable development of matters in the event of Prussia and Rus- 
sia being victorious in a war against Austria and France . .71 
The King declines the Russian proposal ...... 74 

The King's abhorrence in 1866 of reactionary proposals of Conservative 

agitators 76 

What results would a decision in favour of reaction have had ? . .76 

Criticism of the Prussian Constitution 77 

Disinclination of the King to the request for indemnity . . .78 

The King gives in to Bismarck's views 79 

The annexations, although not unconditionally agreed to, still desirable 

for the sake of the territorial cohesion of the Prussian dominions . 79 
Incompatibility of Hanover's independence with the establishment of 

German unity under Prussian leadership . . . . .80 

Rejection of George the Fifth's letter 80 

Bismarck dissuades the King from the idea of a_dismemberment of 

Hanover and the Electorate of Hanover 80 

The King's dislike to Nassau inherited from his father . . .81 

Treaties of peace with the South German states 81 

Herr von Varnbiiler concludes peace and an alliance with Prussia for 

Wurtemberg 81 

Roggenbach's proposals for an enlargement of Baden at the cost of 

Bavaria 82 

Rejection of these proposals by Bismarck ...... 83 

A mutilated Bavaria would have been an ally of Austria and France . 83 
The Guelf legion, its formation and dissolution . .... 84 

Bismarck on leave .......... 85 

viii 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Negotiations with Saxony . . . ' . . . . .86 

Loyal attitude of Kings John and Albert of Saxony . . . .86 
Concentrating pressure upon Bavaria and Saxony of the league with 

Austria ... c ....... 86 

The parliamentary excesses of the German element in Austria endanger 

the influence of the German national element . . . .86 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE EMS TELEGRAM 

The Spanish cabinet resolves upon calling Prince Leopold of Hohen- 

zollern to the throne . . . . . . . . -87 

The name ' Hohenzollern ' no valid pretext according to the law of 

nations for France to interfere in Spain's free choice of a king. . 87 
Bismarck expected no difference between France and Prussia respecting 

the candidature of the Hohenzollern prince 87 

A conversation of Bismarck's concerning the duties devolving upon the 

prince in regard to France after being chosen King of Spain . 88 
Bismarck's view on the Spanish throne question . . . .88 
Bismarck expected more economical than political results from the 

choice of the Hohenzollern 89 

France by falsification turns the Spanish question into a Prussian one . 90 

Passivity of Spain in the face of French interference . . . . 91 

The prince's candidature only a family matter of the House of Hohen- 
zollern ........... 91 

The French politicians underrate the national sentiment in Germany . 92** 
Ultramontane tendencies in French politics . . . . .92 

France's threats against Prussia occasioned by the Spanish election an 

international impertinence ........ 93 

The insulting nature of the French demands intensified by the attitude 

of the Gramont-Ollivier ministry ...... 93 

La Prusse cane .... -93 

Bismarck leaves Varzin ......... 93 

Impression caused by the news at Ems ...... 94- 

Bismarck's resolve to retire from office strengthened by the intimation 

of the Prince's refusal ........ 94 

The object of the journey to Ems . . ... 95 

Interview with Roon ...... . . 95 

The negotiations between the King and Benedetti wrong from a consti- 
tutional point of view ........ 95 

The Queen's influence upon the King in favour of peace with France . 96 
Roon and Moltke dine with Bismarck (July 13, 1870) . . .96 

Receipt of Abeken's telegram ........ 97 

ix 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Discussion with Moltke upon Germany's readiness for war . . .98 
The acceptance of the French challenge a call upon national sentiment 

including that of the South German states . ... 98 

Editing the ' Ems telegram ' . ^ . .100 

The cause of its effectiveness ........ 101 

Impression caused by the abridged version on Moltke and Roon . . 101 
Moltke's characteristics ......... 102 

His pugnacity occasionally inconvenient ...... 103 

May a statesman provoke a probable war ? ..... 103 



CHAPTER XXIII 

VERSAILLES 

Displeasure of the ' demigods ' against Bismarck .... 104 
Bismarck overhears a conversation between General von Podbielski and 

Roon concerning the measures taken to keep Bismarck out of the 

military deliberations ........ 104 

Disadvantage of this departmental rivalry to the conduct of business . 105 
The missions of strategy and diplomacy in war ..... 106 / 

Necessity for their co-operation ....... 107 

Military boycott of Bismarck in Versailles ...... 108 

The situation before Paris 108 

Humanitarian influences of royal ladies on behalf of the Parisians . 109 

Bismarck's fears of intervention by the neutrals 109 

Count Beust's efforts to bring about a collective intervention of the 

neutrals . . . . . . . . . . .no 

The warning that Bismarck drew therefrom . . . . .in 

Friendly disposition of the King of Italy towards Napoleon and France ; 

anti-French disposition of the Italian Republicans . . .113 
Feelings in Russia . . . . . . . . . .114 

Gortchakoff's ill-will towards Bismarck and Prussia . . . .115 

His vanity . . . . . . . . . . .116 

Count Kutusoff and the Grand Duke Alexander as mediators at the 

Russian Court . . . . . . . . . .119 

Stagnation of the siege . . . . . . . . .120 

Bismarck's fears of eventual failure . . . . . . .121 

Dearth of heavy siege-guns and of transport material . . . .123 

Considerations of the cost . . . . . . . .124 

English feminine influences at headquarters in the interests of ' humanity' 125 
The assumption of the imperial title by the King a political necessity 
'"* upon the extension of the North German confederation . .126 
Resistance of King William I and its causes . . . .127 

Original dislike of the Crown Prince to the imperial title . . .127 

Political fancies of the Crown Prince 128 

X 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The Crown Prince's diary and its publication by Geffcken . . .128 
Count Holnstein as the bearer of a letter from Bismarck to the King 

of Bavaria 129 

Letter from the King of Bavaria to King William .... 130 
Difficulties in formulating the imperial title ; Emperor of Germany or 

German Emperor? ......... 131 

Bismarck in disgrace on the day of the Emperor's proclamation . .134 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE 'CULTURKAMPF' 

Count Ledochowski and Cardinal Bonnechose at Versailles . .135 

The Pope refuses to influence the French clergy in favour of peace . 135 
Conflicting tendencies in Italy . . . . . . . .136 

Effect of the Prussian government siding with the Pope . . .136 
| Bismarck's negotiations with Bishop von Ketteler respecting the adop- 
1 tion in the imperial Constitution of the article in the Prussian 

Constitution on the position of the church in the state . .138 

Reconstruction of the Catholic party (' Centrum') . . . .138 

Strength of the ' Centrum ' in relation to the Pope .... 138 

Polish side of the 'Culturkampf' . . . . . . .139 

Progress of the Polish nationality due to the activity of the Catholic 

section in the Ministry of Public Worship . ... . . 139 

The Catholic section an organ of the House of Radziwill . . . 140 
Bismarck seeks to win the King over to replace the Catholic section by 

a Papal nuncio .......... 141 

Abolition of the Catholic section 142 

Bismarck's share in the May laws ....... 142 

Juridical misconception of the Falk legislation ..... 142 

Causes of Falk's retirement ........ 143 

The superfluous and the indispensable in the May laws . . . 145 
Von Puttkamer as Falk's successor . . . . . . .146 

The settlement of the ' Culturkampf ' is rendered more difficult by the 

anger of the combative ministers ...... 146 

Opposition of the Emperor to peace with Rome .... 146 

The secession of the Liberal party and their entry into the league of 

the ' Centrum ' renders the outlook of the ' Culturkampf ' hopeless 148 
Definite results to the state . . . . . . . .148 

Temporary nature of the peace between church and state . . . 149 
Visit of King Victor Emanuel to Berlin . . . . . .150 

The box of diamonds ......... 151 

Bismarck and Gortchakoff . . . . . . . .151 

Moritz von Blanckenburg . . . . . . . .152 

Bismarck and civil marriage . . . . . . . . 154 

xi 



BISMARCK 



CHAPTER XXV 

RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

PAGE 

Debates upon the Hanoverian ' Provinzialfonds ' . . . .155 
Disapproving attitude of the Conservative party in the Chamber of 

Deputies and the Upper House . . . . . . .156 

Expedients to catch votes 156 

The Conservatives insist on Bismarck's joining the group . . .157 
Roon's letters of February 19 and 25, 1868, on the necessity for a re- 
organisation of the Conservative party and the motives of their 
opposition . . . . . . . . . . 157 

The jealousy of his colleagues with respect to the bestowal of the 

princely title .......... 161 

Bismarck's own opinion of the title . . . . . . .161 

Opposition of the Conservatives to the law relating to the inspection of 

schools ........... 162 

Extracts from Bismarck's speeches . . . . . . .162 

Rupture between Bismarck and the Conservative party . . .164 

Political results of the rupture 164 

Indifference to party in questions concerning the security against the 

outer world of advantages gained in the war . . . .165 
Increased animosity of the Conservatives on account of Bismarck's ad- 
vances to the National Liberals 165 

' Junker ' gatherings at Roon's ....... 165 

Count H. Arnim .......... 165 

Herr von Caprivi . . . . . . . . . 166 

Bismarck's alleged hostility to the army refuted by facts . . .166 
The ' Kreuzzeitung ' challenges Bismarck ...... 167 

A campaign of calumny ......... 167 

A judicial decision under the influence of party spirit . . . 168 

Roughness in party warfare as well as in the contest on religious 

questions 169 

The calumnies of the 'Kreuzzeitung,' the 'Declarants' acting as its 

compurgators . . . . . . . . . .170 

Influence on Bismarck's nerves of the rupture with old friends . .171 
Sense of responsibility of an honour-loving minister . . . .171 

The National Liberals take no part in Bismarck's struggle with the 

Conservatives . . . . . . . . . .173 

Party narrowness . . . . . . . . . .173 

The parliamentary condottieri and their power over their colleagues in 

the party . . . . . . . . . . .174 

Greater inertia ~of the Conservatives ; activity of the parties attacking 

the existing state of things . . . . . . .174 

The ' Reichsglocke ' at Court 175 

xii 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXVI 

INTRIGUES 

PAGE 

Count Harry Arnim . .177 

His youth 177 

Appointed ambassador in Paris . . . . . . .178 

His stand in favour of legitimacy . . . . . . .178 

Failure of his attempt to bring about Bismarck's fall . . . ,178 
Press attacks of the ' Spener'schen Zeitung' upon Bismarck . . 180 
Count Arnim's proposals to attack the Pope, now become ' infallible ' . 180 
Aim and motives of the legal proceedings against Arnim . . .181 
Views of the diplomatic circles . . . . . . . .182 

Relations of the ' Reichsglocke ' to Count H. Arnim . . . .183 

Hopes of the Roman curia for the triumph of France . . .184 
Connexion between the Empress Eugenie's interest in the warlike cur- 
rent of French politics and her devotion to the Pope . . .185 
The restoration of the monarchy in France a danger to peace . .<_ 185 
Arnim and Gontaut Biron as allies against Bismarck . . . .186 

Admiration for Catholic character in Protestant circles . . .186 
' Every silly boy is a Protestant ' ....... 187 

Predilection of the Empress Augusta for Catholicism . . .188 

Gerard, a French detective, as private secretary to the Empress . .188 

The Gontaut- Gortchakoff comedy in {875 .- 188 

Gortchakoff's vanity and his jealousy of his former disciple . . .189 
Gortchakoff as a professed angel of peace and protector of France . 191 
The Emperor Alexander II sees through Gortchakoff . . . 191 

Bismarck's dislike to a provoked war . . . . . .192 

Pacific character of the foundation of the German Empire . :^j 

Gortchakoff's influence on the correspondence of the Czar Alexander II . 193 
Bismarck's letter of August 13, 1875, to the Emperor . . .193 
The administrative reform of Count Frederick zu Eulenburg . . 196 
Bureaucratisation of the post of ' Landrath '..... 196 

The ' Landrath ' then and now ........ 197 

Negotiations with Rudolf von Bennigsen respecting his entry into the 

ministry ........... 197 

Extravagance of the National Liberal demands for a share in the 

government .......... 198 

Rupture of the negotiations with Bennigsen ..... 200 

Count Eulenburg as go-between ....... 200 

Anger of the Emperor at Bismarck's arbitrariness .... 200 

Bennigsen definitively declines ........ 201 

Ineptitude of the National Liberal leaders . . . . . 202 

4 No. 109, Stauffenberg Regiment '....... 202 

xiii 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Causes of the Emperor's dislike to Bennigsen ..... 203 
The allies of the National Liberals in the ministry .... 203 

The Council Meeting of June 5, 1878 204 

Origin of the expression : ' squeeze them to the wall till they squeal ' . 205 
Alliances of the National Liberals at court General von Stosch their 

confederate .......... 206 

Count Botho zu Eulenburg ........ 206 

The Tiedemann-Eulenburg-Bismarck difference .... 207 

Letter from Bismarck to Tiedemann ....... 207 

Letter from Count Eulenburg to Bismarck ..... 209 

Bismarck's reply . . . . . . . . . .210 

An imperial dream . . . . . . . . .211 

Correspondence between the Emperor and Bismarck .... 212 

Evil results of the Bismarck-Eulenburg difference for Bismarck's 

health ........... 213 

Outbreak of nettle-rash . . . . . . . . .214 

The killing work of a Prime Minister's position . 214 

Falling off in Bismarck's strength early in the seventies . . .214 
The presidency of the Prussian ministry transferred to Roon . .214 
Bismarck disheartened by the intrigues of the ' Reichsglocke ' set . 215 
Insincerity amongst the official staff . . . . . . .215 

^ Bismarck's systematic exclusion from the business of the political 

leadership .......... 216 

*' Thoughts of a ' Gladstone ' ministry 216 

Its impracticability in view of the sentiments of the King and Crown 

Prince 216 

Breach with Free Trade 217 

Broken health (Schweninger) . . . . . . . ,217 

Under Secretary of State von Gruner 217 

His call to the household ministry and appointment as actual Ge- 

heimrath without the counter-signature of a responsible minister . 218 

Bismarck's letter to Geheimrath Tiedemann 218 

Bismarck's letter to the Minister von Billow ..... 223 
The announcement of Gruner' s appointment in the ' Gazette ' does not 

take place .......... 224 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS 

Bismarck's reserve with regard to the government departments . . 225 
His protest against the subordination of a great public interest to 

private interests . . . . . . . .225 

And against the excessive use of red tape ...... 226 

xiv 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Why, in spite of his non-interference, Bismarck's retirement was felt 

to be a relief .......... 226 

The Department of Public Worship opposes the legal assessment of the 

contribution to be paid to the schools by each separate community 226 
The councillors of the Finance Department oppose the principles of a 

reform in taxation insisted upon by Bismarck . . . .227 
Opposition in the Department of Agriculture to a cattle quarantine in 

order to keep off epidemics . . . . . . .227 

Good relations between Bismarck and the Imperial Treasury . . 228 
Subordination of the Imperial Treasury to the Prussian Minister of 

Finance ........... 228 

Bismarck's relations with the Imperial Postal Department . . . 228 
Herr von Stephan .......... 229 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

General von Werder's enquiries on behalf of Alexander II respecting 

the attitude of Germany in the event of a Russo- Austrian war . 231 
The singularity of the form chosen . . . . . .231 
Position of the Prussian military attache at the Russian court . . 232 
His direct intercourse with the Emperor without the mediation of the 

Foreign Office .......... 232 

Gortchakoff's object in making the enquiry ..... 233 

Bismarck's tardy reply ......... 233 

His proposal to recall Werder is rejected by the Emperor William . 234 
Repetition of the enquiry by the Russian embassy . . . . 234 

Bismarck's reply .......... 234 

Its effect 235 

Russia's advances to Austria . . . . . . . .235 

Conclusion of the convention at Reichstadt . . . . .235 

Aim of the Balkan campaign . . . . . . . .235 

-Formation of ^ a^Bulggria^ependent upon Russia . _.__ , .235.. 
Failure of this calculation ........ 235 

A dishonest fiction 236 

The Russian proposal to convene a congress ..... 236 
Gortchakoff's participation in the Berlin Conference contrary to the 

Czar's wish .......... 236 

Shuvaloff and Gortchakoff as opponents ...... 236 

Mendacity of Russian and English politics ..... 237 

Press and Parliament easily deceived . . . . . .237 

Russian discontent at the attitude of Germany in the execution of the 

Berlin treaty . . . . . . . . . . 238 

XV 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Premeditated dishonesty of Gortchakoff's attitude .... 238 
The reproach cast at Germany of ' platonic ' love for Russia . . 238 
Russia desires from the German commissioners general consent to all 

Russian demands ..,..... 239 
The Czar threatens war in a letter to Emperor William . . . 239 
Proofs of Gortchakoff's co-operation in the composition of the Czar's 

letter 240 

The Emperor William's journey to Alexandrovo not approved by 

Bismarck ........... 240 

Count Peter Shuvaloff proposes a Russo-German offensive and de- 
fensive alliance . . . . . . . . . 241 

Personal character of every alliance with Russia .... 246 

Possible displeasure of the Czar due to malevolent reports of the Rus- 
sian representative at the Court of Berlin ..... 246 

Highly coloured reports of diplomatic representatives are of no use in 

general politics 248 

Bismarck rejects an ' option ' between Russia and Austria . . .250 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

Aim of the alliance of the three Emperors : the maintenance of the 

monarchy . . . . . . . . . .251 

Meeting of the three Emperors in Berlin in 1872 . . . .252 

Prince Gortchakoff in 1875 disturbs the hopes entertained of the alli- 
ance ........... 252 

Bismarck as an opponent of preventive wars . . . . .252 

Probable effect of a German attack on France in the year 1875 . .252 
Anti-German character of the Gortchakoff policy . . . .253 

Le cauchemar des coalitions . . . . . . . .2^4 

The possibility and danger of a coalition between France, Austria, and 

Russia 255 

England's attitude an impossible basis for calculation . . .255 
Germany confronted with the alternative of an alliance with Russia or 

Austria ........... 256 

Scruples concerning an alliance with Austria . . . . .257 

The letter from the Czar Alexander forces on a decision . . .258 
Popularity of an Austro-German alliance in Germany . . .258 

The alliance with Austria viewed by the light of international law . 259 
Bismarck's meeting with Count Aridrassy at Gastein and provisional 
understanding concerning the conclusion of a defensive alliance 
against a Russian attack . . . . . . . .260 

Letter from Bismarck to the King of Bavaria 261 

xvi 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Answer of the King of Bavaria and Bismarck's reply .... 266 

Bismarck's reception on the journey from Gastein to Vienna . . 268 
Popularity of the alliance amongst the Germans of Austria . . 268 

The Emperor William's dislike to a league with Austria . . . 269 
Uncertainty of an alliance with Russia . . . . . .270 

Efficacy of treaties then and now . . . . . . .270 

Bismarck gets the Emperor to sanction the alliance by making it a 

cabinet question . . . . . . . . 271 

Chivalry of the Emperor William towards the Russian Emperor . 271 

Bismarck's motives in proposing the introduction of the Austro-Ger- 

man alliance into the legislation of both countries . . .273 
Limited stability of all treaties between great powers . . .273 

Germany, however friendly towards Austria, must still keep the way 

open to St. Petersburg 275 

Germany's role of mediator between the rival efforts of Austria and 

Russia ........... 275 

The Austro-German alliance leaves Germany uncovered as against 

France ........... 275 

Absence of controversial points between Germany and Russia . .275 
Misrepresentation of public opinion in Russia . . . . .276 

Germany's good relations with Russia give the alliance with Austria 

a better guarantee . . . . . . . . .276 

An estrangement between Germany and Russia causes an increase in 

Austria's demands upon its ally . . . . . . .276 

Inoffensive nature of the Austro-German treaty . . . .277 

Uncertainty of the future development of Austria . . . .278 

Possibility of a rapprochement between Austria and France in the event -r -x 

of a restoration of the French monarchy . . . . C. ki_^/ 
Aim of a foreseeing policy of Germany with regard to her Austrian ally- 279 
Personal displeasure must not determine our policy with regard to 

Russia ........... 280 

National interests alone must decide . . . . . . .281 

Confidence of Alexander III in Bismarck's pacific policy . . . 282 
His doubts concerning the continuance of Bismarck's chancellorship in 

the year 1889 283 

The clausula rebus sic stantibus in political treaties .... 284 
Toujours en vedette ! , . . . . . . . .284 



CHAPTER XXX 

FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

Causes of Russia's present attitude of reserve . . . . .285 
Russia without a pretext for declaring war against Germany . .285 
Probable object of the display of troops in the west .... 286 

xvii 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

Russia's efforts for a Russian closure of the Bosphorus subject to a 

guarantee of the European possessions of Turkey . . .286 
Probabilities of the success of those efforts ..... 287 

Germany's interests in a Russian occupation of Constantinople . . 288 
Task of the Austrian policy in such an event . . . . .288 
What consequences would ensue from Germany's adherence to Austria 

in the event of a Russian advance upon the Bosphorus ? . . 289 
The aim of German policy must not be to excite the concupiscence of 

friendly powers by distributing political gratuities . . 290 

Germany's duty is to stand aloof in all questions not directly concerning 

national interests 290 

Germany's advantage lies in her freedom from direct Oriental interests ; 

her disadvantage, her central position 291 

The preservation of peace remains Germany's most important interest . 292 
Bismarck's ideal after the re-establishment of German unity . . 293 
Fiasco of the Russian policy of liberation in the Balkan peninsula . 294 
Ingratitude of ' liberated ' nations . . . . . . -295 

The immediate aim of Russian policy the closing of the Black Sea by 

Russia ........... 296 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE COUNCIL OF STATE 

Reason for recalling the council into activity in 1852 .... 297 
Incompleteness of the drafts prepared by the state ministry . . 297 
Particularism of the departmental secretaries ..... 297 
Reciprocal consideration of the departmental secretaries in the sittings 

of the state ministry . . . . 298 

The parliamentary debates no absolute protection against imperfect 

drafts of laws emanating from the ministry . . 299 

Indolence of most of the deputies and party blindness of the leaders . 299 
A monument of the cursoriness of the Reichstag proceedings . . 300 
' Staatsrath ' and Council of Political Economy as correctives . . 300 
Jealousy of the corporate councillors and deputies with regard to the 

unincorporated interference of others .301 

Favourable impression of the Staatsrath in 1884 .... 301 

CHAPTER XXXII 

THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

Good effects of Nobiling's attack upon the Kaiser's health . . 303 

Last illness and death of the Emperor 33 

Early military training of Prince William of Prussia .... 34 

xviii 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

His relations to General von Gerlach ...... 305 

What is a pietist ?.......... 305 

The prince's ignorance of political institutions, especially of the relations 

between the land-owner and the peasant ..... 307 

Industry and conscientiousness of the * Regent ' in the despatch of state 

business ........... 307 

His common-sense .......... 308 

Close adherence to traditions ........ 309 

Particularism of William I ........ 309 

His fearlessness in the path of honour and duty ..... 309 

Cause of the rupture with the ministers of the New Era . . .310 
Opposition of Princess and Queen Augusta to the government policy 

from motives of principle . . . . . . .310 

Herr von Schleinitz as the Queen's opposition-minister . . .310 
Official reporting of the household ministry in politicis . . . 311 
Its connection with an agent of Drouyn de Lhuys and the ' Reichsglocke ' 

party 312 

4 Our most gracious Imperial Chancellor is very ungracious to-day ' .313 
The Emperor under the influence of the Empress . . . .313 
The Empress Augusta as the pivot of all opposition . . . .314 
William I in the struggle between his sense of kingly duty and domestic 

peace . 314 

The ' royal distinction' of William I . . . . . . . 314 

His freedom from all forms of vanity . ...... 316 

His fear of just criticism . . . . . . . . .316 

His sense of justice towards both friends and opponents . . . 316 
William I a ' gentleman ' translated into terms of a king . . .317 
Violent outbreaks of temper in the course of discussion . . .317 
Personal relations of Bismarck to William I . . . . .318 

Addresses and proclamations of William I ; the warmth of his tone a 

result of his amiability . . . . . . . .310 

Loyalty for loyalty .......... 319 

King and minister, master and servant 320 \ 

The celebration of April I, 1885 ....... 320 

Bismarck's royalism . . . . . . . . . .321 

Letters from William I to Bismarck . . . . . . .321 

The Empress Augusta's last letter to Bismarck 331 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

Bismarck's relations to the Crown Prince Frederick William . . 332 
And to the Crown Princess ........ 333 

XIX 



BISMARCK 

PAGE 

The alleged renunciation by the Crown Prince in 1887 in favour of his 

son 333 

Bismarck's interference in the medical treatment of the sufferer . . 334 
A decision in accordance with constitutional law concerning the right 

of the Emperor and King of Prussia as opposed to the right of 

the parliamentary bodies ........ 334 

To what extent is the Imperial Chancellor responsible for the conduct 

of the whole imperial government ? . . . . . -335 
The Imperial Chancellor has the right to appear in the Reichstag only 

as a member of the Federal Council 336 

Considerations respecting the necessity of a readjustment of the balance 

of parties ........... 336 

Over-estimate of the patriotism of the ' Reichstag, ' under-estimate of 

the good faith of the dynasties . . . . . . .337 

Injury to our future from party spirit and the incapacity of the party 

leaders 338 

Anti-imperial character of the ' Centrum ' party . . . .338 

A letter from the Emperor Frederick III to Bismarck . . . 340 



PORTRAIT OF PRINCE BISMARCK Frontispiece 

By F. von Lenbach, 



BISMARCK 



CHAPTER XIX 

SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

MY successor at Paris was Count Robert von der Goltz, 
who had been since 1855 ambassador at Athens, Constan- 
tinople, and St. Petersburg. My expectation that office 
would have disciplined him, that the transition from liter- 
ary to business activity would have made him more sober 
and practical, and that the summons to what was then the 
most important post in Prussian diplomacy would have 
gratified his ambition, was not to be immediately or fully 
realised. At the end of the year 1863 I found myself 
obliged to have a written explanation with him, the 
whole of which is unfortunately no longer in my posses- 
sion; of his letter of December 22, which was the imme- 
diate occasion of the correspondence, only a fragment l 
remains, and in the copy of my reply the beginning is 
missing. But even so this document has its value as a 
sketch of the situation at the time, and as illustrating the 
development that proceeded from it. 

'Berlin: December 24, 1863. 

c . ... As to the Danish matter, it is not possible that 
the King should have two Ministers of Foreign Affairs ; I 

1 See Bismarck-Jahrbuch) v. 231. 
VOL. II. I I 



BISMARCK 

mean that the post most important in the critical question 
of the day should represent towards the King a policy 
opposed to that of his ministers. The friction of our state 
machine, already excessive, must not be still further 
increased. I can put up with any contradiction to myself 
personally, as long as it proceeds from so competent a 
source as yourself ; but I cannot officially share with any 
one the task of advising the King in this matter ; and if 
his Majesty were to call on me to do any such thing, I 
should have to resign my post. I told the King this on 
the occasion of our reading one of your latest despatches ; 
his Majesty considered my point of view very natural, and 
I can but hold to it. Nobody expects reports to be only 
the reflection of ministerial views ; yours, however, are not 
reports in the usual sense, but assume the nature of min- 
isterial proposals recommending to the King a policy 
opposed to that upon which he has already resolved with 
his assembled ministry in council, and has already fol- 
lowed for four weeks. What I may well call a sharp, if 
not hostile, criticism of this decision constitutes, however, 
a fresh ministerial programme, and is no longer an am- 
bassadorial report. A view which so directly traverses 
ours may certainly do harm, but cannot do good; for it 
may elicit hesitation and indecision, and I prefer any poli- 
cy to one that is vacillating. 

' I entirely echo your observation that a " question of 
Prussian policy quite simple in itself " is obscured by the 
dust arising from the Danish business, and the mirage 
attaching thereto. The question is whether we are a 
Great Power or a state in the German Federation; and 
whether we are, conformably to the former quality, to be 
governed by a monarch or, as in the latter case would be 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

at any rate admissible, by professors, district judges, and 
the gossips of the small towns. The pursuit of the phan- 
tom of popularity " in Germany " which we have been car- 
rying on for the last forty years has cost us our position 
in Germany and in Europe; and we shall not win this 
back again by allowing ourselves to be carried away by 
the stream in the persuasion that we are directing its 
course, but only by standing firmly upon our legs, and 
being first of all & Great Power, and German Federal state 
afterwards. That is what Austria, to our injury, has 
always recognised as right for herself, and she will not 
allow herself to be wrested away, by the comedy she is 
playing with German sympathies, from her European alli- 
ances if indeed she has any. If we go too far for her, 
she will pretend to go along with us a little way, especially 
will sign what we do ; but the twenty per cent, of Ger- 
mans that she has in her population are not in the last 
resort to be an element constraining her to let herself be 
carried away by us against her own interest. At the prop- 
er moment she will stay behind us, and will know how 
to find her proper line towards a European situation as 
soon as we give it up. Schmerling's policy, the counter- 
part of which appears to you to be an ideal one for Prus- 
sia, has ended in a fiasco for Austria. Our policy, which 
was so briskly opposed by you in the spring, has been veri- 
fied in the Polish question, while the Schmerling policy 
has borne bitter fruit for her. Is it not indeed the most 
signal victory we could win that Austria, two months after 
the reform attempt, should be glad when nothing more is 
said about it, should be writing identical notes with us to 
her former friends, and joining in our threats towards her 
pet, the majority in the Federal Diet, to the effect that 

3 



BISMARCK 

she will not allow herself to be bullied by majorities? 
We have won this summer what we have been vainly striv- 
ing after for twelve years, the split-up of the Bregenz coali- 
tion ; Austria has adopted the very policy of ours that she 
openly scoffed at in October last ; she has chosen the Prus- 
sian instead of the Wurzburg alliance, and receives her 
assistance from us ; and if we now turn our back upon her 
to-day we upset the ministry. Never before has the policy 
of Vienna been controlled to such a degree en gros et en 
detail from Berlin. Add to this that we are sought after 
by France Fleury offers more than the King wants ; our 
voice has, in London and St. Petersburg, the weight it had 
lost for twenty years ; and all this eight months after you 
prophesied to me the most dangerous isolation as a result 
of our Polish policy. If we now turn our back upon the 
Great Powers in order to throw ourselves into the arms of 
the policy of the minor states enmeshed as it is in the 
net of club-democracy that would be the most wretched 
position, either at home or abroad, to which the monarchy 
could be brought. We should be pushed instead of push- 
ing; we should lean for support upon elements which we 
do not control, which are necessarily hostile to us, and to 
which we should have to devote ourselves unconditionally. 
You believe that there is some hidden virtue in " German 
public opinion," Chambers, newspapers, and such like, 
which might support or help us in a " Union " or " Hege- 
mony " policy. I consider that a radical error, a product 
of the fancy. Our strength cannot proceed from a press 
and parliamentary policy, but only from the policy of a 
great military Power, and we have not so much staying 
power that we can afford to fritter it away by fronting in 
the wrong direction for the sake of phrases and Augusten- 

4 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

burg. You attach a great deal too much importance to 
the whole Danish question, and allow yourself to be 
blinded by the fact that it has become the general rallying- 
cry of the democracy which controls the speaking trumpet 
of the press and the clubs, and gives a sparkle to this 
question, insignificant as it is in itself. Twelve months 
ago the question was that of two years' service; eight 
months ago it was Poland; and now it is Schleswig- 
Holstein. What was your own view of the European sit- 
uation in the summer ? You were dreading all sorts of 
dangers for us, and at Kissengen you did not at all conceal 
your views as to the incapacity of our policy : have all 
these dangers suddenly disappeared with the death of the 
King of Denmark ? and are we now, at the side of Pfordten, 
Coburg, and Augustenburg, supported by all the chatter- 
boxes and humbugs of the party of movement, suddenly to 
be strong enough to take an off-hand tone towards all four 
of the Great Powers ? and have the latter suddenly become 
so good-natured or so impotent that we can boldly plunge 
into every sort of embarrassment without having any anx- 
iety as to what they may do ? 

'You call it a "marvellous" policy that we should 
have been able to realise the Gagern programme without a 
Constitution for the whole of Germany. I do not see how 
we could have got as far as that if we had been in the 
necessity of overcoming Europe in league with the Wiirz- 
burgers, and thrown upon them for support. Either the 
governments would have stood by us honourably, and the 
reward of victory would have been one Grand Duke more 
in Germany, who in his anxiety to preserve his new sov- 
ereignty would vote in the Bund against Prussia one 
Wiirzburger more, in fact ; or on the other hand we should 

5 



BISMARCK 

have been obliged (and this more probably) to cut the 
ground from under the feet of our own allies by means of 
an imperial constitution, and nevertheless have had to 
reckon upon their fidelity. If this did not succeed, as 
was to be expected, we should have been shown up ; if it 
succeeded, we had the Union together with the imperial 
constitution. 

' You speak of a conglomeration of states of seventy 
million people, with a million soldiers, who are to defy 
Europe united and compact. Consequently you attribute 
to Austria a persistence, dead or alive, in a policy which 
must lead to the hegemony of Prussia. Yet you would 
not trust further than you could reach her the state which 
possesses thirty-five of these seventy millions. Neither 
would I; but I consider it our correct policy at present to 
have Austria with us. Whether the moment of separation 
comes and on whose initiative it will come, we shall see. 
You ask : " When on earth, then, are we to have war ? 
What is the use of army reorganisation ? " And your own 
reports describe to us the necessity to France of having a 
war in the spring and the prospect of a revolution in Gali- 
cia to boot. Russia has 200,000 men on their feet, over 
and above what is wanted for Poland, and she has no 
money to waste on fancy armaments. It looks, therefore, 
as if she had made up her mind for war. I am prepared 
for war combined with revolution. Then you say that " we 
by no means expose ourselves to war." I cannot make that 
fit in with your own reports during the last three months. 
I am at the same time by no means shy of war quite the 
reverse; I am also as indifferent to "revolutionary" or 
" Conservative " as I am to all phrases. Perhaps you will 

very soon be convinced that war is also part of my pro- 

6 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

gramme ; but I consider your way of reaching a war the 
wrong one from the statesman's point of view. The fact 
that with regard to this you find yourself in agreement 
with Pfordten, Beust, Dalwigk, or whatever our opponents' 
names are, makes me look upon the side you represent 
neither as revolutionary indeed nor Conservative, but as 
not the right one for Prussia. If the pothouse enthusiasm 
in London and Paris makes any impression, I shall be 
glad of it ; it is part of our stock-in-trade, but it has not 
impressed me so far, and, in the case of a fight, furnishes 
us with few pence and no powder. You may call the con- 
vention of London revolutionary if you like ; the Vienna 
treaties were ten times more so, and ten times more unjust 
towards many princes, estates, and countries ; it is only by 
European treaties that European law is established. If, 
however, you want to apply the standard of morality and 
justice to these latter they must well-nigh all be abolished. 
' If you were in office here instead of me, I fancy you 
would very soon be convinced of the impossibility of the 
policy you recommend to me to-day and regard as so 
exclusively " patriotic " that you threaten to break off your 
friendship over it. I can only say, " La critique est aisee ; " 
it is not difficult, amid the applause of the mob, to find 
fault with the government, especially a government which 
has been obliged to lay hold of several wasps' nests into 
the bargain. If the result proves that the government pro- 
ceeded rightly, there is no further question for blame ; if 
the government makes a fiasco over things which are in 
general beyond the control of human will and foresight, 
you have the glory of having prophesied at the right time 
that the government was on the "woodman's road."* I 

* [' Path that goes nowhere.'] 
7 



BISMARCK 

have a high opinion of your political insight, but I con- 
sider that I, too, am not stupid, though I am quite pre- 
pared to hear you say that this is self-delusion. Perhaps 
your opinion of my patriotism and judgment will rise 
when I tell you that, for the last fortnight, I have been 
taking my stand on the proposals made in your Report 
No. . With some difficulty I have determined Aus- 
tria to convoke the Holstein Estates, in case we carry the 
matter through at Frankfort ; we must first of all be all 
right in the country. The examination of the succession 
question at the Bund ensues with our consent, even if, 
having regard to England, we cannot vote for it. I have 
left Sydow without any instruction ; he is not made for 
carrying out delicate instructions. 

' It may be that other phases of the matter will follow 
that do not lie very remote from your programme ; but how 
am I to make up my mind to let myself out frankly to you 
as to my latest ideas, after your declaring war against me 
politically, and pretty candidly acknowledging the inten- 
tion to oppose the present ministry and its policy, and 
consequently to turn it out? On this point I am judging 
merely by the contents of what you write to me, and leave 
out of the question everything I have learnt through col- 
portage and at third hand, as to your verbal and written 
diatribes with regard to myself. And yet I am bound as 
a minister, if the interests of state are not to suffer, to be 
ruthlessly frank towards our ambassador at Paris with 
regard to my policy from first to last. The friction which 
every one in my position has to overcome with ministers 
and councillors at Court, with occult influences, with the 
Chambers, the press, and foreign Courts must not be 
aggravated by the substitution for the discipline of my 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

department, of a rivalry between the minister and the 
ambassador, and by my having to restore the indispensable 
homogeneity of the service by a discussion through the 
post. I can seldom write at such length as I can to-day, 
Christmas Eve, when all the officials are on leave ; and I 
would not write the fourth part of this to any one but you. 
I do so because I cannot bring myself to write to you 
officially and through the clerks in the same autocratic 
tone in which your reports to hand have been couched. I 
have no hope of convincing you, but I have sufficient con- 
fidence in your own official experience and impartiality to 
make me believe that you will grant me that only one 
policy can be carried out at a time, and that it must be the 
policy upon which the ministry and the King are at one. 
If you want to try to overthrow that and the ministry 
along with it, you must do it here in the Chamber and in 
the press, at the head of the Opposition, but not from your 
present position ; in that case I should equally have to 
abide by your maxim that, in case of a conflict between 
patriotism and friendship, the former must decide. But I 
can assure you that my patriotism is of so pure and strong 
a nature that a friendship which has to give way to it may 
nevertheless be very cordial.' 1 



The gradations which appeared attainable in the Da- 
nish question, every one of them meaning for the duchies 
an advance to something better than the existing condi- 
tions, culminated, in my judgment, in the acquisition of 

1 Cf. Bismarck-Jahrbuch, v. 232. See Goltz's answer to this letter 
with Bismarck's marginal remarks in Bismarck-Jahrbuch, v. 238. 

9 



BISMARCK 

the duchies by Prussia, a view which I expressed in a 
council held immediately after the death of Frederick VII. 
I reminded the King that every one of his immediate 
ancestors, not even excepting his brother, had won an 
increment of "territory for the state ; Frederick William IV 
had acquired Hohenzollern and the Jahde district ; Fred- 
erick William III the Rhine province ; Frederick William 
II, Poland; Frederick II, Silesia; Frederick William I, 
old Hither Pomerania; the Great Elector, Further Pome- 
rania and Magdeburg, Minden, &c. ; and I encouraged him 
to do likewise. This pronouncement of mine did not 
appear in the protocol. As Geheimrath Costenoble,^wcho 
had drawn up the protocol, explained to me, when I asked 
him the reason of this, the King had opined that I should 
prefer what I blurted out not to be embedded in protocols. 
His Majesty seems to have imagined that I had spoken 
under the Bacchic influences of a dejeuner, and would be 
glad to hear no more of it. I insisted, however, upon the 
words being put in, and they were. While I was speaking, 
the Crown Prince raised his hands to heaven as if he 
doubted my sanity ; my colleagues remained silent. 

If the utmost we aimed at could not be realised, we might 
have, in spite of all Augustenburg renunciations, have 
gone as far as the introduction of that dynasty, and the 
establishment of a new middle state, provided the Prussian 
and German national interests had been put on a sure foot- 
ing these interests to be protected by what was the essen- 
tial part of the subsequent February conditions that is, a 
military convention, Kiel as a harbour for the Bund, and 
the Baltic and North Sea canal. 

Even if, taking into consideration the European situa- 
tion and the wish of the King, this had not been attainable 



10 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

without the isolation of Prussia from all the Great Powers, 
including Austria the question was in what way, whether 
under the form of a personal union or under some other, a 
^provisional settlement was attainable as regards the duch- 
ie$, which must in any case be an improvement in their 
position. From the very beginning I kept annexation 
steadily before my eyes, without losing sight of the other 
gradations. I considered the situation set up in the public 
opinion of our opponents as our programme to be the 
one which I believed must absolutely be avoided that is 
to say, to fight out Prussia's struggle and war for the 
erection of a new grand duchy, at the head of the news- 
papers, the clubs, the volunteers, and the states of the 
Bund (Austria excepted), and this without the assurance 
that the Federal governments would carry the affair 
through, despite every obstacle. Moreover, the public 
opinion that had developed in this direction, and even 
the President Ludwig von Gerlach, had a childlike confi- 
dence in the assistance England would render to isolated 
Prussia. The partnership of France would have been 
much more easy to obtain than that of England, had we 
been willing to pay the price which it might be foreseen 
it would cost us. I have never wavered in the conviction 
that Prussia, supported only by the arms and associates of 
1848 and by these I mean public opinion, Diets, political 
clubs, volunteers, and the small contingents as they were 
then constituted would have embarked upon a hopeless 
course and would have only found enemies in the Great 
Powers, in England also. I should have regarded as a 
humbug and a traitor any minister who had fallen back 
upon the erroneous policy of 1848, 1849, an( ^ I ^Sy which 
must have prepared a new Olmutz for us. Austria once 



1 1 



BISMARCK 

with us, however, the possibility of a coalition of the other 
Powers against us disappeared. 

Even though German unity could not be restored by 
means of resolutions of Diets, newspapers, and rifle-meet- 
ings, Liberalism nevertheless continued to exercise a 
pressure on the princes which made them more inclined to 
make concessions for the sake of the Reich. The mood 
of the Courts wavered between the wish to fortify the 
monarchical position by separate particularistic and auto- 
cratic policy in view of the advance of the Liberals, and 
anxiety lest peace should be disturbed by violence at home 
or abroad. No German government allowed any doubt to 
remain as to its German sentiments ; but as to the way in 
which the future of Germany was to be shaped, neither 
governments nor parties were agreed. It is not probable 
that the Emperor William as Regent, or subsequently as 
King, could ever have been brought so far by the road 
which he had first trodden, under the influence of his con- 
sort, at the beginning of the new era, to do what was nec- 
essary to bring about unity, namely, to renounce the Bund, 
and use the Prussian army in the German cause. 

On the other hand, however, it is not probable that he 
could have been guided into the path that led to the Da- 
nish war, and consequently to that in Bohemia, but for his 
previous attempts and endeavours in the direction of 
Liberalism, and the obligations he had thereby incurred. 
Perhaps we should never have succeeded in holding him 
aloof from the Frankfort Congress of Princes in 1863 if 
his Liberal antecedents had not left behind in him a cer- 
tain need of popularity in the Liberal direction, which 
before Olmiitz would have been foreign to him, but since 
then was the natural psychological result of the desire to 



12 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

seek healing and satisfaction on the field of German policy, 
for the wounds Inflicted upon his Prussian sense of honour 
_oruthe same field. The Holstein question, the Danish 
war, )uppel and Alsen, the breach with Austria, and the 
decision of the German question on the battlefield all 
this was a system of adventures upon which he would, per- 
haps, not have entered but for the difficult position into 
which the new era had brought him. 

Even in 1864 it certainly cost us much trouble to loosen 
the threads by which the King, with the co-operation of 
the Liberalising influence of his consort, remained attached 
to that camp. Without having investigated the compli- 
cated legal questions of the succession, he stuck to his 
motto : ' I have no right to Holstein. ' My representa- 
tion that the Duke of Augustenburg had no right to the 
Ducal and the Schaumburg portion ; never had had, and 
had twice (in 1721 and 1852) renounced his claims to the 
Royal portion; that Denmark had as a rule voted with 
Prussia in the Federal Diet ; that the Duke of Schleswig- 
Holstein, from fear of the preponderance of Prussia, would 
hold with Austria produced no impression. Even though 
the acquisition of these provinces, washed by two seas, and 
my historical reminder in the cabinet council of December 
1863, were not without effect on the dynastic sentiments 
of the King, on the other hand the realisation of the dis- 
approval which, if he threw over the Augustenburger, he 
would have to encounter at the hands of his consort, of the 
Crown Prince and Princess, of various dynasties, and of 
those who in his estimation at that time formed the public 
opinion of Germany, was not without effect. 

Without doubt, public opinion in the cultured middle 
class of Germany was in favour of the Prince of Augusten- 

13 



BISMARCK 

burg, with the same want of judgment as at an earlier 
period palmed off ' Polonism ' as the German national inter- 
est, and at a later period the artificial enthusiasm for Bat- 
tenbergian Bulgaria. The press was, in these two some- 
what analogous cases, worked with distressing success, and 
public stupidity was as receptive as ever of its operation. 
Criticism of the government in 1864 had only reached 
the level of the phrase : ' No, I don't like the new burgo- 
master.' I do not know if there is anybody to-day who 
would consider it reasonable that, after the liberation of 
the duchies, a new grand duchy should be formed out of 
them, possessing the right of voting in the Federal Diet, 
and as an ipso facto result called to go in fear of Prussia 
and hold with her opponents. At that time, however, the 
acquisition of the duchies by Prussia was regarded as an 
act of profligacy by all those who, since 1 848, had set up 
to play the part of representatives of national views. My 
respect for so-called public opinion or, in other words, the 
clamour of orators and newspapers has never been very 
great, but was still further materially lowered as regards 
foreign policy in the two cases compared above. How 
strangely, up to this time, the King's way of looking at 
things was impregnated with vagabond Liberalism through 
the influence of his consort and of the pushing Bethmann- 
Hollweg clique is evident from the tenacity with which he 
clung to the contradictory attitude in which the Austro- 
Frankfort-Augustenburg programme stood towards the 
Prussian efforts after National Unity. This policy could 
not have recommended itself to the King on logical 
grounds. He had taken it over, without making a previ- 
ous chemical analysis of its contents, as an appurtenance 
of the old Liberalism, from the point of view of the earlier 

14 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

critical attitude of the heir to the throne, and of the coun- 
sellors of the Queen, Goltz, Pourtales, &c. I will antici- 
pate a little by here inserting the last sign of life given 
by theX Wochenblatt ' party, in the shape of the letter of 
Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg to the King, dated June 15, 
1866, whose main points are as follows : : 

' What your Majesty has constantly dreaded and 
avoided, what all persons of insight have foreseen, namely, 
that a serious quarrel with Austria would be utilised by 
France in order to increase her territory at the expense of 
Germany, [where?] 2 lies patent to all the world in Louis 
Napoleon's openly expressed programme. . . . The whole 
of the Rhineland for the duchies would not be a bad 
exchange for him ; for he certainly would not be contented 
in the petites rectifications des frontieres that he formerly 
claimed. And he is the omnipotent arbiter in Europe. 
.... I have no hostile feeling against the originator of 
this policy of ours. I am glad to recall how in 1848 I 
went hand in hand with him to strengthen the King's posi- 
tion. In March 1862 I advised your Majesty to select a 
helmsman of Conservative antecedents, possessing suffi- 
cient ambition, audacity and adroitness to steer the ship 
of state out of the rocks among which she had got ; and I 
should have named Herr von Bismarck had I believed that 
he combined with these qualities that discretion and logic- 
al sequence of thought and action, the lack of which is 
scarcely pardonable in a youth, but in a man may endan- 
ger the life of a state which he guides. As a matter of 
fact, all Count Bismarck's action has from the first been 

1 Published in full in L. Schneider's Aus dem Leben Kaiser Wilhelms 
7, i. 334 &c. , also in Kohl's Bismarck Register^ i. 287 &c. 

2 Marginal notes in Bismarck's own hand. 



BISMARCK 

full of contradictions. . . . Of old a decided advocate of 
the alliance with France and Russia, he linked with the 
help to be furnished in Prussian interest to Russia against 
the Polish insurrection, political projects 1 which were 
sure to alienate both states from him. In 1863, when the 
death of the King of Denmark threw into his lap a task 
as fortunate as ever fell to a statesman's lot, he scorned 
to take advantage of it to place Prussia at the head of 
a unanimous rising [in resolutions] a of Germany, whose 
union under the leadership of Prussia was his object ; and 
preferred a union with Austria, the opponent in principle 
of this plan in order subsequently to become her irrecon- 
cilable foe. He ill-treated* the Prince of Augustenburg 
to whom your Majesty was well-disposed, and from 
whom at that time everything might have been obtained 
allowing him soon afterwards to be declared the rightful 
candidate by Count Bernstorff at the London Conference. 
Then at the peace of Vienna he pledges Prussia to disposef 
definitely of the liberated duchies subject only to an 
understanding with Austria ; and has arrangements inserted 
in it which plainly announce the " annexation " he had in 
view. . . . 

' Many regard these and similar measures, which for 
the very reason that they were self -contradictory con- 
stantly swung round to the opposite of what was intended, 
as faults of indiscretion. To others they appeared as the 
steps of a man who proceeds at random, throws everything 
into a tangle, and brings things into a situation from 
which he may make his profit, or of a gambler who after 
every loss only punts higher, and finally cries va banque ! 

1 Cf. vol. i. p. 344. 9 Marginal notes in Bismarck's own hand. 

* [Cf. the Prince's letter of December n, 1863, infra, p. 29.] 

f [Why not ? He pledged Austria only with the consent of Prussia. ] 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

* All this is bad, but what appears much worse in my 
eyes-^s-iliat Count Bismarck, by this mode of procedure, 
should place himself in contradiction to the inclination 
and aims of his King, and show his skill chiefly in leading 
him step by step nearer to a goal diametrically opposed 
thereto, till a return appeared impossible. According to 
my opinion a minister's first duty is to give his master 
loyal counsel, to provide him with the means of carrying 
out his projects, and above all to keep the King's image 
unspotted in the eyes of all the world. Your Majesty's 
straightforward, righteous, and chivalrous sentiments are 
known to all, and have won for your Majesty universal 
trust and universal veneration. Count Bismarck, how- 
ever, has brought things to such a pass that your Majesty's 
noblest words to your own country die away without effect 
because they are not believed; and any understanding 
with other Powers is become impossible, because the first 
condition thereof I mean confidence has been destroyed 
by a policy full of intrigue. Not a shot has yet been 
fired ; an understanding is still possible on one condition. 
Our preparations for war must not be discontinued ; nay, 
rather, if necessary, they must be redoubled, if we are 
triumphantly to encounter antagonists who aim at our 
annihilation, or to emerge with full honours from this 
complicated business. But every understanding is impos- 
sible so long as a man remains at your Majesty's side and 
possesses your decided confidence who has robbed your 
Majesty of the confidence of all the other Powers.' ' 

By the time the King received this letter he had been 

1 King William did not open the letter till he was at Nikolsburg in 
July 1866. His answer began : ' I first opened your letter at Nikolsburg, 
and the place and date of my answer should be answer enough,' &c. Cp. 
Schneider, op. cit. i. 341. 

VOL. II. 2 17 



BISMARCK 

freed from the entanglement of the arguments repeated 
therein by the Gastein Convention of August 14 to 20, 
1865. The difficulties I had still to encounter in dealing 
with them, and the caution I had still to use, are evident 
from my following letter to his Majesty: 

' Gastein, August I, 1865. 

' Your Majesty will be gracious enough to forgive me if 
a perhaps too excessive care for the interests of your ser- 
vice induces me to revert to the communications you have 
just done me the honour to make to me. The thought of 
a partition, even in the administration of the duchies, 
would, if it became notorious in the Augustenburg camp, 
arouse a violent storm in diplomatic circles and in the 
press because people would see in it the beginning of a 
definitive partition, and would not doubt that those por- 
tions of the country which are to fall into the hands of 
exclusively Prussian administration are lost to Augusten- 
burg. I believe with your Majesty that her Majesty the 
Queen will keep these communications secret, but if an 
intimation from Coblenz sent in reliance upon the rela- 
tions between kinsfolk were to reach Queen Victoria, the 
Crown Prince and Princess, Weimar or Baden, then the 
very circumstance that the secret (which at his desire I 
told to Count Blome) had not been kept by us would 
arouse the distrust of the Emperor Francis Joseph, and 
wreck the negotiations. This wreck of the negotiations 
would lead almost inevitably to a war with Austria. Your 
Majesty will kindly credit it not only to my interest on 
your behalf, but also to my attachment to your person, if I 
say that I am dominated by the impression that your 

Majesty would embark on a war with different feelings 

18 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

and withr^freer courage if the necessity for the war 
resulted from the nature of events and from a monarch's 
sense of duty, than if there were room for any afterthought 
that a premature disclosure of the intended solution of the 
question restrained the Emperor of Austria from consent- 
ing to the last expedient your Majesty could accept. 
Perhaps my anxiety is foolish ; and even if it were well- 
grounded, and your Majesty should wish to disregard it, 
I should still think that God directs your Majesty's heart, 
and should therefore do my duty none the less joyfully; 
but for the safeguarding of my own conscience I should, 
nevertheless, respectfully suggest whether your Majesty 
would not like to command me to summon back the cou- 
rier from Salzburg by telegraph, (f) The ministerial dis- 
patch-service might offer an ostensible occasion for this, 
and to-morrow another in place of him or the same man 
might start betimes. I most submissively beg to append 
a copy of what I have telegraphed to Werther as to the 
negotiations with Count Blome. I have the most respect- 
ful confidence in your Majesty's well-approved favour, in 
the persuasion that your Majesty, even when you do not 
approve of my scruples, will attribute my insistence on 
them to my sincere desire to serve your Majesty not only 
as my duty commands, but also to your personal content- 
ment/ 

Where the ' (f) ' appears in the above letter, the King 
wrote in the margin : ' Agreed. I mentioned the matter 
because during the last twenty-four hours no mention of it 
had been made, and I regarded it as quite fallen out of the 
combination; later, the actual "seisin" had taken place. 
By my communication to the Queen I wished to pave the 
way for the future transition to the " seisin," which had 

'9 



BISMARCK 

gradually developed out of the partition of the administra- 
tion. Nevertheless I can at a later time so represent this 
if the proprietary partition actually comes about; that, 
however, I still continue to doubt, inasmuch as Austria 
would have to draw back too abruptly, after having pushed 
herself too far forward in favour of Augustenburg, and 
against occupation though it were only 0^-sided. 

' W.' 1 

After the Gastein Convention and the occupation of 
Lauenburg, the first addition made to the kingdom under 
King William, his frame of mind, so far as I could observe,^' 
underwent a psychological change ; he developed a taste 
for conquest. This was nevertheless accompanied by a 
preponderating satisfaction that this increase i.e. the har- 
bour of Kiel, the military position in Schleswig, and right 
to construct a canal through Holstein had been won in 
peace and amity with Austria. 

I imagine that the right of absolute disposal of Kiel 
harbour had more weight with his Majesty than the 
impression produced by the newly won pleasant district of 
Ratzeburg and its lake. The German fleet with Kiel 
harbour as the basis of its establishment had since 1848 
been one of the enkindling thoughts around whose flame 
the German endeavours for unity were wont to centre and 
from which they drew their warmth. At times, however, 
the hatred of my parliamentary opponents for me had been 
stronger than their concern for the German fleet ; and it 
seemed to me that the Party of Progress would then rather 
have seen Prussia's newly won right to Kiel and the pros- 
pect of our maritime future which was bound up with it, 



1 Bismarck-Jahrbuch, vi. 202. 
20 



-^SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

in the hands of the auctioneer Hannibal Fischer than in 
those of the Bismarck ministry. 1 The right of complain- 
ing and grumbling over this government's annihilation of 
German hopes would have afforded the deputies far more 
satisfaction than the progress already made on the way to 
their fulfilment. I here insert some passages from a 
speech I delivered on June i, 1865, in support of the 
extraordinary Navy Budget : * 

' Certainly in no question during the last twenty years 
has public opinion in Germany been so unanimous as in 
the question of the navy. We have seen that the polit- 
ical clubs, the press, and the Diets have given expression 
to their sympathies ; and these sympathies have resulted 
in the collection of comparatively quite considerable 
sums. Reproaches were brought against the government 
and against the Conservative party for the tardiness and 
the parsimony with which they have proceeded in this 
direction ; the Liberal parties were particularly active in 
this respect. We thought, therefore, that this proposal 
will be a genuine pleasure to you. . . . 

' I was not prepared to find in the report of the com- 
mittee an indirect apology for Hannibal Fischer, who 
brought the German fleet to the hammer. That German 
fleet, too, thus came to grief because party passion was 
more potent than public spirit in the German domains, 
equally in the higher administrative circles and in the 
lower. I hope the same destiny is not appointed for us. 

' I was further somewhat surprised that so large a 
space in the report was devoted to technicalities. I do not 
doubt there are many of you who know more about naval 

1 Cf. the speech of June i, 1865. Politische Reden, ii. 356. 
* Politische Redcn, p. 355. 

21 



BISMARCK 

matters than I do, and have been to sea more than I ; but, 
gentlemen, that is not the case with the greater number of 
you ; and yet I have to say that I would not trust myself 
on technical naval details to pass an opinion such as to 
give a reason for my vote, and a motive for rejecting a 
Navy Bill. I cannot therefore occupy myself in refuting 
this portion of your objections. . . . 

' Your doubt as to whether I shall succeed in acquiring 
Kiel touches my department more closely. In the duchies 
we possess more than Kiel ; we possess in them full sov- 
ereignty in common with Austria; and I did not know 
who could wrest from us this pledge, which so far exceeds 
in value the object aimed at by us, otherwise than by a war 
disastrous to Prussia. But if we keep this eventuality 
before our eyes, we might just as well lose every harbour 
actually in our possession. Our possession, it is true, is a 
joint one with Austria; nevertheless, it is a possession for 
whose abandonment we should be justified in laying down 
our conditions. One of these indeed one quite indis- 
pensable, without the fulfilment of which we do not intend 
to give up this possession is the future sole proprietor- 
ship of Kiel harbour by Prussia. 

'In view of the rights which are in our hands and in 
those of Austria, and are unassailable so long as one of 
the pretenders does not succeed in satisfying us that he 
has a stronger right than that which has passed to us from 
King Christian IX of Denmark, in view of the rights 
which are possessed in full sovereignty by us and Austria, 
I do not see how the final fulfilment of our conditions 
could elude us, so long as we do not lose patience, but 
wait quietly to see if there is anybody who will undertake 
to besiege Diippel when the Prussians are inside it. ... 

22 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

' Nevertheless, if you doubt the possibility of realising 
our projects, I have already in committee recommended 
an expedient. Limit your grants so that the amounts 
demanded shall only be payable when we actually possess 
Kiel, and say if you like, " No Kiel, no money ! " I 
believe that you would not refuse such a condition to any 
other ministers than those who now have the honour to 
enjoy the confidence of his Majesty the King. . . . 

' The confidence of the people in the wisdom of the 
King is great enough to make them say, that were the 
country in danger by the introduction of the Two Years' 
Service system of perishing or taking harm, the King 
would never allow it. It is just in consequence of earlier 
traditions that the importance of the constitution is under- 
rated. I am convinced that you will not deceive their 
confidence in the wisdom of the King; yet I cannot deny 
that it makes a painful impression upon me when I see 
that, in view of a great national question which has occu- 
pied public opinion for twenty years, that very assembly 
which passes in Europe as the concentration of the intelli- 
gence and patriotism of Prussia can rise to no higher 
altitude than an impotent negative. That, gentlemen, is 
not the weapon with which to wrest the sceptre from the 
hand of the monarchy ; nor is it the means whereby you 
will succeed in giving our constitutional system that sta- 
bility and further development which it needs.' 

The Naval Budget was rejected. 

In looking back upon this situation, we have lament- 
able proof of the degree of dishonesty and cosmopolitan- 
ism to which political parties with us attained when actu- 
ated by party hatred. Something similar may have hap- 
pened elsewhere ; but I know of no other country where 

23 



BISMARCK 

the universal national feeling and love for the whole 
Fatherland offered so little resistance to the excesses of 
party passion as with us. The expression, considered 
apocryphal, which Plutarch puts into Caesar's mouth, 
namely, that he would rather be the first man in a 
wretched mountain village than the second at Rome, has 
always struck me as a genuinely German idea. Only too 
many among us think thus in public life, and look about 
for the village ; and when they cannot find it on the map, 
look for the group, sub-group, or coterie, as may be, in 
which they can be first. This state of mind which you 
may call egotism or independence whichever you please 
has found its realisation throughout German history, 
from the rebellious dukes of the first imperial period, 
down to the innumerable princes, imperial cities, imperial 
villages, abbeys, knights, holding immediately of the 
Empire, with, as its result to the Empire, feebleness and 
defencelessness. At the moment it finds more vigorous 
expression in the party system, splitting up the nation, 
than in any disintegration by way of laws or dynasties. 
Parties diverge less in respect of programmes and principles 
than of the persons who stand as condottieri at the head of 
each, and seek to gain for themselves as large a following 
as possible of deputies and pushing publicists, who hope 
to arrive at power along with their leader or leaders. 
Differences of principle and programme whereby the 
groups might be forced into conflict and hostility with one 
another are not forthcoming in sufficient strength to 
supply a motive for the passionate encounters which the 
groups think it necessary to wage between themselves, 
flinging Conservatives and Free Conservatives into sepa- 
rate camps. Even within the Conservative party cer- 

24 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

tainly many felt that they did not agree with the ' Kreuz- 
zeitung ' and its hangers-on. But to fix precisely and 
express convincingly in a programme the line where 
principles divide would be a difficult task even for the 
leaders and their henchmen just as denominational 
fanatics, and not laymen only, when you ask them to give 
the distinguishing characteristics of the various confes- 
sions and directions of belief, or to explain the harm they 
fear for their soul's welfare if they do not fiercely assault 
some divagation of the heterodox, as a rule turn the 
dilemma, or leave you still thirsting for information. So 
far as parties are not grouped simply according to eco- 
nomic interests, they fight in the interests of the rival 
leaders of their groups, and not according to their personal 
wishes and ambitions ; the whole question is one of Cephas 
or Paul, not a difference of principle. 

The following letter from the King is a reminiscence 
of the Gastein Convention : l 

'Berlin: September 15, 1865. 

' To-day full possession is taken of the Duchy of 
Lauenburg, an act resulting from the great and admirable 
insight and circumspection with which you have adhered 
to my government. During the four years since I called 
you to the head of the government of the state, Prussia 
has won a position that is worthy of her history, and 
promises her, moreover, further fortune and glory yet to 
come. In order to express my thanks and bear open tes- 
timony to your distinguished services, for which I have so 
often had occasion to express my thanks, I hereby raise 
you and your descendants to the rank of Count, a distinc- 

1 Bismarck-Jahrbuch, vi. 203. 
2 5 



BISMARCK 

tion which will, at any rate, prove how high my apprecia- 
tion was of your services to your country. 

' Your affectionate King, 

' WILLIAM.' 

The negotiations between Berlin and Vienna and 
between Prussia and the other German states, which 
occupied the time from the Gastein Convention to the 
outbreak of the war, are known from the public records. 
In South Germany strife and conflict with Prussia partly 
gave way before a ' Germano-patriotic ' feeling; in Schles- 
wig-Holstein, those whose wishes had not been gratified 
began to reconcile themselves to the new order of things ; 
only the Guelfs were never weary of carrying on a paper 
war over the events of 1866. 

The disadvantageous shape in which, as a reward for 
her exertions and achievements, the Vienna Congress left 
Prussia could only be maintained if we were sure of those 
states of the old confederacy that had been thrust in 
between the two parts of the monarchy as a result of the 
Seven Years' war. I had actively laboured to win over 
Hanover and my friend Count Platen to this end, and 
there was every prospect that at least a treaty of neu- 
trality would be brought about when Count Platen was 
negotiating with me in Berlin on January 21, 1866, about 
the marriage of Princess Frederica of Hanover with our 
young Prince Albrecht. We had brought both courts so 
far towards an understanding that the only thing still to 
be done was to bring about a meeting between the young 
lady and gentleman, in order to make sure of their impres- 
sion of each other. 

But as early as March or April they began in Hanover 

26 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

to call up their reserves under threadbare pretexts. Influ- 
ences had been brought to bear upon King George, espe- 
cially by his half-brother, the Austrian general, Prince 
Solms, who had come to Hanover and won the King over 
by an exaggerated description of the Austrian forces 
800,000 men were said to be in readiness and, as I learnt 
from confidential Hanoverian sources, also by an offer of 
territorial aggrandisement, to the extent of the district of 
Minden at least. My official inquiries with respect to the 
armaments of Hanover were answered with the informa- 
tion, which sounded almost like banter, that for economic 
reasons the autumn manoeuvres must be held in the spring. 1 
As late as June 14 I had a conversation 2 at Berlin with 
the heir to the throne of Electoral Hesse, Prince Frederick 
William, in the course of which I recommended him to 
take a special train to Cassel and secure the neutrality of 
Electoral Hesse, or at least of the troops there, either by 
using his influence with the Elector or independently of 
him. The Prince refused to go any sooner than by the 
train in the time-table. I represented to him that in that 
case he would get there too late to prevent a war between 
Prussia and Hesse, and secure a continued existence for 
the Electorate. If the Austrians were victorious, he could 
always plead ' vis major; ' his neutral attitude might even 
win some bits of Prussian territory for him ; but if we 
were victorious after his refusing to remain neutral, the 
Electorate would cease to exist. The Hessian throne was 
surely worth a special train. The "Prince put an end to 
the interview with these words : ' I suppose we shall 
meet once again in this life, and 800,000 good Austrian 
troops have still a word to say in the matter.' And indeed 

1 Cf, Politische Reden, iv. 137. 2 Cf. Sybcl, iv. 439, note I. 

27 



BISMARCK 

the demand, addressed in the most friendly tone by the 
King to the Elector from Horsitz on the 6th, and from 
Pardubitz on July 8, that he should conclude an alliance 
with Prussia and withdraw his troops from the hostile camp, 
met with no response. 

The hereditary Prince of Augustenburg, by declining 
the so-called February conditions, had also neglected the 
favourable moment. The following version has recently 
been put about from a Guelf quarter. 1 The author of it 
maintains that he heard from the Prince how in an audi- 
ence with King William he had pledged himself to the 
concessions demanded, and how the King had assured 
him of his installation in his dukedom, promising him 
that the matter should be formally settled the next day 
by the minister-president. I am said to have presented 
myself to the Prince on the following day, but to have 
told him that my carriage was standing at the door, that 
I was obliged to go off that moment to the Emperor 
Napoleon at Biarritz. The Prince is said to have been 
required to leave a plenipotentiary at Berlin, and to have 
been not a little astonished to read in the Berlin news- 
papers on the following day that he had declined the Prus- 
sian propositions. 

This is a clumsy invention, both in the main point and 
in all its particulars. The negotiations with the Heredi- 
tary Prince have been described by Sybel 2 from the docu- 
ments; I have some particulars to add thereto from my 
own recollections and notes. The King never came to 
an agreement with the Hereditary Prince ; I was never in 

1 Recollections and Experiences of Major-General Dammer (Hanover, 
1890), p. 94 &c. 

2 Vol. iii. p. 337- 

28 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

the latter's house, and never mentioned the name of 
Biarritz or Napoleon to him. In 1 864 I went to Baden on 
October i, from thence on the 5th to Biarritz. In 1865 I 
went to the latter place direct on September 30, and in 
1863 I was not at Biarritz at all. I twice had conversa- 
tions with him, and the following letter 1 from him refers 
to the former of these, which took place on November 18, 
1863. 

'Gotha : December n, 1863. 

' Your Excellency will allow me to address a few lines 
to you, occasioned by an article contained in No. 282 of 
the " Kreuzzeitung " [of December 3], of which I have only 
lately been informed. In this article I am reported to 
have said to a deputation, amongst other things, " Herr 
von Bismarck is no friend of mine." I am unable to quote 
my exact words on the occasion, as the reference is to an 
expression that fell from me in conversation. It is quite 
possible I may have expressed my regret that your political 
views on the present position of the Schleswig-Holstein 
affair did not coincide with my own an opinion I had no 
hesitation in expressing openly to yourself during my last 
visit to Berlin. I am nevertheless absolutely certain that 
I never used the expression attributed to me in the news- 
paper; as I have always made it a fixed rule to keep 
political and personal matters apart. I therefore most 
genuinely regret that such a report should have found its 
way into the papers. 

'I have considered it so much the more my duty not to 
withhold this explanation, as I am bound to recognise the 
handsome manner in which you openly said to me at Berlin 
that personally you were quite convinced of the justice of 

1 Bismarck-Jahrbuch, v. 256. 
29 



BISMARCK 

my claim and approved of it ; but that if I tried to get it 
recognised you could, in view of the engagements entered 
into by Prussia, as well as of the general situation, make 
me no promises. 

' FREDERICK. ' 

On January 16, 1864, his Majesty wrote to me 1 as fol- 
lows : 

' My son came to me again yesterday evening to present 
to me the request of the Hereditary Prince of Augusten- 
burg, that I would receive a letter from him by the hand 
of Herr Samwer, and to ask if in order to do this I would 
not attend his soiree, where I could meet S. in a private 
apartment quite unobserved. I declined to do so till 
I had read the Prince's letter, and so bade my son send 
it to me. This was done, and I enclose it. 2 It contains 
nothing objectionable, except at the end, where he asks 
me if I can not give S. any hope. Perhaps you can get 
an answer ready by to-morrow for me to give to S. 3 If I 
chose to see him incognito at my son's, I could still give 
him no other hope than what is indicated in the stipulation, 4 
i.e. that when we have won the victory we will see what 
new bases can be established for the future, and await the 
verdict of Frankfort-on-Main as to the succession. 

'W.' 

Again, on January 1 8 : 5 

' I inform you that after all I resolved to see Samwer 

1 Bismarck-Jahrbtich, v. 254. 

8 Published in Jansen-Samwer's Schleswig-Holsteiri s Befreiung, p. 
695, appendix u. 

8 See this letter of the King of January 18, composed 'by Bismarck, in 
Jansen- Samwer, p. 601, appendix 13. 

4 Signed on January 16 by Rechberg and Werther. 

6 Bismarck-Jahrbuch, v. 255. 

3 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

at my son's for about six to ten minutes in his presence, 1 
I spoke to him quite in the tenor of the projected answer," 
but somewhat more coolly and very seriously. Above all, I 
said most decidedly that the Prince must in no case make 

a raid into Schleswig. 

'W.' 

In a memorandum of February 26, 1864, the Crown 
Prince indicated, as justified by the circumstances, the 
following claims of Prussia : 3 Rendsburg to be a federal 
fortress, Kiel to be a Prussian marine station, accession to 
the Customs Union, the construction of a canal between 
the two seas, and a military and naval convention with 
Prussia. He cherished a hope that the Hereditary Prince 
would be ready to agree to these terms. 

After the Prussian plenipotentiaries at the London 
Conference had on May 2 8, 1864, delivered the declaration 
that the German Powers desired the constitution of Schles- 
wig- Holstein as an independent state under the sovereignty 
of the Hereditary Prince of Augustenburg, I had a conver- 
sation with the Prince at my residence on the evening of 
June i, 1864, from nine till twelve o'clock, in order to 
decide whether I could advise the King to support his 
candidature. The conversation turned principally on the 
points indicated by the Crown Prince in the memorandum 
of February 26. The expectation of his Royal Highness, 
that the Hereditary Prince would be ready to agree to this, 
I did not find to be justified. The substance of the lat- 

1 Samwer's memorandum gives the course of this conversation, op. cit. 
p. 696 &c. appendix 12. 

9 I.e. the answer to the letter of the i8th, which was laid before the 
King in draft on the I7th. 

8 It is based on the letter of the Hereditary Prince Frederick of Feb- 
ruary 19, 1864 ; Jansen-Samwer, p. 705 &c. 

3 1 



BISMARCK 

ter's explanations has been given by Sybel, 1 from the doc- 
uments. What he most vigorously resisted were the 
cessions of territory for the purpose of constructing for- 
tresses; why, they might run to a square [German] mile, 
he said. I was obliged to consider that our demand was re- 
fused, and that no good would come of any further nego- 
tiation, at which the Prince seemed to hint, for he said, 
on taking his leave : ' We shall see each other again, I 
suppose.' He did not say it in the threatening sense in 
which Prince Frederick of Hesse said the same words to 
me two years later, but as an expression of a mind not 
made up. I never saw the Hereditary Prince again till 
the day after the battle of Sedan, when he was wearing 
the uniform of a Bavarian general. After peace was con- 
cluded with Denmark on October 30, 1864, the conditions 
were formulated under which we would regard the forma- 
tion of a new Schleswig-Holstein state as not endangering 
the interests of Prussia and Germany. On February 22, 
1865, they were communicated to Vienna. They coin- 
cided with those recommended by the Crown Prince. 



One of the enterprises, the possibility of which I had 
advanced, is now a after long delay being carried into exe- 
cution : the North Sea and Baltic Canal. In the interest 
of German sea power, which was then capable of develop- 
ment only under the name of Prussia, I (and not I alone) 
had attached great importance to the building of the canal 

1 Sybel, iii. 337 &c. Cf. Bismarck's account of this conversation in 
the Staats-Anzeiger of July 2, 1865 ; also the expressions in the speeches 
of June 13, 1865, and December 20, 1866, Politische Reden, iii. 387, 389 ; 
iv. IO2&C. ; the Duke's statement in Jansen-Samwer, p. 731 (cf. p. 336 &c.). 

*That is, at the date of the writing of these Reminiscences, 1891-92. 

32 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

and the possession and fortification of both its mouths. 
The desire to make a concentration of our naval forces 
possible, by cutting through the stretch of land separating 
the two seas, was still very vigorous as an after-effect of 
the almost morbid enthusiasm for the fleet in 1 848 ; it 
slumbered, however, for a time when we had the territory 
in question at our free disposal. In my endeavours to 
revive this interest I met with opposition in the Commit-' 
tee for National Defence, of which the Crown Prince was 
President, but Count Moltke the real head. 

The latter, as a member of the Reichstag, gave it as 
his opinion on June 23, 1873,' that the canal would only 
be navigable in summer, and was of doubtful military 
value ; with the forty to fifty million thalers which it would 
cost, it would be better to build a second fleet. The rea- 
sons advanced against me in the suit for the royal de- 
cision weighed more with the King because of the great 
regard his Majesty had for the military authorities than 
because of their intrinsic value. They culminated in the 
argument that so costly a public work as the canal would 
require for its protection in time of war a number of 
troops which could not be withdrawn from the army with- 
out weakening it. The number of men we should require 
to have at our disposal for the protection of the canal in 
the event of the Danes co-operating with a landing of the 
enemy was estimated at 60,000 men. I objected that we 
should always need to protect Kiel (with its suburbs), 
Hamburg, and the road from the latter to Berlin, even if 
there were no canal in existence. Owing to the excessive 
pressure of other business and the manifold struggles of 
the 'seventies, I could not apply the time and energy nec- 

1 Moltke's speeches, Werke, vii. 25. 
VOL. IT. 3 33 



BISMARCK 

essary to overcome the resistance offered by these authori- 
ties to my project in the imperial councils, and the matter 
was pigeon-holed. I ascribe the resistance I experienced 
principally to that military jealousy with which, in 1866, 
1870, and also later, I had to maintain struggles that were 
more painful to my feelings than most others. 

In my endeavours to win the Emperor's consent I 
rather gave prominence to the military considerations 
likely to appeal to him than to any political advantages on 
commercial grounds. The Dutch navy had the advantage 
of being able to use inland canals which allowed a passage 
for the largest vessels. Our corresponding need of a com- 
munication by canals is essentially increased by the exist- 
ence of the Danish peninsula and the division of our fleet 
between two separate seas. If our united fleet can issue 
from the harbour of Kiel, from the mouth of the Elbe, 
and even, if the canal is lengthened, from the Jahde also, 
without a blockading foe being aware of it beforehand, the 
latter would be compelled to maintain a squadron equiva- 
lent to our whole fleet in each of the seas. On this and 
other grounds I was of opinion that the making of the 
canal would be more advantageous for the defence of our 
coasts than if we applied the cost of it to building 
fortresses and enlarging our fleet, especially as we had not 
unlimited resources for manning our fleet. My wish was 
to continue the canal from the lower Elbe so far in a west- 
erly direction that the mouths of the Weser, the Jahde, 
and eventually also of the Ems, could be made into sortie 
ports which the blockading enemy would have to observe. 
The western continuation of the canal would be compara- 
tively less costly than the cutting through of the backbone 
of the Holstein peninsula ; inasmuch as there are lines of 

34 



SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN 

uniform elevation, by means of which we should turn the 
high ground of the Geest on the promontory between the 
Weser and the mouth of the Elbe. 

In view of a blockade, presumably by the French, the 
protection of Heligoland by the neutrality of England has 
till now been to our advantage; a French squadron could 
have no coal depot there, but would be obliged, in order 
to get supplies, to return to a French port at regular and 
not too long intervals, or would have to maintain a large 
number of tenders constantly going backwards and for- 
wards. Now we should have to defend the rock with our 
own forces if we wished to hinder the French from gain- 
ing a firm footing there in case of war. What the reasons 
were that relaxed the resistance of the Committee of Na- 
tional Defence in the year 1885, I do not know. Perhaps 
Count Moltke had in the meantime convinced himself that 
the idea of an alliance between Germany and Denmark, 
which he had formerly entertained, was impracticable. 



CHAPTER XX 

NIKOLSBURG 

ON the evening of June 30, 1866, his Majesty, together 
with the headquarters, entered Reichenberg. The town, 
with a population of 28,000, contained i, 800 Austrian pris- 
oners, and was occupied by no more than 500 Prussian 
artillerymen armed with old carbines. Only a few leagues 
off lay the Saxon cavalry. They could have reached Rei- 
chenberg in a night, and carried off the whole of our head- 
quarters, his Majesty included. Thanks to the telegraph, 
it was generally known that we had our quarters at 
Reichenberg. I took the liberty of calling the King's 
attention to the fact, and in consequence the command 
was given for the artillerymen to repair singly, and with- 
out attracting attention, to the castle, where the King had 
his quarters. The military set were offended at this inter- 
ference of mine ; and in order to prove to them that my 
concern was not for my own security, I quitted the castle 
(whither his Majesty had commanded me) and retained my 
quarters in the town. This was the germ of a bad feeling 
towards me on the part of the military authorities on 
account of my personal position towards the King, which 
proceeded from departmental jealousy, and was destined 
to develop still further in the course of this campaign and 
of the French war. 

After the battle of Koniggratz the situation was such 
that a favourable response on our part to the first advances 

36 



NIKOLSBURG 

of Austria with a view to peace negotiations, was not only 
possible, but seemed demanded by the interference of 
France. The latter dates from the telegram, addressed 
to his Majesty, which arrived at Horricz* between July 4 
and 5, in which Louis Napoleon informed the King that 
the Emperor Francis Joseph had ceded Venetia to him, 
and had invited his intervention. The brilliant success of 
the King's arms compelled Napoleon to quit 1 the reserve 
he had hitherto maintained. This interference was evoked 
by our victory ; up to this time Napoleon had calculated 
on our being defeated and in need of assistance. If on 
our part the victory of Kb'niggratz had been utilised to the 
utmost by the attack of General von Etzel, and by the 
energetic pursuit of the defeated foe by means of our cav- 
alry, which was still intact, in all probability the mission 
of General von Gablenz to the Prussian headquarters 
would even then have led to the conclusion not merely of 
an armistice, but also to the bases of the future peace, 
considering the moderation which prevailed on our part, 
and was at that time still shared by the King, in respect 
to the conditions of peace a moderation which, however, 
even then claimed more from Austria than was of any use, 
and which would have left us as our future associates all 
the states which had hitherto been members of the Con- 
federation, but with their territories diminished and their 
feelings offended. At my suggestion his Majesty sent to 
the Emperor a reply which was dilatory, but yet rejected 
any armistice which did not contain guarantees for peace. 
Subsequently, at Nikolsburg, I asked General von 
Moltke what he would do if France actively intervened. 

* So written by the general staff. It is pronounced Horsitz. 
1 See the text of the telegram in L. Schneider, i. 253 &c. 
37 



BISMARCK 

His reply was : ' I should adopt a defensive attitude 
towards Austria, confining myself to the line of the Elbe, 
and in the meantime prosecuting the war actively against 
France. ' 

This opinion confirmed me still more in my resolution 
to advise his Majesty to make peace on the basis of the ter- 
ritorial integrity of Austria. I was of opinion that, in 
case of French interference, we must either make peace 
with Austria, imposing moderate conditions, and at the 
same time if possible contract an alliance with her with a 
view to an attack on France, or else we must quickly and 
completely cripple Austria by a sharp onslaught, and also by 
furthering disaffection in Hungary, and perhaps in Bohemia 
as well ; until then we must maintain a defensive attitude 
towards France instead of towards Austria, as Moltke 
wished. I believed that the war against France, which 
Moltke said he would conduct first of all, and that rapidly, 
would not be so easy ; that France had, indeed, but little 
strength left to take the offensive, but, judging from his- 
torical experience, would soon be strong enough to act 
on the defensive in the country itself, and so spin the 
war out. Then, perhaps, we should not be able victori- 
ously to maintain our defensive against Austria on the 
Elbe if we had to carry on a war of invasion in France, 
with Austria and South Germany as hostile elements in 
our rear. I was moved by this prospect to still livelier 
exertions in the cause of peace. 

A participation on France's part in the war would 
have brought, at the moment, only 60,000 French troops 
(perhaps still less) into the struggle in Germany. Never- 
theless, this accession of strength to the South German 
federal army would have sufficed to restore energy and 

38 



NIKOLSBURG 

unity of command, probably under a French commander-in- 
chief. The Bavarian army alone, at the time of the sus- 
pension of hostilities, was said to be 100,000 strong, and, 
with the other available German troops, all of them good 
and brave soldiers, and 60,000 Frenchmen, we should have 
been brought face to face with an army of 200,000 men 
from the southwest, under united and vigorous French 
leadership, instead of the former timid and disunited 
troops ; and we should have had no equivalent forces with 
which to meet them in front of Berlin without weakening 
ourselves in the direction of Vienna. Mayence was occu- 
pied by federal troops under the command of the Bavarian 
general, Count Rechberg; had the French once got into 
the place it would have taken hard work to get them out 
again. 

Under the pressure of the French intervention, and at 
a time when it was impossible to see whether we should 
succeed in making head against them in the field of diplo- 
macy, I resolved to advise the King to make an appeal to 
the Hungarian nationality. If Napoleon intervened in 
the war in the manner indicated, if Russia's attitude re- 
mained doubtful, and especially if the cholera made further 
ravages in our ranks, our position might become so diffi- 
cult that we should be obliged l to seize every weapon 
offered us by the outbreak of the national movement, not 
only in Germany, but also in Hungary and Bohemia, in 
order to avoid succumbing. 



On July 1 2, in our quarters at Czernahora, there was 

1 Cf. the statement in the speech of January 16, 1874, Politische Rden t 
vi. 140. 

39 



BISMARCK 

held a council of war or as the military prefer to call it, 
a meeting to hear the reports of the generals ; for the sake 
of brevity, however, and in order to be more intelligible, 
I make use of the former expression, which von Roon* 
also uses, although Field- Marshal Moltke, in a paper sent 
to Professor von Treitschke on May 9, 1881, has observed 
that no ' council of war ' was held in either of the wars. 1 

In 1866, whenever I was within reach, I was included in 
these deliberations, which were held under the presidency 
of the King, at first regularly and afterwards at longer 
intervals. On this particular occasion we discussed the 
direction of our further advance upon Vienna. I arrived 
late at the discussion, and the King explained to me that 
the point before them was how to capture the fortifications 
of the Floridsdorf lines in order to reach Vienna; that 
to do this the nature of the works demanded that heavy 
artillery should be brought up from Magdeburg, f and 
that for this a fortnight's time would be necessary. After 
breaches had been made, the works would have to be 
stormed, and for this the probable loss was reckoned at 
2,000 men. The King asked for my opinion on the ques- 
tion. My first impression was that we could not lose 
a fortnight without bringing at least the danger of French 
interference very much nearer than it otherwise would 

* In his letter to his wife of February 7, 1871. Denkwiirdigkeiten, 
iii. 4 297. 

1 See Moltke, Gesammelte Schriften, iii. 415 &c. 

fin the work by the general staff we read under the date July 14 
(p. 484) : Colonel Mertens was telegraphed to at Dresden to have in readi- 
ness fifty heavy guns that were on their way thither [and consequently, it 
is to be presumed, had not yet arrived], so that they could be sent off with- 
out loss of time by the railroad as soon as the order for them came. The 
railway on the other side of Lundenburg was destroyed. General von 
Hindersin was therefore ordered to bring together a park of transport ma- 
terial at the place indicated. 

40 



NIKOLSBURG 

be.* I laid stress on my apprehension, and said : 'We can- 
not spend fourteen days in waiting without considerably in- 
creasing the dead-weight of the French arbitrium. ' I asked 
whether we were obliged to storm the Floridsdorf fortifi- 
cations at all, or if we could not take them in flank by 
making a quarter wheel to the left we could make for 
Pressburg, and there the Danube could be crossed with less 
trouble. The Austrians would then either accept battle 
in an unfavourable position south of the Danube with their 
front to the east, or would retreat upon Hungary, and then 
Vienna could be taken without drawing a sword. The 
King asked for a map, and gave his decision in favour 
of this proposal. The execution of the plan was adopted, 
unwillingly as it appeared to me, but it was nevertheless 
carried out. 

According to the work of the general staff (p. 522) the 
following order from the general headquarters was issued 
on July 19 : ' It is the intention of his Majesty the King 
to concentrate the army in a position behind the Russ- 
bach. In this situation the army will first of all be in a 
position to resist an attack which the enemy might under- 
take with about 1 50,000 men from Floridsdorf. After- 
wards, it can, from this position, either reconnoitre and 
attack the Floridsdorf entrenchments, or, leaving behind a 
corps of observation before Vienna, march off as quickly 
as possible to Pressburg. Both armies will push forward 
their advance-guards and reconnoitring parties to the Russ- 
bach in the direction of Wolkersdorf and Deutsch- Wag- 
ram. Simultaneously with this advance, an attempt will 
be made to take Pressburg by surprise, and there to secure 
if necessary the passage of the troops across the Danube. ' 

*The situation was similar to what it was in 1870 before Paris. 
41 



BISMARCK 

It was my object, in view of our subsequent relations 
with Austria, as far as possible to avoid cause for mortify- 
ing reminiscences, if it could be managed without preju- 
dice to our German policy. A triumphant entry of the 
Prussian army into the hostile capital would naturally 
have been a gratifying recollection for our soldiers, 
but it was not necessary to our policy. It would have 
left behind it, as also any surrender of ancient posses- 
sions to us must have done, a wound to the pride of 
Austria, which, without being a pressing necessity for us, 
would have unnecessarily increased the difficulty of our 
future mutual relations. It was already quite clear to me 
that we should have to defend the conquests of the campaign 
in further wars, just as Frederick the Great had to defend 
the results of his two first Silesian wars in the fiercer fire 
of the Seven Years' war. That a war with France would 
succeed that with Austria lay in the logic of history, even 
had we been able to allow the Emperor Napoleon the petty 
expenses which he looked for from us as a reward for his neu- 
trality. As regards Russia, too, it is doubtful what would 
happen if it were then made clear to her what accession of 
strength the national development of Germany would bring 
to us. We could not foresee how far the later wars would 
make for the maintenance ofj^Kat had already been won ; 
but in any case it would be of great importance whether 
the feelings we left behind in our opponents were implac- 
able or the wounds we had inflicted upon them and their 
self-respect were incurable. Moved by this consideration, 
I had a political motive for avoiding, rather than bringing 
about, a triumphal entry into Vienna in the Napoleonic 
style. In positions such as ours was then, it is a political 

maxim after a victory not to enquire how much you can 

42 



NIKOLSBURG 

squeeze out of your opponent, but only to consider what is 
politically necessary. The ill-feeling which my attitude 
earned for me in military circles I considered was the 
result of a military departmental policy to which I could 
not concede a decisive influence on the policy of the state 
and its future. 

When it came to the point of dealing with Napoleon's 
telegram of July 4, the King had sketched out the condi- 
tions of peace as follows : a reform of the Federation 
under the headship of Prussia ; the acquisition of Schles- 
wig-Holstein, Austrian Silesia, a strip on the frontier of 
Bohemia, and East Friesland ; the substitution of the respec- 
tive heirs-apparent for the hostile sovereigns of Hanover, 
Electoral Hesse, Meiningen, and Nassau. Subsequently 
other demands were advanced, which partly originated 
with the King himself, and were partly due to external 
influences. The King wished to annex parts of Saxony, 
Hanover, Hesse, and especially to bring Anspach and 
Baireuth again into the possession of his house. The reac- 
quisition of the Franconian principalities touched his strong 
and justifiable family sentiment very nearly. 

At one of the first court entertainments at which I was 
present in the 'thirties, a fancy ball at the residence of 
Prince William, as he then was, I recollect seeing him in 
the costume of the Elector Frederick I. The choice of 
this dress, so different in character from the others, was 
the expression of family sentiment, of the pride of descent 
and seldom can this costume have appeared more natural 
and becoming than it was when worn by Prince William, 
then in his thirty-seventh year ; and I have always had a 
lively recollection of his appearance in it. This strong 
dynastic family feeling was perhaps still more sharply 

43 



BISMARCK 

marked in the Emperor Frederick III, but it is certain 
that in 1866 the King felt it harder to renounce his claims 
upon Anspach and Baireuth than to give up Austria and 
Silesia, German Bohemia, and parts of Saxony. I gauged 
the proposed acquisitions from Austria and Bavaria by 
the question, whether the inhabitants, in case of future 
war, would remain faithful to the King of Prussia in the 
event of the withdrawal of the Prussian officials and troops, 
and continue to accept commands from him ; and I had not 
the impression that the population of these districts, which 
had become habituated to Bavarian and Austrian conditions, 
would be disposed to meet Hohenzollern predilections. 

The old original seat of the Brandenburg Margraves 
to the south and east of Nuremberg, if formed, let us 
say, into a Prussian province with Nuremberg as its 
capital, would scarcely be a part of the country which 
Prussia in case of war could denude of troops and leave 
under the protection of its devotion to the ruling house. 
During the short period of the Prussian occupation dynas- 
tic feeling had taken no very deep root in the province 
despite the skilful administration of Hardenberg, and had 
since then been completely forgotten during the subse- 
quent Bavarian period, except where it was kept in remem- 
brance by religious agencies ; this occurred but seldom, 
and never lasted long. Even if occasionally the feelings 
of the Bavarian Protestants were offended, their sensibility 
on the point had never expressed itself in the shape of a 
recollection of Prussia. Moreover, after such an excision, 
the Bavarian stock, from the Alps to the Upper Palatinate, 
in the exasperation caused by such a mutilation of the 
kingdom, would always have to be regarded as an element 
difficult to appease and dangerous to future unity in pro- 

44 



NIKOLSBURG 

portion to its indwelling strength. Nevertheless I did 
not succeed at Nikolsburg in getting the King to accept 
my views as to the peace we were to conclude. I was 
therefore obliged to let Herr von der Pfordten, who had 
arrived there on July 24, travel back empty-handed, and 
had to content myself with a criticism of his attitude before 
the war. He was nervous about giving up Austrian sup- 
port altogether, although he would very readily have with- 
drawn himself from the influence of Vienna if it could 
have been done without danger ; but the old tendencies of 
the Confederation of the Rhine, or reminiscences of the 
position which the minor German states had occupied 
under French protection from 1806 to 1814, had no place 
in his mind in short, an honest and erudite, but politi- 
cally by no means adroit, German professor. These con- 
siderations, which influenced me as regards the Franconian 
principalities, I insisted upon to his Majesty with regard 
to Austrian Silesia as well, which was one of the most 
loyal provinces of the Austrian Empire, and had, moreover, 
a preponderance of the Slavonic element in its population. 
I also insisted upon it with regard to the Bohemian 
districts, Reichenberg, the Eger valley, and Carlsbad, 
which the King, at the instance of Prince Frederick 
Charles, wanted to retain as a glacis in front of the 
Saxon mountains. To this was to be added that Karolyi 
later categorically refused every cession of territory, even 
down to the tiny district of Braunau which I had men- 
tioned to him, and the possession of which had some 
importance in the interest of our railways. I preferred to 
renounce our claim even to that, if insistence upon it 
threatened to delay a conclusion of preliminaries and ac- 
centuate the danger of French interference, 

45 



BISMARCK 

The King's wish to retain West Saxony, Leipsic, 
Zwickau, and Chemnitz, in order to establish communica- 
tion with Baireuth, collided with Karolyi's declaration 
that he must insist upon the integrity of Saxony as a con- 
ditio sine qua non of the conditions of peace. This differ- 
ence in Austria's treatment of her allies was due to the 
personal relations of the Emperor of Austria and the King 
of Saxony ; and also to the behaviour of the Saxon troops 
after the battle of Koniggratz, for during the retreat they 
had been the steadiest and least broken body of troops 
in the army. The other German troops had fought bravely, 
when they were actually engaged, but this happened too 
late, and without practical result, and there prevailed in 
Vienna an impression, which was not justified by circum- 
stances, that Austria had not been sufficiently supported 
by her allies, especially Bavaria and Wurtemberg. 

The work of the general staff says (under the date July 
21) : 'At Nikolsburg negotiations had been going on for 
several days, the immediate object of which was a five 
days' truce. The point was, above all else, to gain time 
for diplomacy.* Now, when the Prussian army occupied 
the Marchfeld, a fresh catastrophe was immediately im- 
pending. ' 

I asked Moltke if he considered our enterprise at Press- 
burg as dangerous, or whether we might be free of all con- 
cern about it. So far we had not a spot upon our white 
waistcoat. If we were sure of a happy issue to it, we 
must allow the battle to be fought out, and the truce post- 
poned by half a day ; victory would naturally strengthen 
our position in negotiating ; otherwise it would be better 

* In view of the French interference, diplomacy had less time to lose 
than the army. 

46 



NIKOLSBURG 

to abandon the enterprise altogether. He replied that he 
considered the issue as doubtful and the operations as 
risky ; but in war everything was hazardous. This decided 
me to recommend to the King the following arrangement 
as to the truce : to suspend hostilities at midday on the 
22nd and not resume them till midday on the 27th. At 
half-past seven on the morning of the 22nd, General von 
Fransecky received news of the truce that was to commence 
on the same day, with instructions to make his disposi- 
tions accordingly. The battle in which he was engaged 
at Blumenau had therefore to be suspended at twelve 
o'clock. 



Meanwhile in my conferences with Karolyi and with 
Benedetti, who, thanks to the clumsiness of our military 
police in the rear of the army, had succeeded in reaching 
Zwittau on the night of July 1 1 to 12, and there suddenly 
appeared beside my bed, I had found out the conditions 
on which we could procure peace. Benedetti declared as 
the basis of Napoleon's policy, that an augmentation of 
Prussia to the extent of four million souls in North Ger- 
many at the utmost, with the retention of the line of the 
Main as the frontier on the south, would not entail French 
intervention. He hoped, I suppose, to form a South Ger- 
man confederation affiliated to France. Austria withdrew 
from the German confederation, and was ready to recog- 
nise all the arrangements that the King might make in 
North Germany, reserving however the integrity of Sax- 
ony. These conditions contained all we wanted ; that is 
to say, a free hand in Germany. 

47 



BISMARCK 

I was firmly resolved, in consequence of the above 
considerations, to make a cabinet question of the accep- 
tance of the peace offered by Austria. The position was 
difficult. All the generals shared the disinclination to 
break off the uninterrupted course of victory; and dur- 
ing these days the King was more often and more readily 
accessible to military influences than to mine. I was the 
only person at headquarters who was politically responsible 
as a minister and forced by the exigencies of the situation 
to form an opinion and come to a decision without being 
able to lay the responsibility for the result upon any other 
authority, either in the shape of the decision of my col- 
leagues or superior commands. I was just as little able as 
any one to foresee what shape future events would take, and 
the consequent judgment of the world ; but I was the only 
one present who was under a legal obligation to hold, to 
utter, and to defend an opinion. This opinion I had formed 
after careful consideration of the future of our position in 
Germany and our relations to Austria ; and was ready to 
be responsible for it and to defend it before the King. I 
was well aware that the general staff nicknamed me the 
' Questenberg in the camp ' an identification with the 
Hofkriegsrath in ' Wallenstein,' which was not nattering 
to me. 

On July 23, under the presidency of the King, a coun- 
cil of war was held, in which the question to be decided 
was whether we should make peace under the conditions 
offered or continue the war. A painful illness from which 
I was suffering made it necessary that the council should 
be held in my room. On this occasion I was the only 
civilian in uniform. I declared it to be my conviction 

that peace must be concluded on the Austrian terms, but 

48 



NIKOLSBURG 

remained alone in my opinion ; the King supported the 
military majority. My nerves could not stand the strain 
which had been put upon them day and night ; I got up in 
silence, walked into my adjoining bed-chamber and was 
there overcome by a violent paroxysm of tears. Mean- 
while, I heard the council dispersing in the next room. I 
thereupon set to work to commit to paper the reasons 
which in my opinion spoke for the conclusion of peace; 
and begged the King, in the event of his not accepting 
the advice for which I was responsible, to relieve me of my 
functions as minister if the war were continued. With 
this document 1 I set out on the following day to explain 
it by word of mouth. In the antechamber I found two 
colonels with a report on the spread of cholera among 
their troops, barely half of whom were fit for service.* 
The alarming figures confirmed my resolve to make the 
acceptance of the Austrian terms a cabinet question. 
Besides my political anxieties, I feared that by transfer- 
ring the operations to Hungary, the nature of that coun- 
try, which was well known to me, would soon make the 
disease overwhelming. The climate, especially in August, 
is dangerous ; there is great lack of water ; the country 
villages are widely distributed, each with many square 
miles of open field attached; and, finally, plums and 
melons grow there in abundance. Our campaign of 1 792 
in Champagne was in my mind as a warning example ; on 
that occasion it was not the French but dysentery that 
caused our retreat. Armed with my document I unfolded 
to the King the political and military reasons which 
opposed the continuation of the war. 

1 Partly printed in Sybel, v. 294. 

* During the campaign, 6,427 men succumbed to this disease. 
VOL. ii 4 49 



BISMARCK 

We had to avoid wounding Austria too severely; we 
had to avoid leaving behind in her any unnecessary bitter- 
ness of feeling or desire for revenge ; we ought rather to 
reserve the possibility of becoming friends again with our 
adversary of the moment, and in any case to regard the 
Austrian state as a piece on the European chessboard and 
the renewal of friendly relations with her as a move open 
to us. If Austria were severely injured, she would become 
the ally of France and of every other opponent of ours ; 
she would even sacrifice her anti- Russian interests for the 
sake of revenge on Prussia. 

On the other hand, I could see no future acceptable to 
us for the countries constituting the Austrian monarchy, 
in case the latter were split up by risings of the Hun- 
garians and Slavs or made permanently dependent on those 
peoples. What would be put in that portion of Europe 
which the Austrian state from Tyrol to the Bukowina 
had hitherto occupied ? Fresh formations on this surface 
could only be of a permanently revolutionary nature. 
German Austria we could neither wholly nor partly make 
use of. The acquisition of provinces like Austrian Silesia 
and portions of Bohemia could not strengthen the Prussian 
state ; it would not lead to an amalgamation of German 
Austria with Prussia, and Vienna could not be governed 
from Berlin as a mere dependency. 

If the war were continued, the probable theatre would 
be Hungary. The Austrian army which, if we crossed the 
Danube at Pressburg, would not be able to hold Vienna, 
would scarcely retreat southwards, where it would be 
caught between the Prussian and Italian armies, and, by 
its approach to Italy, once more revive the military ardour 
of the Italians which, already depressed, had been restricted 

5 



NIKOLSBURG 

by Louis Napoleon ; it would retreat towards the east, and 
continue its defence in Hungary if only in the expecta- 
tion of the prospective intervention of France and the 
weakening of Italy's interest in the matter, through 
France's agency. Moreover I held, even from a purely 
military standpoint, and according to my knowledge of 
Hungarian territory, that a prosecution of the war there^ 
would not repay us, and that the successes to be won there 
would be out of all proportion to the victories we had 
hitherto gained, and consequently be calculated to dimin- 
ish our prestige quite apart from the fact that the pro- 
longation of the war would pave the way for a French 
intervention. We must finish off rapidly ; before France 
won time to bring further diplomatic action to bear ipon 
Austria. 

To all this the King raised no objection, but declared 
the actual terms as inadequate, without, however, definitely 
formulating his own demands. Only so much was clear, 
that his claims had grown considerably since July 4. He 
said that the chief culprit could not be allowed to escape 
unpunished, and that justice once satisfied, we could let 
the misguided partners off more easily, and he insisted on 
the cessions of territory from Austria which I have already ^ 
mentioned. I replied that we were not there to sit in 
judgment, but to pursue the German policy. Austria's 
conflict in rivalry with us was no more culpable than ours 
with her ; our task was the establishment or initiation of 
a German national unity under the leadership of the King ^\ 
of Prussia. 

Passing on to the German states, he spoke of various 
acquisitions by cutting down the territories of all our op- 
ponents. I repeated that we were there not to admin- 
Si 



BISMARCK 

ister retributive justice, but to pursue a policy; that I 
wished to avoid, in the German federation of the future, 
the sight of mutilated territories, whose princes and peo- 
ples might very easily (such is human weakness) retain a 
lively wish to recover their former possessions by means 
of foreign help; such allies would be very unreliable. 
The same would be the case if, for the purpose of compen- 
sating Saxony, Wiirzburg or Nuremburg were demanded 
of Bavaria, a plan, moreover, which would interfere with 
the dynastic predilection of his Majesty for Anspach. I 
had also to resist plans which were aimed at an enlarge- 
ment of the Grand Duchy of Baden, the annexation of the 
Bavarian Palatinate, and an extension in the region of 
the lower Main. The Aschaffenburg district of Bavaria 
was at the same time regarded as a fit compensation to 
Hesse-Darmstadt for the loss of Upper Hesse, which 
would result from the projected Main frontier. Later, at 
Berlin, the only part of this plan still under negotiation 
was the cession of that portion of Bavarian territory which 
lay on the right bank of the Main, inclusive of the town 
of Baireuth, to Prussia; the question then arose whether 
the boundary should run on the Northern or Red Main or 
the Southern or White Main. What seemed to me to be 
paramount with his Majesty was the aversion of the mil- 
itary party to interrupt the victorious course of the army. 
The resistance which I was obliged, in accordance with my 
convictions, to offer to the King's views with regard to 
following up the military successes, and to his inclination 
to continue the victorious advance, excited him to such a 
degree that a prolongation of the discussion became impos- 
sible; and, under the impression that my opinion was 
rejected, I left the room with the idea of begging the 

5 2 



NIKOLSBURG 

King to allow me, in my capacity of officer, to join my 
regiment. On returning to my room I was in the mood 
that the thought occurred to me whether it would not be 
better to fall out of the open window, which was four 
storeys high ; and I did not look round when I heard the 
door open, although I suspected that the person entering 
was the Crown Prince, whose room in the same corridor 1^ 
had just passed. I felt his hand on my shoulder, while 
he said : ' You know that I was against this war. You 
considered it necessary, and the responsibility for it lies 
on you. If you are now persuaded that our end is attained, 
and peace must now be concluded, I am ready to support 
you and defend your opinion with my father. ' He then 
repaired to the King, and came back after a short half- 
hour, in the same calm, friendly mood, but with the words : 
' It has been a very difficult business, but my father has 
consented.' This consent found expression in a note 
written with lead pencil on the margin of one of my last 
memoranda, something to this effect : ' Inasmuch as my . 
Minister-President has left me in the lurch in the face of 
the enemy, and here I am not in a position to supply his 
place, I have discussed the question with my son ; and as 
he has associated himself with the Minister-President's 
opinion, I find myself reluctantly compelled, after such 
brilliant victories on the part of the army, to bite this sour 
apple and accept so disgraceful a peace.' I do not think 
I am mistaken as to the exact words, although the docu- 
ment is not accessible to me at present. In any case I 
have given the sense of it ; and, despite its bitterness of 
expression, it was to me a joyful release from a tension 
that was becoming unbearable. I gladly accepted the 
royal assent to what I regarded as politically necessary 

53 



BISMARCK 

without taking offence at its ungracious form. At this 
time military impressions were dominant in the King's 
mind ; and the strong need he felt of pursuing the hitherto 
dazzling course of victory perhaps influenced him more 
than political and diplomatic considerations. 

The only residuum that the above note of the King's, 
which the Crown Prince brought me, left in my mind was 
the recollection of the violent agitation into which I had 
been obliged to put my old master, in order to obtain 
what I considered essential to the interests of the country 
if I were to remain responsible. To this day these and 
similar occurrences have left no other impression upon me 
than the painful recollection that I had been obliged to 
vex a master whom personally I loved as I did him. 



After the preliminaries with Austria had been signed, 
the plenipotentiaries of Wurtemberg, Baden, and Darm- 
stadt appeared. I refused for the present to receive the 
Wurtemberg minister, Varnbuler, because our irritation 
against him was much stronger than it was against Pford- 
ten. Politically he was more skilful than the latter, but, on 
the other hand, less fettered by German national scruples. 
His temper at the outbreak of the war had expressed itself 
in a ' Vae victis ! ' and was to be explained by the rela- 
tions between Stuttgart and France, which were chiefly 
maintained by the partiality of the Queen of Holland, a 
Wurtemberg princess. 

As long as I remained at Frankfort she took much 
interest in me, encouraging me in my opposition to Aus- 
trian policy, and further evincing her anti-Austrian senti- 

54 



NIKOLSBURG 

ments by singling me out with an obvious purpose for 
marked favour at the house of her envoy, Herr von Scherff, 
and not without discourtesy towards the Austrian envoy- 
president, Baron Prokesch, at a time when Louis Napo- 
leon still cherished the hope of a Prussian alliance against 
Austria, and already had the Italian war in his mind. I 
leave it undecided whether even at that time the predi- 
lection for Napoleonic France alone dictated the policy of 
the Queen of Holland, or if it were only the restless 
desire to meddle in politics at any price that led her to 
take sides in the struggle between Prussia and Austria, 
and moved her to a conspicuously bad treatment of my 
Austrian colleague and to a marked preference of me. 
Anyhow, after 1866 I found the Princess, who in former 
days had been so gracious to me, among the keenest op- 
ponents of the policy which I was following in anticipation 
of the breach of 1870. It was in the year 1867 that sus- 
picion was first thrown upon us in French official state- 
ments of having designs on Holland, especially in the 
expression of the Minister Rouher in a speech against 
Thiers, March 16, 1867, to the effect that France would 
not tolerate our advance to the Zuider Zee. It is not prob- 
able that the Zuider Zee had been discovered by the 
French themselves, or even that the orthography of the 
name was correctly given in the French press without for- 
eign help. It is allowable to conjecture that the thought 
of this piece of water was suggested to French suspicion 
from Holland. Even the Netherland descent of M. Drouyn 
de Lhuys does not entitle me to presume in his colleague 
so exact a local knowledge of geography outside the 
French frontier. 

As I assigned the policy of Wurtemberg to the Rhine- 

55 



BISMARCK 

confederation category, I determined for the time to de- 
cline to receive Herr von Varnbiiler at Nikolsburg. More- 
over, a conversation between us which was brought about 
by the intervention of Prince Frederick of Wurtemberg 
brother of the commander of our Guards and the Grand 
Princess Helene, who was very kindly disposed towards 
us, was barren of political result. I did not negotiate 
with Herr von Varnbiiler till a later date at Berlin; and 
his mobile susceptibility to the political impressions of 
every situation showed itself in the fact that he was the 
first of the South German ministers with whom I could 
conclude the well-known treaty of alliance. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

AT Berlin I was ostensibly occupied with Prussia's rela- 
tions to the newly acquired provinces and the other North 
German states, but in reality with the humour of the for- 
eign Powers and in pondering upon their probable atti- 
tude. To me, and perhaps to every one, our internal 
affairs had a provisional and immature aspect. The re- 
action of the aggrandisement of Prussia, of the impend- 
ing negotiations concerning the North German Confeder- 
ation and its constitution, made our internal development 
appear to be carried along by the current as much as our 
relations to foreign states, whether in or outside Ger- 
many, in consequence of the European situation prevail- 
ing when the war had been interrupted. I took it as 
assured that war with France would necessarily have to 
be waged on the road to our further national development, 
for our development at home as well as the extension be- 
yond the Main, and that we must keep this eventuality in 
sight in all our domestic as well as in our foreign rela- 
tions. In some aggrandisement of Prussia in North Ger- 
many Louis Napoleon saw not only no danger to France, but 
a means against the unification and national development 
of Germany; he believed that the non-Prussian portions 
of Germany would then feel a greater need of French sup- 
port. He cherished reminiscences of the confederation 
of the Rhine, and wished to hinder development in the 

57 



BISMARCK 

direction of a United Germany. He believed that he 
could do this because he did not realise the national drift 
of the time, and judged the situation in accordance with 
his schoolboy reminiscences of South Germany, and from 
diplomatic reports which were only based on ministerial 
moods and sporadic dynastic feeling. I was convinced 
that their importance would vanish; I assumed that a 
United Germany was only a question of time, that the 
North German Confederation was only the first step in 
its solution; but that the enmity of France and perhaps 
of Russia, Austria's need of revenge of 1866, and the 
King's Prussian and dynastic particularism must not be 
called too soon into the lists. I did not doubt that a 
Franco- German war must take place before the construc- 
tion of a United Germany could be realised. I was at 
that time preoccupied with the idea of delaying the out- 
break of this war until our fighting strength should be 
increased by the application of the Prussian military leg- 
islation not only to Hanover, Hesse, and Holstein, but, 
as I could hope even at that time from the observation I 
had made, to the South Germans. I considered a war 
with France, having regard to the success of the French 
in the Crimean war and in Italy, as a danger which I at 
that time overestimated ; inasmuch as I imagined the at- 
tainable number of troops in France, their order and 
organisation, and the tactical skill to be higher and bet- 
ter than proved to be the case in 1870. The courage of 
the French soldiers, the high pitch of national senti- 
ment and of injured vanity, were verified to the full 
extent, as I had estimated them in the eventuality 
of a German invasion in France, based on a remem- 
brance of the experiences of 1814, of 1792, and of 

58 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

the Spanish War of Succession at the beginning of last 
century, where the invasion of foreign armies always 
produced phenomena like putting a stick into an ant- 
heap. 

I at no time regarded a war with France as a simple 
matter, considered quite apart from the possible allies 
that France might find in Austria's thirst for revenge, or 
in Russia's desire for a balance of power. My strenuous 
efforts to postpone the outbreak of war until the effect of 
our military legislation and our military training could 
be thoroughly developed in all portions of the country 
which had been newly joined to Prussia, were therefore 
quite reasonable ; and this aim of mine was not even ap- 
proximately reached in the Luxembourg question in 1 867. 
Each year's postponement of the war would add 100,000 
trained soldiers to our army. In the attitude I took up 
towards the King on the question of the bill of indem- 
nity, and in dealing with the question of the constitution 
in the Prussian Diet, I felt the urgent necessity of letting 
other countries see no trace of actual or prospective ob- 
stacles consequent on our internal condition ; I wished to 
offer them the spectacle of a united national sentiment ; 
and the more so inasmuch as it was impossible to judge 
what allies France would have on her side in a war against 
us. The negotiations . and rapprochements between France 
and Austria soon after 1866, at Salzburg and elsewhere, 
under the direction of Herr von Beust, might prove suc- 
cessful ; and the very appointment of that Saxon minister 
in a bad temper to the control of Viennese policy already 
pointed to the probability that it would take the direction 
of revenge. 

Italy's attitude was not to be reckoned upon as soon 

59 



BISMARCK 

as French pressure was applied, as we discovered by her 
submissiveness to Napoleon in 1866. During a confer- 
ence I had with General Govone in Berlin, in the early 
part of 1866, he was horrified when I expressed the wish 
that he should enquire at home if we could rely on Italy's 
loyalty to her engagements even against Napoleonic ill- 
humour. He replied that a question of this kind would 
be telegraphed to Paris the very same day with the ques- 
tion : 'What answer shall be given?' To judge by the 
attitude of Italian policy during the war, I could not place 
any definite reliance on public opinion in Italy, not only 
on the ground of Victor Emmanuel's personal friendship 
to Louis Napoleon, but also by the standard of the parti- 
sanship announced by Garibaldi in the name of Italian 
public opinion. Not only my apprehensions, but the pub- 
lic opinion of Europe considered that a league of Italy 
with France and Russia was not outside the bounds of 
probability. 

From Russia active support of such a coalition was 
scarcely to be expected. By the influence which during 
the time of the Crimean war I had been able to exer- 
cise in favour of Russia on the resolutions of King Fred- 
erick William IV, I had gained for myself the good-will 
of the Emperor Alexander, and his confidence in me was 
strengthened during my residence as ambassador in St. 
Petersburg. Meanwhile, in the Russian cabinet, under 
the leadership of Gortchakoff, the doubt as to the advan- 
tage for Russia of so important an increase of Prussian 
power began to outweigh the Emperor's friendship for 
King William and his gratitude for our policy during the 
Polish question of 1863. If the communication be accu- 
rate which was made by Drouyn de Lhuys to Count Vitz- 

60 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

thum von Eckstadt, 1 then in July 1866 Gortchakoff in- 
vited France to a common protest against the overthrow 
of the German confederation, and experienced a rebuff. 
In his first feeling of surprise, immediately upon the dis- 
patch of Manteuffel to St. Petersburg, the Emperor Alex- 
ander had acquiesced in the result of the Nikolsburg pre- 
liminaries in general and obiter. At first the hatred 
against Austria, which, since the time of the Crimean 
war, had dominated the public opinion of Russian ' so- 
ciety,' had found satisfaction in her defeat; this feel- 
ing, however, was opposed to such Russian interests as 
were connected with the Czar's influence in Germany 
and the dangers with which it was threatened by 
France. 

I took it indeed for granted that we could count on 
Russian support against any coalition that France might 
form against us ; but that we should not receive it till we 
had had the misfortune to suffer defeats, by which the 
question whether Russia could tolerate the proximity of 
a victorious Franco-Austrian coalition on her Polish fron- 
tiers would be brought nearer. The inconvenience of 
such a neighbour would perhaps be increased if, instead 
of the anti-papal kingdom of Italy, the Papacy itself were 
to become a third in the league of the two great Catholic 
Powers. I considered it, however, probable, that until 
the nearer approach of a danger such as would result from 
Prussian defeat, Russia would not be displeased, or at all 
events would offer no interference, if a numerically supe- 
rior coalition had poured a little water into our wine of 
1866. 

From England we certainly could rely on no active 

1 London, Gastein and Sadowa, Stuttgart, 1890, p. 248. 

61 



BISMARCK 

support against the Emperor Napoleon, although English 
policy required a strong and friendly continental Power 
with many battalions, and this necessity had been attended 
to under the Pitts, father and son, to the advantage of 
Prussia, later to that of Austria, then under Palmerston, 
until the Spanish marriages, and afterwards again under 
Clarendon, in favour of France. The requirement of Eng- 
land's policy was either an entente cordiale with France, or 
the possession of a strong ally against the enmity of 
France. England is, indeed, ready to accept the stronger 
German- Prussia in place of Austria; and during the situ- 
ation of the autumn of 1 866 we could in any case count 
upon platonic goodwill and didactic newspaper articles 
from over there; but this theoretical sympathy would 
scarcely have condensed itself into an active support by 
land and by sea. The occurrences of 1870 have shown 
my estimation of England to have been correct. The 
representation of France in North Germany was under- 
taken in London with a readiness which was at least mor- 
tifying to us; and during the war England never compro- 
mised herself so far in our favour as thereby to endanger 
her friendship with France : on the contrary. 



It was chiefly under the influence of these reflections 
in the sphere of our foreign policy that I determined to 
regulate the movements of our home policy in accordance 
with the question whether it would support or injure the 
impression of the power and coherence of the state. I 
argued to myself that our first great aim must be in- 
dependence and security in our foreign relations ; that to 

62 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

this end not only was actual removal of internal dissen- 
sions requisite, but also any appearance of such a thing 
must be avoided in the sight of the foreign Powers and of 
Germany ; that, if we first gained independence of foreign 
influence, we should then be able to move freely in our 
internal development, and to organise our institutions in 
as liberal or reactionary a manner as should seem right 
and fitting; that we might adjourn all domestic questions 
until we had secured our national aims abroad. I never 
doubted the possibility of giving to the royal power the 
strength necessary in order that our clock should be cor- 
rectly set at home, provided that we first secured the nec- 
essary freedom from without to live as an independent 
great nation. Until that should be accomplished I was 
ready, if necessary, to pay ' black-mail' to the Opposition, 
in order to be in a position in the first place to throw into 
the scale our full power, and diplomatically to use the ap- 
pearance of this united power and, in case of need, even 
to have the possibility of letting loose national revolu- 
tionary movements against our enemies. 

At a meeting of one of the committees of the Prus- 
sian Diet a question was asked by the Progressist party, 
and, I suspect, not without knowledge of the efforts of 
the Extreme Right, whether the government was prepared 
to introduce the Prussian Constitution in the New Prov- 
inces. An evasive answer would have aroused, or would 
have animated, the distrust of the constitutional parties. 
I was firmly convinced that it was imperative not to ob- 
struct the development of the German question by any 
doubts as to the loyalty of the government to the Consti- 
tution ; that every fresh dissension between the govern- 
ment and the Opposition would have strengthened the 

63 



BISMARCK 

resistance to our new national structure which we had to 
expect from abroad. Thereupon I strove to convince the 
Opposition and its speakers that they would do well for 
the present to allow all domestic constitutional questions 
to remain in the background; that the German nation, 
when once united, would be in a position to settle her 
internal affairs as she thought best ; that it was our pres- 
ent task to place the nation in this position ; but all these 
considerations were useless in face of the narrow-minded 
provincial party politics of the Opposition leaders, while 
the discussions raised by them placed the national aim 
too much in the front not only in the sight of foreign 
countries, but also in that of the King, who at that time 
still looked more to the power and greatness of Prussia 
than to the constitutional union of Germany. He was 
wholly free from any ambitious calculations in the direc- 
tion of Germany. Even in 1870 he described the title 
of Emperor contemptuously as a ' fancy-dress major/ 
whereupon I answered, that his Majesty certainly already 
by the Constitution held the full prerogatives of the posi- 
tion, and that the title of Emperor merely implied the 
outward sanction ; to some extent, as if an officer, who 
was commissioned to take charge of a regiment, were defi- 
nitely appointed to the command. It was more flattering 
to his dynastic feeling to exercise this power simply as 
the born King of Prussia, than as an Emperor who had 
been elected and set up by a constitution just as a prince 
who commands a regiment prefers to be addressed as your 
Royal Highness, and not as Colonel; and a lieutenant 
who is a count as Count, and not as Lieutenant. I had 
to take these peculiarities of my master into account if I 

wished to retain his confidence; and without him and 

64 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

his confidence my way in German politics would have been 
impassable. 



Looking to the necessity, in a fight against an over- 
whelming foreign Power, of being able, in extreme need, 
to use even revolutionary means, I had had no hesitation 
whatever in throwing into the frying-pan, by means of 
the circular dispatch of June 10, 1866, the most power- 
ful ingredient known at that time to liberty-mongers, 
namely, universal suffrage, so as to frighten off foreign 
monarchies from trying to stick a finger into our national 
omelette. I never doubted that the German people would 
be strong and clever enough to free themselves from the 
existing suffrage as soon as they realised that it was a 
harmful institution. If it cannot, then my saying that 
Germany can ride when once it has got into the saddle 1 
was erroneous. The acceptance of universal suffrage was 
a weapon in the war against Austria and other foreign 
countries, in the war for German Unity, as well as a 
threat to use the last weapons in a struggle against coali- 
tions. In a war of this sort, when it becomes a matter of 
life and death, one does not look at the weapons that one 
seizes, nor the value of what one destroys in using them : 
one is guided at the moment by no other thought than 
the issue of the war, and the preservation of one's exter- 
nal independence; the settling of affairs and reparation 
of the damage has to take place after the peace. More- 
over, I still hold that the principle of universal suffrage is 
a just one, not only in theory but also in practice, pro- 
Speech on March n, 1867. Political Speeches \ iii. 184. 
VOL. II. 5 65 



BISMARCK 

vided always that voting be not secret, for secrecy is a 
quality that is indeed incompatible with the best charac- 
teristics of German blood. 

The influence and the dependence on others that the 
practical life of man brings in its train are God-given 
realities which we cannot and must not ignore. If we 
refuse to transfer them to political life, and base that life 
on a faith in the secret insight of everybody, we fall into a 
contradiction between public law and the realities of human 
life which practically leads to constant frictions, and finally 
to an explosion, and to which there is no theoretical solu- 
tion except by way of the insanities of social-democracy, 
the support given to which rests on the fact that the judg- 
ment of the masses is sufficiently stultified and undevel- 
oped to allow them, with the assistance of their own greed, 
to be continually caught by the rhetoric of clever and am- 
bitious leaders. 

The counterpoise to this lies in the influence of the 
educated classes, which would be greatly strengthened 
if voting were public,* as for the Prussian Diet. It may 
be that the greater discretion of the more intelligent 
classes rests on the material basis of the preservation of 
their possessions. The other motive, the struggle for 
gain, is equally justifiable; but a preponderance of those 
who represent property is more serviceable for the secur- 
ity and development of the state. A state, the control of 
which lies in the hands of the greedy, of the novarum 
rerum cupidi, and of orators who have in a higher degree 
than others the capacity for deceiving the unreasoning 
masses, will constantly be doomed to a restlessness of de- 

* Secret voting was, of course, first brought into the law through Fries's 
motion, while the proposals of the government advocated public voting. 

66 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

velopment, which so ponderous a mass as the common- 
wealth of the state cannot follow without injury to its 
organism. Ponderous masses, and among these the life 
and development of great nations must be reckoned, can 
only move with caution, since the road on which they 
travel to an unknown future has no smooth iron rails. 
Every great state-commonwealth that loses the prudent 
and restraining influence of the propertied class, whether 
that influence rests on material or moral grounds, will 
always end by being rushed along at a speed which must 
shatter the coach of state, as happened in the development 
of the French Revolution. The element of greed has the 
preponderance arising from large masses which in the 
long run must make its way. It is in the interests of 
the great mass itself to wish decision to take place with- 
out dangerous acceleration of the speed of the coach of 
state, and without its destruction. If this should hap- 
pen, however, the wheel of history will revolve again, and 
always in a proportionately shorter time, to dictatorship, 
to despotism, to absolutism, because in the end the masses 
yield to the need of order; if they do not recognise this 
need a priori, they always realise it eventually after mani- 
fold arguments ad hominem ; and in order to purchase 
order from a dictatorship and Caesarism they cheerfully 
sacrifice that justifiable amount of freedom which ought 
to be maintained, and which the political society of Eu- 
rope can endure without ill-health. 

I should regard it as a serious misfortune, and as an 
essential weakening of our security in the future, if we in 
Germany are driven into the vortex of this French cycle. 
Absolutism would be the ideal form of government for 

an European political structure were not the King and 

67 



BISMARCK 

his officials ever as other men are to whom it is not 
given to reign with superhuman wisdom, insight and jus- 
tice. The most experienced and well-meaning absolute 
rulers are subject to .human imperfections, such as over- 
estimation of their own wisdom, the influence and elo- 
quence of favourites, not to mention petticoat influence, 
legitimate and illegitimate. Monarchy and the most ideal 
monarch, if in his idealism he is not to be a common 
danger, stand in need of criticism ; the thorns of criticism 
set him right when he runs the risk of losing his way. 
Joseph II is a warning example of this. 

Criticism can only be exercised through the medium 
of a free press and parliaments in the modern sense of 
the term. Both correctives may easily weaken, and finally 
lose their efficacy if they abuse their powers. To avert 
this is one of the tasks of a conservative policy, which 
cannot be accomplished without a struggle with parlia- 
ment and press. The measuring of the limits within 
which such a struggle must be confined, if the control of 
the government, which is indispensable to the country, is 
neither to be checked nor allowed to gain a complete 
power, is a question of political tact and judgment. 

It is a piece of good fortune for his country if a mon- 
arch possess the judgment requisite for this a good for- 
tune that is temporary, it is true, like all human fortune. 
The possibility of establishing ministers in power who 
possess adequate qualifications must always be granted 
in the constitutional organism; but also the possibility 
of maintaining in office ministers who satisfy these re- 
quirements in face of occasional votes of an adverse ma- 
jority and of the influence of courts and camarillas. This 
aim, so far as human imperfections in general allow its 

68 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

attainment, was approximately reached under the govern- 
ment of William I. 



The opening of the Prussian Parliament was to follow 
immediately upon our arrival at Berlin, and the speech 
from the throne was deliberated upon at Prague. Thither 
came deputies from the Conservative party, whose ranks 
during the struggle had at times dwindled down to as few 
as eleven members, but by the election of July 3 had, 
under the effect produced by the first victories before 
Koniggratz, been reinforced to more than a hundred. 
The result would have been even more favourable to the 
government if the election had taken place a few days 
after the decisive battle; but even as it was, taken to- 
gether with the enthusiastic disposition of the country, 
it was, at any rate, adapted to inspire hopes of success 
not only in Conservatives, but in reactionaries also. The 
strengthening of the position of the monarchy that had re- 
sulted from the parliamentary situation at the outbreak 
of the war, and the clumsy and ambitious obstinacy of 
the opposition, provided those whose aim was a return to 
absolutism, or at least a restoration on the lines of the 
Estates General, with a pretext for a suspension and revi- 
sion of the Prussian constitution. It was not fashioned 
for an enlarged Prussia, still less for being fitted into the 
future constitution of Germany. The charter of the con- 
stitution itself contained an article (No. 118) which 
owing its existence, as it did, to the influence of the na- 
tional temper at the time of the drawing up of the consti- 
tution, and borrowed from the draft of 1848 justified the 



BISMARCK 

subordination of the Prussian constitution to a new Ger- 
man constitution that had yet to be devised. An oppor- 
tunity was thus given of unhinging the constitution and 
the efforts of the majority during the conflict after parlia- 
mentary government, with a formal appearance of legal- 
ity; and this lay at the root of the exertions of the Ex- 
treme Right and the members they sent as deputies to 
Prague. 

Another opportunity of combining the settlement of 
internal dissensions with that of the German question had 
fallen into the King's hands, when the Emperor Alexan- 
der, in 1863, at the time of the Polish rebellion and the 
attempt to surprise us at the Frankfort Diet of Princes, 
had in an autograph letter vigorously recommended an 
alliance between Prussia and Russia. The letter, written 
in the Emperor's delicate hand, over many closely written 
pages, spun out at great length and in a style more declam- 
atory than his pen possessed, suggested Hamlet's words : 

' Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing end them ? ' 

but suggested them in an affirmative instead of an inter- 
rogative sense. Its tenor was that the Emperor was tired 
of the chicaneries of the Western Powers and of Austria 
and Poland, and had determined to draw the sword and 
rid himself of them ; appealing to the friendship of the 
King, and to their common interests, he invited him to 
joint action, on lines similar to but wider than those of 
the Alvensleben convention of February of the same year. 
It was difficult for the King, on the one hand, to send 

a refusal as his reply to his near relation and most inti- 

70 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

mate friend, or, on the other, to familiarise himself with 
the resolve to expose his country to the horrors of a great 
war, and force upon the state and the dynasty the risks 
contingent on such a course of action. Moreover, that 
strain in his private feelings which made him inclined to 
take part in the Frankfort Diet of Princes I mean his 
sense of being closely bound up with every old princely 
house ran counter in him to the temptation to yield to 
the appeal of his friend and nephew, and comply with the 
family traditions of Prussia and Russia, a compliance 
which must lead to a breach in his relations with the Ger- 
man confederation and the collective body of the German 
princely houses. In my report, which occupied me several 
days, I avoided laying stress on the aspect of affairs that 
would have been important in our internal policy, because 
I was not of opinion that a war waged in alliance with 
Russia against Austria and all the adversaries with whom 
we had to fight in 1866, would have brought us any nearer 
the fulfilment of our task as a nation. It is true that war 
may be used as a means of getting the better of internal 
difficulties it is a device much resorted to, especially in 
French politics; but in Germany such a means would 
only have been practicable if the war in question lay in 
the line of the national development. To that end it 
would above all things have been necessary that it should 
not be carried on with Russian assistance, which public 
opinion even to this day condemns in an impolitic manner. 
German unity must be realised without any foreign influ- 
ence, merely by Germany's own strength. Moreover, the 
conflict of mind under which the King laboured at the 
time I entered the ministry, even up to the resolve to 
abdicate, had considerably lost its influence over his reso- 

7 1 



BISMARCK 

lutions since he had found ministers who were ready to 
represent his policy openly and without subterfuge. Since 
then he had acquired the conviction that the position of 
the Crown, if matters had come to the point of revolution- 
ary outbreak, would have been stronger ; the intimidation 
of the Queen and the ministers of the new era had lost 
its power. On the other hand, in my statement to him 
I did not conceal my estimate of the military strength 
that an alliance between Germany and Russia would have, 
particularly at the outset. 

The geographical position of the three great Eastern 
Powers is of such a kind that each of them, as soon as it is 
attacked by the two others, finds itself strategically at a 
disadvantage, even if she have England or France as an 
ally in Western Europe. The isolated power would be 
most at a disadvantage if Austria were exposed to a Rus- 
so-German attack; least, if it were a case of Russia 
against Austria and Germany ; but even Russia would at 
the outset of a war be in a serious plight in face of a 
combined advance of the two German powers upon the 
Bug. Her geographical position and ethnographical for- 
mation set Austria at a great disadvantage in the matter 
of war with the two neighbouring empires, for French as- 
sistance could scarcely arrive in time to restore the bal- 
ance. But whether Austria succumbed at the outset to a 
coalition between Russia and Germany, or whether the 
alliance of her opponents were broken up by some clever 
treaty of peace between the three Emperors, or even 
merely weakened in consequence of some defeat of Aus- 
tria, the preponderance of Russia and Germany would in 
any case be decisive. Granting equally good generalship 

and equal bravery in the great armies, a great strength of 

72 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

the German-Russian combination, if it holds firmly to- 
gether from the outset, lies in the conformation of the 
individual territories of those Powers. But calculation 
upon military success and belief in it are in themselves 
uncertain, and will become still more so if the estimated 
strength on this side is not homogeneous, but rests upon 
alliances. 

In my draft of the answer, which turned out still 
longer than the letter of the Emperor Alexander, stress 
was laid upon the fact that a joint war against the West- 
ern Powers must necessarily, in its final development, by 
reason of the geographical conditions of France's craving 
for the Rhine countries, be reduced to a war between 
France and Prussia ; that a Prusso- Russian initiative of the 
war would render our position worse in Germany; that 
Russia, being at a distance from the theatre of war, would 
suffer less of its miseries, while Prussia, on the other 
hand, would have to maintain not only her own but like- 
wise the Russian forces ; and that Russian policy would 
then for, if my memory does not deceive me, this is the 
expression I used be sitting on the longer arm of the 
lever, and, just as in the congress of Vienna, and with 
still greater weight, would be able, if we were victorious, 
to dictate even to us what form our peace should take, 
exactly as Austria could have done in 1859, in respect to 
our conditions of peace with France, if we had then en- 
tered into the war against France and Italy. I do not 
recall the text of my argument, although I had it again 
before me a few years ago with reference to our explana- 
tion with Russia on policy, and was happy to find that I 
then possessed sufficient energy to draw up with my own 
hand so long a minute in writing which the King could 

73 



BISMARCK 

read a manual labour which could not have been condu- 
cive to the success of my Gastein course. Although the 
King did not view the question from the German national 
point of view to the same degree as I did, he did not suc- 
cumb to the temptation to ally himself with Russia in 
order to put a forcible end to the arrogance of Austrian 
policy, and of the majority in the Diet, and to the con- 
tempt which both showed for the Prussian Crown. If he 
agreed to the Russian demand we should probably, con- 
sidering the rapidity of our mobilisation, the strength of 
the Russian army in Poland, and the military weakness 
of Austria at that time, have overrun Austria, with or 
without the help of Italy, whose covetousness was still 
unsatisfied, and before France could afford her effective 
help. If one could have been certain that the result of 
this overrunning would be an imperial triple alliance, on 
condition of letting Austria off easily, then possibly my 
judgment of the situation could not appropriately have 
been called accurate. But this certainty, in view of the 
divergent interests of Russia and Austria in the East, did 
not exist; it was hardly probable, and by no means in 
conformity with Russian policy, that a victorious Prusso- 
Russian coalition should act towards Austria with even 
the measure of forbearance which was contemplated on 
the Prussian side in 1866, in the interest of a possible 
future rapprochement. For this reason I was afraid that, 
in the event of our victory, we should not agree with 
Russia respecting the future of Austria, and that Russia 
herself, after further successes against France, would not 
be willing to resign the chance of keeping Prussia in a 
dependent position on her western boundary. Least of 
all could help towards a national policy in the sense of 

74 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

Prussian hegemony have been expected from Russia. 
Tilsit, Erfurt, Olmiitz and other historic memories said : 
Vestigia terrent. In short, I had not confidence enough 
in Gortchakoffs policy, to let us reckon on the same se- 
curity that Alexander I afforded in 1813, until the ques- 
tions of the future came to discussion at Vienna, as to 
what was to become of Poland and Saxony, whether Ger- 
many had sufficient protection against French invasions 
independently of Russian decisions, and whether Stras- 
burg should become a fortress of the Confederation. Such 
were the varied considerations I had to bear in mind in 
order to decide upon the proposals I wished to lay before 
the King and the form in which they were to be drafted. 
I do not doubt that the time will come when our archives 
will be accessible to the public, even in respect to these 
transactions, whether or not in the meantime the proposal 
is carried out to destroy those documents which testify to 
my political activity. 

The temptation had certainly been great for a monarch 
whose position was exposed to the extravagant attacks of 
the Radical party and to the pressure of Austrian di- 
plomacy, not only in the national domain of the Frank- 
fort Congress of Princes, but also in that of Poland, from 
the three great confederate Powers, England, France, and 
Austria. 

That the King, in 1863, did not allow his deeply mor- 
tified feelings as monarch and as Prussian to overmaster 
political considerations shows how strong in him were the 
sentiment of national honour and sound common-sense in 
politics. 



BISMARCK 

In 1866 the King could not easily make up his mind 
upon the question whether he should arbitrarily break 
down parliamentary resistance and prevent its recurrence, 
so weighty were the reasons against doing so. By the 
suspension and revision of the Constitution, by the hu- 
miliation of the Opposition in the Diet, an effectual 
weapon against Prussia in the struggles looming in the 
future would have been placed in the hands of all those 
who were discontented with the events of 1866 in Ger- 
many and Austria. One would have had to be prepared 
meanwhile to carry out, in opposition to the parliament 
and the press, a system of government in Prussia which 
would be combated by all the rest of Germany. Meas- 
ures which we should have had to take against the press 
would have had no validity in Dessau ; and Austria and 
South Germany would, meanwhile, have taken their re- 
venge by assuming, on Liberal and National lines, the 
leadership which Prussia had forsaken. The National 
party in Prussia itself would have sympathised with the 
adversaries of the government. We could, indeed, have 
constitutionally gained an increase of strength for the 
monarchy within the amended boundaries of Prussia, but 
it would have been in the presence of fiercely dissentient 
domestic elements, to which the Opposition in the new 
provinces would have united itself. We should then have 
carried on a Prussian war of conquest, but the sinews of 
the national policy of Prussia would have been severed. 
In the struggle to create for the German nation, by means 
of unity, the possibility of an existence corresponding to 
its historical importance, lay the weightiest argument in 
justification of waging the German ' Bruderkrieg; ' the 

renewal of such a war would be unavoidable if the strug- 

76 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

gle between the German stocks was simply for the sake 
of strengthening the separate State of Prussia. 

I do not consider absolutism by any means a form of 
government that is desirable or successful in Germany in 
the long run. The Prussian Constitution, disregarding 
a few meaningless articles translated from that of Bel- 
gium, is in the main reasonable. It has three factors, 
the King and two Chambers, each of which by its vote 
can prevent arbitrary alterations of the legal status quo. 
This is a just apportionment of legislative power, but if 
the latter is emancipated from the public criticism of the 
press and from parliamentary control, there is increased 
danger of its going astray. The absolutism of the Crown 
is just as little tenable as the absolutism of parliamentary 
majorities; the necessity for the agreement of both in 
every alteration of the legal status quo is just, and we did 
not need to make any important improvement in the 
Prussian Constitution. Government can be carried on 
with it, and the course of German policy would have been 
littered up if we had altered it in 1866. Before the vic- 
tory I would never have mentioned the word ' Indemnity;'* 
but after the victory the King was in a position to make 
the concession magnanimously, and to conclude peace, not 
with his people for it was never interrupted, as the 
course of the war showed but with the section of the 
Opposition which had got out of harmony with the gov- 
ernment, more from national than from party grounds. 

Such were pretty nearly the thoughts and arguments 
with which, during the many hours' journey from Prague 
to Berlin, on August 4, I tried to combat the difficulties 

* [That is, indemnity for unconstitutional action on the part of minis- 
ters during the ' Conflict ' period.] 

77 



BISMARCK 

which his own views, but still more external influences, 
and especially the influence of the Conservative deputa- 
tion, had left on the King's mind. To this was added a 
view of political affairs which made his Majesty regard a 
request for a bill of indemnity as an admission of a wrong 
committed.* I sought in vain to demolish this verbal and 
legal error by showing that in granting the indemnity 
there was nothing more than the recognition of the fact 
that the government and its royal chief, rebus sic stanti- 
bus, had acted correctly; the demand for the bill of in- 
demnity was a desire for this recognition. In all consti- 
tutional life, in the scope it allows to governments, it is 
a necessary condition that they cannot always find indi- 
cated in the Constitution a compulsory course for every 
situation. The King adhered to his dislike to indemnity ; 
while, for our parliamentary opponents, of whom at most 
only those who afterwards formed the party of Free- 
thought were malevolent, while the others were merely 
mistaken, it appeared to me necessary to build a golden 
bridge, either in policy or in words, in order to restore 
the internal peace of Prussia, and from this solid Prussian 
basis to continue the German policy of the King. This 
interview, which lasted several hours, was very trying to 
me, because I had to be on my guard all the time. It 
took place in a railway coupt for three, with the King and 
the Crown Prince. But the latter did not support me, 
although by the mobile expression of his features he, at all 
events, strengthened me in regard to his father by the 
manifestation of his full agreement. 

*The statement in Roon's Denkiviirdigkeiten (Deutsche Revue, 1891, 
vol. i. p. 133 ; edition in book form, ii. 482): ' To secure Bismarck's ad- 
hesion it was in any case decisive that he knew accurately the placable 
views of his King,' is erroneous. 

78 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

I had been in correspondence from Nikolsburg with 
the other ministers, so that the draft of the speech from 
the throne had been drawn up, and had been accepted by 
his Majesty, with the exception of the clause relating to 
the indemnity. At last, however, the King reluctantly 
assented to that also, and thus it was possible to open the 
Diet on August 5 with a speech from the throne which - f 
announced that the representatives of the country were to 
proceed to an ex post facto approval of the administration 
carried on without an Appropriation Act. In verbis simus 
faciles ! 

The next business was the regulation of our relations 
to the various German states with whom we had been at 
war. We might have done without annexations for Prus- 
sia and have sought compensation for them in the Con- 
stitution of the Confederation. But his Majesty had no 
stronger faith in the practical effects of clauses of the 
Constitution than in the old Federal Diet, and insisted 
on the enlargement of Prussia in order to fill up the gap 
between the east and west provinces, and make Prussia a 
tenable territory in a ring-fence in case of the failure, 
sooner or later, of the national reconstruction. In the 
annexation of Hanover and the Electorate of Hesse, there- 
fore, the question was one of the establishment of a con- 
nexion effective in all eventualities between the two divi- 
sions of the monarchy. The difficulties of the customs 
connexion between our two territories, and the attitude of 
Hanover in the last war, had again made evident the 
need of absolute territorial cohesion in the north, under 
one hand. In future wars, with Austria or other coun- 
tries, we ought not to be again exposed to the possibility 
of having one or two hostile bodies of good troops in our 

79 



BISMARCK 

rear. The apprehension that matters might some day take 
this shape was heightened by the excessive idea which 
King George V entertained of his own mission and that 
of his dynasty. One is not every day in a position to 
remedy a perilous situation of the kind, and the statesman 
who is placed by circumstances in a position to do so, and 
does not avail himself of it, takes a great responsibility 
upon himself; for international policy and the right of 
the German nation to live and breathe as a nation undi- 
vided cannot be judged according to principles of private 
right. The King of Hanover sent to Nikolsburg, by an 
aide-de-camp, a letter to the King, which I begged his 
Majesty not to receive, for we had to keep in our eye the 
point of view, not of good fellowship, but of politics ; and 
the independence of Hanover, with the power of leading 
its troops into the field for or against Prussia according 
to the judgment of the Sovereign of the day, placed at 
its disposal by international law, was incompatible with 
carrying out German unity. The durability of treaties 
alone, without the guarantee of adequate power at home 
under the lead of the Prince, never sufficed to secure for 
the German nation peace and unity in the Empire. 

I succeeded in getting the King away from the idea 
of treating with Hanover and Hesse on the basis of the 
dismemberment of these lands, and of confederation with 
their former sovereigns as partial princes of a residue. If 
the Elector had retained Fulda and Hanau, and George 
V Kalenburg and Liineburg with the prospect of succes- 
sion in Brunswick, neither the Hanoverians and Hessians, 
nor the two Princes themselves, would have been con- 
tented members of the North German Confederation. 

This plan would have given us discontented confedera- 

80 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

tion, with a tendency to ' Rheinbiindelei ' for the sake of 
winning back their lost territory. 

Likewise such unconditional devotion to Austria as 
Nassau had shown was a dangerous phenomenon in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Coblenz, especially in the 
event of alliances between France and Austria, such as 
had come into menacing prospect during the Crimean war 
and the Polish complications of 1863. His Majesty had 
inherited his dislike of Nassau from his father. Fred- 
erick William III used to travel through the Duchy with- 
out seeing the Duke. The Duke's contingent had made 
itself particularly disagreeable in Prussia during the time 
of the Confederation of the Rhine, and King William I 
was prejudiced against concessions to the Duke by the 
vehement opposition made by deputations of previous sub- 
jects of Nassau, whose standing cry was : ' Save us from 
the Prince and his huntsmen ! ' 

There remained treaties of peace to be concluded with 
Saxony and the South German states. Herr von Varn- 
buler showed the same vivacity of temperament as in the 
preparations for war, and was the first with whom a con- 
clusion was arrived at. 1 It was a question among other 
things whether, as Wurtemberg had taken possession of 
Prussian Hohenzollern, we should now, as the King de- 
sired, turn the tables and demand an enlargement of Hoh- 
enzollern at the expense of Wurtemberg. I could not see 
any advantage either for Prussia or for our national future 
in doing this, and, in general, regarded the principle of 
retaliation as no sound basis for our policy, 8 since even 
where our feelings had been injured, it ought to be guided, 
not by our own irritation, but by consideration of its ob- 

1 See above, p. 54. 2 See above, p. 51. 

VOL. II. 6 8 1 



BISMARCK 

ject. Just because Varnbiiler had some diplomatic sins 
towards us to his account, he was a useful intermediary 
for me ; and by agreeing to forget the past, through the 
example of Wurtemberg in concluding its treaty (August 
13), I gained the way to the others. 

I do not know whether Roggenbach was acting under 
the orders of the Grand Duke of Baden in the conclusion 
of peace, when he represented to me that Bavaria was a 
hindrance to German unification owing to its size, and 
would more easily fit into a future reconstruction of 
Germany if it were reduced, and that it was therefore 
advisable to restore a better balance of power in South 
Germany by increasing Baden, and bringing it into imme- 
diate juxtaposition with Prussia by the incorporation with 
it of the Palatinate ; in which connexion further changes, 
in accordance with the desire of Prussia to recover the 
dynastic family domains of Anspach-Baireuth, including 
the absorption of Wurtemberg, were kept in view. I did 
not accept this suggestion, but declined it a limine. 
Even if I had been willing to consider it exclusively on 
the ground of expediency, it still betrayed a want of a just 
eye for the future and an obscuration of the political view 
by the domestic policy of Baden. The difficulty of com- 
pelling Bavaria, against her will, to enter a constitution 
of the Empire which did not suit her, would have re- 
mained the same even if the Palatinate had been handed 
over to Baden ; and it is a question whether the Palatinate 
people would willingly have accepted this connexion in 
exchange for that with Bavaria. When there was some 
talk in passing about compensating Hesse for its territory 
north of the Main by Bavarian territory in the direction 

of Aschaffenburg, protests reached me from the latter dis- 

82 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

trict which, although they came from a strictly Catholic 
population, amounted to this, that if the undersigned could 
not remain Bavarians they would rather become Prus- 
sians, but disliked being transferred from Bavaria to 
Hesse. They appeared to be governed by a considera- 
tion of the rank of the sovereigns, and by the order of vot- 
ing in the Federal Diet, in which Bavaria ranked before^ 
Hesse. In the same line of ideas I remember from my 
Frankfort time a saying of a Prussian soldier to one from 
a small state : ' You shut up ; why, you have not even 
got a King.' I regarded alterations of state boundaries 
in South Germany as no step towards unification of the 
whole. 

A reduction of Bavaria in the north would have been 
against the King's wish at that time, which was to re- 
cover Anspach and Baireuth in their old extent. But this 
plan, however dear to my honoured and beloved master, 
was as little in accordance with my political views as the 
Baden one, and I successfully resisted it. In the autumn 
of 1866 it was not yet possible to forecast the future atti- 
tude of Austria. The jealousy of France towards us was 
admitted, and no one knew better than I the disappoint- 
ment of Napoleon at our successes in Bohemia. He had 
reckoned with certainty that Austria would beat us, and 
that we should be reduced to purchase his mediation. 
Now, if the efforts of France to make up for this error 
and its consequences had succeeded by means of the irri- 
tation necessarily caused in Vienna by our victory, the 
question would have come to the fore in many German 
courts whether, in conjunction with Austria, and as it 
were in a second Silesian war, they wished to renew the 
struggle against us or not. That Bavaria and Saxony 

83 



BISMARCK 

would succumb to this temptation was possible, but that 
a Bavaria mutilated as Roggenbach wanted would have 
sought revenge against us in a junction with Austria was 
probable. 



Such a junction would perhaps have embraced a wider 
area than the Guelf legion, which under French protection 
took up a position against us shortly afterwards. That 
with the exception of a few individuals who had passed 
out of mind it had ceased to appear on the scene in 1870 
is largely due to the circumstance that certain confiden- 
tial persons acquainted with the agreement drawn up in 
Hanover kept us informed of the preparations that went 
on, even down to minute details, and offered to frustrate 
the entire combination if the emoluments of their former 
posts in Hanover were secured to them. I felt apprehen- 
sive at that time, from correspondence intercepted by or- 
der of the courts, that we might find it necessary, in view 
of Guelfic enterprises, to proceed to reprisals which, look- 
ing to the risk of war, could not prove other than severe. 
It must be remembered that we did not then feel sure 
enough of victory over France, considering what the 
French army had done in the past, to neglect anything that 
might prevent our position from being made more difficult. 
I therefore agreed with the intermediaries, who approached 
me closer, that their wishes should be fulfilled if they car- 
ried out their promises; and indicated as a note of this 
condition the question whether we should not be compelled 
to shoot a Hanoverian for fighting against German forces. 
No disturbances therefore occurred in the country, and 



THE NORTH GERMAN BUND 

after the outbreak of the war the departure of Guelfs to 
France, by land and water, was confined to a few who 
were already compromised. From the behaviour of the 
Hanoverian troops in the war, it is not probable that a 
Guelf insurrection at home would have been able to gain 
many adherents, at least so long as our progress in France 
was victorious. What would have happened if we had^ 
returned beaten and pursued through Hanover I leave un- 
touched. But a prophylactic policy must take even such 
possibilities into consideration; at all events I was re- 
solved, under stress of war, to advise the King to adopt 
every measure of active defence which the instinct of po- 
litical self-preservation can suggest. And even if only a 
few severe and apparently cruel punishments had become 
necessary, such acts of violence against German fellow- 
countrymen, however much they might be justified by the 
risks of war, would for generations afterwards have been 
a hindrance in the way of reconciliation and a pretext for 
persecutions. It therefore seemed to me important to 
prevent such possibilities in good time. 



The struggles during the previous winter with the 
King, who did not want war, and during the campaign, 
with the military men, who saw only Austria, not the 
other Powers of Europe, before them, and again with the 
King respecting the conclusion of peace, and then again 
respecting the bill of indemnity, had so exhausted me that 
I needed rest and recreation. I went first of all on Sep- 
tember 26 to my cousin, Count Bismarck- Bohlen at Karls- 
burg, and then on October 6 to Putbus, where I fell very 

85 



BISMARCK 

ill at the inn. Prince and Princess Putbus showed me 
most kind hospitality in a cottage that had remained 
standing close to the castle, which had been burnt down. 
After the first severe attack had passed away I was able 
to take affairs again in hand by correspondence with Sa- 
vigny. As the last Prussian envoy to the Federal Diet 
he naturally inherited the special branch of the work deal- 
ing with the German policy then in the foreground. He 
brought the negotiations with Saxony to a conclusion, 
which had not been reached before my departure. Their 
result is fublici jtiris, and I can abstain from criticising 
them. The military independence of Saxony was after- 
wards, through the mediation of General von Stosch, fur- 
ther developed by his Majesty's personal decisions beyond 
what was arranged in the treaty. 

The prudent and honourable policy of the last two 
Saxon kings has justified these concessions that is to 
say, as long as the existing Prusso-Austrian friendship can 
be maintained. It is upon grounds due to the records of 
past history and religion, on human nature, and especially 
on the traditions of the sovereigns, that the close league 
between Prussia and Austria, made in 1879, exercises a 
concentrating pressure on Bavaria and Saxony, which is 
stronger in proportion as the German element in Austria, 
high and low, is careful to foster its relations with the 
Habsburg dynasty. The parliamentary excesses of the 
German element in Austria, and their ultimate influence 
on the policy of the dynasty, threatened to weaken the 
force of the German national element in this direction, 
and not alone in Austria. The doctrinaire blunders of 
parliamentary groups are as a rule favourable to the efforts 

of women and priests who dabble in politics. 

86 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE EMS TELEGRAM 

ON July 2, 1870, the Spanish ministry decided in favour 
of the accession to that throne of Leopold, Hereditary 
Prince of Hohenzollern. This gave the first stimulus in 
the field of international law to the subsequent military 
question, but still only in the form of a specifically Span- 
ish matter. It was hard to find in the law of nations a 
pretext for France to interfere with the freedom of Spain 
to choose a King ; after people in Paris had made up their 
minds to war with Prussia, this was sought for artificially 
in the name Hohenzollern, which in itself had nothing 
more menacing to France than any other German name. 
On the contrary, it might have been assumed, in Spain as 
well as in Germany, that Prince Hohenzollern, on account 
of his personal and family connexions in Paris, would be 
a persona grata beyond many another German Prince. I 
remember that on the night after the battle of Sedan I 
was riding along the road to Donche"ry, in thick darkness, 
with a number of our officers, following the King in his 
journey round Sedan. In reply to a question from some 
one in the company I talked about the preliminaries to 
the war, and mentioned at the same time that I had thought 
Prince Leopold would be no unwelcome neighbour in 
Spain to the Emperor Napoleon, and would travel to 
Madrid via Paris, in order to get into touch with the 
imperial French policy, forming as it did a part of the 

8? 



BISMARCK 

conditions under which he would have had to govern 
Spain. I said : ' We should have been much more justi- 
fied in dreading a close understanding between the Spanish 
and French crowns than in hoping for the restoration of a 
Spanish- German anti-French constellation after the anal- 
ogy of Charles V; a king of Spain can only carry out 
Spanish policy, and the Prince by assuming the crown of 
the country would become a Spaniard.' To my surprise 
there came from the darkness behind me a vigorous 
rejoinder from the Prince of Hohenzollern, of whose pres- 
ence I had not the least idea; he protested strongly 
against the possibility of presuming any French sympathies 
in him. This protest in the midst of the battlefield of 
Sedan was natural for a German officer and a Hohenzol- 
lern Prince, and I could only answer that the Prince, as 
King of Spain, could have allowed himself to be guided 
by Spanish interests only, and prominent among these, 
in view of strengthening his new kingdom, would have 
been a soothing treatment of his powerful neighbour 
on the Pyrenees. I made my apology to the Prince 
for the expression I had uttered while unaware of his 
presence. 

This episode, introduced before its time, affords evi- 
dence as to the conception I had formed of the whole 
question. I regarded it as a Spanish and not as a Ger- 
man one, even though I was delighted at seeing the 
German name of Hohenzollern active in representing 
monarchy in Spain, and did not fail to calculate all the 
possible consequences from the point of view of our inter- 
ests a duty which is incumbent on a foreign minister 
when anything of similar importance occurs in another 

state. My immediate thought was more of the economic 

88 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

than of the political relations in which a Spanish King of 
German extraction could be serviceable. For Spain I 
anticipated from the personal character of the Prince, and 
from his family relations, tranquillising and consolidating 
results, which I had no reason to grudge the Spaniards. 
Spain is among the few countries which, by their geo- 
graphical position and political necessities, have no reason 
to pursue an anti- German policy; besides which, she is 
well adapted, by the economic relations of supply and 
demand, for an extensive trade with Germany. An ele- 
ment friendly to us in the Spanish government would have 
been an advantage which in the course of German policy 
there appeared no reason to reject a limine, unless the 
apprehension that France might be dissatisfied was to be 
allowed to rank as one. If Spain had developed again 
more vigorously than hitherto has been the case, the fact 
that Spanish diplomacy was friendly towards us might have 
been useful to us in time of peace ; but it did not seem to 
me probable that the King of Spain, on the outbreak of 
the war between Germany and France, which was evi- 
dently coming sooner or later, would, with the best will in 
the world, be in a position to prove his sympathy with 
Germany by an attack on France or a demonstration 
against her; and the conduct of Spain after the outbreak 
of the war which we had drawn upon us by the complai- 
sance of German princes showed the accuracy of my doubt. 
The chivalrous Cid would have called France to account 
for interference in Spain's free choice of a king, and not 
have left the vindication of Spanish independence to 
foreigners. The nation, formerly so powerful by land and 
sea, cannot at the present day hold the cognate popula- 
tion of Cuba in check ; and how could one expect her to 



BISMARCK 

attack a Power like France from affection towards us ? No 
Spanish government, and least of all an alien king, would 
possess power enough in the country to send even a regi- 
ment to the Pyrenees out of affection towards Germany. 
Politically I was tolerably indifferent to the entire ques- 
tion. Prince Anthony was more inclined than myself to 
carry it peacefully to the desired goal. The memoirs of 
his Majesty the King of Roumania are not accurately in- 
formed as regards details of the ministerial co-operation in 
the question. The ministerial council in the palace which 
he mentions did not take place. Prince Anthony was liv- 
ing as the King's guest in the palace, and had invited him 
and some of the ministers to dinner. I scarcely think that 
the Spanish question was discussed at table. If the Duke 
of Gramont 1 labours to adduce proof that I did not stand 
aloof from and averse to the Spanish proposal, I find no 
reason to contradict him. I can no longer recall the text 
of my letter to Marshal Prim, which the Duke has heard 
mentioned; if I drew it up myself, about which I am 
equally uncertain, I should hardly have called the Hohen- 
zollern candidature ' une excellente chose : ' the expres- 
sion is not natural to me. That I regarded it as ' oppor- 
tune/ not ' a un moment donne,' but in principle and in 
time of peace is correct. I had not the slightest doubt in 
the matter that the grandson of the Murats, a favourite at 
the French Court, would secure the goodwill of France 
towards his country. 

The intervention of France at its beginning concerned 
Spanish and not Prussian affairs; the garbling of the mat- 
ter in the Napoleonic policy, by virtue of which the ques- 
tion was to become a Prussian one, was internationally 

1 Gramont, La France et la Prusse avant la guerre. Paris, 1872, p. 21. 

9 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

unjustifiable and exasperating, and proved to me that the 
moment had arrived when France sought a quarrel against 
us and was ready to seize any pretext that seemed avail- 
able. I regarded the French intervention in the first 
instance as an injury, and consequently as an insult to 
Spain, and expected that the Spanish sense of honour 
would resist this encroachment. Later on, when the turn 
of affairs showed that, by her encroachment on Spanish 
independence, France intended to threaten us with war, I 
waited for some days expecting that the Spanish declara- 
tion of war against France would follow that of the French 
against us. I was not prepared to see a self-assertive 
nation like Spain stand quiet behind the Pyrenees with 
ordered arms, while the Germans were engaged in a deadly 
struggle against France on behalf of Spain's independence 
and freedom to choose her king. The Spanish sense of 
honour which proved so sensitive in the Carlist question 
simply left us in the lurch in 1870. Probably in both 
cases the sympathies and international ties of the Repub- 
lican parties were decisive. 

The first demands of France respecting the candidature 
for the Spanish throne, and they were unjustifiable, had 
been presented on July 4, and answered by our Foreign 
Office evasively, though in accordance with truth, that the 
ministry knew nothing about the matter. This was cor- 
rect so far, that the question of Prince Leopold's accep- 
tance of his election had been treated by his Majesty 
simply as a family matter, which in no way concerned 
either Prussia or the North German Confederation, and 
which affected solely the personal relations between the 
Commander-in-Chief and a German officer, and those 
between the head of the family and, not the royal family 

9 1 



BISMARCK 

of Prussia, but the entire family of Hohenzollern, or all 
the bearers of that name. 

In France, however, a casus belli was being sought 
against Prussia which should be as free as possible from 
German national colouring ; and it was thought one had 
been discovered in the dynastic sphere by the accession 
to the Spanish throne of a candidate bearing the name 
of Hohenzollern. In this the overrating of the military 
superiority of France and the underrating of the national 
feeling in Germany was clearly the chief reason why the 
tenability of this pretext was not examined either with 
honesty or judgment. The German national outburst 
which followed the French declaration, and resembled a 
stream bursting its sluices, was a surprise to French 
politicians. They lived, calculated, and acted on recollec- 
tions of the Confederation of the Rhine, supported by the 
attitude of certain West German ministers ; also by Ultra- 
montane influences, in the hope that the conquests of 
France, ' gesta Dei per Francos,' would make it easier in 
Germany to draw further consequences from the Vatican 
council, with the support of an alliance with Catholic 
Austria. The Ultramontane tendencies of French policy 
were favourable to it in Germany and disadvantageous in 
Italy ; the alliance with the latter being finally wrecked 
by the refusal of France to evacuate Rome. In the belief 
that the French army was superior the pretext for war was 
lugged out, as one may say, by the hair ; and instead of 
making Spain responsible for its reputed anti- French elec- 
tion of a king, they attacked the German Prince who had 
not refused to relieve the need of the Spaniards, in the 
way they themselves wished, by the appointment of a use- 
ful king, and one who would presumably be regarded as 

92 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

persona grata in Paris ; and the King of Prussia, whom 
nothing beyond his family name and his position as a Ger- 
man fellow-countryman had brought into connexion with 
this Spanish affair. In the very fact that the French 
cabinet ventured to call Prussian policy to account respect- 
ing the acceptance of the election, and to do so in a form 
which, in the interpretation put upon it by the French 
papers, became a public threat, lay a piece of international 
impudence which, in my opinion, rendered it impossible 
for us to draw back one single inch. The insulting char- 
acter of the French demand was enhanced, not only by 
the threatening challenges of the French press, but also 
by the discussions in parliament and the attitude taken by 
the ministry of Gramont and Ollivier upon these manifes- 
tations. The utterance of Gramont in the session of the 
1 Corps Legislatif ' of July 6 : 

* We do not believe that respect for the rights of a 
neighbouring people binds us to suffer a foreign Power to 

set one of its Princes on the throne of Charles V 

This event will not come to pass, of that we are quite cer- 
tain. . . . Should it prove otherwise we shall know how 
to fulfil our duty without shrinking and without weak- 
ness ' 

this utterance was itself an official international threat, 
with the hand on the sword hilt. The phrase, La Prusse 
cane (Prussia climbs down), served in the press to illustrate 
the range of the parliamentary proceedings of July 6 and 
7 ; which, in my feeling, rendered all compliance incom- 
patible with our sense of national honour. 

On July 1 2 I decided to hurry off from Varzin to Ems 
to discuss with his Majesty about summoning the Reichs- 
tag for the purpose of the mobilisation. As I passed 

93 



BISMARCK 

through Wussow my friend Mulert, the old clergyman, 
stood before the parsonage door and warmly greeted me ; 
my answer from the open carriage was a thrust in carte 
and tierce in the air, and he clearly understood that I 
believed I was going to war. As I entered the courtyard 
of my house at Berlin, and before leaving the carriage, I 
received telegrams from which it appeared that the King 
was continuing to treat with Benedetti, even after the 
French threats and outrages in parliament and in the 
press, and not referring him with calm reserve to his min- 
isters. During dinner, at which Moltke and Roon were 
present, the announcement arrived from the embassy in 
Paris that the Prince of Hohenzollern had renounced his 
candidature in order to prevent the war with which France 
threatened us. My first idea was to retire from the ser- 
vice, because, after all the insolent challenges which had 
gone before, I perceived in this extorted submission a 
humiliation of Germany for which I did not desire to be 
responsible. This impression of a wound to our sense of 
national honour by the compulsory withdrawal so domi- 
nated me that I had already decided to announce my retire- 
ment at Ems. I considered this humiliation before France 
and her swaggering demonstrations as worse than that of 
Olmiitz, for which the previous history on both sides, and 
our want of preparation for war at the time, will always be 
a valid excuse. I took it for granted that France would 
lay the Prince's renunciation to her account as a satisfac- 
tory success, with the feeling that a threat of war, even 
though it had taken the form of international insult and 
mockery, and though the pretext for war against Prussia 
had been dragged in by the head and shoulders, was enough 
to compel her to draw back, even in a just cause; and 

94 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

that even the North German Confederation did not feel 
strong enougrTtcTpfotect the national honour and indepen- 
dence against French arrogance. I was very much 
depressed, for I saw no means of repairing the corroding 
injury I dreaded to our national position from a timorous 
policy, unless by picking quarrels clumsily and seeking 
them artificially. I saw by that time that war was a ne- 
cessity, which we could no longer avoid with honour. I 
telegraphed to my people at Varzin not to pack up or 
start, for I should be back again in a few days. I now 
believed in peace ; but as I would not represent the attitude 
by which this peace had been purchased, I gave up the 
journey to Ems and asked Count Eulenburg to go thither 
and represent my opinion to his Majesty. In the same 
sense I conversed with the Minister of War, von Roon : 
we had got our slap in the face from France, and had been 
reduced, by our complaisance, to look like seekers of a 
quarrel if we entered upon war, the only way in which we 
could wipe away the stain. My position was now unten- 
able, solely because, during his course at the baths, the 
King, under pressure of threats, had given audience to the 
French ambassador for four consecutive days, and had 
exposed his royal person to insolent treatment from this 
foreign agent without ministerial assistance. Through 
this inclination to take state business upon himself in per- 
son and alone, the King had been forced into a position 
which I could not defend; in my judgment his Majesty 
while at Ems ought to have refused every business com- 
munication^ from the French negotiator, who was not on 
the sara4 footing with him, and to have referred him to the 
department in Berlin. The department would then have 
had to obtain his Majesty's decision by a representation 

95 



BISMARCK 

at Ems, or, if dilatory treatment were considered useful, 
by a report in writing. But his Majesty, however careful 
in his usual respect for departmental relations, was too 
fond not indeed of deciding important questions person- 
ally, but, at all events, of discussing them, to make a 
proper use of the shelter with which the Sovereign is pur- 
posely surrounded against importunities and inconvenient 
questionings and demands. That the King, considering 
the consciousness of his supreme dignity which he pos- 
sessed in so high a degree, did not withdraw at the very 
beginning from Benedetti's importunity was to be attrib- 
uted for the most part to the influence exercised upon him 
by the Queen, who was at Coblenz close by. He was 
seventy-three years old, a lover of peace, and disinclined 
to risk the laurels of 1866 in a fresh struggle; but when 
he was free from the feminine influence, the sense of hon- 
our of the heir of Frederick the Great and of a Prussian 
officer always remained paramount. Against the opposi- 
tion of his consort, due to her natural feminine timidity 
and lack of national feeling, the King's power of resistance 
was weakened by his knightly regard for the lady and his 
kingly consideration for a Queen, and especially for his 
own Queen. I have been told that Queen Augusta im- 
plored her husband with tears, before his departure from 
Ems to Berlin, to bear in mind Jena and Tilsit and avert 
war. I consider the statement authentic, even to the 
tears. 

Having decided to resign, in spite of the remonstrances 
which Roon made against it, I invited him and Moltke to 
dine with me alone on the I3th, and communicated to 
them at table my views and projects for doing so. Both 

were greatly depressed, and reproached me indirectly with 

96 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

selfishly availing myself of my greater facility for with- 
drawing from service. I maintained the position that I 
could not offer up my sense of honour to politics, that both 
of them, being professional soldiers and consequently with- 
out freedom of choice, need not take the same point of 
view as a responsible Foreign Minister. During our con- 
versation I was informed that a telegram from Ems, in 
cipher, if I recollect rightly, of about 200 ' groups,' was 
being deciphered. When the copy was handed to me it 
showed that Abeken had drawn up and signed the telegram 
at his Majesty's command, and I read it out to my guests,* 
whose dejection was so great that they turned away from 
food and drink. On a repeated examination of the docu- 
ment I lingered upon the authorisation of his Majesty, 
which included a command, immediately to communicate 
Benedetti's fresh demand and its rejection both to our 
ambassadors and to the press. I put a few questions to 

*The telegram handed in at Ems on July 13, 1870, at 3. 50 p.m. and re- 
ceived in Berlin at 6.9, ran as deciphered : 

'His Majesty writes to me: "Count Benedetti spoke to me on the 
promenade, in order to demand from me. finally in a very importunate 
manner, that I should authorise him to telegraph at once that I bound my- 
self for all future time never again to give my consent if the Hohenzol- 
lerns should renew their candidature. Lrefused at last somewhat sternly, 
as it is neither right nor possible to undertake engagements of this kind 
& tout jamais. Naturally I told him that I had as yet received no news, 
and as he was earlier informed about Paris and Madrid than myself, he 
could clearly see that my government once more had no hand in the matter." 
His Majesty has since received a letter from the Prince. His Majesty having 
told Count Benedetti that he was awaiting news from the Prince, has de- 
cided, with reference to the above demand, upon the representation of Count 
Eulenburg and myself, not to receive Count Benedetti again, but only to 
let him be informed through an aide-de-camp : That his Majesty had now 
received from the Prince confirmation of the news which Benedetti had 
already received from Paris, and had nothing further to say to the ambas- 
sador. His Majesty leaves it to your Excellency whether Benedetti's fresh 
demand and its rejection should not be at once communicated both to our 
ambassadors and to the press.' 

VOL. ii. 7 97 



BISMARCK 

Moltke as to the extent of his confidence in the state of 
our preparations, especially as to the time they would still 
require in order to meet this sudden risk of war. He 
answered that if there was to be war he expected no 
advantage to us by deferring its outbreak; and even if we 
should not be strong enough at first to protect all the ter- 
ritories on the left bank of the Rhine against French inva- 
sion, our preparations would nevertheless soon overtake 
those of the French, while at a later period this advantage 
would be diminished; he regarded a rapid outbreak as, on 
the whole, more favourable to us than delay. 

In view of the attitude of France, our national sense 
of honour compelled us, in my opinion, to go to war; and 
if we did not act according to the demands of this feeling, 
we should lose, when on the way to its completion, the 
entire impetus towards our national development won in 
1866, while the German national feeling south of the 
Main, aroused by our military successes in 1866, and 
shown by the readiness of the southern states to enter the 
alliances, would have to grow cold again. The German 
feeling, which in the southern states lived long with the 
individual and dynastic state feeling, had, up to 1866, 
silenced its political conscience to a certain degree with 
the fiction of a collective Germany under the leadership of 
Austria, partly from South German preference for the old 
imperial state, partly in the belief of her military superi- 
ority to Prussia. After events had shown the incorrect- 
ness of that calculation, the very helplessness in which the 
South German states had been left by Austria at the con- 
clusion of peace was a motive for the political Damascus 
that lay between Varnbiiler's ' Vae victis ' and the willing 
conclusion of the offensive and defensive alliance with 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

Prussia. It was confidence in the Germanic power devel- 
oped by means of Prussia, and the attraction which is 
inherent in a brave and resolute policy if it is successful, 
and then proceeds within reasonable and honourable limits. 
This nimbus ha^^eji_^jijby Prussia ; it would have 
been lost irrevocably, or at all events for a long time, if in 
a question of national honour the opinion gained ground 
among the people that the French insult, La Prusse cane, 
had a foundation in fact. 

In the same psychological train of thought in which 
during the Danish war in 1 864 I desired, for political rea- 
sons, that precedence should be given not to the old Prus- 
sian, but to the Westphalian battalions, who so far had 
had no opportunity of proving their courage under Prus- 
sian leadership, and regretted that Prince Frederick 
Charles had acted contrary to my wish, did I feel con- 
vinced that the gulf, which diverse dynastic and family 
influences and different habits of life had in the course of 
history created between the south and north of the Father- 
land, could not be more effectually bridged over than by a 
joint national war against the neighbour who had been 
aggressive for many centuries. I remembered that even 
in the short period from 1813 to 1815, from Leipzig and 
Hanau to Belle-Alliance, the joint victorious struggle 
against France had rendered it possible to put an end to 
the opposition between a yielding Rhine-Confederation 
policy and the German national impetus of the days 
between the Vienna congress and the Mainz commission 
of enquiry, days marked by the names of Stein, Gorres, 
Jahn, Wartburg, up to the crime of Sand. The blood 
shed in common, from the day when the Saxons came 
over at Leipzig down to their participation at Belle-Alli- 

99 



BISMARCK 

ance under English command, had fostered a consciousness 
before which the recollections of the Rhine-Confederation 
were blotted out. The historical development in this 
direction was interrupted by the anxiety aroused by the 
over-haste of the national craving for the stability of state 
institutions. 

This retrospect strengthened me in my conviction, and 
the political considerations in respect to the South Ger- 
man states proved applicable likewise, mutatis mutandis, 
to our relations with the populations of Hanover, Hesse, 
and Schleswig-Holstein. That this view was correct is 
shown by the satisfaction with which, at the present day, 
after a lapse of twenty years, not only the Holsteiners, but 
likewise the people of the Hanse towns remember the heroic 
deeds of their sons in 1 870. All these considerations, con- 
scious and unconscious, strengthened my opinion that war 
could be avoided only at the cost of the honour of Prussia 
and of the national confidence in it. Under this conviction 
I made use of the royal authorisation communicated to me 
through Abeken, to publish the contents of the telegram ; 
and in the presence of my two guests I reduced the tele- 
gram by striking out words, but without adding or alter- 
ing, to the following form : 'After the news of the re- 
nunciation of the hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern had 
been officially communicated to the imperial govern- 
ment of France by the royal government of Spain, the 
French ambassador at Ems further demanded of his 
Majesty the King that he would authorise him to tele- 
graph to Paris that his Majesty the King bound himself 
for all future time never again to give his consent if 
the Hohenzollerns should renew their candidature. His 

Majesty the King thereupon decided not to receive the 

100 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

French ambassador again, and sent to tell him through the 
aide-de-camp on duty that his Majesty had nothing fur- 
ther to communicate to the ambassador.' The difference 
in the effect of the abbreviated text of the Ems telegram 
as compared with that produced by the original was not 
the result of stronger words but of the form, which made 
this announcement appear decisive, while Abeken's version 
would only have been regarded as a fragment of a negotia- 
tion still pending, and to be continued at Berlin. 

After I had read out the concentrated edition to my 
two guests, Moltke remarked : ' Now it has a different 
ring; it sounded before like a parley; now it is like a 
flourish in answer to a challenge.' I went on to explain : 
' If in execution of his Majesty's order I at once com- 
municate this text, which contains no alteration in or 
addition to the telegram, not only to the newspapers, but 
also by telegraph to all our embassies, it will be known 
in Paris before midnight, and not only on account of its 
contents, but also on account of the manner of its distribu- 
tion, will have the effect of a red rag upon the Gallic bull. 
Fight we must if we do not want to act the part of the 
vanquished without a battle. Success, however, essentially 
depends upon the impression which the origination of the 
war makes upon us and others ; it is important that we 
should be the party attacked, and this Gallic overweening 
and touchiness will make us if we announce in the face of 
Europe, so far as we can without the speaking-tube of the 
Reichstag, that we fearlessly meet the public threats of 
France.' 

This explanation brought about in the two generals a 
revulsion to a more joyous mood, the liveliness of which 
surprised me. They had suddenly recovered their plea- 

101 



BISMARCK 

sure in eating and drinking and spoke in a more cheerful 
vein. Roon said : ' Our God of old lives still and will 
not let us perish in disgrace.' Moltke so far relinquished 
his passive equanimity that, glancing up joyously towards 
the ceiling and abandoning his usual punctiliousness of 
speech, he smote his hand upon his breast and said : ' If 
I may but live to lead our armies in such a war, then the 
devil may come directly afterwards and fetch away the 
"old carcass." He was less robust at that time than 
afterwards, and doubted whether he would survive the 
hardships of the campaign. 

How keenly he wanted to put in practice his military 
and strategic tastes and ability I observed not only on this 
occasion, but also in the days before the outbreak of the 
Bohemian war. In both cases I found my military col- 
league in the King's service changed from his usual dry 
and silent habit, cheerful, lively, I might even say merry. 
In the June night of 1 866, when I had invited him for the 
purpose of ascertaining whether the march of the army 
could not be begun twenty-four hours sooner, he answered 
in the affirmative and was pleasantly excited by the hasten- 
ing of the struggle. As he left my wife's drawing-room 
with elastic step, he turned round at the door and asked 
me in a serious tone: 'Do you know that the Saxons 
have blown up * the bridge at Dresden ? ' Upon my 
expression of amazement and regret he replied : ' Yes, 
with water, for the dust.' An inclination to innocent 
jokes very seldom, in official relations like ours, broke 
through his reserve. In both cases his love of combat 
and delight in battles were a great support to me in carry- 
ing out the policy I regarded as necessary, in opposition 

* [Play on the word gcsprengt."} 
102 



THE EMS TELEGRAM 

to the intelligible and justifiable aversion in a most influ- 
ential quarter. It proved inconvenient to me in 1867, in 
the Luxemburg question, and in 1875 and afterwards on 
the question whether it was desirable, as regards a war 
which we should probably have to face sooner or later, to 
bring it on anticipando before the adversary could improve 
his preparations. I have always opposed the theory which 
says ' Yes ' ; not only at the Luxemburg period, but like- 
wise subsequently for twenty years, in the conviction that 
even victorious wars cannot be justified unless they are 
forced upon one, and that one cannot see the cards of 
Providence far enough ahead to anticipate historical devel- 
opment according to one's own calculation. It is natural 
that in the staff of the army not only younger active officers, 
but likewise experienced strategists, should feel the need 
of turning to account the efficiency of the troops led by 
them, and their own capacity to lead, and of making them 
prominent in history. It would be a matter of regret if 
this effect of the military spirit did not exist in the army ; 
the task of keeping its results within such limits as the 
nations' need of peace can justly claim is the duty of the 
political, not the military, heads of the state. That at 
the time of the Luxemburg question, during the crisis of 
1875, invented by Gortchakoff and France, and evendown 
to the most recent times, the staff and its leaders have al- 
lowed themselves to be led astray and to endanger peace, 
lies in the very spirit of the institution, which I would not 
forego. It only becomes dangerous under a monarch whose 
policy lacks sense of proportion and power to resist one- 
sided and constitutionally unjustifiable influences. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

VERSAILLES 

THE ill-feeling towards me, which had survived in the 
higher military circles from the Austrian war, lasted 
throughout the French war ; fostered not indeed by Moltke 
and Roon, but by the ' demigods/ as the higher staff 
officers were then called. It made itself perceptible to me 
and my staff during the campaign even down to the mat- 
ter of rations and quartering. 1 It would have gone still 
further if it had not found a corrective in the unvarying 
tactful courtesy of Count Moltke. Roon was not in a 
position in the field to support me as a friend and col- 
league ; on the contrary, he needed my support at last at 
Versailles to make good his military convictions in the 
King's circle. 

As early as the journey to Cologne I learnt by acci- 
dent that at the outbreak of war the plan of excluding me 
from the military consultations had been settled. Thus 
much I was able to gather from a conversation between 
General von Podbielski and Roon, which I unwillingly 
overheard as it took place in an adjoining compartment 
with a broad opening in the partition just over me. The 
former expressed his satisfaction loudly somewhat in this 
strain : ' So arrangements have been made this time that 
the same thing does not happen to us again.' Before the 

1 Cf. Bismarck's official letter to Roon of August 10, 1870, in Pos- 
chinger, Bismarck-Portefeuillc, ii. 189 &c. 

104 



VERSAILLES 

train started I heard enough to understand what ' then ' as 
opposed to this time the General had in his mind, namely, 
my participation in the military councils during the Bohe- 
mian campaign, and especially the alteration of the line of 
march to Pressburg instead of to Vienna. 

The arrangement indicated by these speeches became 
practically evident to me ; I was not only not admitted to 
the military consultations, as was the case in 1866, but 
strict secrecy about all military measures and intentions 
was generally observed towards me. This result of the 
departmental rivalry, which is natural to our official cir- 
cles, was such an evident injury to the conduct of busi- 
ness, that Count Eberhard Stolberg, a patriot who, alas, 
perished all too soon, and who was then at headquarters 
upon Red Cross business, was led by the intimate friend- 
ship between us to call the King's attention to the disad- 
vantages of the exclusion of his responsible political 
adviser. To the Count's statement his Majesty made 
reply : ' I had been generally admitted to the military 
council during the Bohemian war, and it had happened 
that, in opposition to the majority, I had hit the nail on 
the head ; and that if this had irritated the other generals 
and they wished to consult only their own department, it 
was not to be wondered at ' ipsissima verba regis, accord- 
ing to the testimony of Count Stolberg, not only to me 
but to others. The weight of influence which the King 
allowed me in 1866 was certainly contrary to military tra- 
ditions, if once the Minister-President was ranked only 
according to the character of the uniform he wore in the 
field, that of a field officer in a cavalry regiment ; and so 
the military boycott, as one would now say, was main- 
tained against me in 1870. 

I0 5 



BISMARCK 

If the theory which the staff urged against me, and 
which is said to be taught as part of military science, can 
be expressed by saying that the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs comes again to the fore only when the commanders 
of the army find that the time has arrived for closing the 
temple of Janus, surely the double face of Janus conveys 
the warning that the government of a state engaged in 
war must look in more directions than towards the scene 
of the struggle only. The task of the commanders of the 
army is to annihilate the hostile forces; the object of war 
is to conquer peace under conditions which are conform- 
able to the policy pursued by the state. To fix and limit 
the objects to be attained by the war, and to advise the 
monarch in respect to them, is and remains during the 
war just as before it a political function, and the manner 
in which these questions are solved cannot be without 
influence on the method of conducting the war. The 
ways and means of the latter will always depend upon 
whether the result finally obtained is the one desired, or 
more or less ; whether cessions of territory are to be de- 
manded or forborne, and whether temporary occupation is 
required, and for how long. 

Still more difficult in the same line is it to judge 
whether and with what motives other Powers might be 
inclined to assist the adversary, in the first instance diplo- 
matically, and eventually by armed force; what prospect 
the representatives of such a combination have of obtain- 
ing their object in foreign courts; how the parties would 
group themselves if it came to conferences or to a con- 
gress ; and whether there is danger of further wars being 
developed from the intervention of neutrals. But above 

all is the difficulty of deciding when the right moment has 

106 



VERSAILLES 

come for introducing the transition from war to peace; for 
this purpose are needed knowledge of the European condi- 
tions, which is not apt to be familiar to the military ele- 
ment, and information which cannot be accessible to it. 
The negotiations at Nikolsburg in 1866 show that the 
question of war or peace always belongs, even in war, to 
the responsible political minister, and cannot be decided 
by the technical military leaders. But the minister con- 
cerned can only give the King expert advice, if he pos- 
sesses a knowledge of the actual position at any moment 
and of the views of those who conduct the war. 

In the fifth chapter of the first volume mention has 
been made of the plan of the dismemberment of Russia 
which the ( Wochenblatt ' party favoured, and which Bun- 
sen developed in all its innocent nakedness, in a memo- 
randum handed to the Minister von Manteuffel. 1 Assum- 
ing the case, which was then impossible, that the King 
had been gained over to this Utopia assuming further 
that the Prussian armies and any allies they might have 
were making victorious advances, even then a fine set of 
questions would have forced themselves up : whether the 
further acquisition of Polish territories and populations 
were desirable ; whether it was necessary to draw the pro- 
jecting frontier of the Poland created by the congress, the 
point of egress for Russian armies, further towards the 
East and further from Berlin, just as in the West it was 
requisite to remove the pressure which Strasburg and the 
lines of Weissenburg exercised on South Germany ; and 
whether Warsaw in Polish hands might be more incon- 
venient for us than in Russian. All these are purely 
political questions, and who will wish to deny that their 

1 See above, vol. i. p. 122. 
107 



BISMARCK 

decision must have exercised a fully justifiable influence 
on the direction, method, and scope of the conduct of the 
war, and that a reciprocal action in advising the Crown 
would have had to exist between diplomacy and strategy ? 
If I acquiesced even at Versailles in not being sum- 
moned to vote on military matters, I was nevertheless, as 
leading minister, responsible for the proper political utili- 
sation of the military, as well as of the foreign situation ; 
and I was constitutionally the responsible adviser of the 
King in the question whether the military situation ren- 
dered advisable any particular political steps, or the 
refusal of any particular demand from other Powers. At 
that time I sought as far as possible to procure such 
intelligence about the military situation as I required for 
forming an opinion on the political, by keeping up confi- 
dential relations with some of the unemployed royalties 
who formed the ' second step ' at the headquarters, and met 
at the H6tel des Reservoirs ; for these princely gentlemen 
learnt considerably more about the military transactions 
and views than 'the responsible Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, and gave me many a very valuable piece of infor- 
mation which they assumed was of course no secret for 
me. Russell, too, the English correspondent at head- 
quarters, was usually better informed than myself as to 
the views and occurrences there, and was a useful source 
of intelligence. 



In the Council of War Roon was the only supporter of 
my opinion that we should lose no time about ending the 

war if we wanted to make sure of stopping interference 

108 



VERSAILLES 

from the neutrals and their congress ; he advocated the ne- 
cessity of pressing forward the attack against Paris with 
heavy guns, in opposition to the method of famine, which 
in the circles where exalted ladies met was regarded as 
more humane. The time which the latter would demand 
could not be ascertained, owing to our ignorance of the 
commissariat of Paris. 1 The siege made no progress ter- 
ritorially; sometimes it even receded, and events in the 
provinces could not be reckoned on with certainty, espe- 
cially as long as news was lacking as to the whereabouts 
of the army of the South and of Bourbaki. It was not 
known for a considerable time whether it would operate 
against our line of communication with Germany, or would 
appear by the sea route on the Lower Seine. We lost 
about two thousand men before Paris every month, con- 
quered no ground from the besieged, and lengthened quite 
incalculably the period during which our troops remained 
exposed to the caprices of fortune, which might occur by 
unforeseen accidents in battle and by sickness, like the 
cholera in 1866 before Vienna. The delay in the decision 
caused me more serious disquietude in the political sphere 
from my anxiety respecting the intervention of neutrals. 
' The longer the struggle lasted, so much the more would 

^-jone have to reckon with the possibility that latent ill-will 
/and wavering sympathies would admit of one of the other 
I Powers, alarmed at our success, being found ready to take 

/ the initiative in a diplomatic intervention, and this would 
then bring about the accession of others or of all the 

Smothers. Even though at the time of the circular tour of 

1 On September 22, Moltke had written to his brother Adolf that he 
privately cherished the hope of shooting hares at Creisau by the end of 
October. (Moltke, Gesammelte Werke, iv. 198.) 

109 



BISMARCK 

M. Thiers in October, ' Europe was not to be found/ the 
discovery of this factor at any of the neutral courts, and 
even in America, by the road of republican sympathies, 
might nevertheless be brought about through the slightest 
impulse which one cabinet might give to the other, while 
adopting as the basis of its initiative fishing questions on 
the future of the European balance of power or the philan- 
thropic hypocrisy by which the fortress of Paris was pro- 
tected against serious siege. If in the course of the 
months, and in view of the fluctuating prospects before 
Paris, during the time which bore the label ' No news from 
before Paris/ the hostile elements and the jealous dishon- 
est friends, who were not wanting to us in any of the 
Courts, had succeeded in bringing about an understanding 
between the other Powers, or even between any two of them, 
to address to us a warning or a question, ostensibly sug- 
gested by philanthropic feelings, no one could know how 
quickly a first movement of this kind might develop to a 
collective and in the first instance diplomatic attitude of 
the Neutrals. National Liberal parliamentarians wrote to 
one another in August 1870 ' that every foreign mediation 
for peace was to be unconditionally rejected/ but they did 
not tell me how it was to be prevented except by the rapid 
capture of Paris. 

Count Beust has been solicitous in his endeavour to 
show how ' uprightly, even if unsuccessfully/ he laboured 
to bring about a collective mediation of the Neutrals. 1 
He mentions that as early as September 28 he had given 
instructions to the Austrian ambassador in London, and 
on October 12 to the ambassador at St. Petersburg, to 

1 Aus drei Vicrtcl-Jahrhundcrtcn. Stuttgart, 1887. Part ii. pp. 361, 
395 &c. 

no 



VERSAILLES 

represent the view that a collective step alone would have 
a prospect of success ; that two months later he sent word 
to Prince Gortchakoff : ' Le moment d'intervenir est peut- 
etre venu.' He reproduces a telegram of October 13, dur- 
ing a critical time for us, fourteen days before the capitu- 
lation of Metz, sent by him to Count Wimpffen at Berlin, 
who there misread it.* In it he alludes to a memorandum 
in which at the beginning of October I had called atten- 
tion to the consequences which must follow if Paris, with 
its two millions of inhabitants, continued its resistance 
even to the commencement of failure in provisions ; and 
he indicates it, quite justly, as my object to remove the 
responsibility for this from the Prussian government. 

' Premising this/ he continues, ' I cannot help express- 
ing my fear that some day before the judgment of history 
a portion of this responsibility will fall upon the Neutrals 
if in silent indifference they allow the danger of an un- 
heard-of disaster to be placed before their eyes. I must 
therefore request your Excellency, if the matter is brought 
before you, to express openly our regret that in a situation 
in which the Royal Prussian government foresees catas- 
trophes such as are alluded to in that memorandum, there 
is yet manifested the most decided effort to keep off every 
personal intervention of a third Power. . . . It is not con- 
siderations of private interest which lead the government 
of Austria- Hungary to complain that at the point at which 
things have arrived every peaceful influence of the Neutral 
Powers is lacking. But they cannot, in the manner 
recently shown by the St. Petersburg cabinet, approve and 

* It is curious that Count Wimpffen should have misread the instruction. 
It merely enjoins him to express himself in this sense in certain contin- 
gencies. 

Ill 



BISMARCK 

recommend entire abstinence on the part of uninterested 
Europe. They much more consider it a duty to state 
that they still believe in European common interests, and 
that they would prefer peace obtained by the impartial 
influence of the Neutrals to the destruction of further hun- 
dreds of thousands.' 

As to what ' impartial intervention ' would have been 
Count Beust leaves no doubt : ' moderate the demands of 
the conqueror, soften the bitterness of the sentiments 
which must crush the vanquished.' * That the feelings of 
the French respecting the humiliation they suffered would 
at the present day be less bitter towards us if the Neutrals 
had compelled us to be satisfied with less can hardly have 
been believed by one so well acquainted with French his- 
tory and the French national character as Count Beust. 

An intervention could only tend to deprive us Germans 
of the prize of victory by means of a congress. This dan- 
ger, which troubled me day and night, made me feel the 
necessity of hastening the conclusion of peace, in order to 
be able to establish it without the intervention of Neutrals. 
That this would not be practicable before the capture of 
Paris was evident from the traditional pre-eminence of the 
capital in France. As long as Paris held out, as long as 
we could not expect that the leading circles in Tours and 
Bordeaux, or the provinces, would give up the hope of any 
such change as might be looked for, whether from new 
levies en masse, as they made themselves felt in the battle 
on the Lisaine, or from the ultimate 'Discovery of Europe,' 
or from the halo which, in German natures, especially 
those of ladies at great Courts, surrounded the English 
catchwords : ' Humanity, civilisation, ' so long did the for- 

1 Dispatch to Count Chotek of October 12, Beust, op. cit. ii. 397. 

112 



VERSAILLES 

eign Courts, who got their information about the situa- 
tion in France much more from French than from Ger- 
man sources, have in view the possibility of assisting the 
French in their conclusion of peace. So far as I was 
concerned, my task was therefore directed to a settlement 
with France before the Neutral Powers arrived at an un- 
derstanding as to the influence they should exert on the 
peace, exactly as in 1866 our need was to conclude with' 
Austria before French intervention could become active in 
South Germany. 

It could not be said for certain what conclusions would 
have been arrived at if at Worth, Spichern, and Mars la 
Tour the success had been on the side of the French or 
less brilliant on ours. I received at the time of those bat- 
tles visits from Italian republicans, who were convinced 
that King Victor Emanuel entertained the intention of 
supporting the Emperor Napoleon, and were inclined to 
oppose this view because they feared that the result of carry- 
ing out the intentions ascribed to the King would be to 
strengthen the dependence of Italy upon France, which 
offended their national feeling. Even in the years 1868 
and 1869 similar anti-French suggestions were made to 
me from the Italian, and not merely from the republican 
side, in which discontent at the supremacy of France over 
Italy was sharply conspicuous. At that time, as subse- 
quently at Homburg (Palatinate), on the march towards 
France, I answered the Italians : We had so far no proofs 
that the King of Italy would prove his friendship for 
Napoleon to the point of attacking Prussia ; it was con- 
trary to my political conscience to seize an initiative for a 
rupture which would have given Italy a pretext and justi- 
fication for a hostile attitude. If Victor Emanuel seized 
VOL. ii. 8 113 



BISMARCK 

the initiative for a rupture, then the republican tendency 
of those Italians who disapproved of such a policy would 
not prevent me from advising the King my master to sup- 
port the malcontents in Italy by such money and weapons 
as they wanted. 

I found the position of the war too serious and too dan- 
gerous to consider myself justified, during a conflict in 
which not only our national future, but even our existence 
as a state, was at stake, in refusing any support whatever 
in critical turns of affairs. Just as in 1866, after and in 
consequence of the intervention involved in Napoleon's 
telegram of July 4, I had not shrunk from the idea of as- 
sistance by a Hungarian insurrection, so I should also 
have considered that of the Italian republicans as accepta- 
ble, if it had been a question of averting defeat and of de- 
fending our national independence. The aspirations of the 
King of Italy and Count Beust, which were thrust back 
by our first brilliant successes, might revive again in the 
stagnation before Paris, and all the more easily that in 
the influential circles of so weighty a factor as England 
we could by no means count upon trustworthy sympathies, 
especially such as would have been ready to realise them- 
selves, if only diplomatically. 

In Russia the personal feelings of Alexander II, not 
only those of friendship for his uncle but also those 
against France, afforded us a security which might cer- 
tainly be weakened by the French sympathies and vanity 
of Prince Gortchakoff and by his rivalry towards myself. 
It was consequently a fortunate thing that the situation 
offered a possibility of doing Russia a service in respect 
to the Black Sea. Just as the sensibilities of the Russian 

Court, which, owing to the Russian relationship of Queen 

114 



VERSAILLES 

x 

Mary, were enlisted by the loss of the Hanoverian crown, 
found their counterpoise in the concessions which were 
made to the Oldenburg connexions of the Russian dynasty 
in territorial and financial directions in 1 866 ; so did the 
possibility occur in 1870 of doing a service not only to 
the dynasty, but also to the Russian kingdom, in respect to 
the politically absurd, and therefore in the long run im- 
possible, stipulations which circumscribed the indepen- 
dence of its Black Sea coasts. They were the most inept 
conclusions of the peace of Paris ; one cannot permanently 
deny the exercise of the natural rights of sovereignty on its 
own coasts to a nation of a hundred millions of inhabi- 
tants. A charge of the kind which was allowed on Rus- 
sian territory to foreign Powers was a humiliation which 
a great nation could not endure for long. We had in this 
an opportunity of improving our relations with Russia. 

Prince Gortchakoff entered only reluctantly upon the 
initiative with which I sounded him in this direction. 
His personal ill-will was stronger than his Russian sense 
of duty. He did not want any obligation from us, but 
estrangement from Germany and gratitude in France. In 
order to make our offer effectual in St. Petersburg, I 
needed the thoroughly honourable and always friendly co- 
operation of the then Russian Military Plenipotentiary, 
Count Kutusoff. I shall hardly do injustice to Prince 
Gortchakoff if, after my relations to him, which lasted for 
several years, I assume that personal rivalry towards me 
weighed heavier with him than the interests of Russia ; 
his vanity and his jealousy of me were greater than his 
patriotism. 

Indicative of the morbid vanity of Gortchakoff were 
some expressions which he used to me on the occasion of 



BISMARCK 

his residence at Berlin in May 1876. He spoke of his 
weariness and his wish to retire, and added : < Je ne puis, 
cependant, me presenter devant Saint- Pierre au ciel sans 
avoir pr6sid la moindre chose en Europe.' I therefore 
begged him to undertake the presidency of the diplomatic 
conference held at the time, which however was only semi- 
official, and he did so. While idly listening to his long 
presidential address I wrote in pencil : ' Pompous, pompo, 
pomp, pom, po.' My neighbour, Lord Odo Russel, 
snatched the paper from me and kept it. 

Another expression on this occasion ran thus : ' Si je 
me retire, je ne veux pas m'eteindre comme une lampe 
qui file, je veux me coucher comme un astre.' With these 
ideas it is not to be wondered at that his last appearance 
at the Berlin congress in 1878 did not satisfy him, for the 
Emperor had not appointed him but Count Shuvaloff as 
chief plenipotentiary, so that only the latter, and not Gort- 
chakoff, controlled the Russian vote. Gortchakoff had, 
to a certain degree, extorted his membership of the con- 
gress from the Emperor, owing his success, perhaps, to 
the considerate treatment which is traditional in the higher 
service of Russia towards meritorious statesmen. He 
sought even at the congress to keep his Russian popular- 
ity, as understood by the 'Moscow Journal,' free as far as 
possible from the effects of Russian concessions, and under 
pretext of illness stayed away from sittings of the congress 
in which they were in view, but took care to show himself 
as in good health at the ground-floor window of his resi- 
dence, Unter den Linden. He wanted to reserve the power 
of maintaining afterwards in Russian society that he was 
innocent as regarded the Russian concessions an un- 
worthy egotism at the cost of his country. 

116 



VERSAILLES 

However, the result for Russia, even after the con- 
gress, remained one of the most favourable, if not the 
most favourable which she has ever obtained since the 
Turkish wars. The direct gains to Russia were those in 
Asia Minor, Batoum, Kars, &c. But if Russia had really 
found it to her interest to emancipate the Balkan states 
of the Greek confession from Turkish rule, the result 
would then have been, in this direction also, a very impor- 
tant advance of the Greek Christian element, and still 
more a considerable retreat of Turkish domination. Be- 
tween the original conditions of the peace of San Stefano 
under Ignatieff and the results of the congress the dif- 
ference was politically unimportant, as was clearly proved 
by the facility with which Southern Bulgaria revolted and 
became annexed to Northern Bulgaria. And even if it 
had not taken place, the net gain to Russia after the war, 
and in consequence of the decisions of the congress, re- 
mained more brilliant than those of earlier times. 

That Russia, by bestowing Bulgaria on the nephew of 
the then Russian Empress, the Prince of Battenberg, gave 
it into insecure hands, was a development which could not 
be foreseen at the Berlin congress. The Prince of Bat- 
tenberg was the Russian candidate for Bulgaria, and from 
his near relationship to the imperial house it was also to 
be expected that these connexions would be firm and last- 
ing. The Emperor Alexander III accounted for the revolt 
of his cousin simply by his Polish descent : 'Polskaja mat ' 
was his first exclamation in his disappointment when un- 
deceived as to his cousin's behaviour. 

The indignation of Russia at the result of the Berlin 
congress was one of the manifestations which become pos- 
sible, though contrary to all truth and reason, in a press 

117 



BISMARCK 

so little intelligible to the people as that of Russia in 
its foreign relations, and with the coercion which is easily 
exercised upon it. The whole influence which Gortcha- 
koff, spurred on by chagrin and envy at his former col- 
league, the German Chancellor, exercised in Russia with 
the support of French sympathisers and their French con- 
nexions (Vannovski, Obrucheff) was strong enough to rep- 
resent in the press, with the Moscow ' Viedomosti ' at its 
head, an appearance of indignation at the injury which 
Russia through German perfidy suffered at the Berlin con- 
ference. But the fact is that no wish was expressed by 
Russia at the Berlin congress which Germany would not 
have proposed for acceptance if circumstances required, 
by energetic representation to the English Prime Minis- 
ter, notwithstanding that the latter was ill and kept his 
bed a good deal. Instead of being thankful for this, it 
was found conducive to Russian policy, under the leader- 
ship of the worn-out but nevertheless still morbidly vain 
Prince Gortchakoff and of the Moscow newspapers, to work 
on towards a further estrangement between Russia and 
Germany, for which there is not the slightest necessity in 
the interest of either one or the other of these great 
adjoining empires. We envy one another nothing, and 
have nothing to win from one another which we could turn 
to account. Our reciprocal relations are only endan- 
gered by personal feelings, such as those of Gortchakoff 
were, and those of high Russian military men are, owing 
to their French connexions ; or by royal losses of temper 
such as those which came about before the Seven Years' 
war owing to the sarcastic remarks of Frederick the 
Great about the Empress of Russia. For this reason 

the personal relations of the monarchs of the two coun- 

118 



VERSAILLES 

tries to one another are of great importance for the 
peace of the two neighbour empires; which no diver- 
gence of interests, only the personal sensibilities of 
influential statesmen could afford occasion for interrupt- 
ing. 

His subordinates in the ministry said of Gortchakoff : 
'II se mire dans son encrier,' just as Bettina used to say 
about her brother-in-law, the celebrated Savigny: ' He 
cannot cross a gutter without looking at himself in it.' 
A great portion of Gortchakoff's dispatches, and espe- 
cially the most important, are not his, but Jomini's, a very 
clever editor: the son of a Swiss general, whom the 
Emperor Alexander induced to join the Russian service. 
When Gortchakoff dictated, there was more rhetorical 
effect in the dispatches, but those of Jomini were more 
practical. When he dictated he used 1r take a regular 
pose, which he introduced with the word ' e"crivez ! ' and if 
the secretary thoroughly appreciated his position he turned 
at particularly well-rounded phrases an admiring glance 
on his chief, who was very sensible to it. Gortchakoff 
was equally perfect master of the Russian, German, and 
French languages. 

Count Kutusoff was an honourable soldier without 
personal vanity. He was originally, as his name would 
signify, in a prominent position at St. Petersburg, as offi- 
cer of the cavalry guard, but did not possess the favour of 
the Emperor Nicholas. When the latter, as I was told 
in St. Petersburg, called out to him in front of the regi- 
ment : ' Kutusoff, you cannot ride, I will transfer you to 
the infantry,' he sent in his resignation, and it was only 
in the Crimean war that he again entered the service in a 

subordinate rank. He remained in the army under Alex- 

119 



BISMARCK 

ander II, and finally became Military Plenipotentiary at 
Berlin, where his honest bonhomie won him many friends. 
He accompanied us as Russian-aide-de-camp to the Prus- 
sian King in the French war, and it was perhaps a result 
of the unjust opinion of his horsemanship formed by the 
Emperor Nicholas that he traversed on horseback all the 
tracts over which the King and his suite were driven, fre- 
quently from fifty to seventy versts in the day. To give 
an idea of his bonhomie and of the tone at the hunting- 
parties at Wusterhausen, he on one occasion mentioned 
in the King's presence that his family came from Prussian 
Lithuania, and had arrived in Russia under the name of 
Kutu ; whereupon Count Fritz Eulenburg remarked in his 
witty way : ' Consequently you first appropriated the final 
" soff " * in Russia ' general amusement, in which Kutu- 
soff heartily joined. 

Besides the conscientious reports of this old soldier, 
the regular autograph correspondence of the Grand Duke 
of Saxony with the Emperor Alexander offered a way of 
sending ungarbled communications direct to the latter. 
The Grand Duke, who is and always has been favourable 
towards rne, was an advocate at St. Petersburg for friendly 
relations between the two cabinets. 

The possibility of an European intervention was a cause 
of disquietude and impatience to me in view of the slow 
progress of the siege. In situations such as ours before 
Paris the vicissitudes of war are not excluded even with 
the best generalship and the utmost bravery ; they can be 
produced by chances of every kind, and to these our posi- 
tion, between the army of the besieged, numerically very 
strong, and the forces from the provinces so difficult to 

* \. So / = guzzle.] 
120 



VERSAILLES 

calculate upon as regards number and locality, offered a 
rich field, even if our troops before Paris and in the west, 
north, and east of France remained free from disease. 
The question how the standard of health of the German 
army would be maintained in the hardships of such an 
unusually severe winter was beyond all calculation. Un- 
der these circumstances it was no sign of excessive anx- 
iety if I was tormented during sleepless nights by the 
apprehension that our political interests, after such great 
successes, might be severely injured through the hesita- 
tion and delay in taking further steps against Paris. A 
decision, memorable in the world's history, of the secu- 
lar struggle between the two neighbouring peoples was 
at stake, and in danger of being ruined, through per- 
sonal and predominantly female influences with no histor- 
ical justification, influences which owed their efficacy, 
not to political considerations but to feelings which the 
terms humanity and civilisation, imported to us from 
England, still rouse in German natures. Even during 
the Crimean war it was preached to us from England, and 
not without effect on our mood, that we ought to take up 
arms for the Turks * for the saving of civilisation.' The 
decisive questions could, if it were considered desirable, 
be treated as exclusively military, and that might have 
been adopted as a pretext for refusing me the right of 
taking part in the decision. They were such, however, 
that on their solution depended the possibility of diplom- 
acy in the last resort; and if the conclusion of the 
French war had been a little less favourable to Germany, 
then would this mighty war, with its victories and its en- 
thusiasm, have remained without the effect it produced 
on our national unification. I never doubted that the 



BISMARCK 

victory over France must precede the restoration of the 
German kingdom, and if we did not succeed in bringing 
it this time to a perfect conclusion, further wars without 
.the preliminary security of our perfect unification were 
full in view. 

x It must not be assumed that the other generals 
could, from a purely military standpoint, have been of a 
different opinion from Roon; our position, between the 
besieged army, which numerically was stronger than our- 
selves, and the French forces in the provinces, was stra- 
tegically an exposed one, and its maintenance without 
promise of success, unless it were utilised as the basis of 
a forward movement in the shape of an assault. The 
anxiety to put an end to it in military circles in Versailles 
was as great as the uneasiness at home concerning the 
slow progress. Even without taking into account the pos- 
sibility of sickness and unforeseen defeats, in consequence 
of mishaps or blunders, one could not fail to hit upon the 
line of thought that disturbed me, and to ask oneself 
whether the prestige gained and the political impression 
made upon the neutral Courts by our first rapid and great 
victories would not be enfeebled by the apparent inactivity 
and weakness of our position before Paris, and whether 
the enthusiasm, in the fire of which a lasting unity might 
be forged, would hold out. 

The fighting in the provinces near Orleans and Dijon 
continued to bring us fresh victories, thanks to the heroic 
courage of the troops, which, indeed, far exceeded the 
measure that can be relied upon as a basis for strategical 
calculations. But the moral impetus, by which our inferior 
forces there had, notwithstanding frost, snow, and a dearth 

both of victuals and war material, beaten the numerically 

123 



VERSAILLES 

stronger masses of the French, might be destroyed at any 
moment by some accident or other ; a thought sufficient to 
force every commander, unless he calculated exclusively 
in optimistic conjectures, to the conviction that we should 
have to put an end to our uncertain position as speedily as 
possible by expediting our assault on Paris. 

To put this assault into effect, however, we had no 
orders, and were, as was the case before the lines of Flor-' 
idsdorf in July 1866, without heavy siege guns. The 
transport of the latter had not kept pace with the progress 
of our army ; in order to effect it, our railway resources 
fell short at the points where the lines were interrupted 
or where they stopped altogether, as at Lagny. 

The speedy conveyance of siege ordnance and of the 
mass of heavy ammunition, without which the bombard- 
ment could not begin, might, however, with the rolling 
stock at hand have been effected more rapidly than was 
the case. But as some of the officials informed me, about 
1,500 trucks were laden with provisions for the Parisians, 
in order to assist them at once, if they surrendered, and 
these 1,500 trucks were therefore not available for the 
transport of ammunition. The bacon stored in them was 
afterwards refused by the Parisians ; and after my departure 
from France, in consequence of the changes made at his 
Majesty's instance by General von Stosch at Ferrieres in 
our treaty concerning the maintenance of the German 
troops, was assigned to them and consumed with great 
reluctance, as it had been kept in stock too long. 

As the bombardment could not begin before a sufficient 
quantity of ammunition was at hand to enable the firing 
to be proceeded with effectually and without intermission, 

large numbers of horses were required in the absence of 

123 



BISMARCK 

railway material, and for these an outlay of millions was 
necessary. I am unable to comprehend that any doubts 
could be entertained as to these millions being available so 
soon as their necessity for military purposes was proved. 
It appeared to me to be a considerable step in advance 
when Roon, who was already nervously excited and ex- 
hausted, informed me one day that the responsibility had 
now been shifted upon him personally by the question 
whether he was ready to bring up the guns within some 
limited time ; he said that he was in doubt whether it was 
possible. I begged him to immediately undertake the 
task set him, and declared myself ready to give him an 
order on the federal Treasury for any sum that might be 
necessary if he would purchase 4,000 horses that being 
his approximate estimate of the number required and use 
them for the transport of the guns. He gave the requisite 
orders, and the bombardment of Mont Avron, which had 
long been awaited in our camp with painful impatience 
and was hailed with shouts of joy, was the result of this 
turn in events for which thanks were really due to Roon.' 
He found in Prince Krafft Hohenlohe a willing supporter 
in getting the guns brought up and distributed. 

In putting to oneself the question as to what can have 
induced other generals to oppose Roon's view, it is difficult 
to discover any technical reasons for the delay in the 
measures taken towards the close of the year. The hesi- 
tating course adopted appears senseless and dangerous 
viewed either from a military or a political standpoint, and, 
from the rapid and determined conduct of the war right 
up to the siege, it may be concluded that the reasons are 
not to be looked for in the indecision of our army leaders. 

The notion that Paris, although fortified and the strongest 

124 



VERSAILLES 

bulwark of our opponents, might not be attacked in the 
same way as any other fortress had been imported into our 
camp from England by the roundabout route of Berlin, 
together with the phrase about the ' Mecca of civilisation,' 
and other expressions of humanitarian feeling rife and 
effective in the cant of English public opinion a feeling 
which England expects other Powers to respect, though 
she does not always allow her opponents to have the 
benefit of it. From London representations were received 
in our most influential circles, to the effect that the 
capitulation of Paris ought not to be brought about by 
bombardment, but only by hunger. Whether the latter 
method was the more humane is a debatable point, as is 
also the question whether the horrors of the Commune 
would have broken out, had not the famine prepared the 
way for the liberation of anarchist savagery. Another 
question that may be left unanswered is whether sentiment 
alone, unaccompanied by political calculation, played a 
part in the propagation by England of the humanitarian 
idea of starving out the city. England was under no prac- 
tical necessity, either economical or political, of protecting 
either France or ourselves from loss or weakness caused 
by the war. But in any case, the delays in overpowering 
Paris, and in putting an end to the military operations, 
increased the danger that the fruits of our victories would 
be spoilt. Trustworthy information from Berlin apprised 
me that the cessation of our activity gave rise to anxiety 
and dissatisfaction in expert circles, and that Queen 
Augusta was said to be influencing her royal husband by 
letter, in the interests of humanity. An allusion to infor- 
mation of this kind which I made to the King occasioned 
a violent outburst of anger, taking the form not of denial 

I2 5 



BISMARCK 

that the rumours were true, but of a sharp reprimand 
against the utterance of any such dissatisfaction respect- 
ing the Queen. 

The initiative for any change in the conduct of the war 
did not as a rule emanate from the King, but from the 
staff of the Army or from that of the Crown Prince, who 
was the general in command. That this circle was open 
to English views if presented in a friendly manner was 
only natural ; the Crown Princess, Moltke's late wife, the 
wife of Count Blumenthal, chief of the staff, and after- 
wards field- marshal, and the wife of von Gottberg, the 
staff officer next in influence, were all Englishwomen. 

The reasons of the delay in the attack upon Paris, con- 
cerning which those behind the scenes had observed silence, 
became the subject of discussion in the press in conse- 
quence of the appearance of extracts from Count Roon's 
papers in the ' Deutsche Revue' of 1891.' All attempts 
to refute Roon's statements avoid mention of the Berlin 
and English* influences, as well as of the fact that 800, and 
according to others 1,500, trucks stood for weeks laden 
with provisions for the Parisians ; and all, with the excep- 
tion of one anonymous newspaper article, likewise shirk the 
question whether the leaders of the army paid timely atten- 
tion to the transport of siege ordnance. I have found 
nothing to induce me to make any alteration in the above 
notes on the matter, which were written before the appear- 
ance of the numbers of the ' Deutsche Revue ' in question. 



The assumption of the Imperial title by the King 

1 Edition in book form, iii. 4 243 sqq. 
126 



VERSAILLES 

upon the extension of the North German Confederation 
was a political necessity, since, by reminding us of days 
when it meant legally more but practically less than now, 
it constituted an element making for unity and centralisa- 
tion. I was convinced, too, that the steadying pressure 
upon the institutions of our Empire could not but be more 
lasting in proportion as the Prussian upholder of them 
avoided the attempt, dangerous but a vital feature of the 
old German history, to inculcate upon the other dynasties 
the superiority of our own. King William I was not free 
from an inclination to do this, and his reluctance to take 
the title was not unconnected with the desire to obtain an 
acknowledgment rather of the superior respectability of 
the hereditary Prussian Crown than of the Imperial title. 
He regarded the Imperial crown in the light of a modern 
office that might be conferred on any one, the authority of 
which had been disputed by Frederick the Great and had 
oppressed the Great Elector. At the first mention of it 
he said, 'What have I to do with the fancy-ball Major*?' 
To this I replied among other things, 'Your Majesty surely 
does not desire always to remain neuter das Prasidium ? 
In the expression " presidency " lies an abstraction, in the 
word " Emperor " a great power. ' 

When at the first favourable turn in the war I ap- 
proached the Crown Prince, he also did not always evince 
sympathy for my endeavours to restore the Imperial title, 
though they did not spring from Prussian and dynastic 
vanity, but solely from the belief in its utility for the fur- 
therance of national union. From some one or other of 
the political dreamers to whom he gave ear his Royal 
Highness had imbibed the idea that the heritage of the 

* \Charakter-Major. Or, possibly, 'brevet-major.'] 
127 



BISMARCK 

Roman Empire revived by Charlemagne had been the mis- 
fortune of Germany, a foreign idea harmful to the na- 
tion. Historically true though this may be, the guarantee 
against analogous dangers which the Prince's advisers saw 
in the title of ' King ' of the Germans was equally unreal. 
There was not in these days any danger that the title, 
which lives only in the memory of the nation, would aid 
in alienating Germany's strength from her own interests 
and in rendering it subservient to trans-Alpine ambition 
all the way to Apulia. The desire, emanating from his 
erroneous conception, that the Prince unfolded to me gave 
me the impression of being a business proposal seriously 
meant, which he wished me to put into execution. My 
objection, which was based on the co-existence of the 
Kings of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemburg with the pro- 
posed King in Germany or King of the Germans, to my 
surprise led to the further conclusion that those dynasties 
would have to cease bearing the regal title and reassume 
the ducal. I expressed my conviction that they would not 
do this of their own free will. Were it desired, on the 
other hand, to use force, this procedure would not be for- 
gotten for centuries, and would sow the seeds of distrust 
and hate. 

In the Diary published by Geffcken there is a sugges- 
tion that we did not know our own strength ; the employ- 
ment of our strength in the state of affairs at that time 
would have become the weakness of Germany's future. 
The Diary was probably not written at the time day by 
day, but subsequently completed with turns of phrase, by 
which courtly aspirants sought to render the contents more 
credible. In the personal statement which I published ' I 

1 Sep. 23, 1888. 
128 



VERSAILLES 

expressed my conviction that it was doctored, as well as 
my indignation at the plotters and sycophants who obtruded 
themselves upon so unsuspecting and noble a nature as 
that of the Emperor Frederick. When I wrote those 
words I had no idea that the forger was to be looked for 
in the direction of Geffcken, the Hanseatic Guelf, whose 
enmity to Prussia had not prevented him from aspiring 
for years past to gain the favour of the Prussian Crown 
Prince in order more successfully to injure him, his family 
and state, while playing an important part himself. Geff- 
cken belonged to the pushing lot who had been embittered 
since 1866 on account of the disregard in which they and 
their importance were held. 

In addition to the Bavarian commissioners there was 
present at Versailles, as the especial confidant of King 
Lewis, Count Holnstein, who stood in close relations to 
the monarch as his Master of the Horse. It was he who, 
at a moment when the question of the title had become 
critical and seemed in danger of breaking down on account 
of Bavaria's silence and the disinclination of King William, 
undertook at my request to hand his master a letter from 
me which, in order not to delay its delivery, I wrote on a 
dinner-table after the cloth had been removed, upon flimsy 
paper, and with refractory ink. 1 In this I set forth my 
idea that the Bavarian Crown would not, without wound- 
ing Bavarian self-esteem, be able to concede the presiden- 
tial rights to the King of Prussia, though the consent of 
Bavaria had already as a matter of business been given ; 
that the King of Prussia was a neighbour of the King of 
Bavaria, and that criticism of the concessions which Bavaria 
was making and had made would, in view of the diversity 

1 Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 389. 
VOL. II. 9 129 



BISMARCK 

of racial relations, become keener and more easily affected 
by the rivalries of the German races. The exercise of 
Prussian authority within the frontiers of Bavaria was a nov- 
elty and would wound Bavarian susceptibilities, while a Ger- 
man Emperor was not a neighbour of Bavaria of different 
stock, but a compatriot ; in my opinion, King Lewis could 
fittingly grant only to a German Emperor, and not to a King 
of Prussia, the concessions he had already made to the 
authority of the presidency. To these main points in my 
case I also added personal arguments recalling the particu- 
lar good-will which the Bavarian dynasty had, at the time 
that it ruled in the March of Brandenburg (in the person of 
the Emperor Lewis), borne for more than a generation to 
my forefathers. I considered this argumentum adhominem 
useful in addressing a monarch with such leanings as the 
King, though I believe that the political and dynastic 
estimate of the difference between the presidential rights 
of a German Emperor and a Prussian King was what 
turned the scale. The Count started upon his journey to 
Hohenschwangau within two hours, on November 27, and 
completed it under great difficulties and with frequent 
interruptions in four days. The King was confined to his 
bed with the toothache, and at first refused to see him, but 
had him admitted when he heard that the Count had come 
with a commission and a letter from me. He carefully 
read my letter twice over in bed in the Count's presence, 
asked for writing materials, and committed to paper the 
desired communication to King William of which I had 
made out a draft. In this the main argument for the im- 
perial title was reproduced, with the more stringent sugges- 
tion that Bavaria could make only to the German Emperor, 

but not to the King of Prussia, the concession already 

130 



VERSAILLES 

agreed to but not yet ratified. I had especially chosen this 
form of expression in order to overcome the aversion of my 
royal master to the imperial title. Count Holnstein re- 
turned to Versailles bearing this letter from the King on the 
seventh day after his departure, that is, on December 3 ; 
it was officially handed to our King on the same day by 
Prince Leopold, the present regent, and constituted an ( 
important factor in the success of the difficult labours the 
result of which, owing to King William's resistance and 
the absence of any definite statement of the Bavarian views, 
had often been doubtful. By this double journey, per- 
formed in one sleepless week, and by the able execution 
of his commission at Hohenschwangau, Count Holnstein 
rendered important service in the establishment of our 
national unity, through the removal of external obstacles 
in the question of the imperial title. 

His Majesty raised a fresh difficulty when we were 
fixing the form of the imperial title, it being his wish to 
be called Emperor of Germany if emperor it had to be. 
In this phase both the Crown Prince, who had long given 
up his idea of a King of the Germans, and the Grand 
Duke of Baden lent me their support, each in his own 
way, though neither openly attempted to overcome the old 
monarch's violent dislike to the 'fancy-dress major.' l The 
Crown Prince supported me passively in the presence of 
his father and by occasional brief expressions of his views. 
These, however, did not strengthen me in my stand against 
the King, but tended rather to excite further the irrita- 
bility of my august master. For the King, in conscien- 
tious remembrance of his oath to the Constitution and 
the ministerial responsibility, was more inclined to make 
concession to the minister than to his son. Differences 

1 See above, p. 127. 



BISMARCK 

of opinion between himself and the Crown Prince he re- 
garded from the point of view of the paterfamilias. 

In the final conference on January 17, 1871, he declined 
the designation of German Emperor, and declared that he 
would be Emperor of Germany or no emperor at all. I 
pointed out that the adjectival form German Emperor 
and the genitival Emperor of Germany differed in point 
both of language and period. People had said Roman 
Emperor and not Emperor of Rome; and the Czar did 
not call himself Emperor of Russia, but Russian, as 
well as ' united- Russian ' (wserossiski) Emperor. The 
King disputed the latter statement warmly, appealing to 
the fact that the reports of his Russian Kaluga regiment 
were always addressed pruskomu, which he translated 
wrongly. He would not believe my assurance that the 
form in question was the dative of the adjective, and only 
allowed himself to be subsequently convinced by Hofrath 
Schneider, his usual authority for the Russian language. 

I further urged that under Frederick the Great and Fred- 
erick William II the thalers were inscribed Borussorum 
not Borussiae rex ; that the title Emperor of Germany 
involved a sovereign claim to the non-Prussian dominions, 
which the princes were not inclined to allow ; that it was 
suggested in the letter from the King of Bavaria that ' the 
exercise of the presidential rights should be associated 
with the assumption of the title of German Emperor,' and 
finally, that the said title had, on the proposition of the 
federal council, been adopted in the new draft of Article 

I 1 of the Constitution. 

The discussion then turned upon the difference in 
rank between emperors and kings, between arch-dukes, 
grand dukes, and Prussian princes. My exposition that in 

132 



VERSAILLES 

principle emperors do not rank above kings found no ac- 
ceptance, although I was able to show that Frederick Wil- 
liam I, at a meeting with Charles VI, who, in point of 
fact, stood in the position of feudal lord to the Elector of 
Brandenburg, claimed and enforced his rights to equality 
as King of Prussia by causing a pavilion to be erected 
which was entered by both monarchs simultaneously from 
opposite sides, so that they might meet each other in the 
centre. 

The agreement which the Crown Prince showed to 
my argument irritated the old gentleman still more, and 
striking the table he cried: 'And even if it had been 
so, / now command how it is to be. Arch-dukes and 
grand dukes have always had precedence of Prussian 
princes, and so it shall continue. ' With that he got up 
and went to the window, turning his back upon those 
seated at the table. The discussion on the question of 
title came to no clear conclusion ; nevertheless, we con- 
sidered ourselves justified in preparing the ceremony for 
the proclamation of the Emperor, but the King had com- 
manded that there should be no mention of the German 
Emperor but of the Emperor of Germany. 

This position of affairs induced me to call upon the 
Grand Duke of Baden on the following morning, before 
the solemnity in the Galerie des G laces, and to ask him how 
he, as the first of the princes present, who would presum- 
ably be the first to speak after the reading of the procla- 
mation, intended to designate the new Emperor. The 
Grand Duke replied, ' As Emperor of Germany, according 
to his Majesty's orders.' Among the arguments with 
which I urged upon the Grand Duke that the concluding 
cheers for the Emperor could not be given under this form, 



BISMARCK 

the most effective was my appeal to the fact that the forth- 
coming text of the Constitution of the empire was already 
forestalled by a decree of the Reichstag in Berlin. The 
reference to the resolution of the Reichstag, appealing, as 
it did, to his constitutional train of ideas, induced him to 
go and see the King once more. I was left ignorant of 
what passed between the two sovereigns, and during the 
reading of the proclamation I was in a state of suspense. 
The Grand Duke avoided the difficulty by raising a cheer, 
neither for the German Emperor nor for the Emperor of 
Germany, but for the Emperor William. His Majesty 
was so offended at the course I had adopted, that on 
descending from the raised da'i's of the princes he ignored 
me as I stood alone upon the free space before it, and 
passed me by in order to shake hands with the generals 
standing behind me. He maintained that attitude for sev- 
eral days, until gradually our mutual relations returned to 
their old form. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE CULTURKAMPF 

WHILE at Versailles I had, from November 5 to 9, car- 
ried on negotiations with Count Ledochowski, Archbishop 
of Posen and Gnesen, mainly referring to the territorial 
interests of the Pope. In accordance with the proverb 
'One hand washes the other/ I proposed that reciprocity 
in the relations between the Pope and ourselves should be 
effected by bringing Papal influence to bear upon the 
French clergy in the interests of peace, being always 
afraid, as I was, that the interference of the neutral powers 
might spoil the results of our victories. Ledochowski, 
and, within narrower limits, Bonnechose, Cardinal Arch- 
bishop of Rouen, tried to induce several members of the 
higher clergy to exercise their influence in the direction 
indicated, but could only report that their advances had 
been coldly met and declined; from this I concluded that 
the Papacy must lack either the power or the will to 
afford us any assistance in obtaining peace of sufficient 
value to pay the price for the displeasure felt by Ger- 
man Protestants and the Italian National party at the 
result of an open championship of Papal interests in 
regard to Rome; as well as for the reaction of the 
latter sentiment on the future relations of the two 
nations. 

During the vicissitudes of the war, the King at first 
appeared to be the possibly dangerous opponent for us 



BISMARCK 

among the conflicting Italian elements. Subsequently 
the Republican party under Garibaldi, who had, at the 
outbreak of the war, led us to look forward to their sup- 
port against any Napoleonic fancies of the King's, op- 
posed us on the battlefield with an enthusiasm more 
dramatic than practical, and with military performances 
that shocked our soldiery notions. Between these two 
elements there lay the sympathy which the public opin- 
ion of educated Italians openly expressed, and ever cher- 
ished, towards a people whose struggles in the past and 
the present were parallel to their own ; there lay also the 
national instinct which eventually proved strong and real 
enough to enter into the triple alliance with their former 
opponent, Austria. By openly espousing the cause of the 
Pope and his territorial claims we should have broken 
with this national tendency manifested by Italy. Whether 
and how far we should in return have received the assist- 
ance of the Pope in our internal affairs is doubtful. Gal- 
licanism came to seem to me stronger in regard to infalli- 
bility than I could estimate it in 1870, and the Pope 
weaker than I had believed him to be on account of his 
surprising victories over all the German, French, and 
Hungarian bishops. In our own country the Jesuitic 
* Centrum ' was, at the moment, stronger than the Pope, 
or, at least, independent of him; the Germanic group 
and party-spirit of our Catholic compatriots is an element 
against which even the Papal will cannot make its way. 

In the same way I leave it an open question whether 
the elections for the Prussian Parliament which were held 
on the 1 6th of the same month were influenced by the 
failure of Ledochowski's negotiations. The latter were 

renewed in a somewhat different form by the Bishop of 

136 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

Mainz, Baron von Ketteler, who called upon me for that 
purpose on several occasions at the beginning of the par- 
liamentary session of 1871. I had been in communication 
with him in 1865, when I asked him whether he would 
accept the archbishopric of Posen, being led to this by a 
desire to show him that we were not anti- Catholic, but 
only anti- Polish. Ketteler had, probably after communi-, 
eating with Rome, declined on the ground of his ignorance 
of the Polish language. In 1871 he made representations 
to me amounting to a demand that the Imperial Constitu- 
tion should include the articles in that of Prussia dealing 
with the position of the Catholic Church in the state, 
three of which (15, 16, and 18) were annulled by the law 
of June 1 8, 1875. So far as I was concerned, the course 
of our policy was not determined by religious considera- 
tions, but purely by the desire to establish as firmly as 
possible the unity won on the battlefield. 

In religious matters, my toleration has at all times 
been restricted only by the boundaries which the necessity 
of various denominations co-existing in the same body 
politic imposes on the claims of each particular creed. 
The therapeutic treatment of the Catholic Church in a 
temporal state is, however, rendered difficult by the fact 
that the Catholic clergy, if they desire properly to dis- 
charge what is theoretically their duty, must claim a share 
in the secular government extending beyond the ecclesias- 
tical domain ; they constitute a political institution under 
clerical forms, and transmit to their collaborators their 
own conviction that for them freedom lies in dominion, 
and that the Church, wherever she does not rule, is justi- 
fied in complaining of Diocletian-like persecution. 

It was in this sense that I had some discussion with 



BISMARCK 

Herr von Ketteler respecting his more precisely asserted 
claim to the constitutional right of his Church that is, of 
the clergy to direct the movements of the secular arm. 
Among his political arguments he used this one, appeal- 
ing more ad hominem : that with regard to our fate after 
death, the Catholics had stronger guarantees than others, 
since, presuming the Catholic dogmas to be mistaken, 
the fate of the Catholic soul could not be worse even if 
the Evangelical faith turned out to be the right one, but 
that, assuming the contrary to be the case, the future of 
the heretic soul was terrible. To this he added the ques- 
tion : ' Do you perchance believe that a Catholic cannot 
attain salvation ? ' I replied : ' A Catholic layman most 
certainly can, but I am doubtful about a priest, for in the 
latter is found "the sin against the Holy Ghost," and the 
text of the Scriptures is against him.' The Bishop smil- 
ingly replied to this rejoinder, which I had made in a 
bantering tone, by a courteous ironical bow. 

After our negotiations had ended without results, the 
reconstruction of the Catholic party founded in 1 860, but 
now known as the 'Centrum/ was pushed on with increasing 
zeal, especially by Savigny and Mallinckrodt. This party 
afforded me an opportunity of observing that in Germany as 
well as in France the Pope is weaker than he seems, or at 
any rate not so strong as to make it needful for us to buy 
his assistance in our affairs by a rupture with the sympa- 
thies of other more powerful elements. From the de'saveu 
contained in Cardinal Antonelli's letter of June 5, 1871, to 
Bishop Ketteler, from the mission entrusted to Prince 
Lowenstein-Wertheim by the Centrum, and from the insub- 
ordination of the latter party on the occasion of the Sep- 
tcnnate, I received the impression that the party spirit with 

'38 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

which Providence has endowed the Centrum in the place 
of the national feeling of other peoples is stronger than the 
Pope, not in a council without laymen, but on the battle- 
field of parliamentary and literary struggles inside Ger- 
many. Whether this would also be the case if the Papal 
influence attempted to impose itself without regard to com- 
peting forces, such as that of the Jesuits, is a question 
which I leave unanswered, without entering into the sub- 
ject of the State- Secretary Cardinal Franchi's sudden death. 
It has been said of Russia : gouvernement absolu temptrt 
par le regicide. Would a Pope who went too far in his 
disregard of the competing forces in Church politics be 
safer from ecclesiastical ' Nihilists ' than the Czar ? Op- 
posed to bishops, assembled in the Vatican, the Pope is 
strong, and when he marches with the Jesuits stronger than 
when he seeks beyond the bounds of his own capital to 
break down the opposition of the lay Jesuits, who are wont 
to be the supporters of parliamentary Catholicism. 



The beginning of the Culturkampf wz decided for me 
preponderantly by its Polish side. Since the abandon- 
ment of the policy of the Flottwells and Grolmanns, since 
the solidification of the Radziwill influence upon the King 
and the establishment of the ' Catholic section ' in the 
Ministry of Public Worship, statistical data proved beyond 
doubt the rapid progress of the Polish nationality at the 
expense of the Germans in Posen and West Prussia, and 
in Upper Silesia the so far sturdy Prussian element of the 
' Wasserpolacken ' became Polonised ; Schaffranek was 
elected there to the Diet, and it was he who, speaking in 



BISMARCK 

parliament, confronted us in the Polish language with the 
proverb of the impossibility of the fraternisation of Ger- 
mans and Poles. Such things could only happen in Silesia 
by reason of the official authority of the Catholic section. 
Upon complaints being made to the Prince- Bishop, Schaff- 
ranek was forbidden on his re-election to * sit ' on the Left ; 
as a consequence of this order, the powerfully-built priest 
stood as upright as a sentinel before the benches of the 
Left for five or six hours, and when sittings were long 
ten hours a day, and was thus spared the trouble of 
rising when he wished to make one of his anti-German 
speeches. 1 According to official reports, there were whole 
villages in Posen and West Prussia containing thousands 
of Germans who through the influence of the Catholic sec- 
tion had been educated according to Polish ideas, and were 
officially described as ' Poles,' although in the previous 
generation they were officially Germans. By the powers 
that had been granted to the section, there was no remedy 
except the abolition of the latter. This abolition was 
therefore in my opinion the next object to be striven for. 
It was naturally opposed by the Radziwill influence at 
Court, and unnaturally by my colleague of Public Worship, 
his wife, and her Majesty the Queen. The chief of the 
Catholic section at that time was Kratzig, who had for- 
merly been in the private employment of Radziwill and 
had probably continued so while in the public service. 
The representative of the Radziwill influence was Prince 
Boguslaw, the younger of the two brothers, who was 
also an influential member of the Berlin common council. 
William, the elder, and his son Anthony, were soldiers too 

1 Cf. the expression in the speech of Jan. 28, 1886. PolitiscJie Reden, 
xi. 438. 

140 



THE ' CULTURKAMPF.' 

honest to take part in Polish plots against the King and 
his state. The Catholic section in the Ministry of Public 
Worship originally intended to be an institution by means 
of which Prussian Catholics might defend the rights of 
their state in their relations with Rome had, owing to 
the change of members, gradually become a body in 
the heart of Prussian bureaucracy defending Roman and 
Polish interests against Prussia. More than once did I 
explain to the King that this section was worse than a 
nuncio in Berlin ; that it acted in accordance with instruc- 
tions which it received from Rome, not always perhaps 
from the Pope ; and that it had lately become open more 
particularly to Polish influences. I admitted that the 
ladies in the Radziwill family were friendly to Germany, 
that the elder brother William was kept in the same 
groove by his sense of honour as a Prussian officer, and 
that this was likewise the case with his son Anthony, who 
was moreover bound to his Majesty by ties of personal 
affection. But in the driving element of the family, con- 
sisting of the ecclesiastics, Prince Boguslaw, and his son, 
Polish national sentiment was stronger than any other, and 
was cultivated on the basis that Polish and Romish-clerical 
interests were concurrent the only basis practicable in 
times of peace, but then very readily practicable. Kratzig 
again, the head of the Catholic section, was as good as a 
serf of the Radziwills. A nuncio would regard it as his 
chief duty to defend the interests of the Catholic Church, 
but not those of the Poles ; would not be in intimate re- 
lations to the bureaucracy, as were the members of the 
Catholic section who, among the garrison which held the 
ministerial citadel in our system of defence against revolu- 
tionary attacks, sat as a faction inimical to the state; a 

141 



BISMARCK 

nuncio, finally, would as a member of the diplomatic body 
be personally interested in maintaining good relations 
between his sovereign and the Court to which he was 
accredited. 

Although I was unsuccessful in conquering the Em- 
peror's dislike to a nuncio in Berlin a dislike that was, 
for the rest, rather outwardly external and formal his 
Majesty was persuaded of the danger of the Catholic sec- 
tion, and gave his sanction to its abolition in spite of the 
opposition of his spouse. Conjugal influence induced 
Miihler to oppose the abolition, concerning which all the 
other ministers were agreed. A difference arising from a 
personal matter concerning the administration of the 
museums served as the ostensible pretext for his resigna- 
tion ; in reality his fall was due to Kratzig and Polonism, 
in spite of the support which he and his wife had procured 
through their connexion with ladies at Court. 



I should never have thought of occupying myself with 
the legal details of the May Laws ; they were outside my 
department, and I had neither the intention nor the quali- 
fications to control or to correct Falk as a jurist. I could 
not, as Minister-President, fulfil the duties of the Minister 
of Public Worship at the same time, even if I had been in 
perfect health. It was only by seeing them in practice 
that I became convinced that the legal details had not 
been properly conceived for the effect they were wanted to 
produce. The error in their conception was made evident 
to me by the picture of dexterous, light-footed priests pur- 
sued through back doors and bedrooms by honest but awk- 

142 



THE ' CULTURKAMPF.' 

ward Prussian gendarmes, with spurs and trailing sabres. 
Whoever supposes that such critical considerations surging 
up in me would immediately have been embodied in the 
form of a cabinet crisis between Falk and myself has not 
the correct judgment, which can only be gained by experi- 
ence, of the manner in which the state machine has to be 
driven, both as regards itself and its connexion with the 
monarch and the parliamentary elections. That machine 
is unable to perform sudden evolutions, and ministers of 
Falk's talents do not grow wild with us. It was better 
to have a fellow combatant of such ability and courage in 
the ministry than to make myself responsible for the 
administration of the Department of Public Worship, or 
for a new appointment to it, by encroaching upon the 
constitutional independence of his office. I adhered to 
this view as long as I could prevail upon Falk to stay. 
Only when, contrary to my wishes, he had been so put out 
by feminine Court influence and ungracious letters from the 
royal hand that it became impossible to keep him, did I 
proceed to a revision of what he had left behind a thing 
I was unwilling to do so long as that was only possible by 
a rupture with him. 

Falk succumbed to the same tactics as had been 
brought to bear upon me at Court with similar resources, 
but not with similar success ; he succumbed to them partly 
because he was more susceptible to Court influences than 
I, partly because he was not supported in the same meas- 
ure by the sympathy of the Emperor. The anti-minis- 
terial activity of the Empress originally sprang from the 
independence of character which rendered it difficult for 
her to side with a government that was not in her own 
hands, and which, for a whole generation, attracted her to 

M3 



BISMARCK 

the path of opposition against every successive administra- 
tion. She was not quick to adopt the opinion of others. 
At the time of the Culturkampf this propensity was in- 
tensified by the Catholics surrounding her Majesty, who 
obtained their information and instructions from the Ultra- 
montane camp. That party utilised with skill and discern- 
ment the old propensity of the Empress to exercise her 
influence in the improvement of each successive govern- 
ment. I repeatedly dissuaded Falk from plans of resigna- 
tion in connexion either with letters of displeasure from 
the Emperor, which were probably not due to the initiative 
of the august ruler himself, or with slights offered to his wife 
at court. I recommended him to maintain a passive attitude 
towards the ungracious communications of his Majesty, un- 
adorned, as they were, by any counter-signature, and refer- 
ring less to Culturkampf than to the Minister's relations 
with the High Consistorial Court and the Protestant 
Church ; but in any case to bring his grievances before the 
State Ministry, whose suggestions, if unanimous, the King 
was wont to respect. Finally, however, being exposed to 
mortifications that wounded his sense of honour, he decided 
to resign. All the accounts which state that I ousted him 
from the ministry rest upon invention, and I was surprised 
that he never publicly contradicted them, although he 
always remained in friendly relations with me. Among 
the events that decided his retirement I can still remem- 
ber that it was the disputes with the High Consistorial 
Court and the clerics connected with it that brought 
about the rupture with his Majesty, though it was easy to 
detect, from the manner in which the controversial matters 
that told against Falk were developed and brought to a 

head, the collaboration of more dexterous hands and higher 

144 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

skill than was possessed by the official counsellors of the 
Emperor in his capacity of summits episcopus. 



After his departure I found myself face to face with 
the question whether, and how far, in choosing a new Min- 
ister of Public Worship, I was to keep in sight Falk's rather 
juristic than political leanings, or follow exclusively my 
own views, tending more towards Polonism than Catholi- 
cism. In the Culturkampf y the parliamentary policy of the 
government had been crippled by the defection of the Pro- 
gressive party and its transition to the Centrum. Mean- 
time in the Reichstag, without getting any support from 
the Conservatives, it was opposed by a majority of Demo- 
crats of all shades, bound together by a common enmity, and 
in league with Poles, Guelfs, friends of France, and Ultra- 
montanes. The consolidation of our new imperial unity 
was retarded by these circumstances, and would be im- 
perilled were they to continue or to become aggravated. 
The mischief to the nation might be rendered more serious 
in this way than by an abandonment of what was in my 
opinion the superfluous part of the Falk legislation. The 
indispensable part I held to be the removal of the article 
from the Constitution, the acquisition of means for com- 
bating Polonism, and, above all, the supremacy of the state 
over the schools. If we carried these points we should 
still have gained considerably by the Culturkampf, con- 
sidering the state in which things were before the out- 
break of the conflict. I had therefore to come to an 
agreement with my colleagues concerning the extent to 

which we might go in our compromise with the Curia. 
VOL. n. 10 145 



BISMARCK 

The resistance of the whole body of ministers who had 
taken part in the conflict was more stubborn than that of 
my immediate colleagues, and primarily of Falk's suc- 
cessor, in which capacity I had proposed Herr von Putt- 
kamer to the King. But even after this change I could 
not immediately effect an alteration in the Church policy 
without causing fresh cabinet troubles unwelcome to the 
King and undesired by myself. The memories of the days 
when I sought to gain over fresh partisans are among the 
most unpleasant of my official career. In order to com- 
bine with Herr von Puttkamer I should have had to gain 
the support of the officials of his department with the 
habit of the Culturkampf in them, and that was beyond 
my powers. The explanation of Falk's Church policy is 
not to be exclusively sought for in the arena of the conflict 
with the Catholic Church; it was occasionally traversed 
and influenced by the Evangelical Church question. In 
the latter Herr von Puttkamer was in closer agreement 
than Falk with the views entertained at Court, and my 
desire to limit the conflict with Rome to a narrower sphere 
would probably have met with no personal opposition on 
the part of my new colleague. The difficulties, however, 
lay partly in the preponderance of the officials, still agi- 
tated by the passions of the Culturkampf, to whom Herr 
von Puttkamer further considered himself bound to sacri- 
fice the natural and traditional development of our orthog- 
raphy, partly in the opposition of my other colleagues to 
any appearance of yielding to the Pope. 

My first attempts to introduce peace into ecclesiastical 
affairs met with no sympathy from his Majesty. The 
influence of the highest Evangelical clergy was at that 

time stronger than the Catholicising influence of the 

146 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

Empress, the latter, moreover, receiving no incentive from 
the Centrum, because that party considered the prelimi- 
naries of the compromise unsatisfactory, and because, like 
the Court, it attached even more importance to fighting 
me than to seconding any efforts I might put forth. The 
conflicts that proceeded from the situation repeated them- 
selves, and became gradually more severe. 

Many years of labour were still required before it was 
possible to enter upon the revision of the May Laws with- 
out occasioning fresh troubles in the cabinet, since a major- 
ity was wanting for the defence of those laws in parliamen- 
tary warfare after the desertion of the Freethought or ' Lib- 
eralist ' party to the Ultramontane opposition camp. I was 
satisfied when in opposition to Polonism we succeeded in 
maintaining as definite gains the relations between school 
and state imposed by the Culturkampf &Q& the alteration 
made in the articles of the Constitution relating thereto. 
Both are, in my opinion, of more value than the in junctions 
against clerical activity contained in the May Laws and the 
legal apparatus for catching recalcitrant priests, and I ven- 
ture to regard as a considerable gain in itself the abolition of 
the Catholic section and of the danger to the state arising 
from its activity in Silesia, Posen, and Prussia. After the 
Freethought party had not only given up the Culturkampf, 
prosecuted more by themselves under the leadership of Vir- 
chow and his associates than by me, but began to support the 
Centrum both in parliament and at the elections, the gov- 
ernment was in a minority as against the last-named party. 
In the face of a compact majority consisting of the Cen- 
trum, the Progressives, the Social Democrats, the Poles, 
the Alsatians, and the Guelfs, the policy of Falk had no 

chance in the Reichstag. For that reason I considered 

147 



BISMARCK 

it more politic to pave the way for peace provided the 
schools remained protected, the Constitution freed from 
the abolished articles, and the state rid of the Catholic 
section. 

When I had at last won the Emperor over, the new 
position of the Progressive party and of the Seceders was 
a matter of decisive weight in determining what was to be 
retained and what given up; instead of supporting the 
government, those sections leagued themselves with the 
Centrum at elections and in the divisions, and had con- 
ceived hopes which found expression in the so-called 
'Gladstone Ministry* (Stosch, Rickert, and others) that 
is, in the Liberal-Catholic coalition. 

In the year 1886 it was at length possible to terminate 
the counter- Reformation, partly sought for by me, partly 
recognised as allowable ; and to establish a modus vivendi 
which may still, compared with tht status qiw before 1871, 
be regarded as a result of the whole Culturkampf favour- 
able to the state. 

How permanent this will be, and how long the con- 
flict of denominations will now remain quiet, time alone 
can show. It depends upon ecclesiastical moods and 
upon the degree of combativeness, not only of the Pope 
for the time being and his leading counsellors, but also of 
the German bishops, and of the more or less High Church 
tendencies governing the Catholic population at different 
periods. It is impossible to confine within stated limits 
the claims of Rome upon countries that have religious 
equality and a Protestant dynasty. It cannot be done 
even in purely Catholic states. The conflict that has 
been waged from time immemorial between priests and 

kings cannot be brought to a conclusion at the present 

148 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

day, and of all places not in Germany. Before 1870 
the condition of things caused the position of the Catho- 
lic Church in Prussia itself to be recognised by the Curia 
as a pattern and more favourable than in most of the 
purely Catholic countries. In our home politics how- 
ever, and especially in our parliamentary politics, we 
could trace no effects of this denominational satisfaction. 
Long before 1871 the group led by the two Reichen- 
spergers was already permanently attached to the opposi- 
tion against the government of the Protestant dynasty, 
though its leaders did not on that account incur the 
personal stigma of being called disturbers of the peace. 
In any modus Vivendi Rome will regard a Protestant dy- 
nasty and Church as an irregularity and a disease which 
it is the duty of its Church to cure. The conviction that 
this is the case is no reason for the state itself to com- 
mence the conflict and to abandon its defensive attitude 
with regard to the Church of Rome, for all treaties of 
peace in this world are provisional, and only hold good for 
a time. The political relations between independent 
powers are the outcome of an unbroken series of events 
arising either from conflict or from the objection of one or 
other of the parties to renew the conflict. Any temptation 
on the part of the Curia to renew the conflict in Germany 
will always arise from the excitability of the Poles, the 
desire for power among their nobility, and the supersti- 
tion of the lower classes fostered by the priests. In the 
country around Kissingen I have come across German 
peasants who had had their schooling, and who firmly be- 
lieved that the priest who stood by the death-bed in the 
sinful flesh could, by granting or refusing absolution, 

dispatch the dying man direct to heaven or hell, and that 

149 



BISMARCK 

it was therefore necessary to have him for your political 
friend as well. In Poland I presume it is at least as bad 
or worse, for the uneducated man is told that German and 
Lutheran are terms as identical as are Polish and Catholic. 
Eternal peace with the Roman Curia is in the existing 
state of affairs as impossible as is peace between France 
and her neighbours. If human life is nothing but a series 
of struggles, this is especially so in the mutual relations of 
independent political bodies, for the adjustment of which 
no properly-constituted court exists with power to enforce 
its decrees. The Roman Curia, however, is an indepen- 
dent political body, possessing among its unalterable 
qualities the same propensity to grab all round as is 
innate in our French neighbours. In its struggles 
against Protestantism, which no concordat can quiet, it 
has always the aggressive weapons of proselytism and 
ambition at its disposal ; it tolerates the presence of no 
other gods. 



While the Culturkampf was raging King Victor Eman- 
uel paid Berlin a visit lasting from September 22 to 26, 
1873. I had heard from Herr von Keudell that the King 
had ordered a snuff-box set with diamonds, valued at fifty 
or sixty thousand francs about six or eight times as much 
as it is usual to give on such occasions to be made and 
forwarded to Count Launay for presentation to me. At 
the same time it came to my knowledge that Launay had 
shown the box with an intimation of its value to his neigh- 
bour, Baron Pergler von Perglas, the Bavarian Ambassa- 
dor, who was on terms of very close friendship with our 

150 



THE /CULTURKAMPF; 

opponents in the Culturkampf. The great value of the 
present intended for me might therefore cause it to be 
regarded as having some connexion with the rapproche- 
ment with the German empire which the King of Italy at 
that time sought and obtained. When I submitted to 
the Emperor my scruples about taking the present, he at 
first supposed that I considered it beneath my dignity to 
accept a portrait-box, and saw in this a departure from 
traditions to which he was accustomed. I said : ' I should 
not have thought of refusing a present of this kind of 
the average value. In this case, however, it is not the 
royal portrait, but the saleable diamonds which are of 
decisive importance in estimating the matter; out of con- 
sideration for the state of the Culturkampf, I am obliged 
to avoid anything that might serve as a peg for suspi- 
cion, since the value of the box, excessive under the cir- 
cumstances, has been made known through those who stand 
in neighbourly relations to Perglas, and circulated in 
society.' The Emperor finally came over to my way of 
thinking, and closed the incident with the words : ' You 
are right don't accept the box.'* 

On my bringing my views to the knowledge of 
Count Launay through Herr von Keudell, the box was 
replaced by a very fine and striking portrait of the King 

* Prince Gortchakoff was of a different opinion concerning the accept- 
ance of a box set with diamonds. During our visit to St. Petersburg in 
1872 his Majesty asked me: 'What can I possibly give Prince Gort- 
chakoff ? He has everything already, including my portrait ; what do you 
say to a bust or a box set with diamonds ? ' I raised objections to an ex- 
pensive box, basing them on Prince Gortchakoff's position and wealth, 
and the Emperor said I was right. I thereupon sounded the Prince in 
confidence, and at once received this reply : ' Get a good big box given 
me set with fine stones (avec de grosses pierres).' I reported this to his 
Majesty, feeling somewhat ashamed of my knowledge of human nature ; we 
both laughed, and Gortchakoff got his box. 



BISMARCK 

bearing the following autograph inscription alluding to my 
order of the Annunciation : 

AL PRINCIPE BISMARCK 

BERLINO 26 SETTEMBRE, 1873 

AFFEZIONATISSIMO CUGINO 

VITTORIO EMANUELE. 

The King, however, felt a desire to give me a stronger 
mark of his good-will by a gift as valuable as the one orig- 
inally intended, but unsaleable, and I received in addition 
to the flattering inscription on the portrait an alabaster 
vase of unusual size and beauty, the packing and removal 
of which occasioned me some difficulty when my successor 
forced me to a precipitate evacuation of my official resi- 
dence. 



The ' Germania' of December 6, 1891, deduces from 
the correspondence between Count von Roon and Moritz 
von Blanckenburg, published in the ' Deutsche Revue,' that 
I had overcome the Emperor's resistance to civil marriages. 

Blanckenburg was a comrade in the fight who was above 
all endeared to me by a friendship dating from our child- 
ish days and lasting till his death. This friendship was, 
however, on his side not identical with confidence or devo- 
tion in the field of politics ; here I had to contend with 
the competition of his political and religious confessors, 
and these had no intention, nor had Blanckenburg the 
capacity, to form a broad-minded estimate of the historical 
progress of German and European politics. He was him- 

152 



THE 'CULTURKAMPF.' 

self without ambition, and free from the disease of many 
of his old-Prussian colleagues jealousy cf myself; but it 
was difficult for his political judgment to tear itself away 
from the Prussian-Particularistic or even from the Pom- 
eranian-Lutheran standpoint. His thoroughly sound com- 
mon sense and honesty made him independent of Conserva- 
tive party movements in which both were wanting ; this 
independence had, however, to be discounted by the pru- 
dence and modesty due to his want of familiarity with the 
political arena. He was yielding, and not steeled against 
persuasion, not an immovable pillar upon which I might 
have leant. The conflict between his good- will towards 
me and his inability to resist other influences finally 
induced him to retire from politics altogether. The first 
time that I put him forward as Minister of Agriculture, 
the proposal fell through owing to the opposition of the 
very colleagues who had previously approved of my offer 
of that post to Blanckenburg. I will leave it an open 
question whether my friend's disinclination to be continu- 
ally exposed to the light of publicity under the supervision 
of malevolent spirits may have had something to do with 
the failure of my attempt to bring this Conservative force 
into the ministry ; but upon his second and definitive refusal 
on November 10, 1873, this was undoubtedly the case. 1 
Want of lucidity is shown in his letter to Roon of April 
i8/4, 2 in which he speaks at the same time of his refusal 
and of Falk's abandonment by me. If the Conservative 
party had shown their willingness to support me in the 
persons of their then spokesmen and leaders, Blancken- 
burg and Kleist-Retzow, the composition of the ministry 
would have been different, and what is called in the letter 

1 Deutsche Revue, October 1891. 2 Ibid. December 1891. 

'53 



BISMARCK 

the Falk cut de sac would perhaps have been unnecessary. 
The refusal to accept office emanated, however, as the let- 
ter proves, from Blanckenburg himself, not, perhaps, with- 
out being influenced by the last battles of the ' poor 
Lutherans ' or ' old Lutherans ' with whom Blanckenburg 
was joined in the 'thirties. When he retired from poli- 
tics I felt as though he had left me in the lurch. The 
statement that I had overcome the Emperor William's re- 
sistance to civil marriages is one of the inventions of the 
Democratic Jesuitism which the ' Germania ' represents. 
The Emperor's aversion was overcome by the pressure 
which the majority of the ministers present at Berlin, 
assembled without me under Roon's formal presidency, 
exercised upon his Majesty, and which went so far that 
the Emperor had to choose between accepting the draft 
bill and re-constructing the ministry. In my then state 
of health it would have been beyond my powers to form 
out of the parties inimical to me and to each other a new 
cabinet with a view to continuing the contests in all di- 
rections. Although the Emperor in his letter of May 8, 
1874, says retrospectively that in spite of his having given 
way he had written against it on two further occasions, 
those letters were not addressed to me but to the ministry 
in Berlin, and in his choice between obligatory civil mar- 
riages and a change of ministers I only advised him to 
choose the former. His aversion to civil marriages was 
undoubtedly stronger even than mine ; with Luther I held 
that marriage was a municipal matter, and my opposition 
to an acknowledgment of this principle was based rather 
upon consideration for existing custom and the conviction 
of the masses than upon any Christian scruples of my own. 



CHAPTER XXV 

RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

THE rupture between the Conservatives and myself, which 
occurred amidst much noise in 1872, had been first fore- 
shadowed in 1868 in the debates upon the Hanoverian 
Provincial Fund. The draft of the bill, submitted to 
the Diet by the government, in fulfilment of a promise 
made to the Hanoverians a year before, had already been 
smartly opposed by the Conservative members in commit- 
tee, when the deputies von Brauchitsch and von Diest 
brought forward an amendment in the full house sub- 
stantially modifying the measure. The former, as spokes- 
man, explained the reasons why the Conservative party 
could not vote for the bill. I concluded my exhaustive 
reply with these words : ' Constitutional government is 
impossible if the government cannot confidently rely 
upon one of the greater parties even in such exceptional 
matters as are not entirely to the taste of the party if 
that party cannot balance its account in this way : " We 
support the government throughout; it is true we find 
that it commits a blunder now and then, but up to the 
present it has produced fewer blunders than acceptable 
measures ; for that reason we must take the exceptional 
cases in with the rest." If a government has not at least 
one party in the country which regards its views and 
leanings from such a standpoint, then it cannot possibly 
rule constitutionally, but is compelled to manoeuvre and 



BISMARCK 

plot against the Constitution ; it must manage to get itself 
a majority artificially or to recruit a temporary one. It 
then degenerates into coalition ministries, and its policy 
betrays fluctuations which have a very prejudicial effect 
upon the state itself, and more especially upon the Con- 
servative principle.' ' 

Notwithstanding this warning, the bill, with some 
modifications agreed to by the government, was passed on 
February 7 by a majority of only thirty-two, most of the 
Conservatives having voted against it. In the committee 
of the Upper House, too, the attack was repeated on the 
part of the Conservatives. What resources were then 
brought into play is shown by the following incident. 
Charles von Bodelschwingh, who was Minister of Finance 
during the Conflict time, and had in 1866 declined to 
procure the sums required for the war, being for that rea- 
son replaced by Baron von der Heydt, had spread a report 
in the Conservative party that I should really be pleased 
by the rejection of the measure, and offered to adduce 
proof of this. When business commenced he came up to 
me in the House and began a conversation of no impor- 
tance by asking after my wife ; on leaving me he returned 
to his colleagues and declared that, after having consulted 
me, he was sure of the truth of what he had advanced. 

From a perusal of the very authentic reports which 
Roon, who was then at Bordighera, received in February 
1868 from members of the Conservative party, and which 
were reprinted in the ' Deutsche Revue' of April 1891,' it 
will be seen that the Conservatives desired me to enter 
their group. I had little leisure time, was pre-occupied by 

1 Politische Reden, iii. 456. 

8 Cf. Denkwurdigkeitcn, iii. 4 62 sqq. 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

what we had to expect from France ; by the possibility, 
nay, the probability that Austria, under Beust, would enter 
into the French war plans in order to undo the events of 
1 866 ; by the question what position Russia, Bavaria and 
Saxony would take up at such a juncture; finally, by the 
existence of a Hanoverian legion. These cares, and the 
labour to which they forced me, completely exhausted me, 
and, to crown all, these gentlemen desired that I should 
seek out every single private politician of their group and 
convert him. I did even this, as far as I could, but my 
efforts were frustrated by Bodelschwingh's intrigues and 
by the animosity of Vincke, Diest, Kleist-Retzow and 
other displeased and jealous members of my own class and 
former colleagues in the same group. 

What Roon himself thought of the situation reported to 
him is evident from his letter to me of February 19, 1868, 
written from Bordighera, in which the following passages 
occur : l 

' According to the newspapers, it appears that you and 
others have again been quarrelling lustily. This does not 
surprise me, but I am sorry that differences of such a seri- 
ous nature could not be avoided differences which cause 
the Liberals by profession to shout for joy, and appear to 
render the Conservatives by trade still more confused than 
they, unfortunately, already are. 

' What things, according to Galignani, you are reported 
to have said ! I have been promised the shorthand reports 
of the matter, but they are, unfortunately, not yet to hand. 
I am, nevertheless, perfectly reassured concerning the chief 
thing your threatened resignation for I consider such a 
step to be absolutely impossible, excepting in the event of 

1 Bismarck-Jahrbuch* vi. 198, 199. 
X 57 



BISMARCK 

physical incapacitation. I am still, however, uneasy about 
the ever more threatening dismemberment of the Conser- 
vative party, which, supposing it were to be accomplished 
in the manner desired by the Liberals, would be regarded 
by me as a very serious and significant matter, a proceed- 
ing which would degrade you and the government to obe- 
dient tools of the Liberal party. Of course I understand 
that it is advantageous for our policy that the Liberals 
should nourish a hope of being able to put their hand to 
the oar as well. But I also realise that it would be disas- 
trous if the situation were to take such a turn as to render 
their participation in the government an inevitable neces- 
sity. You will perhaps object to this, that the confusion, 
helplessness, and stupidity of the Conservatives apart 
from the envious and spiteful presumption of individuals 
would of itself bring this about, and that you can do 
nothing to hinder it. But is that quite the case ? If you 
had seriously devoted your considerable resources to in- 
doctrinating and organising the Conservative party, which 
unfortunately does not yet clearly recognise that its task 
of to-day must differ from that of 1 862 and the following 
years ay, if you would but attempt this to-day, it will 
be possible not only to avert the mesalliance with the 
Liberals, but also to convert the reformed Conservative 
party into the most enduring and secure staff for your jour- 
ney on the difficult but inevitable road of Conservative 
progress in internal reforms and renovation. One man, no 
matter how excellent the endowments which God has given 
him, cannot do everything which has to be done himself. 
In saying this I desire to exclude any reproach which 
what I have said above might seem to cast on you. Rather, 
I am ready to admit willingly and repeatedly that you and 

158 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

your aims are not sufficiently supported by your official 
colleagues. And if I spoke of the reform of the Con- 
servative party, I recognise that this task must, in the 
first instance, devolve on the Minister of the Interior. 
But does Count E. possess the confidence (and sense of 
duty!) necessary for its performance? Where will you 
find other colleagues, especially another Minister of the 
Interior ? In the ranks of the National Liberals ? The 
idea is to me intolerable. Among the Conservatives? 
But whom ? The organising and creative spirits in their 
ranks are unknown magnitudes, and much as I dislike 
our bureaucratic disorder, I am aware that the person 
concerned must know it in order to be able to reform it.' 

A few days later, on February 25, Roon wrote to his 
eldest son : ' 

'. . . I should prefer to write nothing at all about 
politics and conflicts, after writing on the iQth on the 
basis of a confidential report sent me on the Qth to express 
to Count Bismarck my regret that matters should have 
turned out thus, &c. The shorthand reports which have 
been promised me are not likely to change my view of 
things; it is impossible for Bismarck to do everything. 
The organisation or re -organisation of the Conservative 
party, which has become necessary, is rightfully the busi- 
ness of the Minister of the Interior, and neither Bis- 
marck, nor I, nor Blanckenburg, nor anyone else is offi- 
cially called upon to do it. If the one person whose 
business it is, is neither inclined nor fitted for it, he lacks 
some indispensable qualification for his office, and we may 
draw the necessary conclusion and act accordingly. The 
loss of any wholesome influence due to Bismarck's atti- 

1 Denkwurtigkeiten, iii. 4 70 &c. 



BISMARCK 

tude towards the Conservatives, or to my absence or Blanck- 
enburg's, scarcely permits us to reproach Bismarck on 
good grounds. Those who know, as I do, what enormous 
duties B. has to, and does, perform, cannot justly blame 
him for not doing even more, and making up for his col- 
league's neglect or incapacity. The only possible ground 
on which we could justly reproach him would be if we 
could maintain with truth that he has not done all in his 
power to procure more competent colleagues. Perhaps 
this might be said, but I, who, in spite of distance, can 
perhaps judge better and more accurately than any one 
else of the personal relations in question, feel scarcely 
able definitely to make any such assertion. However, the 
breach will be healed, for it must be healed. There is no 
other party on which we can depend for the main ques- 
tion, but the party must at last understand that its ideas 
and tasks of to-day must be essentially different from those 
of the Conflict time. It must be, and become, a party 
of Conservative progress, and abandon the policy of the 
drag, however essential and necessary this may have been, 
and in fact was, at the time of the ascendancy of democratic 
progress, and the demagogic precipitation which it threat- 
ened. These are my ideas in nuce about the latest situa- 
tion; of course they are only suited for communication 
in the most confidential circles. . . ' 



Roon's anticipation was not fulfilled. The Conserva- 
tive party remained what it was; the contest, which it 
had begun with me, continued in more or less latent fash- 
ion. I can understand that my policy was opposed by that 

160 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

Conservative party which commonly went by the name of 
'Kreuzzeitung,' by some of its members from honourable 
motives of principle, which exercised in some individuals 
a stronger motive power than their national feeling, which 
was Prussian rather than German. In others, whom I 
might almost call my second class opponents, the motive 
was due to place-hunting ote-toi, que je my mette of 
these the prototypes were Harry Arnim, Robert Goltz, 
and others. In the third class I might include those of 
my own rank among the country nobility, who were an- 
noyed because my exceptional career had caused me to 
outgrow the conception, more Polish than German, of a 
traditional equality among the members of that class. They 
would have pardoned my transformation from a country 
Junker into a minister, but not my emoluments nor per- 
haps the princely title which had been conferred on me 
much against my will. 'Your Excellency' was within 
the limit of customary attainment and appreciation; 'your 
serene Highness ' challenged criticisms. I can under- 
stand this feeling, for this criticism was in correspon- 
dence with my own. On the morning of March 21, 1871, 
when an autograph letter of the Emperor announced my 
elevation to the rank of prince, I was determined to beg 
his Majesty to abandon his intention, because this eleva- 
tion of rank would bring a very uncongenial change in the 
basis of my fortune and all the conditions of my life. 
Glad as I was to think of my sons as comfortably situated 
country nobles, I disliked the idea of princes with an in- 
adequate income, like Hardenberg and Bliicher, whose sons 
did not assume the hereditary title ; in fact the Bliicher 
title was only renewed many decades later (1861) in con- 
sequence of a wealthy Catholic marriage. While consid- 

VOL. II. II l6l 



BISMARCK 

ering all the reasons against an elevation of rank, which 
was quite outside the domain of my ambition, I reached 
the top steps of the palace stairs, and there found, to my 
surprise, the Emperor at the head of the royal family. 
He embraced me warmly and with tears, addressing me 
as Prince, and giving loud expression to his joy at being 
able to confer this distinction on me. In face of this and 
the hearty greetings of the royal family, it was impossible 
for me to express my hesitation. I have never since then 
lost the feeling that a count may be merely well to do 
without attracting undue attention, but a prince, if he 
wishes to avoid this, must be actually rich. It would 
have been easier for me to put up with the ill-will of my 
former friends and compeers if it had been due to my 
opinions. It found its expression and its pretexts in the 
condemnatory criticism to which my policy was subjected 
by the Prussian Conservatives under the leadership of my 
kinsman, Herr von Kleist-Retzow, at the time of the 
School Inspection Bill of 1872, and on several other occa- 
sions. 

The opposition of the Conservatives to the School In- 
spection Bill, which had been introduced in Miihler's time, 
was already beginning in the House of Deputies. It aimed 
at legally vindicating the claims of the local clergy to the 
inspection of the common schools, even in Poland; while 
the proposal gave the office a free hand in the choice of 
the inspector. In the course of the animated debate which 
many old members will have recalled in 1 892, 1 spoke thus 
on February 13, 1872: 

'The previous speaker (Lasker) stated that he and his 
party could not conceive that on a question which was a 

matter of principle and had been declared by us impor- 

162 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

tant for the safety of the state, on a question of this sig- 
nificance, what had hitherto been the Conservative party 
should openly declare war against the government. I do 
not wish to adopt this expression, but I may assuredly 
declare that I too cannot think that that party is going 
to leave the government in the lurch on a question which 
the government is determined for its part to carry by 
every constitutional means.' 1 , 

After the Bill had been accepted in the form approved 
by the government, by 207 votes against 155, the latter 
given by clericals, Conservatives, and Poles, it was brought 
on for discussion in the Upper House on March 6. I will 
quote a passage from my speech : 

* The matter has been inflated by the evangelicals to 
such excessive importance, as though we now desired to 
depose the clergy in a lump, make a tabula rasa, and over- 
turn the whole evangelical state, with the 20,000 thalers 
which we are demanding. But for these exaggerations 
the regrettable disputes and frictions in connexion with 
this Bill would have been altogether superfluous ; the Bill 
has only gained its exaggerated importance from the quite 
unexpected resistance of the evangelical portion of the 
Conservative party, a resistance into whose origin I will 
not enter here in detail I could not do so without becoming 
personal but which is a most painful experience for the 
government and a most discouraging sign for the future. 
Now that I have declared to you with an openness to 
which Conservatives ought never to compel the govern- 
ment, the origin and drift of this Bill, you ought to 
recognise the necessity of compelling our country- 
men, who have hitherto not spoken German, to learn 

* Politische Reden, v. 283. 
I6 3 



BISMARCK 

German. That is, in my view, the main point of this 
Bill. 1 

In a house of 202, 76 voted against the Bill. On the 
previous evening I had exerted myself in trying to repre- 
sent to Herr von Kleist the probable results of the policy 
into which he was leading his friends, but found myself 
in face of a parti pris, the basis of which I could not con- 
jecture. On that side the breach with me was marked 
externally by a distinctness which revealed as much per- 
sonal as political animosity. The conviction that that 
party-politician, who was on terms of personal intimacy 
with me, did grievous mischief to the country and the 
Conservative cause, remains with me to this day. If the 
Conservative party, instead of breaking with me and at- 
tacking me with a bitterness and fanaticism second to no 
party in the Opposition, had assisted the imperial govern- 
ment in building up the structure of imperial legislation 
with honest joint labour, it would not have failed to show 
deep traces of this Conservative co-operation. The com- 
pletion of the structure was necessary if the political and 
military attainments were to be protected from crumbling 
away and from centrifugal retrogression. 

I do not know how far I could have gone to meet 
Conservative co-operation, certainly further than was the 
case under the circumstances to which the rupture gave 
rise. At that time, in face of the dangers resulting from 
our wars, I regarded the differences between parties 
as subordinate, in comparison with the necessity of polit- 
ical protection from external attack by serrying our ranks 
as far as possible as a united nation. The first condition 
was, in my view, the independence of Germany, based 

1 Politische Reden, v. 304, 305. 
164 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

upon a unity sufficiently strong for self-protection. I 
had then, and still have, sufficient confidence in the sense 
and reasonableness of the nation to believe that it will 
heal and extirpate excrescences and mistakes in the na- 
tional institutions, if only it is not hindered by its depen- 
dence on the rest of Europe and by internal interests of 
separate groups, as was the case before 1866. With this 
view I regarded, as I do to this day, the question of Lib- 
eral or Conservative as of secondary importance in face 
of the impending danger of war and coalition, and rather 
laid stress on the free self-determination of the nation 
and its princes. I do not yet renounce the hope, although 
I feel no security, that our political future will not be in- 
jured in its future developments by blunders and mishaps. 



The more exclusive rapprochement with the National 
Liberal party, to which I was of necessity brought by the 
desertion of the Conservatives, became a reason or a pre- 
text in the circles of the latter for increased animosity 
against me. During the time that I was compelled by 
illness to surrender to Count "Roon the chairmanship of 
the ministry, i.e. from New Year till September 1873, he 
used every evening to hold large or small meetings at his 
house, attended by politicians of the Right who were op- 
posed to me. Count Harry Arnim, who was not in the 
habit of attending gentlemen's parties without some polit- 
ical object, came to these whenever he was at Berlin on 
leave, playing his part so as to give the company the im- 
pression conveyed to me by Roon himself in the words : 
'After all he has the making of a capital ./tttt&r A' The 

165 



BISMARCK 

context in which he expressed this opinion and its fre- 
quent sharply accentuated repetition in the mouth of my 
friend and colleague, had the effect of reproaching me for 
my lack of similar qualities, and conveyed a hint that 
Arnim would manage our domestic policy in a more spirited 
and Conservative manner if he were in my place. The 
conversation in which this theme of Arnim s Jtm&er ten- 
dencies was developed in detail, gave me the impression 
that even my old friend Roon, under the influence of the 
conventicle meeting at his house, felt his confidence in 
my policy somewhat shaken. 

To these circles belonged also Colonel von Caprivi, at 
that time chief of a department in the War Ministry. I 
will not determine to which of the categories of my oppo- 
nents enumerated on pp. 159, 1 60 he belonged at that time. 
I am only acquainted with his personal relations to the staff 
of the 'Reichsglocke/ e.g. Geheimrath von Lebbin, an offi- 
cial in the Ministry of the Interior, who also exercised 
in his department an influence hostile to me. Field- 
Marshal von Manteuffel told me that Caprivi had tried to 
strain his (Manteuffel's) influence with the Emperor 
against me, indicating as a ground of complaint and 
source of danger my 'hostility to the army.' * It is ex- 
traordinary that Caprivi did not remember in that con- 
nexion how before, and at the time of my taking office in 
1862, the army had been attacked, criticised, and curtailed 
in step- motherly fashion by civilians, and how during my 
office and under my guidance it had been raised from 
its common-place garrison existence, and from 1864 to 
1871 had passed by way of Diippel, Sadowa, and Sedan, 

* Compare with this reproach the letter of the Emperor Frederick, 
March 25, 1888, infra, p. 340. 

166 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

to three triumphal entries into Berlin. I may presume 
without exaggeration that King William would have abdi- 
cated in 1862, that the policy which laid the foundations 
of the glory of the army would never have come into 
being, or, at any rate, hot in that fashion, if I had not 
taken over its direction. Would the army have had the 
opportunity of performing its deeds of heroism and Count 
Moltke been able to draw his sword if King William 1 
had received other counsels from other persons? As- 
suredly not, if he had abdicated in 1862 because he could 
find no one prepared to share and to face the dangers of 
his position. 



As early as February n, 1872, the ' Kreuzzeitung, 
had declared a feud against me on the ground that I had 
proclaimed the supremacy of parliament and atheism. In 
1875, under Nathusius Ludom, it opened its campaign of 
slander against me, with what were known as the Era ar- 
ticles of Perrot.* I then applied by letter to Amsberg, 
one of our highest legal authorities, and to the Minister 
of Justice, to ask whether, if I brought a penal action, I 
might count with any certainty on the condemnation of 
the author ; if not, I should refrain from bringing one, for 
a sentence of acquittal might give my enemies a fresh 
pretext for calumny. The answer of both coincided with 
that given by my own legal adviser. The condemnation 
was probable, but in view of the cautious wording of the 
article, not certain. At that time, I had not formed any 

*Dr. Perrot, retired captain; born at Treves, died 1891. Author of 
pamphlets on political economy ; ultimately merchant. 

167 



BISMARCK 

definite principles on the subject of penal actions, and the 
experiences which I had had in the time of conflict were 
not exactly encouraging. I remember that one local tri- 
bunal, I believe at Stendal, in basing its sentence, fully 
admitted the grievous character of the insults publicly 
directed against me, but explained its reasons for fixing 
the minimum penalty of 10 thalers, by saying that I really 
was a bad minister. 

At the time of the appearance of Perrot's articles, I 
could not yet foresee the dimensions which the campaign 
of slander against me would assume, on the part of my 
former comrades and particularly among those of my own 
rank. 



No one who has taken part in the political struggles 
of the present day can fail to have noticed that party poli- 
ticians, whose courtesy and honour in private life are quite 
above suspicion, as soon as they enter upon struggles of 
this nature, regard themselves as exempt from all those 
rules of honour and decency, whose authority they recog- 
nise in other cases. A grotesque exaggeration of the 
phrase salus publica suprema lex causes them to justify 
baseness and vulgarity in speech and action, which outside 
the domain of religious and political conflict would repel 
them. This renouncing of all that is decent and honour- 
able is dimly connected with a feeling that, in the interest 
of the party which is substituted for their country, they 
have to make use of a different standard from that of pri- 
vate life, and that the precepts of honour and good breed- 
ing may be interpreted differently and more loosely in 

168 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

party strife than even in war against foreign foes. The 
irritability which leads to the transgression of the ordi- 
nary forms and limits is unconsciously accentuated by the 
circumstance that in politics and religion no one can give 
his opponent a conclusive proof for his own conviction, 
and that no court exists which by its decisions can set 
at rest differences of opinion. 

In politics, as in the domain of religious belief, no' 
other argument can be brought by a Conservative against 
a Liberal, a Royalist against a Republican, a believer 
against an infidel, than the tune which is hackneyed by 
a thousand variations of eloquence. My political convic- 
tions are right and yours are wrong ; my belief is pleasing 
to God, your unbelief leads to damnation. This explains 
why ecclesiastical differences of opinion bring about relig- 
ious wars ; and why political party conflicts, even if not 
settled by civil war, still help to overthrow the barriers 
which in the intercourse of life outside of politics are main- 
tained by the honour and decency of well-bred persons. 
Would any cultivated and well-bred German attempt in 
ordinary intercourse to use the smallest part of the imper- 
tinences and insults which he does not hesitate to throw in 
the face of his opponent, though as good a citizen as him- 
self, using, when he speaks from the platform before a hun- 
dred witnesses, an aggressive tone, quite inadmissible in 
ordinary respectable society ? Would any one outside the 
domain of politics consider it consistent with the position 
which he claims to hold as a gentleman of good family, to 
make a business in the society with which he associates of 
hawking about lies and slanders against other members of 
his own society and his own class ? Who would not be 

ashamed to accuse blameless persons of dishonest actions 

169 



BISMARCK 

in this way, without being able to bring any proofs ? In 
short, where, except in the region of political party strug- 
gle, would any one be found willingly to undertake the 
part of an unconscientious slanderer ? But as soon as a 
man can protect himself before his own conscience and his 
group, by the plea that he is acting in the interest of his 
party, the meanest action is considered permissible and 
even excusable. 

The slanders against me began in the paper which, 
under the Christian symbol of the Cross, and the motto 
'With God for King and Fatherland,' had for years rep- 
resented, not the Conservative group and still less Chris- 
tianity, but only the ambition and spiteful malice of indi- 
vidual editors. On February 9, 1876,' I complained in 
a public speech of the venom of this paper, and was an- 
swered by a declaration on the part of the signatories, 
whose educated contingent consisted of a few hundred 
evangelical ministers. In this form they opposed me in 
their official character, making themselves accomplices 
in the lies of the ' Kreuzzeitung,' and testifying to their 
mission as servants of a Christian Church and its peace, 
by publicly countersigning the slanders of this paper. I 
have always felt a mistrust of politicians in long skirts, 
whether feminine or ecclesiastic ; and this declaration of 
some hundreds of evangelical pastors in favour of one of 
the most frivolous slanders directed against the first offi- 
cial in the land was not calculated to strengthen my con- 
fidence in politicians who wear the cassock, even though 
it be the evangelical. The possibility of personal inter- 
course between me and any of the signatories, many of 
whom had previously been acquaintances, or even friends 

1 Politische Reden, vi. 351. 
170 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

of mine, was absolutely at an end after they had associ- 
ated themselves with the dishonourable insults from Per- 
rot's pen. 

It is a hard trial for the nerves of a man of mature 
age when he is compelled suddenly to break off his former 
intercourse with all, or almost all, his friends and ac- 
quaintances. My health at that time had long been im- 
paired, not by the labour which I had to perform, but by 
the continuous sense of responsibility for the great events 
which placed the future of my country at stake. Of 
course it was impossible during the animated and some- 
times stormy development of our politics always to fore- 
see with certainty whether the road which I took was the 
right one, and yet I was obliged to act as though I could 
predict with absolute clearness both coming events and 
the effect which my own decisions would have upon them. 
The question whether his own estimate, his political in- 
stinct, is leading him rightly, is difficult enough for a 
minister whose doubts are set at rest as soon as he feels 
himself sheltered under the royal signature or a parlia- 
mentary majority; a minister, one might say, of Catholic 
politics, who has got absolution and is not troubled by the 
more Protestant question, whether he has got absolution 
from himself. But for a minister who completely identi- 
fies his own honour with that of his country, the uncer- 
tainty of the result of each political decision has a most 
harassing effect. It is just as impossible to foresee with 
any certainty the political results at the time when a 
measure has to be carried, as it would be in our climate to 
predict the weather of the next few days. Yet we have 
to make our decisions as though we could do so, often 

enough fighting against all the influences to which we are 

171 



BISMARCK 

accustomed to attach weight. Thus, for instance, at Ni- 
kolsburg, at the time of the peace negotiations, I was, and 
remained, the only person who was finally made respon- 
sible, and in fact, according to our institutions and cus- 
toms was responsible, for the events and their results. 
On that occasion I was obliged to maintain my decision 
in a hard struggle in opposition not only to all the sol- 
diers, that is to all who were present, but also to the King. 
The consideration of the question whether a decision is 
right, and whether it is right to hold fast and carry through 
what, though upon weak premises, has been recognised as 
right, has an agitating effect on every conscientious and 
honourable man. This is strengthened by the circum- 
stance that often many years must elapse before we are 
able in political matters to convince ourselves whether 
our wishes and actions were right or wrong. It is not the 
work which is wearing, but rather the doubts and anxie- 
ties; the feeling of honour and responsibility, without 
being able to support the latter by anything except our 
own convictions and our own will, and this is more espe- 
cially the case in the most important crises. 

The intercourse with others whom we regard as simi- 
larly situated helps us to overcome these crises ; and if 
this suddenly ceases, from motives which are personal 
rather than external, envious rather than honest, and in 
as far as they are honest, of the most illiberal character, 
and the responsible minister suddenly finds himself boy- 
cotted by all his former friends, treated as an enemy, and 
then left alone with himself and his deliberations, this 
must increase the ill-effect of all his official anxieties upon 
his nerves and health. 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

It was by favouring the National Liberal party that I 
had brought upon myself the ill-will of my former Con- 
servative colleagues, and it might have been expected that 
they would have been induced by the vulgar and undigni- 
fied attacks on my personal honesty to give me some help 
in repelling them, or, at any rate, to show that they did not 
approve of the attacks, and did not share my slanderers' 
views about me. I cannot, however, remember at that 
time noticing any attempt on the part of the National Lib- 
erals to come to my aid, either in the press or by any other 
public means. There appeared rather to be a certain sat- 
isfaction in the National Liberal camp at the attacks made 
upon me by the Conservative party, and at their rupture 
with me, as though they were anxious to widen the breach 
and push the goad a little further in. Liberals and Con- 
servatives were agreed in making use of me, letting me 
drop, and attacking me, according as the interest of their 
section dictated. Of course every group professes to be 
dominated by the interests of the country and the general 
welfare, and maintains that the party road is the most 
conducive to the good of the community. But, as a mat- 
ter of fact, I have retained the impression that each of our 
groups conducts its politics as though it alone existed, iso- 
lated on its own sectional island, without the slightest con- 
sideration for the whole or for foreign countries. Nor can 
it be maintained for a moment that the differences of the 
group on the political battlefield had been transformed, by 
the varying political principles and convictions of each 
individual, into a question of conscience and necessity. 
Most partisans resemble the adherents of different creeds : 
they are puzzled when asked to point out the character- 
istic differences between their own convictions and those 



BISMARCK 

of rival creeds. In our parties, the real point of crystal- 
lisation is not a programme so much as a person : a parli- 
amentary condottiere. 

Nor do their conclusions originate in the opinions of 
the members, but only in the will of the leader or some 
conspicuous orator, and as a rule these two coincide. The 
attempt of individual members to make war against the 
party leader and the fluent orator is combined with so 
much annoyance, defeat in voting, and interruption of 
daily customary social intercourse, that it requires a very 
independent character to represent an opinion differing 
from the party lead; nor is even character sufficient 
unless accompanied by a considerable equipment of knowl- 
edge and energy. Now this latter increases as we go fur- 
ther to the Left. Conservative parties are, as a rule, com- 
posed of contented citizens ; those which attack the status 
quo are naturally more largely recruited from the ranks of 
persons discontented with existing institutions. Among 
the elements on which contentment depends, a comfortable 
income does not occupy the smallest place. Now, it is a 
peculiarity, if not of mankind in general, at any rate of 
the German nation, that the discontented are more indus- 
trious and active than the contented; the needy more 
energetic than the satisfied. Those Germans who are 
intellectually and physically satisfied are doubtless some- 
times industrious from a sense of duty. But this is not 
the case with the majority; and among those who fight 
against the existing system, we seldom find well-to-do 
people acting from conviction, but often out of ambition, 
which hopes for speedier satisfaction on this road, unless 
indeed they have been forced upon it by political or de- 
nominational annoyances. The general result is the pro- 

174 



RUPTURE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES 

motion of superior industry among those forces which 
attack the existing order of things, and inferior among 
those who defend it, i.e. the Conservatives. This lack 
of industry in the majority considerably facilitates the 
leadership of a Conservative party, and serves to help it 
more than individual independence and violent obstinacy 
on the part of individuals can avail to hamper it. Ac- 
cording to my experience, the dependence of the Conser- 
vative sections on the commands of their leader is at 
least as strong as, perhaps stronger than, on the Extreme 
Left. The aversion to rupture is probably greater on the 
Right than on the Left, and the reproach ' of being min- 
isterial,' which had so strong an effect on every individ- 
ual, was often a greater hindrance to objective judgment 
on the Right than on the Left. This reproach immediately 
ceased to give offence to the Conservative and other sections 
when my dismisal rendered the place of ruler vacant, and 
every party leader, in the hope of having a share in filling 
it, again became servile and ministerial, to the extent of 
dishonestly denying and boycotting the late Chancellor 
and his policy. 

During the period of the ' declarations,' the anti-min- 
isterial current, i.e. the disfavour with which I was re- 
garded and treated by many of my compeers, was greatly 
furthered by strong influences at Court. The Emperor 
never refused me his favour and support in matters of 
business, but that did not prevent him from reading the 
' Reichsglocke ' every day. Of this paper, which only 
supported itself by calumniating me, thirteen copies were 
provided by the royal Treasury for our and other Courts, 
and it sought its collaborators not only among the Cath- 
olic court and country nobility, but even among the evan- 



BISMARCK 

gelicals. The Empress Augusta made me permanently 
sensible of her dislike, and her adherents, the highest 
officials at the Court, carried their lack of courtesy to 
such a pitch that I was forced to make a written com- 
plaint to his Majesty. The result of this was that at 
least the outward forms of courtesy were no longer neg- 
lected. It was incivilities of this kind to which he and 
his wife were subjected at court, rather than actual diffi- 
culties, which helped to disgust Falk with his position. 1 

1 See p. 143. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

INTRIGUES 

COUNT HARRY ARNIM carried his wine badly, and one day,' 
after a glass at lunch, he said to me : ' I look upon every 
front rank man in the profession as a personal enemy, and 
treat him accordingly. Only he must not be allowed to 
notice it as long as he is my superior.' This was at the 
time when he had returned from Rome after che death of 
his first wife, and his son's Italian nurse was exciting at- 
tention on the promenades by her red and gold costume, 
while Arnim frequently in political discussions quoted 
Machiavelli and the works of Italian Jesuits and biog- 
raphers. At that time he posed in the character of an ambi- 
tious and unscrupulous man, played the piano fascinatingly, 
and in consequence of his beauty and versatility was a 
dangerous character for ladies to whom he paid his court. 
He had begun, very early to develop this versatility, for as 
a pupil at the Gymnasium of Neustettin, he had served his 
apprenticeship to the ladies of a company of strolling ac- 
tors, by replacing the missing orchestra at the piano. 

Among the personages who joined with foreign influ- 
ence, with the ' Reichsglocke ' and its collaborators in aris- 
tocratic and court circles and in the ministries of my col- 
leagues, and with the disappointed Junkers and their Era 
articles in the ' Kreuzzeitung,' in the attempt to deprive 
me of the Emperor's confidence, Count Harry Arnim 

played a prominent part. 

VOL. ii. 12 177 



BISMARCK 

On August 23, 1871., he was appointed ambassador, 
at my suggestion, and sent in that capacity to Paris, 
where I hoped that, in spite of all his faults, it would be 
possible to utilise his distinguished abilities in the ser- 
vice of his Majesty; but he regarded his post there only 
as a stepping-stone, by help of which he would be able to 
work more effectively at getting rid of me and becoming 
my successor. He pointed out, in his private correspon- 
dence with the Emperor, that the Prussian Royal House 
was at that time the oldest in Europe which had main- 
tained itself in unbroken rule; and that this favour of 
God laid upon the Emperor, as doyen of the sovereigns, 
the duty of watching over and protecting the legitimacy 
and continuity of other old dynasties. He judged rightly 
the mental effect of touching this chord in the Emperor's 
disposition ; and had Arnim been our master's only coun- 
sellor, he might perhaps have succeeded in obscuring his 
clear and sober judgment by an artificial and exaggerated 
sentiment of hereditary and princely duty. But he did 
not know that his Majesty, in his honest and straightfor- 
ward fashion, communicated the letters to me, and thus 
gave me an opportunity of representing to the political 
understanding, I might almost say the sound common- 
sense' of my master, the risks and dangers of these coun- 
sels, which we should encounter if we attempted the res- 
toration of legitimacy in France, on the road recommended 
by Arnim. 

The Emperor afterwards permitted me to publish my 
written expressions on the subject in answer to Arnim's 
libels. In one of these I referred to the King's knowl- 
edge of the fact that Arnim's sincerity was doubted in 

authoritative circles, and that he was not desired as am- 

178 



INTRIGUES 

bassador at the English Court ' because no one would 
believe a word he said. ' * 

Count Arnim made repeated attempts to obtain from 
the English cabinet a testimonial contradicting this accu- 
sation of mine, and received from the English statesmen, 
who were more friendly to him than to me, the assurance 
that they knew nothing whatever of the matter. Still, the 
anticipatory rejection of Arnim, to which I had referred,' 
had reached the Emperor in a fashion which enabled me 
to make public reference to his Majesty's testimony about 
the matter. 

When Arnim had convinced himself at Berlin in 1873 
that his prospects of taking my place were not yet as 
mature as he had assumed, he attempted, for the time 
being, to restore the former friendly relations. He called 
upon me, regretted that we had drifted apart owing to mis- 
understandings and the intrigues of other persons, and 
reminded me of the relations with me that he had once had 
and valued. Too well acquainted with his mode of pro- 
cedure and the serious character of his attack on me to be 
deceived, I spoke quite openly to him, represented to him 
that he had entered into connexion with all the elements 
hostile to me with a view to shaking my political position, 
in the erroneous presumption that he would become my 
successor, and I declared that I did not believe in his con- 
ciliatory attitude. As he left me, the facility to tears 
which was peculiar to him enabled him to brush one away 
from his eyes. I had known him from childhood. 

My official proceedings against Arnim had been pro- 
voked by his refusal to obey official instructions. I said noth- 
ing in the legal proceeding about the fact of his having used 

* Letter to the Emperor, dated April 14, 1873. 
179 



BISMARCK 

the money which had been given him to represent our 
policy in the French press (6,000 to 7,000 thalers) in 
attacking our policy and my position in the German press. 
His chief organ, in which he attacked me with ever- 
increasing confidence of victory, was at that time the 
' Spener'sche Zeitung,' which, already moribund, was at 
his purchase. In this he let fall hints that he alone was 
acquainted with the means of bringing the struggle with 
Rome to a victorious issue, and that it was only my unjus- 
tifiable ambition which kept a superior statesman, like 
himself, from taking the helm. He never expressed him- 
self to me on the subject of this secret remedy. It con- 
sisted in the theory endorsed by a few canonists, that the 
character of the Roman Catholic Church had been changed 
by the Vatican decisions ; it had become a differerent per- 
sonage legally, and thereby lost the rights of property and 
treaty, which it had acquired in its former existence. I 
had already considered this plan, but do not think it would 
have had a stronger effect on the issue of the quarrel than 
the foundation of the Old Catholic Church, whose legality 
was clearer and more justifiable, both logically and juris- 
tically, than the suggested renunciation by the Prussian 
Government of its relations to the Roman Church. The 
number of Old Catholics gives the measure of the effect 
which this move would have exercised on the stability of 
the Pope's adherents and of Neo- Catholicism. Still less 
promising seemed to me the proposal, made by Count 
Arnim in one of his public reports, that the Prussian 
Government should send Oratores to help in deliberating 
the dogmatic questions at the Council. I imagine that 
this idea was suggested to him by the frontispiece of Paolo 

Sarpi's 'History of the Council of Trent/ which repre- 

180 



INTRIGUES 

sents the Council, and designates two persons seated at a 
table apart as Oratores Ccesarece Majestatis. If my assump- 
tion is right, Count Arnim ought to have known that 
Orator in the clerical Latinity of that day is the expres- 
sion for ambassador. 

My only object in the proceedings against him was to 
obtain the surrender of certain portions, undoubtedly 
official, of the embassy documents, a demand which Arnim 
had definitely refused. I only wanted to maintain my 
official authority as his chief. I never desired a penal 
sentence against Arnim, nor yet expected it ; on the con- 
trary, after it was pronounced, I would have done my best 
to advocate his pardon, had this been legally admissible in 
the case of a sentence by default. My motive was not 
personal revenge, but, if any one desires to find a term of 
blame for it, rather bureaucratic dogmatism on the part 
of a superior official, whose authority had been disregarded. 
In my opinion the sentence of nine months' imprisonment 
in the first suit was of excessive severity. As for his 
condemnation in the second trial to five years' imprison- 
ment, this was only rendered possible, as the condemned 
man himself truly remarked, by the fact that the ordinary 
judge in a criminal court was not in a position to gauge 
with full comprehension the sins of diplomacy in interna- 
tional relations. I should only have regarded this sentence 
as adequate if the suspicion had been proved that the con- 
demned man had utilised his relations to Baron Hirsch in 
such a way as to render the delay in executing my instruc- 
tions serviceable in speculations on the Bourse. This was 
not proved in the legal proceedings, nor was any attempt 
made to prove it. The assumption that it was mere busi- 
ness reasons which caused him to neglect the execution 

181 



BISMARCK 

of a distinct order always remained a possible point in 
his favour, although I could not understand the train of 
thought which must have led him to it. But I never, for 
my part, gave expression to this suspicion, although it was 
communicated to the Foreign Office and court society, by 
correspondence and travellers from Paris, and was carried 
around in these circles. It was a loss for our diplomatic 
service that Arnim's uncommon qualifications for it were 
not coupled with an equal measure of trustworthiness and 
credibility. 

The impression made on diplomatic circles is shown, 
among other proofs, by the following letter written by the 
Secretary of State, von Billow, on October 23, 1874 : 

' The " Kreuzzeitung " to-day contains a dishonest 
communication, evidently composed by Count Arnim him- 
self to the tune, What harm have I done? Nothing, 
except saving entirely personal documents from the indis- 
cretion of ambassadors and government clerks; I should 
have given them up long ago if the Foreign Office had not 
been so rude and inconsiderate. It is difficult, during the 
course of the inquiry, to answer such lies and distortions. 
Meantime, the"Weser Zeitung" yesterday contained a 
very useful notice of the contents of several of the missing 
documents. Yesterday, Field-Marshal von Manteuffel 
called on me, chiefly with the view of inquiring about the 
Arnim affair. He expressed in very suitable language his 
conviction that it would have been impossible to act dif- 
ferently, and his pity for the Chancellor and the Diplo- 
matic Service, who were obliged to carry on business with 
such experiences. However, he had known Arnim from a 
child, and had suffered sufficiently under or side by side 

with him at Nancy, not to be surprised by the catastrophe. 

182 



INTRIGUES 

Arnim, he said, was a man who, on every occasion, only 
asked : What personal advantage or disadvantage do I 
derive from it ? Word for word, the same was the testi- 
mony of Lord Odo Russell, as the result of his Roman 
experience, and of Nothomb with his memories of Brus- 
sels. What struck me most was the Field-Marshal's 
repeated assertion that Arnim had begun to conspire 
against your serene Highness in the summer of 1872, had 
tried to sound him (Manteuffel) in this connection in the 
summer of 1873, and, by his attitude towards Thiers, had 
been really responsible for his fall and all its disastrous 
political consequences. On this last matter he spoke with 
considerable knowledge of the subject and persons, not 
without a hint of the influence which Arnim had at that 
time been able to acquire in the very highest quarters, by 
incitements against the Republic and in favour of the 
Legitimist succession. On the day of Thiers' fall, he had 
dined with several prominent Orleanists. The bulletins 
from Versailles reached him during dinner and were 
greeted with joy it was a support for the party, without 
which it might not have had the moral courage for the 
coup d'etat of May 24. Similarly, Nothomb told me that 
Thiers had said to him the previous winter, speaking of 
Arnim : " Get homme m'a fait beaucoup de mal, beau- 
coup plus meme que ne sait ni pense Monsieur de Bis- 
marck." ' 

In the libel action against the editor of the ' Reichs- 
glocke,' January 1877, tne Attorney- General said: 

' I regard as morally responsible for this criminal line 
of action all the collaborators of the paper, as well as 
those who support the paper in word and deed, but in par- 
ticular Herr von Loe, and next to him Count Harry 

183 



BISMARCK 

Arnim. It is impossible to doubt that all the articles 
" Arnim contra Bismarck," which have, for the last year, 
been devoted to attacking and depreciating the person of 
Prince Bismarck, were written in the interest of Count 
Arnim. 



It is my conviction that after 1866 the Roman Curia, 
as well as most politicians, regarded a war between France 
and Germany as probable, and thought it equally probable 
that Prussia would be the loser. Assuming the war, the 
reigning Pope must have considered that the victory of 
France over evangelical Prussia would enable him to push 
to its furthest consequences the attack which he had made 
with his Council and his infallibility on the non-Catholic 
world and nervous Catholics. Considering the relations 
then prevailing between imperial France, and in particular 
the Empress Eugenie and the Pope, it would not be too 
bold an assumption that France, if its armies should reach 
Berlin victoriously, would not leave the interest of the 
Catholic Church in Prussia unconsidered at the conclusion 
of peace; similarly, the Emperor of Russia was in the 
habit of->using treaties of peace for the protection t his 
co-religionists in the East. Perhaps the gesta Dei per 
Francos would have been enriched by some fresh advances 
of the Papal power; and the decision of the denomina- 
tional contests, which, in the opinion of Catholic writers 
(Donoso Cortes de Valdegamas) , must eventually be fought 
out ' on the sands of the March of Brandenburg, ' would be 
promoted in various directions by a preponderating posi- 
tion of France in Germany. The Empress Eugenie's par- 

184 



INTRIGUES 

tiality for the warlike tendency in French politics can 
hardly have been unconnected with her devotion to the 
Catholic Church and the Pope. If Ficuch policy and 
Louis Napoleon's personal relation to *Vi Italian move- 
ment rendered it impossible for the Emperor and Empress 
to satisfy the Pope in Italy, the Empress would, in case of 
victory, have been able to show her devotion to the Pope 
in Germany, and on this domain would have provided a, 
ficlie de consolation, even if an inadequate one, for the 
injuries which the Papal See had sustained in Italy with 
and by means of Napoleon's concurrence. 

After the peace of Frankfort, if a Catholic party, no 
matter whether Royalist or Republican, had remained at 
the helm in France, it would scarcely have been possible 
to pQStpone the renewal of war for so long a time. In 
that case there would have been a fear that the two neigh- 
bouring powers against whom we had made war, Austria 
and France, would approach one another on the ground of 
their common Catholicism, and make a joint attack on us, 
and the circumstance that both in Germany and in Italy 
there was no lack of elements with whom denominational 
sympathies were stronger than national, would serve to 
strengthen and encourage such a Catholic alliance. It 
was impossible to predict whether, in face of it, we should 
find allies ; at any rate, it would have been in the power 
of Russia by joining the Austro-French alliance, to develop 
it into a preponderating coalition, as in the Seven Years' 
war, or, at any rate, to keep us in a state of dependence, 
under the diplomatic pressure of this possibility. 

The re-establishment of a Catholic monarchy in France 
would have greatly increased the temptation to seek 
revenge with the help of Austria. On this account I con- 

185 



BISMARCK 

sidered it contrary to the interests of Germany and of 
peace, for us to promote the restoration of the monarchy 
in France, and therefore I opposed the persons who repre- 
sented this idea. This opposition became personal, and 
was directed against the French ambassador, Gontaut- 
Biron, and our own ambassador in Paris, Count Harry 
Arnim. The former was acting in accordance with the 
party to which he naturally belonged, the Legitimist Cath- 
olic; but the latter was speculating on the Emperor's 
sympathies with a view to discrediting my policy and 
becoming my successor. Gontaut, an amiable diplomat of 
good family, found a point of contact with the Empress 
Augusta, both on account of her preference for Catholic 
elements in and near the Centrum, with which the govern- 
ment was in conflict ; and also in his quality as French- 
man, which, recalling the Empress's youthful memories 
of the German court in pre-railway days, was almost as 
good a recommendation as that of being an Englishman. 1 
Her Majesty had French-speaking servants; her French 
reader Gerard* had entrance to the imperial family and 
correspondence. Everything foreign, except what was 
Russian, had the same attraction for the Empress as it has 
for so many natives of little German towns. At the time 
of the old-fashioned slow means of communication, a for- 
eigner at the German courts, especially an Englishman or 
a Frenchman, was almost always an interesting visitor. 

1 See vol. i. p. 132. 

* This man. probably recommended by Gontaut to her Majesty, carried 
on an animated correspondence with Gambetta, which, after the death of 
the latter, fell into the hands of Madame Adam, and served as the main 
material for the work, La SodttJ de Berlin. On his return to Paris, 
Gerard was for a time director of the official press, then Secretary of 
Legation at Madrid, Charge d' Affaires in Rome, and in 1890 Envoy to 
Montenegro. 

186 



INTRIGUES 

No careful inquiries were made about his position at 
home; to make him presentable at court it was sufficient 
that he should come from 'a long way off,' in fact, not be 
a fellow-countryman. 

The interest shown at that time in exclusively evan- 
gelical circles in the unusual apparition of a Catholic, and 
at Court, of a dignitary of the Catholic Church, sprang 
from a similar source. In the days of Frederick William 
III it was an interesting break in the general uniformity 
when any one was a Catholic. A Catholic fellow-pupil 
was regarded without any denominational ill-will, but with 
a sort of amazement, as an exotic apparition ; not without 
some satisfaction at his showing no traces of St. Bartholo- 
mew, the stake, and the Thirty Years' war. In the house- 
hold of Professor von Savigny, whose wife was a Catholic, 
the children, when they reached the age of fourteen, were 
allowed to onoose their religion. They all chose their 
father's ^evangelical creed, with the exception of one, who 
was my own age, and afterwards became envoy at the 
Federal Diet and one of the founders of the Centrum. 
At the time when we were both either in the first class 
at school or at the University, he spoke without any trace 
of polemics about the motives of his choice, referring to 
the impressive dignity of the Catholic services, but also 
adducing as a reason that on the whole it was much more 
distinguished to be a Catholic, 'after all, every silly boy is 
a Protestant.' 

Conditions and feelings have changed during the last 
half-century, and political and economical developments 
have brought every variety of nationality, both in and out 
of Europe, into closer contact one with another. At the 

present day it would be impossible in any Berlin circles to 

187 



BISMARCK 

arouse any excitement or make the least impression by the 
fact of being a Catholic. The Empress Augusta alone 
never got rid of the impressions of her young days. In 
her eyes a Catholic ecclesiastic was more distinguished 
than an evangelical of equal rank and equal standing. 
The task of winning over a Frenchman or an Englishman 
was more attractive to her than if he were one of her own 
countrymen; and she cared more for the applause of 
Catholics than of her own co-religionists. Gontaut-Biron, 
who came of a good family, had no difficulty in creating 
for himself a position in Court circles, whose connexions 
reached, by more than one road, even to the person of the 
Emperor. 

The choice of a French secret agent as the Empress's 
reader was a proceeding so extraordinary as to be only 
explicable by the confidence which Gontaut's dexterity and 
the co-operation of part of his Catholic environment 
inspired in her Majesty. It was, of course, an enormous 
advantage for French policy and the position of the 
French ambassador at Berlin to have such a man as Gerard 
in the imperial household. He was a very smart fellow, 
but incapable of overcoming his vanity in externals. He 
delighted in figuring as a specimen o$ the latest Parisian 
fashions, exaggerated in a manner which attracted atten- 
tion at Berlin, a blunder which, however, did him no harm 
at the palace. The interest in exotic, and especially 
Parisian, types was stronger than the feeling for simple 
taste. 

Gontaut's activity in the service of France was not 
confined to the domain of Berlin. In 1875 he went to St. 
Petersburg to concoct, together with Prince Gortchakoff, 

the theatrical coup which was to make the world believe, 

188 



INTRIGUES 

on the occasion of the Emperor Alexander's impending 
visit to Berlin, that he alone had saved defenceless France 
from a German attack by seizing our arm with his Quos 
ego, and that this was his object in accompanying the 
Emperor to Berlin. 

I do not know with whom this idea originated. If it 
was Gontaut's, he must have found Gortchakoff very con- 
genial soil, owing to his vanity and jealousy of me, and 
the resistance which I had been obliged to offer to his 
claims of precedency. I was obliged to say to him in a 
confidential conversation, 'You do not treat us like a 
friendly power, but " comme un domestique, qui ne monte 
pas assezvite quand on a sonne." Gortchakoff made the 
most of the circumstance that his authority was superior 
to that of the ambassador, Count Redern, and the charges 
d'affaires who succeeded him, and preferred to transact 
negotiations by communicating with our representative at 
St. Petersburg, thus avoiding the necessity of instructing 
the Russian ambassador at Berlin with a view to discus- 
sion with me. Probably it was a mere slander when some 
Russians asserted that the motive for this proceeding was 
that a lump sum was allowed for telegrams in the Budget 
of the Foreign Minister, and Gortchakoff therefore pre- 
ferred to make his communications at German rather 
than Russian expense, by means of our ckarg/ d'affaires. 
Doubtless he was very avaricious, still, I fancy that the 
motive was political. Gortchakoff was a clever and bril- 
liant speaker, and liked to appear as such, especially before 
the foreign diplomatists, who were accredited at St. Peters- 
burg. He spoke French and German with equal fluency, 
and as envoy, and afterwards as his colleague, I used often 

to enjoy listening for hours to his didactic discourses. He 

189 



BISMARCK 

preferred as auditors foreign diplomats, especially young 
intelligent charge's d'affaires, in whose case the oratorical 
impression was strengthened by the distinguished position 
of the Foreign Minister, to whom they were accredited. 
By this road Gortchakoff's opinions reached me in a form 
which suggested Roma locuta est. I complained direct to 
him in my private correspondence about this method of 
carrying on business and about the tone of his communi- 
cations, and requested him no longer to consider me his 
diplomatic pupil, as I had gladly been at St. Petersburg, 
but rather to reckon with the fact that I was his colleague, 
and responsible for the policy of my Emperor and of a 
great country. 

In 1875, when the post of ambassador was vacant and 
a secretary of legation was acting as charge" d'affaires, 
Herr von Radowitz, at that time ambassador at Athens, 
was sent to St. Petersburg, en mission extraordinaire, in 
order that the conduct of business might outwardly also 
be placed on a footing of equality. This gave him an 
opportunity, by a determination to emancipate himself from 
Gortchakoff's preponderating influence, of earning his dis- 
like in such a high degree that the ill-will of the Rus- 
sian cabinet, in spite of his Russian marriage, is proba- 
bly not extinct to this day. The part of peacemaker, 
well suited to satisfy Gortchakoff's vanity by the im- 
pression made in Paris, which he valued more than any- 
thing else, had been prepared in advance by Gontaut in 
Berlin. We may assume that his conversations with 
Count Moltke and Radowitz, which were afterwards ad- 
duced as proofs of our warlike intentions, were cleverly 
led up to by him in order to represent to Europe an image 

of France threatened by us and protected by Russia. 

190 



INTRIGUES 

Gortchakoff arrived at Berlin on May 10, 1875, and dated 
from this place a telegraphic circular, destined for publi- 
cation, beginning with the words, 4 Maintenant? i.e. un- 
der Russian pressure, ' la paix est assttr/e/ as though this 
had not been the case before. One of the non- German 
sovereigns who received this communication afterwards 
showed me the wording. 

I reproached Prince Gortchakoff sharply. It was not, 
I said, a friendly part suddenly and unexpectedly to jump 
on the back of a trustful and unsuspecting friend, and get 
up a circus performance at his cost ; proceedings of this 
kind between us, who were the directing ministers, could 
only injure the two monarchies and states. If he was 
anxious to be applauded in Paris, he need not on that 
account injure our relations with Russia; I was quite 
ready to assist him and have five-franc pieces struck at 
Berlin, with the inscription Gortchakoff protege la France ;* 
we might also set up a theatre in the German Embassy, 
where he could appear before a French audience with the 
same inscription, in the character of a guardian angel, 
dressed in white with wings, to the accompaniment of 
Bengal fire ! 

My cutting invectives made him sing rather small, but 
he combated the facts which I considered established, 
without showing his usual security and fluency; thus 
causing me to conclude that he was doubtful whether his 
imperial master would approve his proceedings. This was 
further confirmed on my complaining to the Emperor 
Alexander, with the same openness, of GortchakofFs dis- 
honest proceedings. The Emperor admitted all the facts 
and confined himself to saying, laughingly, smoking the 

* [An allusion to the inscription on the rim of five-franc pieces.] 



BISMARCK 

while, that I must not take this vanite stnile too seriously.. 
The disapproval thus expressed never found sufficient 
authentic expression to rid the world of the myth of our 
intending to attack France in 1875. 

So far was I from entertaining any such idea at the 
time, or afterwards, that I would rather have resigned 
than lent a hand in picking a quarrel, which could have 
had no other motive than preventing France from recover- 
ing her breath and her strength. A war of this kind 
could not, in my opinion, have led to permanently tenable 
conditions in Europe, but might have brought about an 
agreement between Russia, Austria, and England, based 
upon mistrust of us, and leading eventually to active pro- 
ceedings against the new and still unconsolidated empire ; 
and we should thus have been entering upon the path 
which led the Second French Empire to destruction by a 
continuous policy of war and prestige. Europe would 
have seen in our proceedings a misuse of our newly 
acquired power ; and the hand of every one, including the 
centrifugal forces within the empire, would have been 
permanently raised against Germany, or at any rate been 
ready to draw the sword. It was just the peaceful char- 
acter of German policy after the astonishing proofs of the 
nation's military strength, which induced foreign Powers 
and internal opponents, even sooner than we had expected, 
at least to tolerate the new development of German power, 
and to regard either with a benevolent eye or else in the 
character of a guarantee of peace the development and 
strengthening of the empire. 

It seemed strange from our point of view that the 
Emperor of Russia, in spite of the contemptuous manner 

in which he had expressed himself about his chief minis- 

192 



INTRIGUES 

ter, still left the whole maclynery of the Foreign Office in 
his hands, and thus permitted the influence on the mis- 
sions which he actually exercised. Although the Emperor 
distinctly recognised the by-paths which his minister had 
been led by personal reasons to adopt, he did not submit 
the drafts drawn up by Gortchakoff for his autograph let- 
ters to the Emperor William to the careful examination 
necessary to prevent the impression that the Emperor's 
friendly disposition had given way on main points to 
Gortchakoff' s exacting and threatening attitude. The 
Emperor Alexander wrote a tiny hand, elegant and clear, 
and did not dislike the labour of writing ; but although 
the letters from Sovereign to Sovereign, which as a rule 
were very long and detailed, were entirely in the Emper- 
or's handwriting, I still felt justified in concluding from 
their style and contents that they were usually based on 
a draft drawn up by Gortchakoff; as in fact my master's 
autograph answers were similarly drafted by me. By this 
means, the autograph correspondence in which the ^two 
monarchs treated the most serious political questions with 
decisive authority, though lacking the constitutional guar- 
antee of a ministerial counter-signature, still had the cor- 
rective of ministerial co-operation, always supposing that 
the imperial correspondent kept closely to his draft. Of 
course its author never received any security on that point, 
as the fair copy either never passed through his hands at 
all, or reached him sealed up. 

The wide ramifications of the Gontaut- Gortchakoff 
intrigue are evident from the following letter, which I 
addressed to the Emperor from Varzin, August 13, 1875 : 1 

' I received with respectful gratitude your Majesty's 

1 Bismarck-Jahrbuch, iv. 35 &c. 
VOL. II. 13 193 



BISMARCK 

gracious letter from Gastein of the 8th inst., and was es- 
pecially rejoiced to find that your Majesty was the bet- 
ter for the waters, in spite of the bad weather in the Alps. 
I have the honour of returning herewith Queen Victoria's 
letter; it would have been very interesting if her Majesty 
had expressed herself in further detail as to the origin of 
the war rumours at that time. The sources must, how- 
ever, have seemed to her very sure, else her Majesty would 
not have referred to them afresh, and the English govern- 
ment would not have been induced by them to take such 
important steps, so unfriendly towards us. I do not know 
whether your Majesty would consider it feasible to take 
Queen Victoria at her word, when she assures your 
Majesty that she would find it " easy to prove that her 
fears were not exaggerated." Otherwise it would certainly 
be of importance to discover from what quarter such " seri- 
ous errors " could have been conveyed to Windsor. The 
hint about persons who must be regarded as " representa- 
tives " of your Majesty's government is apparently aimed 
at Count Miinster. It is quite possible that both he and 
Count Moltke may have spoken theoretically of the utility 
of a timely attack on France, although I am not aware of 
it, and he never received any such instructions. It may 
indeed be said that it is not conducive to peace for France 
to feel secure that she will not be attacked under any 
circumstances, whatever she may do. At this day, as in 
1867 in the Luxemburg question, I should never advise 
your Majesty to begin a war at once, on the score of a like- 
lihood that our enemy would afterwards begin it better 
prepared. For this we can never sufficiently predict the 
ways of divine Providence. But, on the other hand, it is 

not advantageous to give our enemy the assurance that 

194 



INTRIGUES 

we shall in any case await his attack. Therefore I should 
not be inclined to blame Miinster if he had let fall an 
occasional remark to that effect ; and this would by no 
means give the' English government the right to base 
official action upon the unofficial speeches of an ambassa- 
dor, and sans nous dire gare call upon the other Powers to 
bring pressure to bear on us. A step so serious and so 
unfriendly leads us to suppose that Queen Victoria must ' 
have had some other reasons for believing in our warlike 
intentions, besides occasional remarks of Count Minister's, 
in which I do not even believe. Lord [Odo] Russell as- 
sured me that he always reported his firm belief in our 
peaceful intentions. On the other hand, all the Ultra- 
montanes and their friends have attacked us both secretly 
and openly in the press, accusing us of wanting to begin 
war very shortly, and the French ambassador, who lives in 
these circles, has passed on their lies to Paris as certain 
information. But even that would not be really sufficient 
to give Queen Victoria that assured confidence in the un- 
truths to which your Majesty yourself gave a denial, which 
she again expresses in her letter of June 20. I am too 
little acquainted with the Queen's character to have any 
opinion as to the possibility of her using the expression 
" it would be easy to prove " in order to cover an act of 
precipitation which has already been committed, instead 
of openly acknowledging it. 

' I trust your Majesty will pardon me if my profes- 
sional interest has led me to deal in detail, after three 
months' silence, with a point already settled.' 



BISMARCK 

In the summer of 1877, Count Frederick Eulenburg 
declared that his health was bankrupt; and in fact his 
activity was greatly diminished, not by over-work so much 
as by unsparing indulgence from his youth in every kind of 
pleasure. He had plenty of ability and courage, but not 
always sufficient inclination for persevering labour. His 
nervous system was impaired and fluctuated at last between 
lachrymose depression and artificial excitement. Besides 
this, in the middle of the 'seventies he had, as I conjec- 
ture, been attacked by a certain desire for popularity which 
had been foreign to him as long as he had had sufficient 
health to enjoy himself. This attack was not without a 
touch of jealousy of me, even though we were old friends. 
He tried to satisfy it by taking up the question of admin- 
istrative reform. It must be successful, if it was to bring 
him honour. In order to secure its success he made 
unpractical concessions in the parliamentary deliberations 
on the subject and bureaucratised the post of district 
president, which is the essential support of our rural 
affairs, and along with it the new Local Administration. 
The district presidency had formerly been a Prussian 
peculiarity, the last offshoot of the administrative hier- 
archy, which brought it into immediate connexion with 
the people.* But in social position the district president 
stood above other officials of the same rank. In former 
days a man did not become district president as a stepping- 
stone to a career, but rather with the intention of spending 
his life as president of that particular district. His au- 
thority increased with the years of his tenure; he had 
no ideas to represent but those of his district and no 
wishes to strive for but those of its inhabitants. It is 

* [See vol. i. chap, i.] 
196 



INTRIGUES 

obvious how useful must be the effect of such an institu- 
tion, both upward and downward, and what small re- 
sources of men and money were sufficient for performing 
the district business. Since that time the district presi- 
dent has become a mere government official, his position 
a stepping-stone to further promotion in the government 
service, facilitating his election to parliament ; and in this 
latter capacity, if he is an energetic person, he will con- 
sider his relations as an official with his superiors more 
important than those with the inhabitants of his district. 
At the same time, the newly created official presidents are 
not instruments of self-government on the analogy of the 
municipal authorities, but rather an inferior class of the 
bureaucracy, doing the work of clerks. This helps to 
spread over the country districts every unpractical or use- 
less suggestion made by the central bureaucracy, insuffi- 
ciently occupied as it is and unfamiliar with the realities 
of life ; thus the unfortunate local self-administrators are 
forced to prepare reports and lists in order to satisfy the 
curiosity of officials who have more time than business on 
their hands. It is impossible for agriculturists or manu- 
facturers to comply with such demands in an office beside 
their own work. As a natural result their place tends to 
be more and more filled by paid clerks, whose expenses 
must be defrayed by the inhabitants and who are dependent 
on the nod of the higher bureaucracy. 

I had cast my eye on Rudolf von Bennigsen as suc- 
cessor to Count Eulenburg, and in the course of the year 
1877 I nad two interviews with him, in July and Decem- 
ber. It turned out that he was trying to extend the 
ground of our discussion beyond what was consistent with 

the opinions of his Majesty and my own views. I knew 

197 



BISMARCK 

that it would in any case be a difficult task to render him 
personally acceptable to the King, but he regarded the 
matter in the light of a change of system, necessitated by 
the political situation and a surrender of the lead to the 
National Liberal party. Their desire to share in the 
government had already been apparent in the zeal with 
which the party had urged the ' Substitutes Bill/ expect- 
ing by these means to pave the way for an imperial min- 
istry in the form of a board, where the solely responsible 
Imperial Chancellor should be replaced by independent 
offices and ministerial voting, as was the case in Prussia. 
Bennigsen was therefore not content to be merely Eulen- 
burg's successor, but demanded that, at any rate, Forck- 
enbeck and Stauffenberg should enter with him. The 
former he considered a most suitable man for the Interior, 
who would exercise it with the same skill and energy he 
had shown in the administration of the city of Berlin ; 
he himself would choose the Ministry of Finance ; Stauf- 
fenberg must be put at the head of the Imperial Treasury, 
in order to work together with him. 

I told him there was no place vacant except Eulen- 
burg's; I was prepared to recommend him to the King for 
this and should be glad if I could carry through the pro- 
posal. But if I were to advise his Majesty to set free two 
other ministerial posts proprio motu, in order to fill them 
with National Liberals, the Emperor would feel that it 
was not so much a question of filling a post suitably, as of 
a change of system ; and any such he would reject on prin- 
ciple. In any case, considering the views of the King 
and our whole political situation, Bennigsen must not 
count upon the possibility of taking, as it were, his party 

into the ministry with him, and as its leader exercising 

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INTRIGUES 

within the government an influence corresponding to its 
importance, thus, as it were, creating a constitutional 
majority ministry. In our country the King was actually 
and undeniably, according to the wording of our Constitu- 
tion, President of the ministry, and Bennigsen, if he tried 
as minister to keep on the path designated, would soon 
have to choose between the King and his party. He 
must realise that if I succeeded in obtaining his appoint^ 
ment, this would give him and his party a powerful handle 
for strengthening and widening their influence ; he need 
but recall the example of Roon, who entered Auerswald's 
Liberal ministry as the only Conservative, and became the 
point of crystallisation around which it was transformed 
into a Conservative ministry. He must not ask the im- 
possible of me ; I knew the King and the limits of my in- 
fluence well enough; parties were tolerably indifferent 
to me, in fact altogether indifferent, if I excepted the 
avowed and unavowed Republicans, who terminated to the 
Right in the Progressive party. My aim was the strength- 
ening of our national safety ; the nation would have time 
enough for its internal development when once its unity, 
and with it its outward security, was consolidated. At 
present the National Liberal party was the strongest ele- 
ment on the parliamentary domain for the attainment of 
this last object. The Conservative party, to which I had 
belonged in parliament, had attained all the geographical 
extension of which, in the present condition of the popu- 
lation, it was capable, and had not sufficient elements of 
growth to transform it into a national majority. Its 
natural occurrence and abiding-place were limited in our 
new provinces ; in the west and south of Germany it had 

not the same substratum as in old Prussia ; in Hanover, 

199 



BISMARCK 

Bennigsen's home, in particular, the choice lay between 
Guelfs and National Liberals, and for the time being the 
latter supplied the best substratum of any in which the 
Empire could strike root. It was these political considera- 
tions which induced me to make overtures to them, as at 
the present time the strongest party, by seeking to win 
their leader as my colleague; whether for financial or 
internal business was indifferent to me. I regarded the 
matter from the purely political standpoint conditioned 
by my view that, for the present and until after the next 
great wars, the main issue was the firm consolidation of 
Germany, protected by its army against external dangers 
and by its Constitution against internal dynastic schisms. 
Whether our domestic Constitution turns out a little more 
Conservative or a little more Liberal, is a question of 
expediency which can only be calmly considered when the 
building is weather-proof. I desired sincerely to persuade 
him, as I expressed it, to jump into my boat and help me 
steer ; I was drawn up by the landing-stage and waiting 
for him to embark. 

Bennigsen, however, insisted on his refusal to enter 
without Forckenbeck and Stauffenberg, and left me under 
the impression that my attempt had failed. This impres- 
sion was quickly strengthened by the arrival of an excep- 
tionally ungracious letter from the Emperor, informing 
me that Count Eulenburg had entered his room with the 
question: 'Has your Majesty heard yet of the new min- 
istry? Bennigsen.' This communication was followed 
by a violent outburst of imperial indignation at my arbi- 
trary proceedings, and my venturing to suggest that he 
should cease to govern in 'Conservative fashion.' I was 
ill and tired out, and the wording of the imperial letter, 



200 



INTRIGUES 

together with Eulenburg's attack, took such a hold on my 
nerves that I once more fell seriously ill. I sent the 
Emperor an answer by Roon, to the effect that I could not 
propose to him a successor for Eulenburg without having 
previously gained the assurance that the person in ques- 
tion would accept the appointment. I had considered 
Bennigsen a suitable person, and sounded his views, but 
my overtures had not been received in the manner which 
I had expected, and I was therefore convinced that I could 
not propose him as minister. The ungracious condemna- 
tion conveyed to me in his Majesty's letter compelled me 
to renew the resignation which I had offered in the spring. 
This correspondence took place during the last days of 
1877, and my fresh illness began during New Year's 
night. 

In answer to Roon's letter, the Emperor replied to me 
that he had been deceived about the position of affairs, 
and desired me to regard his last letter as not written. 
These events of themselves precluded my treating any 
further with Bennigsen; but I did not think it for our 
political interest to acquaint the latter with the judgment 
expressed by the Emperor on his person and candidature. 
Although the matter was, in my mind, definitely termi- 
nated, I allowed it to appear outwardly in suspense ; next 
time I was in Berlin, Bennigsen took the initiative, with a 
view to bringing the matter, which he regarded as still 
unsettled, in friendly fashion to a negative conclusion. 
He asked me in the parliament building whether it was 
true that I was trying to introduce the tobacco monopoly, 
and on my answering in the affirmative, he said that in 
that case he must decline his co-operation as minister. 
Even then I did not inform him that as early as the New 



201 



BISMARCK 

Year the Emperor had cut off every possibility of treating 
with him. Perhaps he had assured himself by some other 
means that his scheme of modifying the principles of the 
government policy on the lines of National Liberal views 
would meet with insuperable obstacles on the part of the 
Emperor, especially after the speech made by Stauffenberg 
about the necessity of abolishing article 109 of the Prus- 
sian Constitution (Continued Levy of Customs). 

If the National Liberal leaders had conducted their 
policy skilfully, they ought to have known long ago that 
the Emperor, whose signature they required and desired 
for their appointment, felt more sensitive on the subject 
of this article than on any other political question, and 
that the surest way of alienating him was by an attempt 
to deprive him of this Palladium. When I gave his 
Majesty the confidential report of my negotiations with 
Bennigsen, and mentioned his wish with regard to Stauf- 
fenberg, the Emperor, still under the impression of the lat- 
ter's speech, said, pointing to his shoulder where the regi- 
mental number is placed on a uniform: ' Number 109 
Stauffenberg regiment.' If the Emperor had at that time 
approved the admission of Bennigsen, which I desired with 
the view of readjusting the conformity with the majority in 
parliament, even though the latter had soon recognised the 
impossibility of bringing the government and the King 
over to his party, still I am now convinced that the party 
programme, which inclined a good deal to doctrinaire acri- 
mony, could not long have been brought into accord with 
the strong monarchical views of the Emperor. At that 
time I did not feel sufficiently sure of this not to attempt 
inducing his Majesty to draw somewhat nearer to the Na- 
tional Liberal views. The strength of his resistance, 



202 



INTRIGUES 

increased, no doubt, by Eulenburg's hostile interference, ex- 
ceeded my expectations, although I was aware that the Em- 
peror cherished an instinctive monarchical dislike to Ben- 
nigsen and his late proceedings in Hanover. Although the 
National Liberal party in Hanover, and the energy of their 
leader before and after 1866, had greatly facilitated the 'as- 
similation ' of Hanover, and the Emperor was quite as little 
disposed as his father in 1805 to abandon this acquisition, 
the princely instinct was sufficiently strong in him to make 
him view with some inward disapproval such proceedings on 
the part of a Hanoverian subject against the Guelf dynasty. 
Among the number of current untrue myths belongs 
the statement that I desired to 'squeeze the National 
Liberals to the wall.' On the contrary, this is what these 
gentlemen tried to do to me. The breach with the Con- 
servatives, brought about by the whole slander episode of 
the * Reichsglocke ' and 'Kreuzzeitung,' and by the result- 
ing declaration of war, under the leadership of my discon- 
tented former friend, Kleist-Retzow, together with the 
jealous ill-will of my own class, the country Junkers, all 
these losses, and the enmities at Court combined with 
Catholic and feminine influences there, had tended to 
weaken my supports outside the National Liberal party, so 
that I could now only rely on the Emperor's personal 
relations to me. The National Liberals did not use this 
opportunity to strengthen our mutual relations by giving 
me their support ; but, on the contrary, attempted to take 
me in tow against my will. With this object they entered 
into relations with several of my colleagues ; by help of 
the ministers Friedenthal and Botho Eulenburg, the lat- 
ter of whom possessed the ear of my vice-president, Count 

Stolberg, official understandings were entered into, un- 

203 



BISMARCK 

known to me, with the presidents of both parliaments, and 
these related not only to questions of session and adjourn- 
ment, but also to important proposals in opposition to my 
wishes, with which my colleagues were acquainted. The 
general attack on my position, the striving after a share in 
the government, or sole dominion in my stead, betrayed 
by the scheme of independent imperial ministers, and by 
the above-mentioned secret negotiations, was very clearly 
marked at the council meeting held by the Crown Prince 
on June 5, 1878, as representative of his wounded father. 
The subject of discussion was the dissolution of parlia- 
ment after Nobiling's attempt at assassination. Half, or 
more, of my colleagues, at any rate the majority of the 
ministry and the council, voted adversely to me against 
dissolution, on the ground that the present parliament, now 
that Nobiling's attempt had followed on Model's, would 
be prepared to reverse its recent vote and meet the views 
of the government. The confidence expressed by my col- 
leagues on this occasion evidently depended on a confiden- 
tial understanding between them and influential parlia- 
mentarians, though not one of the latter made any utterance 
to me on the subject. It appeared that they had already 
come to an understanding about the division of my inheri- 
tance. 

I was certain that the Crown Prince would accept my 
view, even if all my colleagues had been of a different 
opinion, and I also had the approval of the twenty or more 
generals and officials present, certainly of the former. If 
I wanted to keep my post as minister at all, a question 
really of official and personal expediency, which, on ex- 
amining myself, I answered in the affirmative, I found 

myself compelled to stand on my defence, and try to 

204 



INTRIGUES 

bring about a change in the parliamentary situation and 
in the personnel of my colleagues. I intended to keep my 
post, because, if the Emperor were to recover from his 
severe wound, which was by no means certain in the case 
of so old a man after his severe loss of blood, I would not 
forsake him against his will. I also regarded it as my 
duty, if he should die, not to refuse to his successor unless 
he wished it those services which the confidence and expe- 
rience I had acquired enabled me to render him. It was 
not I who sought a quarrel with the National Liberals, 
but they who plotted with my colleagues in an attempt to 
squeeze me against the wall. The tasteless and vulgar 
phrase * to squeeze them to the wall until they squeal ' 
never found a place in my thoughts, and still less on my 
lips. It was one of the lying inventions with which people 
try to injure their political opponents. Besides, this 
phrase was not even the original product of the persons 
who spread it abroad, but only a clumsy plagiarism. In 
his memoirs, 1 Count Beust relates the following: 

* The Slavs in Austria have quoted against me the 
expression which, I may state, was never used by me, 
"that they must be squeezed against the wall." The 
origin of this phrase was the following : The former min- 
ister, afterwards Stadtholder of Galicia, Count Goluchow- 
ski, used to converse with me in the French language. It 
was chiefly thanks to his efforts that after I became presi- 
dent of the ministry in 1867, the Galician parliament 
voted unconditionally in favour of the imperial council. 
At that time I had said to Count Goluchowski : " Si cela 
se fait, les Slaves sont mis au pied du mur," a very differ- 
ent expression from the other.' 

1 A us drei Viertel-Jahrhunderten, part i. p. 5. 
205 



BISMARCK 

Among my arguments in favour of dissolution I espe- 
cially emphasized this one: that parliament could not 
rescind its resolution without injuring its prestige, unless 
it had been previously dissolved. It is of no moment 
whether prominent National Liberals intended at that time 
to become my colleagues or my successors, since the for- 
mer could only have been a stepping-stone to the other 
alternative. But I acquired a certain conviction that the 
negotiations between some of my colleagues, some National 
Liberals and some influential persons at Court, about the 
division of my heritage, had reached the point of agree- 
ment, or, at any rate, were not far from it. This agree- 
ment would have necessitated a combination, like that of 
the Gladstone ministry, between Liberalism and Catholi- 
cism. The latter extended through the immediate envi- 
ronment of the Empress Augusta, including the influence 
of the ' Reichsglocke ' and of the Treasurer of the House- 
hold, von Schleinitz, into the very palace of the old Em- 
peror; and here the combined attack against me found 
an active ally in General von Stosch. The latter had a 
good position too, at the Crown Prince's court, due, partly 
to his own abilities, partly to the assistance of Herr von 
Normann and his wife, with whom he had been on inti- 
mate terms at Magdeburg, and whose migration to Berlin 
he had effected. 



The plan of replacing me by a cabinet d la Gladstone 
was calculated with a view to Count Botho Eulenburg, 
who had been Minister of the Interior since March 31, 

1878, and was assured by his connexions of the traditional 

206 



INTRIGUES 

Court influence of his own family and that of Donhoff. 
He is clever, distinguished, of a nobler nature than Harry 
von Arnim, more polished than Robert Goltz; but in his 
case also it was my experience to find that gifted col- 
leagues and eventual successors, whom I was anxious to 
train up, did not retain a permament feeling of good-will 
towards me. My relations to him were impaired, in the 
first place, by an outbreak of touchiness which, though 
outwardly covered by all the courtesy of good- breeding, 
was acute enough to disturb the easy and confidential 
course of business relations. Geheimrath Tiedemann, at 
that time my assistant in confidential business, brought 
about a most unexpected epistolary explosion, by the form 
in which he delivered a message to the Count during my 
absence from Berlin. As my commission to Tiedemann 
is a matter which still possesses an actual and lively inter- 
est, I will subjoin the correspondence. 

' Kissingen : August 15, 1878. 

' Dear Sir, I must request you to express to the 
Minister Count Eulenburg and to Geheimrath Hahn my 
regret that the draft of the Socialist Law was officially 
published in the " Provincial Correspondence " before it 
was laid before the Federal Council. This publication is 
prejudicial to any amendment on our part, and is discour- 
teous to Bavaria and other dissentients. From the nego- 
tiations which I have carried on from this place with 
Bavaria, I must assume that it maintains its opposition to 
the imperial ministry. Wurtemberg and, as I am told, 
Saxony are not opposed to the imperial ministry on the 
principle, but on a special matter ; they dread the calling- 

in of judges. For my part, I can but sympathise with 

207 



BISMARCK 

this ground of opposition. It is a question not of judicial 
but of political functions, and the Prussian. ministry, too, 
must not be subordinated to a judicial board in its prelimi- 
nary decisions, for this would weaken it in its future po- 
litical proceedings against Socialism. The functions of 
the imperial ministry can only, in my opinion, be exercised 
either direct by the Federal Council or by delegation to 
an annually appointed committee. The Federal Council 
represents the governing board of the joint sovereignty of 
Germany, thus corresponding to the State Council in dif- 
ferent circumstances. 

' For the present, however, I am forced to assume that 
Bavaria will not agree to this expedient, which is accept- 
able to Wurtemberg, Saxony, and personally to myself. 
The clause in No. 3, article 23, that only unemployed per- 
sons may be expelled, does not seem to me sufficient for 
the purpose. 

' Moreover, in my opinion the law requires an adden- 
dum dealing with officials, to the effect that participation 
in Socialist politics will bring upon them dismissal with- 
out a pension. The majority of the ill-paid subordinate 
officials in Berlin, as well as the railway guards, points- 
men, and other similar classes, are Socialists ; a fact of 
dangerous tendency, as would be obvious in the case of 
insurrections and transport of troops. 

' Further, if the law is to be effective, I do not think 
it will be permanently feasible to allow those citizens who 
are legally proved to be Socialists, the enjoyment of active 
and passive electoral rights, and all the privileges of par- 
liamentary members. 

' Now, when once the milder form of the law has been 

simultaneously announced in all the papers, being doubt - 

208 



INTRIGUES 

less officially communicated to them, there will be much 
less prospect of carrying these additional severities in par- 
liament than would have been the case if no milder ver- 
sion had been officially communicated. 

' The proposal in its present condition will do Social- 
ism no practical harm, nor in any way suffice to render it 
harmless, particularly as it is quite certain that parliament 
will discuss away something from every proposal. I re- 
gret that my health absolutely forbids me to take part, for 
the present, in the deliberations of the Federal Council ; I 
must therefore postpone my further motions in the Fed- 
eral Council until the regular session of parliament in 
winter. 

' v. BISMARCK.' 

' Berlin : August 18, 1878. 

* Your Serene Highness commissioned Geheimrath 
Tiedemann to express to me and to Geheimrath Hahn 
your regret that the draft of the Socialist Law was officially 
published in the " Provincial Correspondence " before being 
submitted to the Federal Council. Hahn is in no way 
responsible, since he did not act without my consent. 
This I only gave after the printed papers of the Federal 
Council, which contained the draft, had been given out on 
the previous evening, without any special directions as to 
confidential treatment, and I had been informed by the 
President of the Imperial Chancery that, under these cir- 
cumstances, the publication of the draft in the papers 
might be certainly expected on the following day, i.e. the 
very day on which the " Provincial Correspondence " ap- 
peared an assumption which was afterwards proved to 

be correct. The sitting of the Federal Council took place 
VOL. ii. 14 209 






BISMARCK 

at two o'clock in the afternoon of the 1 4th inst. ; the 
" Provincial Correspondence " was published on the after- 
noon of the same day. The communication in it of the 
contents of the draft Bill, therefore, did not take place pre- 
viously to laying the draft before the Federal Council. 

' Whether it would even so have been better to omit 
that communication in the " Provincial Correspondence " 
is a matter I do not propose to discuss further. It will 
always be of the greatest value to me to hear your Serene 
Highness' s enlightened judgment, even if it should hap- 
pen to differ from my own. Still, I cannot pass over in 
silence the circumstance that your Serene Highness should 
have expressed your disapproval to me by means of one of 
your subordinates, and the contempt of my position which 
this implies is the more distinctly marked, that in doing 
so you place me in the same category as one of my own 
subordinates. The insulting character of this proceeding 
is so obvious that the assumption of its being done on pur- 
pose, with all the considerations which would naturally 
spring from this, seems natural. I shall not hesitate to 
follow their dictates as soon as I am convinced that this 
assumption is correct. Assuming, in the meantime, that 
this is not the case, I confine myself to imploring your 
Serene Highness most strongly not to permit a recurrence 
of a similar proceeding. 

' Yours, &c., 

' COUNT EULENBURG. ' 

' Gastein: August 20, 1878. 

' I learn from your favour of the 1 8th that your Excel- 
lency ascribes to me the manner, apparently incautious 
and certainly unexpected, in which Geheimrath Tiedemann 

210 



INTRIGUES 

gave expression to my confidential and informal remark, 
and lays full weight upon it, without even giving me the 
benefit of the incomplete way in which business can be 
done during a trying course of treatment at the baths. 
The contents of your letter lead me to suppose that you 
were subjected to a piece of tactlessness for which I must 
ask your pardon, although I did not commit it, but at most 
rendered it possible. That your Excellency should have 
conceived the thought of any intentional proceeding on my 
part is surprising and distressing to me, for I supposed 
that the friendly character of our personal relations to one 
another was too well secured to make any such misunder- 
standing possible. 

' Yours, &c., 

' v. BISMARCK.' 

The circumstances under which Count Eulenburg 
gave in his resignation in February 1881, are well known; 
also that in August of the same year he was appointed 
head president at Cassel. His name is connected with 
the following correspondence between his Majesty and 
myself. I have not been able to trace the subject of my 
speech of December 17, 1881, to which he refers: 

' Berlin : December 18, 1881. 

' I must tell you a curious dream which I had last 
night, as clear as I am describing it to you here. 

1 It was the first meeting of the Reichstag after the 
present vacation. During the discussion Count Eulen- 
burg entered. The discussion ceased at once. After a 
long pause the President called upon the last speaker to 
continue. Silence ! The President dissolves the sitting. 

211 



BISMARCK 

The result is tumult and confusion. No member is to 
receive a decoration during the session of the Reichstag; 
the Monarch must not be named in the session. Next 
day another sitting. Eulenburg appears and is greeted 
with such hisses and noise I wake up in the middle, in a 
state of nervous agitation, from which I could not recover 
for a long time, and lay awake for two hours from half- 
past four to half -past six. 

'All this took place in my presence in the House, just 
as clearly as I am writing it down here. I must hope 
that the dream will not be realised, but still it is a curi- 
ous thing. 

'As this dream did not begin until I had had six 
hours' quiet sleep, it could scarcely be an immediate re- 
sult of our conversation. 

' Enfin, I really had to tell you this curiosity. 

'Your 

'WILLIAM.' 

Berlin : December 18, 1881. 

' I thank your Majesty most humbly for your gracious 
autograph letter. I think that after all the dream was 
the result, if not exactly of my previous discourse, still 
of the general impressions of the last few days, based 
upon Puttkamer's verbal reports, newspaper articles, and 
my speech. The images of our waking life do not imme- 
diately reappear on the mirror of our dreams, but only 
after the mind has been quieted by sleep and rest. Your 
Majesty's communication encourages me to relate a dream 
which I had in the spring of 1 863, in the hardest days of 
the Conflict, when no human eye could see any possible 
issue. I dreamed (as I related the first thing next morn- 

212 



INTRIGUES 

ing to my wife and other witnesses) that I was riding on 
a narrow Alpine path, precipice on the right, rocks on the 
left. The path grew narrower, so that the horse refused 
to proceed; and it was impossible to turn round or dis- 
mount, owing to lack of space. Then, with my whip in 
my left hand, I struck the smooth rock and called on God. 
The whip grew to an endless length, the rocky wall dropped 
like a curtain and opened out a broader path, with a view 
over hills and forests, like a landscape in Bohemia ; there 
were Prussian troops with banners, and even in my dream 
the thought came to me at once that I must report it to your 
Majesty. This dream was fulfilled, and I woke up rejoiced 
and strengthened. The bad dream from which your Maj esty 
woke in nervous agitation can only be fulfilled, in so far 
that we shall still have many a stormy, noisy meeting of 
parliament, such as unfortunately undermine the prestige 
of parliament and hinder the progress of business. But 
your Majesty's presence is impossible, and though I con- 
sider such occurrences as the latest sittings of parlia- 
ment regrettable as a standard of our manners and polit- 
ical education, perhaps even of our political capacity, they 
are not in themselves a misfortune : " 1'exces du mal en 
devient le remede. " 

' I trust your Majesty will pardon with your customary 
graciousness this holiday meditation, suggested by your 
Majesty's own letter, for yesterday we entered on the va- 
cation and peace until January 9. ' 

The form of Count Eulenburg's complaint about Tiede- 
mann, and the cabinet question which it involved, took 
all the stronger hold of my nerves, that I was suffering 
from the effects of a severe illness. This had been in- 

213 



BISMARCK 

duced by the impression left by the attempt on the Em- 
peror's life, and the labour in connexion with the presi- 
dency of the Berlin congress which I had to undertake at 
the same time. A sentiment of official duty helped me to 
fight against it, but the baths at Gastein tended rather to 
increase than to cure it. The treatment at this place, to 
which my colleague in the ministry, Bernard von Biilow, 
succumbed on October 20, 1879, has not a calming effect 
on overstrained nerves, if disturbed by work or excitement. 

Immediately after my return to Berlin I had to support 
the introduction of the Socialist Bill in the Reichstag, and 
this again confirmed my experience, that the labour of ora- 
torical delivery on the platform involves less nervous strain 
than the correction of a long speech, quickly spoken, the 
wording of which has to be defended in the leader's place. 
While I was occupied with a correction of this kind, a ner- 
vous crisis which had been impending for months came to a 
head, happily only in the more trivial form of a nettle-rash. 

The task of a leading minister of a great European 
Power, with a parliamentary constitution, is in itself of a 
sufficiently wearing character to absorb a man's whole 
energy. This is even more the case when the minister, 
as in Germany and Italy, has to help a nation over the 
stage of its development and, as is the case with us, to 
combat a strong separatist tendency in parties and individ- 
uals. When a man devotes the whole of his strength and 
health to the solution of these tasks, he is more sensitive 
to any increased difficulties which are not actually neces- 
sary, Even at the beginning of the 'seventies I thought 
that my health was giving way, and therefore made over 
the Presidency of the Cabinet to Count Roon, the only 

one of my colleagues who was on personal terms of in- 

214 



INTRIGUES 

timacy with me. But at that time there were no material 
difficulties to discourage me. These were caused by the 
hostile intrigue of those circles on whose support I thought 
I could specially reckon, and they were characterised in 
the days of the ' Reichsglocke ' by the direct relations 
which the elements represented by this paper had with 
the Court, the Conservatives, and with many of my official 
colleagues. The Monarch, who was as a rule so gracious 
to me, had given me no adequate support against the court 
and domestic influence of the ' Reichsglocke ' ring ; and 
this circumstance specially discouraged me, and completed 
the tale of those considerations which induced me to hand 
in my resignation on March 20, 1877. The attack of 
shingles from which I was suffering in 1878, when Count 
Shuvaloff called upon me to summon the congress, was a 
sign of the unsatisfactory condition of my health at that 
time, and of the exhaustion of my nerves. This was due to 
the lack of sincere co-operation on the part of some of my 
official colleagues, even more than to the ' Reichsglocke ' 
and its party at court. The way in which I was repre- 
sented by the Vice-president, Count Stolberg, owing to the 
influence which the ministers Friedenthal, and later Count 
Botho Eulenburg, exercised over my representative, took 
such a form that I ultimately had the impression of being 
face to face with a system of gradual pressure which aimed 
at ousting me from the political leadership. The outward 
sign of this system was at that time the lack of my signa- 
ture on the official announcements of the ministry. This 
was not done at my wish or with my consent ; but they 
profited by my indifference to externals, and I allowed 
these proceedings to pass unchecked, until I was no longer 
able to doubt their systematic intention. 

215 



BISMARCK 

The separate occurrences which throw light on after 
events do not all fall into the time of the council's session 
in June 1878, but they illumined, to some extent retro- 
spectively, the situation of that time and its springs of 
action. Count Botho Eulenburg, then Minister of the 
Interior, gave an uncalled-for expression of his good-will 
towards the deputy Rickert in the Prussian parliament, in 
answer to an article of the ' Nord-Deutsche Allgemeine 
Zeitung,' with such intentional distinctness that it re- 
vealed to me, without any possibility of doubt, the con- 
nexion which he drew between me and the article he 
disapproved. Just as every flash of lightning lights up a 
landscape by night, so the individual moves of my oppo- 
nents enabled me to overlook the whole situation, pro- 
duced by outward demonstrations of personal good-will, 
combined with an actual system of boycotting. Suppos - 
ing it had been possible to form a cabinet d la Gladstone, 
whose mission would be indicated by the names of Stosch, 
Eulenburg, Friedenthal, Camphausen, Rickert, and other 
dilutions of the generic concept ' Windthorst ' with Cath- 
olic Court influence, the question whether it could have 
maintained itself is one which the persons concerned do 
not seem to have considered. The main object was the 
negative one of getting rid of me, and in that all the hold- 
ers of drafts on the future were agreed. Each of them 
might then hope afterwards to drive out the others, as is 
with us always the natural result of heterogeneous coali- 
tions, agreed only in their dislike to the existing order 
of things. The whole combination was at that time 
unsuccessful, because they failed to win over either 
the King or the Crown Prince. As to the relations of 

this latter to me, my place-hunting opponents were always 

216 



INTRIGUES 

misinformed at that time, and afterwards in 1888. To 
the end of his life he maintained the same confidence in 
me as his father; and his wife's desire to undermine it 
never amounted to the same pugnacious determination as 
in the case of the Empress Augusta, who had a freer 
choice of methods. 

Besides the harassing struggles of a personal character, 
material difficulties and exhausting labour were necessi\ 
tated by the breach with the Free Trade policy, which is 
characterised by my letter to Freiherr von Thiingen on 
a Protective Tariff, 1 and afterwards by the secession and 
the transition of the secessionists to the Centrum. My 
health broke down in such a manner as to paralyse my 
work, until Dr. Schweninger recognised the true nature 
of my illness, introduced the right treatment, and pro- 
cured me a feeling of relative health to which I had been 
a stranger for many years. 



Herr von Gruner, who during the new era had been 
Under- Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was 
pensioned off soon after I took over the ministry, and 
replaced by Herr von Thile. Ever since my appointment 
as Federal Ambassador he had been among the number 
of my enemies, since he regarded this post as an inheri- 
tance from his father, Justus Gruner. He remained hos- 
tile to me, and was politically incapable. In November 
1863 he addressed to his Majesty a letter about the Bud- 
get dispute, in the same sense in which Lieutenant-Colonel 
Colonel von Vincke at Olbendorf (cf. vol. i. p. 335) and 

1 April 16, 1879 : Politische Reden, viii. 54, 55. 
217 



BISMARCK 

Roggenbach had thought good to take the same step. 
These gentlemen, in laying their proposals before the 
King, started from the assumption that if he were to fol- 
low their advice, and give way to the House of Deputies, 
a new minister, or at any rate a new President of the Min- 
istry and Minister of Foreign Affairs, would be appointed 
a result for which influences were at work even outside 
the domain of public life, assisted by the Treasurer of the 
Household and other persons closely connected with the 
Court. Afterwards Herr von Gruner still continued to 
associate with the circles which in 1876 had protected 
and nourished the ' Reichsglocke.' 

After the condemnation of the editor of this journal, 
in January 1877, and when I had renewed in March the 
resignation which his Majesty had declined to accept, I 
learned by official means, while taking the baths at Kis- 
singen, that Herr von Gruner had been appointed to the 
Household ministry, and without the counter-signature of 
any responsible minister had been nominated as actual privy 
councillor ; also that Herr von Schleinitz had requested 
the manager of the * Imperial and State Gazette ' to pub- 
lish this appointment in the official paper. 

On this subject I wrote, on June 8, to the head of the 
Chancery, Geheimrath Tiedemann, requesting him to com- 
municate my views to the ministry : 

' In my opinion the official part of the " Imperial 
and State Gazette " is destined for those communications 
which deal with imperial and Prussian state affairs, and 
for which the imperial Chancellor, or the Prussian minis- 
try, as the case may be, is responsible. If Gruner' s pro- 
motion is inserted in the official part without further ex- 
planation, it is impossible to avoid the presumption, even 

218 



INTRIGUES 

by a previous mention of his appointment to the house- 
hold treasury, that the ministry makes itself responsible 
for Gruner's nomination as an acting privy councillor. 
Public opinion and the Prussian parliament would scarcely 
assume that the ministry could have desired to confer this 
distinction on its notorious opponent; they would prob- 
ably guess the truth that the ministry is not held in suffi- 
cient respect at Court, and does not enjoy sufficient influ- 
ence with his Majesty to prevent this nomination; nor 
would there be the least doubt in their minds that this 
appointment, published in the " State Gazette," had been 
countersigned more solito by the ministry. The belief 
that the ministry possesses the influence upon his Maj- 
esty's decisions, which is assumed by the Constitution, 
would not be promoted by the published communication 
of his Majesty's ungracious marginal comment, and the 
ensuing answer of the ministry. People might be tempted 
to compare the contents and their effect with the pro- 
ceedings in France, which have brought about the latest 
change of ministry there. 

'I am not without some anxiety if we ought not to 
regard the proceedings in the Gruner case as only a probe 
used by Herr von Schleinitz and his advisers (not by his 
Majesty the Emperor) for sounding us, in order to see how 
much we will stand, and how highly we rate our minis- 
terial authority. In my opinion, to yield to these unjus- 
tifiable ways of influencing his Majesty's decisions is not 
the best method of putting an end to them. On the con- 
trary, they will only increase, and the conflict, which is 
now a merely formal one, would soon be repeated on a 
more unfavourable domain, confused with great party 
issues. 

219 



BISMARCK 

' In my present position I might refrain from any offi- 
cial utterance; but I have a feeling that my return to 
business, which is a very important matter for me person- 
ally, may be prejudiced by these means, quite apart from 
any considerations of health. As I hope that my health 
will improve, and as in this case I should wish to keep 
open the possibility of returning to business, if this is in 
accordance with his Majesty's wishes, I feel a personal 
interest in adequately guarding the prestige of the minis- 
terial position in such a way that I may be able consci- 
entiously to maintain my resumption of it. 

' In my opinion the proper and logical solution of the 
first decision would have been the refusal of the request 
made by the Minister of the Household to insert the nomi- 
nation in the official part of the " State Gazette." This 
official insertion cannot be protected from misinterpreta- 
tion by public opinion, and must always remain a partial 
victory of the " Reichsglocke " intrigues over the present 
government. Announcements concerning the royal house- 
hold have properly no place in the " Imperial and State 
Gazette." Even if the latter is also to be a " Royal 
Household Gazette," the orders of the Household Minis- 
ter have, in my opinion, no right to a place in the official 
portion, since he has no responsibility for the contents of 
the official journal. These announcements must, in some 
form or other, bear the placet of a responsible minister, 
which the Household Minister must seek to obtain before 
they are printed off. This placet was not sought in the 
present case ; the Household Minister assumed a right of 
disposal over the " State Gazette," and on this account 
alone his request ought properly to have been refused on 
the ground of its informality. If a command to insert 



220 



INTRIGUES 

any matter relating to the royal household is given by 
his Majesty the King himself, there can be no hesitation 
about executing it in the majority of cases ; but even in 
perfectly straightforward cases it is advisable to keep the 
official announcements of the royal household apart in po- 
sition from those of the state. The separation might, in 
my view, be managed by publishing the regulations refer- 
ring to the royal household, not promiscuously with those 
of the ministry, but in a third column, side by side with 
the two great official headings of the " State Gazette," 
" German Empire " and " Kingdom of Prussia." A place 
between the two would show the greatest courtesy; if 
necessary, it might follow the " Kingdom of Prussia," and 
bear the designation " Royal Household," separated from 
the two other headings by continuous lines, just as " Prus- 
sia " and " Empire " are now separated. That would set- 
tle the formal question for the future in a manner which, 
it seems to me, can give no offence to either side. 

' It is quite a different matter, however, when a reso- 
lution of his Majesty's is officially announced, which, 
in spite of assurances to the contrary confined to official 
documents, proclaims to the public what in constitutional 
language is usually called a want of confidence in his 
ministers on the part of the Monarch. Of course, in such a 
case, there is no remedy open to the ministers but resig- 
nation. Undoubtedly the present case, in as far as it has 
this character, is aimed rather at me than at my colleagues. 
The " Reichsglocke " and other papers which represented 
the tendencies of Herren von Gruner, von Schleinitz, Count 
Nesselrode, and Nathusius-Ludom, did not libel them pub- 
licly, or at any rate not in the same degree as myself. 

' The pardon of Herr von Nathusius, the distinction 



221 



BISMARCK 

conferred on Count Nesselrode and Herr von Gruner, at the 
very time when the libels of the organ which represented 
those gentlemen were occupying public opinion and the law 
courts, and the connexion of those gentlemen with these pa- 
pers was becoming apparent, pointed to an act of royal fa- 
vour towards persons who were only known for their hos- 
tility to the government and their open attacks on my 
honour. But as long as I was his Majesty's servant, this 
last ought to be under his protection. If I experience the 
opposite of this protection, it must be due to a personal 
motive, which urges me far more imperatively to leave the 
service than any considerations of health could ever do. 
These reasons for taking the resolution are only personal 
to myself, but, according as matters develop, will be deci- 
sive as to the possibility of my return to my post. 

* I do most earnestly call upon my colleagues, in the 
interest of their ministerial future, to take care that the 
official publication of Gruner's appointment, if his Maj- 
esty is not willing to abandon it altogether, may still be 
made in a form which will make the absence of counter- 
signature evident. This could be obtained by the above- 
mentioned division into three parts, the Empire, Prussia, 
and the household, especially if the press received an 
explanation on the subject. But in my view it would be 
desirable that Gruner's appointment to the royal house- 
hold should be previously published separately in the house- 
hold column, and it would then announce next day that his 
Majesty had been graciously pleased to confer upon the 
person appointed to the household ministry, &c. &c., the 
title of an acting privy councillor, &c. &c. A slightly dif- 
ferent form of wording from that of the usual announce- 
ments, no matter how slight, would still be an advantage. ' 

222 



INTRIGUES 

This letter, addressed to Geheimrath Tiedemann, and 
forwarded under flying-seal to the Minister von Billow, 
contained an addition meant for this latter, requesting 
him to make confidential use of it among his colleagues. 

'. . . This occurrence, to my mind, hits me more 
severely than my colleagues, who have not been libelled 
by the " Reichsglocke " party, with the exception perhaps 
of Camphausen, nor was he subjected to the same measure 
of malignity as I. He was attacked by unworthy means 
about actual facts connected with his office, but his per- 
sonal honour was left untouched. The ministry, as a 
whole, is certainly in a position to feel itself aggrieved 
by the mode of Gruner's appointment, and must take 
notice of this treatment in order to secure its rights and 
dignity for the future. But the insult conveyed in the 
fact of Gruner's appointment is aimed at me alone. It 
is only his long-continued enmity to me personally which 
has succeeded in drawing attention to him, for he lacks 
both talent and merit. While at the Foreign Office he 
was a real hindrance, in consequence of his incapacity, 
which at critical moments bordered on idiotcy. For the 
last fifteen years he has done nothing but write, speak, 
and intrigue against me with all the bitterness of over- 
weening self-conceit which thinks it lacks appreciation. 
I am momentarily disregarding the fact that it was these 
very " Reichsglocke " elements which increased the diffi- 
culty of performing my official duties to an extent with 
which I had not sufficient strength to cope. I speak now 
only of the blow to be aimed at me personally in the possi- 
bility of successfully recommending this man to his Maj- 
esty. In face of this, if I say in my letter to Tiedemann 

that this Gruner case does not supply a sufficient motive 

223 



BISMARCK 

to compel my colleagues to resign, my own position in ref- 
erence to it appears to me an essentially different one. 

' I should be very grateful to you if you would speak 
confidentially in this sense to Camphausen, Friedenthal, 
and Falk. Wilmowski's attitude is different from what I 
should have expected. I had hitherto counted on him as 
a safe ally against the Schleinitz Camarilla; but I do 
not understand his action in this case. Together with 
Eulenburg and Leonhardt he will cause the ministry to 
lose the measure of self-esteem and consideration which 
it enjoys in this country, and without which in these diffi- 
cult situations at Court and in the country the state busi- 
ness cannot be carried on. In speaking to Eulenburg 
you must only use those expressions which will bear re- 
peating. What is Hofman's attitude in the matter? 

' The baths seem to suit me very well, but every re- 
lapse, caused by unpleasant impressions, is very strongly 
marked, and makes me realise that the state of my health 
will scarcely be sufficient for carrying on business. I 
should not shrink from the simple performance of official 
business ; but I am no longer able to bear as I could for- 
merly the faux frais of Court intrigues, perhaps because 
they have increased so alarmingly in extent and influence. 
Three months ago I kept silence about these, the real rea- 
sons of my continued intention to resign, although they 
were essentially the same as now. At the present time 
too I shall mention no other motive for resignation, out of 
consideration for the Emperor, than the state of my health/ 

The matter was terminated by the non-publication in 
the ' State Gazette ' of Gruner's appointment as an acting 
privy councillor. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS 

MY frequent absences caused me to lose touch with my 
colleagues. The fact that I had raised them all, in some 
cases from very unimportant posts, to the rank of minis- 
ter, and had not troubled them with any interference in 
their departments, made me over-estimate their personal 
regard for me. I seldom interfered with the current busi- 
ness of their departments, and only when I saw that an 
important public interest ran a risk of being sacrificed to 
private interests. Thus, for instance, I oppos* I >he ca- 
nalisation of the Rhine through the Rheingau, projected 
for the sake of the navigation, which would in the course 
of thirty years have transformed the river bed, between 
the banks and the two dikes to be constructed, into a 
marsh; as also the plan of macadamising the Elector's 
Embankment only for the usual width of the c/iausstfes, 
and building on it close up to the edge of the old road. 
In both cases I crossed the intentions of the authorities 
immediately concerned, and I believe that in so doing I 
effected a lasting benefit. Nor did I trouble my colleagues 
or the subordinate imperial officers with patronage. The 
Constitution would have allowed me to appoint all the 
post office, telegraph, and railway officials, and to fill all 
the posts in the separate imperial departments. But I do 

not believe that I ever asked Herr von Stephan or any one 
VOL. ii. 15 225 



BISMARCK 

else for a post for a candidate recommended by me, not 
even for a postman. I had however frequently to oppose 
the tendency to create new far-reaching laws or organisa- 
tions, the tendency to regulate from the green table, be- 
cause I knew that even if they did not exaggerate this law- 
mongering themselves, their officials did, and that many a 
reporting official in the home departments, ever since tak- 
ing his degree, had carried about projects concerning his 
own specialty, which aimed at promoting the happiness of 
the subjects of the Empire as soon as he could find a chief 
ready to agree to them. 

In spite of my non-interference the majority of my 
official friends seemed to have felt as though relieved from 
pressure after my resignation. In many cases this could 
be explained by the resistance which I showed to the ram- 
pant tendency to unnecessary attacks on the stability of 
our legislation. In the domain of the schools I continually 
but unsuccessfully combated the theory that the Minister 
of Education, without any law and without being limited 
by the existing school property, might determine, as a 
matter of administration, and without any regard to its 
capacity to pay, the amount which each parish must con- 
tribute to the school. This absolute authority, which ex- 
isted in no other branch of administration, and the appli- 
cation of which was in some cases carried so far that the 
parishes were unable to exist, was based not upon any 
law, but upon a rescript of the former Minister of Educa- 
tion, von Raumer, making the School Budget dependent 
on the disposition of the government department in ques- 
tion, and in the last resort on that of the minister. The 
endeavour to consolidate this ministerial absolutism by a 

law was an obstacle which prevented my giving my adhe- 

226 



THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS 

sion to the various proposals for school bills presented to 
me from time to time. 

In the domain of finance, my assent to any reform in 
taxation was always subordinate to the desire not to use 
those direct taxes which are independent of the taxpayer's 
property as a standard for future annual additions. Al- 
though the injustice once committed by the imposition 
of a ground and house tax could not be removed, it is not 
on that account consistent with justice to repeat it by 
annual additions. Scholz, my last colleague in the Fi- 
nance Ministry, with whom I always maintained friendly 
relations, shared this view, but had to contend against the 
parliamentary and ministerial difficulties in the way of a 
remedy. The combative forces among his officials were 
doubtless glad of the freer movement which they experi- 
enced after I had left the ministry. Demands with which 
I could for many years find no agreement in the Finance 
Ministry were self-assessment and a higher taxation of 
income from foreign securities than from German, a sort 
of protective tariff for German securities, and of interest 
on invested capital compared with money which had to be 
earned afresh every year. In the domain of agriculture, the 
removal of the agrarian pressure which I was supposed to 
exercise chiefly benefited diseased swine and the cattle 
plague, as well as those higher and lower officials to 
whose lot fell the task of combating in parliament and 
in the country the lying party-cry about raising the price 
of food. The disposition to yield in this domain and the 
facilities given to French communication with Alsace 
(revoked, after unpleasant experiences, in February 1891) 
are to my mind the common expression of a cowardice 

which is ready to sacrifice the future for a little more 

227 



BISMARCK 

comfort in the present. The desire of obtaining cheap 
pork will be no more permanently furthered by any lax 
treatment of the danger of contagion than the detachment 
of Alsace from France will be promoted by the weak 
striving after applause which shows itself in the treatment 
of local grievances and frontier difficulties. 

As regards the imperial offices, I always, during the 
time of Scholz as during that of Maltzahn, kept up a good 
feeling with the Treasury. The task assigned to this 
office was of no greater range than to assist the Chancellor 
with technical knowledge and trained powers of work, in 
his discussions and understandings with the Prussian Min- 
ister of Finance. In questions of finance, the Prussian 
Minister of Finance and the ministry of state remained 
the decisive authority. The characters of both men en- 
abled one to settle differences of opinion, without ill-feel- 
ing, by fair discussion. The idea which has lately been 
represented in the press, and even put into practice, that 
there could be a financial policy of the Chancellor or even 
of the Imperial Treasury, which is subordinate to him, on 
the one side, and of the Prussian Minister of Finance on 
the other, independent of one another, was in my time 
considered unconstitutional. Differences between the de- 
partments found their solution in the common delibera- 
tions of the ministry of state to which the Chancellor as 
Foreign Minister belonged, and without whose implied or 
express assent he is not empowered to give the Prussian 
votes in the Federal Council, or to propose a project of law. 

My relations with the Imperial Post Office were less 
clear to me. During the French war there were occur- 
rences which brought me very near a breach with Herr 

von Stephan ; but I was then already so convinced of his 

228 



THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS 

unusual ability, not only as regards his special depart- 
ment, that I successfully supported him against his Maj- 
esty's displeasure. Herr von Stephan had addressed to his 
subordinates an official circular in which he instructed 
them to supply certain newspapers for all the military 
hospitals in France, and in explanation of this order re- 
ferred to the wishes of her Royal Highness the Crown 
Princess. How far he was justified in that I do not 
know, but whoever knew the old master will be able to 
imagine his state of mind when this postal edict was 
brought to his knowledge through military reports. The 
political colour of the papers which were recommended 
would alone have sufficed to bring Stephan under his 
Majesty's displeasure, but still more irritating was the 
appeal to a member of the royal family, and especially to 
the Crown Princess. I restored the peace with his Maj- 
esty. The desire for recognition in high quarters is one 
of the encumbrances that weigh upon most men of un- 
usual ability. I assumed that, as Stephan grew older and 
became more distinguished, the weaknesses which he 
brought from his early employments into his higher posts 
would disappear. I can only wish that he may grow old 
in office, and preserve his health, and I should regard his 
loss as one very difficult to make up for; 1 but I conjec- 
ture that he also formed one of those who thought that 
they experienced a feeling of relief at my departure. I 
have always been of opinion that the transport and corre- 
spondence traffic should contribute to the good of the 
state, and that the contribution should be included in the 
cost of postage and carriage. Stephan is more of a de- 
partmental patriot, and as such has certainly been useful, 

1 Stephan died April 8, 1897. 
229 



BISMARCK 

not only to his department and its officials, but also to the 
Empire, in a measure to which any successor would find 
it difficult to attain. I always treated his arbitrary deal- 
ings with the indulgence inspired by my respect for his 
eminent ability, even when they interfered with my juris- 
diction as Chancellor and as the representative who had to 
give the Prussian votes at the council, or when he spoiled 
the financial results by his love of fine buildings. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

IN the autumn of 1876 I received at Varzin a ciphered 
telegram from General von Werder, our military plenipo- 
tentiary at Livadia, in which, on behalf of the Emperor 
Alexander, he demanded from me some expression 
on the question whether, if Russia went to war with 
Austria, we should remain neutral. In replying to it I 
had to take into consideration that General von Werder' s 
cipher was not inaccessible within the Emperor's palace; 
for I had learned that even in our embassy at St. Peters- 
burg the secret of the cipher could not be preserved by 
any ingenious method of locking it up, but only by con- 
stantly changing it. I was convinced that I could tele- 
graph nothing to Livadia that would not come to the 
knowledge of the Emperor. That such a question should 
be asked in such a way at all presupposed a dislocation of 
the traditional method of doing business. If one cabinet 
desires to address questions of this kind to another, the 
correct way is to sound them in confidential conversation, 
either by means of its own ambassador or by a personal 
interview between the Sovereigns. That there are serious 
objections to sounding by means of an inquiry addressed 
to the representative of the Power which is being sounded, 
Russian diplomacy experienced in the transactions be- 
tween the Emperor Nicholas and Sir H. Seymour. Gort- 

chakoff's preference for asking questions of us by tele- 

231 



BISMARCK 

graph not through the Russian representative at Berlin, 
but through the German one at St. Petersburg, compelled 
me to remind our missions at St. Petersburg more often 
than those at any other Court, that their duty lay not in 
representing to us the desires of the Russian cabinet, but 
in placing our wishes before Russia. The temptation for 
a diplomatist to foster his official and social position by 
doing favours to the government to which he is accredited 
is great, and is the more dangerous if the Foreign Minis- 
ter can work on our agent and win him over to his wishes, 
before the latter knows all the circumstances that make 
acquiescence, or even the suggestion, inopportune for his 
government. 

But it lay beyond all, even beyond Russian usages, for 
the German military plenipotentiary at the Russian Court 
to place before us, and that in my absence from Berlin, by 
order of the Russian Emperor, a political question of far- 
reaching importance in the categorical style of a telegram. 
I had, inconvenient as I found it, never been able to pro- 
cure a change in the old custom whereby our military 
plenipotentiaries at St. Petersburg made their communica- 
tions not, like the others, through the Foreign Office, but 
direct to his Majesty in letters in their own hand a cus- 
tom which had its origin in the fact that Frederick Wil- 
liam III gave to Lucadou, formerly commandant of Kol- 
berg, and the first military attach^ at St. Petersburg, a 
particularly intimate position with the Emperor. In these 
letters the military attache* certainly wrote down every- 
thing that the Russian Emperor told him in the course of 
ordinary confidential conversation at Court, and not sel- 
dom that was much more than Gortchakoff told the am- 
bassador. The ' Pruski Fligel -adjutant,' as he was called 

232 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

at Court, saw the Emperor almost every day, and in any 
case much oftener than Gortchakoff; the Emperor did 
not talk to him of military matters only, and the mes- 
sages entrusted to him for our Sovereign were not con- 
fined to family affairs. The diplomatic negotiations be- 
tween both cabinets often found their centre of gravity, 
as at the time of Rauch and Miinster, far more in the re- 
ports of the military attaches than in those of the officially 
accredited envoys. But as the Emperor William never 
omitted to communicate to me in course of time, although 
often too late, his correspondence with the military at- 
tache at St. Petersburg, and as he never came to a politi- 
cal decision without reference to his official advisers, the 
disadvantages of this direct intercourse were confined to 
the retardment of such information and announcements as 
were contained in direct reports of this kind. It lay, 
therefore, beyond this usage in the transaction of business 
that the Emperor Alexander, undoubtedly at the instiga- 
tion of Prince Gortchakoff, should employ Herr von Wer- 
der as the means of placing before us that leading ques- 
tion. Gortchakoff was at that time anxious to prove to 
his Emperor that my devotion to him, and my sympathy 
with Russia, was insincere, or at least ' Platonic, ' and 
also to shake his confidence in me, in which he afterwards 
succeeded. 

Before positively answering Werder's question, I made 
an attempt to do so by dilatory replies referring to the 
impossibility of expressing myself on such a question 
without higher authorisation, and when I was repeatedly 
pressed, I recommended them to put the question, in an 
official, though confidential, manner, by means of the Rus- 
sian ambassador at Berlin, to the Foreign Office. How- 

233 



BISMARCK 

ever, repeated interpellations through Werder's telegrams 
put an end to this evasive method. In the meantime I 
had begged his Majesty to recall Herr von Werder by 
telegram to the Imperial Court, as he was being misused 
at Livadia for diplomatic purposes without being able to 
defend himself, and to forbid him to undertake political 
commissions, as that belonged to the Russian but not to 
the German service. The Emperor did not accede to my 
wish, and as, at length, the Emperor Alexander, on the 
ground of our personal relations, desired from me the ex- 
pression of my own opinion through the Russian ambas- 
sador at Berlin, it was no longer possible for me to evade 
replying to the indiscreet question. I asked the ambas- 
sador von Schweinitz, who was just at the end of his leave, 
to visit me at Varzin before his return to St. Petersburg, 
in order to receive my instructions. Schweinitz was my 
guest from the nth to the I3th of October. I commis- 
sioned him to repair as soon as possible via St. Peters- 
burg to the Czar's Court at Livadia. My instructions to 
Schweinitz were to the effect that our first care was 
to preserve the friendship between the great monarchies, 
which in a struggle with one another had more to lose as 
regarded their opposition to the revolution than they had 
to win. If, to our sorrow, this was not possible between 
Russia and Austria, then we could endure indeed that our 
friends should lose or win battles against each other, but 
not that one of the two should be so severely wounded 
and injured that its position as an independent Great 
Power taking its part in the councils of Europe would be 
endangered. The result of the unequivocally plain dec- 
laration that Gortchakoff prevailed on his Sovereign to 
wrest from us, in order to prove to him the Platonic char- 

234 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

acter of our love, was that the Russian storm passed from 
Eastern Galicia to the Balkans, and that Russia, in place 
of the negotiations with us which were broken off, began 
similar negotiations with Austria first of all, as far as I 
remember, at Pesth in the sense of the settlement come 
to at Reichstadt, where the Emperors Alexander and Fran- 
cis Joseph met on July 8, 1876, and requested that they 
should be kept secret from us. This treaty, 1 and not the 
Berlin congress, is the foundation of the Austrian posses- 
sion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and during her war with 
the Turks secured to Russia the neutrality of Austria. 



That the Russian cabinet in the settlement at Reich- 
stadt conceded to the Austrians the acquisition of Bosnia 
as an equivalent for their neutrality makes us assume that 
Herr von Oubril did not speak the truth when he assured 
us that the Balkan war would be only a question of a 
' promenade militaire,' of giving occupation to the ' trop 
plein ' of the army, and of Turkish horses' tails and crosses 
of St. George ; in that case Bosnia would have been too 
high a price to pay. Probably at St. Petersburg they 
had reckoned on Bulgaria, when it was separated from Tur- 
key, remaining permanently in dependence on Russia. 
Even if the peace of San Stefano had been carried out 
intact, this calculation would probably have proved false. 
In order not to be held responsible for this error by their 
own people, they sought with success to lay the guilt of 
the unsuccessful issue of the war on the German policy, 
on the ' disloyalty ' of the German friend. It was a dis- 

1 Concluded January 15, 1877. 
235 



BISMARCK 

honest fiction; we had never let them expect anything 
but a benevolent neutrality, and the honesty of our inten- 
tions is manifested by the fact that we did not let our- 
selves be disturbed by the demand of Russia that the 
Reichstadt arrangement should be kept secret from us, but 
readily acceded to the desire communicated to me at Fried- 
richsruh by Count Shuvaloff to summon a congress at 
Berlin. The desire of the Russian government to arrive 
at peace with Turkey by means of a congress proved that 
they did not feel themselves strong enough on the mili- 
tary side to let the matter come to a war with England 
and Austria, after they had once let slip the opportunity 
of occupying Constantinople. Prince Gortchakoff doubt- 
less shares the responsibility for the blunders of the Rus- 
sian policy with younger and more energetic men holding 
similar views, but he is not free from it. How strong, 
measured by Russian traditions, his position as against 
the Emperor was is shown by the fact that he took part in 
the Berlin congress as representative of Russia, although 
he knew that this was against the wish of his master. 
When, relying on his character as chancellor and foreign 
minister, he took his seat, the peculiar situation arose that 
the chancellor, who was at the head of the state, and the 
ambassador Shuvaloff, who was subordinate to his depart- 
ment, figured side by side, but the holder of the Russian 
plenary powers was not the chancellor but the ambassador. 
This, which, by what I observed, was undoubtedly the 
situation, though we could perhaps not find documentary 
proof of it, except in the Russian archives, and perhaps 
not even in them, shows that even in a government with 
so absolute and despotic a ruler as Russia, the unity of 

political action is not secured. It is so, perhaps, in a 

236 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

greater degree in England, where the chief minister and 
the communications he receives are exposed to public criti- 
cism, while in Russia only the Emperor ruling at the 
time is in a position to judge, according to his knowledge 
of men and to his capacity, which of the servants who 
make reports to, and advise, him on current affairs is in 
error or lies to him, and from which he learns the truth. 
By this I do not mean to say that the current business of 
the Foreign Office is more cleverly carried on in London 
than in St. Petersburg, but the English government falls 
less often than the Russian into the necessity of repairing 
by insincerity the errors of its subordinates. Lord Palm- 
erston did indeed on April 4, 1856, say in the House of 
Commons, with an irony which was probably not under- 
stood by the mass of the members, that the selection of 
the papers regarding Kars, to be laid before the House, 
had demanded great care and attention from persons occu- 
pying not a subordinate, but a high position in the For- 
eign Office. The Blue Book on Kars, the castrated dis- 
patches of Sir Alexander Burnes from Afghanistan, and 
the communications of ministers regarding the origin of 
-the note which the Vienna conference of 1854 recom- 
mended to the Sultan for signature instead of that of 
Mentchikoff, are proofs of the ease with which parlia- 
ment and the press in England can be deceived. That 
the archives of the Foreign Office in London are more 
carefully guarded than those of other places makes us 
suspect that many similar proofs might be found in them. 
But on the whole it may be said that it is easier to deceive 
the Czar than the parliament. 

It was expected at St. Petersburg that in the diplo- 
matic discussion for carrying out the decisions of the 

237 



BISMARCK 

Berlin congress we should immediately in every case sup- 
port and carry through the Russian interpretation as op- 
posed to that of Austria and England, and especially with- 
out any preliminary understanding between Berlin and St. 
Petersburg. The demand which I at first only indicated, 
but afterwards unequivocally expressed, that Russia should 
tell us confidentially, but plainly, her wishes, so that they 
might be discussed, was evaded, and I had the impression 
that Prince Gortchakoff expected from me, as a lady from 
her admirer, that I should guess at and represent the Rus- 
sian wishes without Russia having herself to utter them, 
and thereby to undertake any responsibility. Even in 
cases where we could assume that we were completely cer- 
tain of Russian interests and intentions, and where we 
believed ourselves able to give a voluntary proof of our 
friendship towards the Russian policy without injuring 
our own interests, instead of the expected acknowledg- 
ment we received a grumbling disapproval, because, as it 
was alleged, in aim and degree, we had not met the ex- 
pectations of our Russian friends. Even when that was 
undoubtedly the case, we had no better success. In the 
whole proceeding lay a calculated dishonesty, not only 
towards us, but towards the Emperor Alexander, to whose 
mind the German policy was to be made to appear dis- 
honest and untrustworthy. ' Votre amitie est trop plato- 
nique/ said reproachfully the Empress Marie to one of 
our representatives. It is true that the friendship of the 
cabinet of one Great Power for the others always remains 
Platonic to a certain point ; for no Great Power can place 
itself exclusively at the service of another. It will always 
have to keep in view not only existing, but future, rela- 
tions to the others, and must, as far as possible, avoid 

238 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

lasting fundamental hostility with any of them. That is 
particularly important for Germany, with its central posi- 
tion, which is open to attack on three sides. 

Errors in the policy of the cabinets of the Great Powers 
bring no immediate punishment, either in St. Petersburg or 
Berlin, but they are never harmless. The logic of history 
is even more exact in its revisions than our chief audit 
office. In carrying out the decrees of the congress, Rus- 
sia expected and required that, in the local discussions 
about them in the East, when there was any difference of 
opinion between the Russian and the other interpreta- 
tions, the German commissioners should, on principle, 
support Russia. 1 In many questions the objective deci- 
sion might certainly be fairly indifferent to us ; therefore 
it was only incumbent on us to explain the stipulations 
honestly, and not to disturb our relations with the other 
Great Powers by party support of local questions that did 
not affect German interests. The passionate and bitter 
language of all the Russian organs, the instigation of Rus- 
sian popular opinion against us which was authorised by 
the censorship of the press, seemed to make it advisable 
that we should not alienate from us the sympathies which 
we might still possess among the non-Russian Powers. 

In this situation there now came a letter from the Em- 
peror Alexander, written in his own hand, which, in spite 
of all the respect shown for his aged friend and uncle, 
contained in two passages decided menaces of war in the 
form which is customary by the laws of nations, something 
to this effect : if the refusal to adapt the German vote to 
the Russian is adhered to, peace between us cannot last. 

1 Cf. the estimate of the situation quoted from a dispatch in the Bis- 
marck-Jahrbuch, i. 125 ff. 

239 



BISMARCK 

In two passages was a variation of this theme in sharp 
and unequivocal terms. That Prince Gortchakoff, who on 
September 6, 1879, made France a very striking declara- 
tion of love in an interview with Louis Peyramont, the 
correspondent of the Orleanist 'Soleil,' had also had a 
share in that letter, I could see in it ; my suspicion was 
confirmed through two later observations. In October a 
lady in Berlin society, whose room in the Hotel de 
T Europe at Baden-Baden was next Gortchakoff' s, heard 
him say : ' I should have wished to go to war, but France 
has other intentions.' And on November i the Paris cor- 
respondent of the ( Times ' was in a position to inform his 
paper that before his arrival at Alexandrovo, the Czar had 
written to the Emperor William complaining of the atti- 
tude of Germany, and using the phrase: 'Your Majesty's 
chancellor has forgotten the promises of 1870.' * 
' In face of the attitude of the Russian press, the in- 
creasing excitement of the great mass of the people, and 
the aggregation of troops all along the Russian frontier, 
it would have been levity to doubt the serious nature of 
the situation and of the Emperor's threats to the friend 
whom he had formerly so much honoured. The Emperor 
William, in going by the advice of Field- Marshal von 
Manteuffel to Alexandrovo on September 3, 1879, i n order 
to give a verbal and propitiatory answer to the written 
threats of his nephew, acted contrary to my feeling and 
my judgment as to what was necessary. 

* The correspondent, Herr Oppert from Blowitz in Bohemia, doubtless 
undertook the more willingly to spread this news, which must have come to 
him from Gortchakoff, because he bore me a grudge ever since the congress. 
At the desire of Beaconsfield, who wished to keep him in good humour, I 
procured for him the third class of the Crown Order. Angry at what, ac- 
cording to Prussian ideas, is considered an unusually high distinction, he 
refused it, and demanded the second class. 

240 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

Considerations analogous to those which dissuaded any 
attempt at solving the complicated difficulties of 1 863 by 
means of a Russian alliance were in the second half of the 
'seventies opposed in the same way to any stronger accen- 
tuation of the Russian alliance without Austria. I do not 
know how far Count Peter Shuvaloff, before the begin- 
ning of the last Balkan war, and during the congress, was 
expressly commissioned to discuss the question of a Russo- , 
German alliance. He was not accredited to Berlin but to 
London ; his personal relations with me, however, enabled 
him on his occasional visits to Berlin on his journeys to 
and from England, as well as during the congress, to dis- 
cuss with me without restraint all eventualities. 

In the beginning of February 1877, I received a long 
letter from him from London ; my answer and his reply 
here follow. 

'Berlin : February 15, 1877. 

' Dear Count,* I thank you for the kind words you 
have been good enough to write me, and I am much 
obliged to Count Miinster for having on this occasion so 
well interpreted the sentiments which since our first ac- 
quaintance have formed between us a bond that will sur- 
vive the political relations that now draw us together. 
Among the regrets which official life will leave me, that 
which will arise from the remembrance of my relations 
with you will be the most poignant. 

' Whatever the political future of our two countries may 
be, the part I have played in the past allows me the satis- 
faction of knowing that, respecting the necessity of their 
alliance, I have always been in agreement with the states- 
man most worthy of esteem among your compatriots. As 

* [In the German original this and the following letter are in French. J 
VOL. ii. 16 241 



BISMARCK 

long as I am in office, I shall be faithful to the traditions by 
which I have been guided for five-and- twenty years, and 
of which the principles coincide with the ideas expressed 
in your letter in regard to the reciprocal services which 
Russia and Germany can render to one another, and have 
rendered for more than a century, without harming the 
particular interests of either. It was that conviction 
which guided me in 1848, in 1854, in 1863, as in the pres- 
ent instance, and for which I succeeded in gaining the 
suffrages of the great majority of my countrymen. It is 
a work that will perhaps be easier to destroy than it was 
to create, especially if it happens that my successors do 
not use the same patience as I have done in cultivating 
traditions the experience of which they will lack, as well 
as sometimes the self-abnegation necessary for subordinat- 
ing appearances to realities, personal susceptibilities to 
great monarchical interests. An old stager of my stamp 
does not let himself be easily put out by false alarms, and 
in the interests of my Sovereign and of my country, I can 
forget the mortifications that, during the past two years, 
have not been spared me from your direction. I pay no 
heed to the " flirtations " in which my old friend and pro- 
tector at St. Petersburg and my young friend at Paris l are 
indulging ; but it will perhaps be easier to lead astray the 
judgment of the chancellors who will come after me, by giv- 
ing them a glimpse, as has been done for the last three 
years, of the facility with which, on your part, a coalition 
could be built up on the basis of revenge. The calmness 
with which I regard this eventuality I shall not be able to 
bequeath to my successors. With the menaces of semi- 
official journals, with Parisian blandishments in feuilletons, 

Orloff. 
242 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

and in letters to political ladies, it will not be very difficult 
one of these days to derange the compass of a German min- 
ister dismayed by the idea of isolation. To avoid this 
he will commit himself to maladroit pledges which it will 
be difficult to discharge. In any case it will not be my 
affair ; as soon as I have satisfied, well or ill, the require- 
ments of the Diet, which opens on the 22nd, and which 
should only last a few weeks, I shall go to the baths, and 
shall return no more to office. I have the faculty's cer- 
tificate that I am " untauglich" the official phrase for per- 
mission to retire, which in this case only expresses the sad 
truth. I have no more interest in it. 

' Before that period I must reply to the latest enigma 
of your policy; I am not clever at divination; I need to 
be enlightened on a deep-seated thought which, as it 
seems, I have not rightly understood in the past. With- 
out instructions or advice, I cannot find the narrow line 
between the reproach of encouraging Turkey by speaking 
of peace, and the suspicion of treacherously urging war. 
I have just passed under the fire of those incompatible 
accusations, and I have no desire to expose myself to them 
afresh without a pilot, and even without a lighthouse, 
which will indicate the port at which you desire us to dis- 
embark. 

'BISMARCK/ 

From Count Shuvaloff to Bismarck 

1 London : February 25, 1877. 

'My dear Prince, I was very deeply touched by your 
kind letter, but I feel genuine remorse when I think of the 
trouble you have taken in writing it, and of the time, so 
precious when it is yours, which it cost you. 

243 



BISMARCK 

' The letter will form one of the pleasantest souvenirs 
of my political career, and I shall bequeath it to my 
son. 

' Having been for a year far away from Berlin and St. 
Petersburg, doubt had taken possession of me. 

' I thought that what had existed perhaps existed no 
longer. You have given me proof of the contrary. As a 
good Russian I rejoice with all my heart. 

' If, my dear Prince, I had not again found in you the 
man who never changes, either in policy or in goodwill 
towards his friends, I should this time have sold my Rus- 
sian stock, as you wanted to do three years ago, because 
you had too high an opinion of me. 

' I have copied some passages in your letter and sent 
them to my Emperor. I know it will give him pleasure 
to read them. On every occasion on which he has come 
into direct contact with you, the result has been beneficial 
and useful ; and to read what you write to one whom you 
honour with the title of friend is for the Emperor exactly 
as if he was in direct communication with you. 

' It is needless to add that I have left out everything 
that concerns Gortchakoff because I regarded your allu- 
sions to him as a proof of your confidence in my discretion. 

' Ill-informed as I am (and for good reasons) of what 
they want at St. Petersburg, postponement and disarma- 
ment appear to me probable. 

' It is said that peace is to be concluded with Servia 
and Montenegro. The Grand Vizier has sent letters to 
Decazes and Derby informing them that the Sultan prom- 
ises to carry out of his own accord all the reforms de- 
manded by the conference. Europe is going to ask us to 

grant Turkey time. Would it be a favourable moment 

244 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

for us to declare war, and alienate still further from us the 
feelings of Europe ? 

' As private business imperiously summons me to Rus- 
sia, I intend to ask for a short leave of absence as soon 
as we arrive at a decision one way or another. I hope, my 
dear Prince, that when I pass through Berlin you will per- 
mit me to see you I am immensely anxious to do so. 

' Pardon the length of this letter for the reason that 
you have not to reply to it. 

* Accept, once again, my dear Prince, my cordial 
thanks for your " kindness " [in English], and for your let- 
ter, to which I make only one objection : it is the way in 
which I am sorry to see you speak of your health. God 
will keep it from failing, I am sure, as He preserves all 
that is useful to millions of men, and for the maintenance 
of vast and great interests. 

' Rest assured, my dear Prince, that you will always 
find in me more than an admirer the number of them is 
large enough without me but a man who is with all his 
heart sincerely and devotedly attached to you. 

' SHUVALOFF.' 

Even before the congress Count Shuvaloff touched on 
the question of a Russo- German offensive and defensive 
alliance, and put it to me directly. I discussed openly 
with him the difficulties and prospects that the question 
of the alliance offered us, and especially the choice be- 
tween Austria and Russia if the triple alliance of the 
Eastern Powers were not maintained. Among other 
things he said, during the discussion : ' Coalitions are 
your nightmare,' to which I replied : ' Necessarily.' He 
pointed out that a firm and steadfast alliance with Russia 

245 



BISMARCK 

would be the safest means against this, because, by the 
exclusion of the latter Power from the circle of our coali- 
tion-adversaries, no combination which would endanger 
our existence would be possible. 

I admitted as much, but expressed a fear that if the 
German policy confined its possibilities to the Russian 
alliance, and, in accordance with the wishes of Russia, re- 
fused all other states, Germany would with regard to 
Russia be in an unequal position, because the geograph- 
ical situation and the autocratic constitution of Russia 
made it easier for her to give up the alliance than it would 
be for us, and because the maintenance of the old tradi- 
tions of the Russo-Prussian alliance after all rests on a 
single pair of eyes that is, it depends on the moods of the 
reigning Emperor of Russia. Our relations to Russia 
rested essentially on the personal relations of the two sov- 
ereigns to one another, and upon the proper fostering of 
this by the tact of the Courts and diplomatists and the 
sentiments of the representatives on either side. We had 
had an example that even with somewhat helpless Prussian 
ambassadors at St. Petersburg, the intimacy of our mutual 
relations had been maintained by the tact of military 
attaches like the Generals von Rauch and Count Miins- 
ter, notwithstanding much justifiable sensitiveness on 
either side. We had also learned that hasty, irritable, 
quick-tempered representatives of Russia like Budberg and 
Oubril by their attitude at Berlin, and by their official 
reports when they were personally out of humour, engen- 
dered impressions which might react dangerously on the 
whole mutual relations of two peoples numbering a hun- 
dred and fifty millions. 

I remember that Prince Gortchakoff, when I was envoy 

246 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

at St. Petersburg, and enjoyed his unbounded confidence, 
used, if he had to keep me waiting, to give me unopened 
dispatches from Berlin to read before he had looked 
through them himself. I was at times astonished to 
learn from them with what malevolence my former friend 
Budberg subordinated the task of maintaining the exist- 
ing relations to his personal sensitiveness over some oc- 
currence in society, or merely to the desire of introducing 
a witty sarcasm on the affairs of the Berlin Court or min- 
istry. His dispatches were naturally laid before the Em- 
peror, and this was done without comment or explana- 
tion. The imperial marginal notes, which Gortchakoff, in 
the course of further business correspondence, at times 
permitted me to glance at, gave me undoubted proof how 
susceptible the Emperor Alexander, well disposed towards 
us though he might be, was to the ill-natured dispatches 
of Budberg and Oubril, and inferred from them not false 
statements on the part of his representatives, but a preva- 
lent lack of intelligent and friendly policy at Berlin. 
When Prince Gortchakoff gave me things of this kind to 
read with their seals unbroken, in order to coquet with his 
confidence, he used to say : ' Vous oublierez ce que vous 
ne deviez pas lire/ which I, after I had looked through 
the dispatches in the next room, naturally agreed to do, 
and as long as I was at St. Petersburg, kept my promise ; 
for it was not my business to render the relations of the 
two Courts worse by complaints of the Russian represen- 
tative at Berlin, and I feared that my information would 
be clumsily turned to account in fostering intrigues and 
quarrels at Court. 

It is especially to be wished that we should be repre- 
sented at every friendly Court by diplomatists who, with- 

247 



BISMARCK 

out encroaching on the general policy of their own coun- 
try, should as far as possible foster the relations of both 
interested states, suppress as far as possible ill-humour 
and gossip, bridle their desire to be witty, and rather 
bring forward the practical side of the matter. I have 
often not shown dispatches from our representatives at 
German Courts- in the highest quarters, because they had 
a tendency to be piquant, or to relate and give importance 
to annoying expressions or occurrences, rather than to 
foster and improve the relations between the two Courts, 
so long as the latter, as in Germany is always the case, 
was the task of our policy. When I was in St. Petersburg 
and Paris I always considered myself justified in sup- 
pressing things which would merely have caused useless 
ill-feeling at home, or were only adapted for satirical rep- 
resentations ; and when I was minister I did not lay dis- 
patches of this kind before those who filled the highest 
place in the state. In the position of an ambassador at 
the Court of a Great Power there is no obligation to report 
mechanically all the foolish talk and spiteful things that 
arise at the ambassador's place of residence. Not only an 
ambassador, but also every German diplomatist at a Ger- 
man Court ought to avoid writing dispatches like those 
which Budberg and Oubril sent home from Berlin, and Ba- 
labin from Vienna, under the calculation that they would 
be read with interest and complacent gaiety as witty effu- 
sions ; but as long as the relations between the Courts are 
friendly, he ought to refrain from stirring up irritation and 
from gossip. A man who looks only at the formal part of 
the course of business will certainly consider it the most 
correct thing that the ambassador shall report all that he 

hears without reserve and leave it to the minister to decide 

248 



THE BERLIN CONGRESS 

what is to be passed over and what is to be emphasised. 
Whether such a method is practically useful depends on 
the personality of the minister. As I considered that I 
had quite as much insight as Herr von Schleinitz, and as 
I took a deeper and more conscientious interest in the fate 
of our country than he did, I considered myself entitled, 
nay, bound not to bring to his knowledge many things 
that in his hands might have served the cause of provoca- 
tions and intrigues at Court in the sense of a policy which' 
was not that of the King. 

I return from this digression to the conversations 
which I had with Count Peter Shuvaloff at the time of the 
Balkan war. I told him that if we sacrificed our relations 
with all the other Powers to the firmness of our alliance 
with Russia, we should find ourselves, with our exposed 
geographical situation, in a dangerous dependence on 
Russia in the event of an acute manifestation of French 
or Austrian desire of revenge. The friendliness of Rus- 
sia with Powers which could not exist without her good- 
will had its bounds, especially in a policy like that of 
Prince Gortchakoff a policy that occasionally reminded 
me of Asiatic conceptions. He had often simply beaten 
down every political objection with the argument : ' L'Em- 
pereur est fort irrite,' to which I used ironically to reply : 
' Eh, le mien done ! ' On that Shuvaloff remarked : 
t Gortschakoff est un animal,' which, in the slang of St. 
Petersburg, is not so rude in meaning as in sound, ' il n'a 
aucune influence.' He owed it in the main only to the 
Emperor's respect for his age, and his esteem for his past 
services, that he still formally conducted affairs. About 
what could Russia and Prussia seriously fall into dispute ? 

There was absolutely no question between them of suffi- 

249 



BISMARCK 

cient importance for such an issue. I admitted the latter, 
but reminded him of Olmutz and the Seven Years' war, 
and how a quarrel might arise out of an unimportant 
cause, even from questions of form. Even without Gort- 
chakoff it would be difficult for many Russians to con- 
sider and treat a friend as having equal rights ; I was not 
personally sensitive on points of form, but modern Russia 
had for the future not merely GortchakofFs methods of 
procedure but also his pretensions. 

I declined at that time also the ' option' between Aus- 
tria and Russia, and recommended the alliance of the three 
Emperors, or at least the preservation of peace between 
them. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

THE triple alliance which I originally sought to con- 
clude after the peace of Frankfort, and about which I had 
already sounded Vienna and St. Petersburg, from Meaux, 
in September 1870, was an alliance of the three Emperors 
with the further idea of bringing into it monarchical Italy. 
It was designed for the struggle which, as I feared, was 
before us; between the two European tendencies which 
Napoleon called Republican and Cossack, and which I, 
according to our present ideas, should designate on the 
one side as the system of order on a monarchical basis, 
and on the other as the social republic to the level of 
which the anti-monarchical development is wont to sink, 
either slowly or by leaps and bounds, until the conditions 
thus created become intolerable, and the disappointed 
populace are ready for a violent return to monarchical in- 
stitutions in a Csesarean form. I consider that the task 
of escaping from this circulus vitiosus, or, if possible, of 
sparing the present generation and their children an en- 
trance into it, ought to be more closely incumbent on the 
strong existing monarchies, those monarchies which still 
have a vigorous life, than any rivalry over the fragments 
of nations which people the Balkan peninsula. If the 
monarchical governments have no understanding of the 
necessity for holding together in the interests of political 
and social order, but make themselves subservient to the 

251 



BISMARCK 

chauvinistic impulses of their subjects, I fear that the 
international revolutionary and social struggles which will 
have to be fought out will be all the more dangerous, and 
take such a form that the victory on the part of monarch- 
ical order will be more difficult. Since 1871 I have 
sought for the most certain assurance against those strug- 
gles in the alliance of the three Emperors, and also in the 
effort to impart to the monarchical principle in Italy a 
firm support in that alliance. I was not without hope of 
a lasting success when the meeting of the three Emperors 
took place at Berlin in September 1872, and this was fol- 
lowed by the visits of my Emperor to St. Petersburg in 
May, of the King of Italy to Berlin in September, and of 
the German Emperor to Vienna in the October of the next 
year. The first clouding over of that hope was caused in 
1875 by the provocations of Prince Gortchakoff, ' who 
spread the lie that we intended to fall upon France before 
she had recovered from her wounds. 

At the time of the Luxemburg question (1867) I was 
on principle an adversary of preventive wars, that is, of 
offensive wars to be waged because we thought that later 
on we should have to wage them against an enemy who 
would be better prepared. According to the views of our 
military men it was probable that in 1875 we should have 
conquered France; but it was not so probable that the 
other Powers would have remained neutral. Even during 
the last months of the negotiations at Versailles the danger 
of European intervention had been daily a cause of anxiety 
to me, and the apparent hatefulness of an attack under- 
taken merely in order not to give France time to recover 
her breath would have offered a welcome pretext first for 

1 Cf. chap. xxvi. supra, p. 189. 
252 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

English phrases about humanity, but afterwards also to 
Russia for making a transition from the policy of the per- 
sonal friendship of the two Emperors, to that of the cool 
consideration of Russian interests which had held the bal- 
ance at the delimitation of French territory in 1814 and 
1815. That for the Russian policy there is a limit be- 
yond which the importance of France in Europe must not 
be decreased is explicable. That limit was reached, as I 
believe, at the peace of Frankfort a fact which in 1870 
and 1871 was not so completely realised at St. Petersburg 
as five years later. I hardly think that during our war the 
Russian cabinet clearly foresaw that, when it was over, 
Russia would have as neighbour so strong and consolidated 
a Germany. In 1875 I had the impression that some 
doubt prevailed on the Neva as to whether it had been 
prudent to let things go so far without interfering in their 
development. The sincere esteem and friendship of Al- 
exander II for his uncle concealed the uneasiness already 
felt in official circles. If we had wished to renew the war 
at that time, so as not to give invalided France time to 
recover, after some unsuccessful conferences for prevent- 
ing the war, our military operations in France would un- 
doubtedly have come into the situation which I had feared 
at Versailles during the dragging on of the siege. The 
termination of the war would not have been brought about 
by a peace concluded tete-a-tete, but, as in 1814, in a con- 
gress to which the defeated France would have been ad- 
mitted, and perhaps, considering the enmity to which we 
were exposed, just as in those days, at the dictation of a 
new Talleyrand. 

Even at Versailles I had feared that the participation 
of France in the London conference upon the clauses of 

253 



BISMARCK. 

the treaty of Paris dealing with the Black Sea might be 
used in order, with the assurance that Talleyrand had 
shown at Vienna, to graft the Franco-German question on 
to the programme for discussion. For that reason, not- 
withstanding recommendations from many quarters, I pre- 
vented, by influences at home and abroad, the participation 
of Favre in the conference. Whether France in 1875 
would have been so weak in her defence against our attack, 
as our military men assumed, seems questionable when 
one remembers that in the Franco- Anglo-Austrian agree- 
ment of January 3, 1815, France, although defeated, 
partly occupied by foreign troops, and exhausted by 
twenty years of fighting, was still prepared to lead at 
once into the field, for the coalition against Russia and 
Prussia, 1 50,000 men, and shortly after 300,000 men. The 
300,000 trained soldiers who had been our prisoners were 
back in France, and we should not, as in January 1815, 
have had the Russian power behind us in benevolent neu- 
trality, but very likely in hostility. From the Gortchakoff 
circular telegram of May 1875 to all Russian embassies, 
it is clear that Russian diplomacy was already urged to 
activity against our alleged inclination to disturb the peace. 
On this episode followed the Russian chancellor's un- 
easy efforts to disturb our, and especially my, friendly 
personal relations to the Emperor Alexander ; among other 
ways, he extorted from me, as is related in Chapter xxviii, 
through General von Werder, a refusal to promise neu- 
trality in the event of an Austro-Russian war. That the 
Russian cabinet should have then immediately and secretly 
turned to Austria again shows a phase of the Gortchakoff 
policy which was not favourable to my effort towards a 
monarchical conservative triple alliance. 

254 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

Count Shuvaloff was perfectly right when he said that 
the idea of coalitions gave me nightmares. We had waged 
victorious wars against two of the European Great Powers ; 
everything depended on inducing at least one of the two 
mighty foes whom we had beaten in the field to renounce 
the anticipated design of uniting with the other in a war 
of revenge. To all who knew history and the character 
of the Gallic race, it was obvious that that Power could 
not be France, and if a secret treaty of Reichstadt was 
possible without our consent, without our knowledge, so 
also was a renewal of the old coalition Kaunitz's handi- 
work of France, Austria, and Russia, whenever the ele- 
ments which it represented, and which beneath the surface 
were still present in Austria, should gain the ascendency 
there. They might find points of connexion which might 
serve to infuse new life into the ancient rivalry, the an- 
cient struggle for the hegemony of Germany, making it once 
more a factor in Austrian policy, whether by an alliance 
with France, which in the time of Count Beust and the 
Salzburg meeting with Louis Napoleon, August 1867, was 
in the air, or by a closer accord with Russia, the existence 
of which was attested by the secret convention of Reich- 
stadt. The question of what support Germany had in such 
a case to expect from England I will not answer without 
more in the way of historical retrospect of the Seven 
Years' war and the congress of Vienna. I merely 'take 
note of the probability that, but for the victories of Fred- 
erick the Great, the cause of the King of Prussia would 
have been abandoned by England even earlier than it actu- 
ally was. 

This situation demanded an effort to limit the range 
of the possible anti-German coalition by means of treaty 

255 



BISMARCK 

arrangements placing our relations with at least one of the 
Great Powers upon a firm footing. The choice could only i 
lie between Austria and Russia, for the English constitu- 
tion does not admit of alliances of assured permanence, 
and a union with Italy alone did not promise an adequate ; 
counterpoise to a coalition of the other three Great Powers, 
even supposing her future attitude and formation to be 
considered independently not only of French but also of 
Austrian influence. The area available for the formation 
of the coalition would therefore be narrowed till only the 
alternative remained which I have indicated. 

In point of material force I held a union with Russia 
to have the advantage. I had also been used to regard it 
as safer, because I placed more reliance on traditional 
dynastic friendship, on community of conservative mon- 
archical instincts, on the absence of indigenous political 
divisions, than on the fits and starts of public opinion 
among the Hungarian, Slav, and Catholic population of 
the monarchy of the Habsburgs. Complete reliance could 
be placed upon the durability of neither union, whether 
one estimated the strength of the dynastic bond with 
Russia, or of the German sympathies of the Hungarian 
populace. If the balance of opinion in Hungary were al- 
ways determined by sober political calculation, this brave 
and independent people, isolated in the broad ocean of Slav 
populations, and comparatively insignificant in numbers, 
would remain constant to the conviction that its position 
can only be secured by the support of the German element 
in Austria and Germany. But the Kossuth episode, and 
the suppression in Hungary itself of the German elements 
that remained loyal to the Empire, with other symptoms 

showed that among Hungarian hussars and lawyers self- 

256 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

confidence is apt in critical moments to get the better of 
political calculation and self-control. Even in quiet times 
many a Magyar will get the gypsies to play to him the 
song, ' Der Deutsche ist ein Hundsfott ' ('The German is 
a blackguard '). 

In the forecast of the future relations of Austria and 
Germany an essential element was the imperfect apprecia- 
tion of political possibilities displayed by the German ele- 
ment in Austria, which has caused it to lose touch with 
the dynasty and forfeit the guidance which it had inherited 
from its historical development. Misgivings as to the 
future of an Austro- German confederation were also sug- 
gested by the religious question, by the remembered in- 
fluence of the father confessors of the imperial family, by 
the anticipated possibility of renewed relations with 
France, on the basis of a rapprochement by that country 
to the Catholic Church, whenever such a change should 
have taken place in the character and principles of French 
statesmanship. How remote or how near such a change 
may be in France is quite beyond the scope of calculation. 

Last of all came the Austrian policy in regard to 
Poland. We cannot demand of Austria that she should 
forgo the weapon which she possesses as against Russia 
in her fostering care of the Polish spirit in Galicia. The 
policy which in 1846 resulted in a price being set by 
Austrian officials on the heads of insurgent Polish patriots 
was possible because, by a conformable attitude in Polish 
and Eastern affairs, Austria paid (as by a contribution to 
a common insurance fund) for the advantages which she 
derived from the holy alliance, the league of the three 
Eastern Powers. So long as the triple alliance of the 

Eastern Powers held good, Austria could place her rela- 
VOL. ii. 17 257 



BISMARCK 

tions with the Ruthenes in the foreground of her policy ; 
as soon as it was dissolved, it was more advisable to have 
the Polish nobility at her disposal in case of a war with 
Russia. Galicia is altogether more loosely connected 
with the Austrian monarchy than Poland and West Prussia 
with the Prussian monarchy. The Austrian trans- Car- 
pathian eastern province lies open without natural bound- 
ary on that side, and Austria would be by no means 
weakened by its abandonment provided she could find 
compensation in the basin of the Danube for its five or 
six million Poles and Ruthenes. Plans of the sort, but 
taking the shape of the transference of Roumanian and 
Southern- Slav populations to Austria in exchange for 
Galicia, and the resuscitation of Poland under the sway 
of an archduke, were considered officially and unofficially 
during the Crimean war and in 1863. The Old-Prussian 
provinces are, however, separated from Posen and West 
Prussia by no natural boundary, and their abandonment 
by Prussia would be impossible. Hence among the pre- 
conditions of an offensive alliance between Germany and 
Austria the settlement of the future of Poland presents a 
problem of unusual difficulty. 



While occupied with the consideration of these ques- 
tions I was compelled by the threatening letter of Czar 
Alexander (1879) to take decisive measures for the defence 
and preservation of our independence of Russia. An 
alliance with Russia was popular with nearly all parties, 
with the Conservatives from an historical tradition, the 
entire consonance of which, with the point of view of a 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

modern Conservative group, is perhaps doubtful. The 
fact, however, is that the majority of Prussian Conserva- 
tives regard alliance with Austria as congruous with their 
tendencies, and did so none the less when there existed 
a sort of temporary rivalry in Liberalism between the two 
governments. The Conservative halo of the Austrian 
name outweighed with most of the members of this group 
the advances, partly out of date, partly recent, made in 
the region of Liberalism, and the occasional leaning to 
rapprochements with the Western Powers, and especially 
with France. The considerations of expediency which 
commended to Catholics an alliance with the preponderant 
Catholic Great Power came nearer home. In a league, 
having the form and force of a treaty, between the new 
German Empire and Austria the National-Liberal party 
discerned a way of approximating to the quadrature of the 
political circle of 1848, by evading the difficulties which 
stood in the way of the complete unification, not only of 
Austria and Prussia-Germany, but also of the several con- 
stituents of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. Thus, out- 
side of the social democratic party, whose approval was 
not to be had for any policy whatever which the govern- 
ment might adopt, there was in parliamentary quarters no 
opposition to the alliance with Austria, and much partial- 
ity for it. 

Moreover, the traditions of international law from the 
time of the Holy Roman Empire, German by nation, and 
of the German confederation tended to the theory that be- 
tween Germany as a whole and the Habsburg monarchy 
there existed a legal tie binding these central European 
territories together for purposes of mutual support. Prac- 
tical effect had indeed rarely been given to this consortium 

259 



BISMARCK 

in former ages ; but it was possible to vindicate in Europe, 
and especially in Russia, the position that a permanent 
confederation of Austria and the modern German Empire 
was, from the point of view of international law, no new 
thing. These questions, whether the alliance would be 
popular in Germany, how far it could be justified by inter- 
national law, were to me matters of subordinate impor- 
tance, merely subsidiary to its eventual completion. In the 
foreground stood the question whether the execution of 
the design should be begun at once or deferred for a time, 
and with what degree of decision it would be advisable to 
combat the opposition which might be anticipated on the 
part of Emperor William an opposition sure to be de- 
termined rather by his idiosyncrasy than by policy. So 
cogent seemed to me the considerations which in the 
political situation pointed us to an alliance with Austria 
that I would have striven to conclude one even in the face 
of a hostile public opinion. 



When Emperor William went to Alexandrovo (Sept. 
3), I had already made arrangements at Gastein for a meet- 
ing with Count Andrassy, which took place on August 
27-28. When I had explained the situation to him he 
drew therefrom the following conclusion: To a Russo- 
French alliance the natural counterpoise is an Austro- 
German alliance. I answered that he had formulated the 
question to discuss which I had suggested our meeting, 
and we came readily to a preliminary understanding for a 
merely defensive alliance against a Russian attack on one 

of the two sides ; but my proposition to extend the alliance 

260 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

to other than Russian attacks found no favour with the 
Count. When, not without difficulty, I had obtained his 
Majesty's authorisation to commence official negotiations, 
I travelled home for that purpose by Vienna. 

Before my departure from Gastein I addressed (Sept. 
10) the following letter to the King of Bavaria: 

' Gastein : September 10, 1879. 

' Your Majesty was so gracious on a former occasion 
as to express your most exalted satisfaction with the efforts 
which I directed to the object of securing for the German 
Empire peace and friendship with both her great neigh- 
bours, Austria and Russia alike. In the course of the 
last three years this problem has increased in difficulty, 
as Russian policy has come to be entirely dominated by 
the partly warlike revolutionary tendencies of Panslavism. 
Already in the year 1876 we received from Livadia re- 
peated demands for an answer in such form as might be 
binding upon us to the question whether the German Em- 
pire would remain neutral in a war between Russia and 
Austria. It was not possible to avoid giving this answer, 
and the Russian warcloud drew for a time Balkanward. 
The great results which, even after the congress, Russian 
policy reaped from this war have not subdued the restless- 
ness of Russian policy in the degree which would be de- 
sirable in the interests of peace-loving Europe. Russian 
policy has remained unquiet, unpacific ; Panslavistic Chau- 
vinism has gained increasing influence over the mind of 
Czar Alexander, and the serious (as, alas, it seems) disgrace 
of Count Shuvaloff has accompanied the Czar's censure 
of the Count's work, the Berlin congress. The leading 

minister, in so far as such a minister there is at present 

261 



BISMARCK 

in Russia, is the War Minister, Milutin. At his demand 
the peace, in which Russia is threatened by no one, has 
yet been followed by the mighty preparations which, not- 
withstanding the financial sacrifice involved in the war, 
have raised the peace footing of the Russian army by 56,- 
ooo men, and the footing of the army of the West, which 
is kept ready for active service, by about 400,000 men. 
These preparations can only be intended as a menace to 
Austria or Germany, and the military establishments in 
the kingdom of Poland correspond to such a design. The 
War Minister has also, in presence of the technical com- 
missions,* unreservedly declared that Russia must prepare 
for a war "with Europe." 

' It it is indubitable that Czar Alexander, without de- 
siring the war with Turkey, nevertheless waged it under 
stress of Panslavist influence, and if, meanwhile, the same 
party has gained in influence in consequence of the greater 
and more dangerous impression which the agitation at the 
back of it now makes on the mind of the Czar, we may 
readily apprehend that it may also succeed in obtaining 
Czar Alexander's sanction for further warlike enterprises 
on the western frontier. The European difficulties, which 
Russia might encounter by the way, have few or no ter- 
rors for a minister like Milutin or Makoff, if it is true, 
as the Conservatives in Russia fear, that the party of move- 
ment, while seeking to involve Russia in grievous wars, is 
less concerned to secure Russia's victory over the foreigner 
than to bring about an internal revolution. 

' In these circumstances I cannot resist the conviction 
that in the future, perhaps in the near future, peace is 

* Appointed to carry out certain decisions of the Berlin treaty of July 
13, 1878. 

262 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

threatened by Russia, and perhaps only by Russia. The 
attempts which, according to our intelligence, have been 
made of late to ascertain whether Russia, on the com- 
mencement of hostilities, would find support in France 
and Italy have certainly yielded only a negative result. 
The impotence of Italy has been revealed, and France has 
declared that at present she has no desire for war, and 
does not feel strong enough for an offensive war against 
Germany without other ally than Russia. 

' In this situation of affairs Russia in the course of the 
last few weeks has presented to us demands which amount 
to nothing less than that we should make a definite choice 
between herself and Austria, at the same time instructing 
the German members of the Eastern committees to vote 
with Russia in doubtful questions ; while, in our opinion, 
the true construction of the decisions of the congress is 
that taken by the majority formed by Austria, England, 
and France, with which Germany has accordingly voted, 
so that Russia, partly with, partly without Italy, forms by 
herself the minority. Though these questions, e.g. the 
position of the bridge at Silistria, the concession to Tur- 
key by the congress of the military road in Bulgaria, the 
administration of the postal and telegraphic system, and 
the frontier dispute (which concerns only a few villages) 
are in themselves very unimportant in comparison with the 
freedom of great empires, yet the Russian demand that we 
should vote upon them no longer with Austria, but with 
Russia, was accompanied not once, but several times, by 
unambiguous threats of the consequences prejudicial to 
the international relations of both countries which our 
refusal would eventually entail. This surprising circum- 
stance, coinciding as it did with the withdrawal -of Count 

263 



BISMARCK 

Andrassy,* was calculated to awaken a misgiving that be- 
tween Russia and Austria a secret understanding had been 
established to the prejudice of Germany. This misgiving, 
however, is unfounded. Austria regards the restless Rus- 
sian policy with as much disquietude as we, and seems to 
be inclined for an understanding with us for common de- 
fence against a possible Russian attack on either of the 
two Powers. 

' If the German Empire were to come to such an under- 
standing with Austria, an understanding which should 
have in view the cultivation of peace with Russia as sedu- 
lously as before, but should also provide for joint defence 
in the event of an attack by her upon either of the allied 
powers, I should see in it an essential security for the 
peace of Europe. Thus mutually assured, both empires 
might continue their efforts for the further consolidation 
of the Three Emperors' Alliance. The German Empire 
in alliance with Austria would not lack the support of 
England, and the peace of Europe, the common interest of 
both empires, would be guaranteed by 2,000, ooo fighting 
men. In this alliance, purely defensive as it would be, 
there would be nothing to excite jealousy in any quarter: 
for in the German Confederation the same mutual guar- 
antee subsisted with the sanction of international law for 
fifty years after 1815. If no such understanding is come 
to, Austria will not be to blame if, under the influence of 
Russian threats, and uncertain of the attitude of Germany, 

* On August 14 the Emperor Francis Joseph had sanctioned in principle 
the discharge requested by Count Andrassy, but had deferred letting him go 
definitively until his successor should be appointed. The Count agreed to 
retain his position a little longer in order to complete the alliance with 
Germany. On October 8 his resignation and the appointment of his suc- 
cessor Haymerle were published. 

264 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

she finally seeks an entente cordiale with either France or 
Russia. In the latter case, Germany, by reason of her 
relation to France, would be in danger of entire isolation 
on the Continent. Supposing, however, that Austria were 
to effect an entente cordiale with France and England, as 
in 1854, Germany, unless prepared for isolation, would be 
forced to unite with Russia alone, and, as I fear, to follow 
in the mistaken and perilous course of Russian domestic 
and foreign policy. 

' If Russia compel us to choose between her and Aus- 
tria, I believe that the disposition which Austria would 
display towards us would be conservative and peaceable, 
while that of Russia would be uncertain. 

' I venture to entertain the hope that your Majesty, 
consistently with what I know of your most exalted politi- 
cal views, shares the sentiments which I have expressed, 
and would hail their corroboration with satisfaction. 

' The difficulties of the problem which I propose to 
myself are great in themselves, and will be yet more 
materially increased by the necessity to which I am 
reduced of treating so large and many-sided a subject in 
writing, and that too at this place where I have nothing to 
rely on but my own energy, which previous excessive 
strain has rendered quite inadequate for the purpose. 
Considerations of health have already compelled me to 
protract my sojourn here. I hope, however, to be able to 
start on my journey homeward by Vienna after the 2Oth 
instant. If in the interim we do not succeed in coming 
to an understanding, at least on the question of principle, I 
fear that the present favourable opportunity will be missed, 
and the retirement of Andrassy forbids us to calculate on 

its return at any future time. In deeming it my duty 

265 



BISMARCK 

respectfully to submit to your Majesty my view of the 
political situation of the German Empire, I pray your 
Majesty graciously to bear in mind that Count Andrassy 
and I are bound by mutual promises to keep secret the 
plan of which the foregoing is an exposition, and that 
hitherto only their Majesties, the two Emperors, are 
acquainted with the design of their principal ministers to 
bring about a coalition of their two most exalted Majes- 
ties. ' 

For completeness sake I subjoin the answer of the 
King and my reply thereto. 

'My dear Prince von Bismarck, With sincere regret 
I learned from your letter of the loth instant that the 
strain and excitement of attending to business prevented 
you from deriving full benefit from the baths of Kissingen 
and Gastein. I have followed with the greatest interest 
your detailed exposition of the present state of politics, 
for which I tender you my most "hearty thanks. Were the 
German Empire to become involved in war with Russia, 
a change so deeply to be regretted in the mutual relations 
of the two empires would cause me the most poignant 
grief, and I still entertain the hope that success may 
attend an effort to prevent such a turn of affairs by influ- 
ence brought to bear in the cause of peace on the mind of 
his Majesty the Czar of Russia. Under all circumstances, 
however, your exertions to bring about a close union 
between the German Empire and Austria- Hungary have, 
I may assure you, my full approval, and I most earnestly 
desire that they may be crowned with success. I trust 
that you may return home with health restored, and I 

heartily add and reiterate my assurance of the especial 

266 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

esteem in which you are, and ever will continue to be, 

held by Your sincere friend, 

' LEWIS. 

'Berg: Sept. 16, 1879.' 

'Gastein : Sept. 19, 1879. 

' With respectful gratitude I acknowledge the receipt 
of your Majesty's gracious letter of the i6th instant, from 
which I am delighted to find that your Majesty is in ac- 
cord with me in my endeavours to bring about an alliance 
for mutual defence with Austria- Hungary. In regard to 
the relations with Russia I remark, with the utmost sub- 
mission, that the danger of hostile complications, which 
not only from a political, but also from a personal, point 
of view I should most deeply deplore, does not in my re- 
spectful judgment confront us immediately, but would only 
become imminent in the event of France being ready to 
make common cause with Russia. So far this is not the 
case, and it is the intention of his Majesty the Emperor 
that our policy should leave no stone unturned in order 
now, as heretofore, to promote and assure peaceable rela- 
tions between the Empire and Russia by such influences 
as may best operate upon the mind of his Majesty Czar 
Alexander. The negotiations for a closer alliance with 
Austria are only directed to assure peace, provide for com- 
mon defence, and promote neighbourly intercourse. 

'I think of leaving Gastein to-morrow, and hope to 
enter Vienna on Sunday. With humblest thanks for your 
Majesty's gracious expression of concern for my health, I 
remain, with profound respect, 

'Your Majesty's most obedient servant, 

' VON BISMARCK. ' 

267 



BISMARCK 

During the long journey from Gastein by Salzburg and 
Linz my sense of being in true German territory and 
among a German population was deepened by the recep- 
tion which I met with from the public at the stations. At 
Linz the crowd was so great, its frame of mind so ani- 
mated, that, from fear of giving occasion to misapprehen- 
sions in Viennese circles, I drew the blinds of my carriage- 
windows, made no response to any of the greetings of 
welcome, and allowed the train to leave the station without 
even showing myself. In Vienna I found the people in 
the streets in a similar frame ; the greetings of the closely- 
packed throng were so continuous that, as I was in civilian 
dress, I was reduced to the awkward necessity of driving 
to the hotel with a head as good as bare the whole way. 
Moreover, during the days which I spent at the hotel I 
could not show myself at the window without eliciting 
friendly demonstrations from watchers or passers by it. 
These manifestations were multiplied after the Emperor 
Francis Joseph had paid me the honour of a visit. All 
these phenomena were the unequivocal expression of the 
desire of the population of the capital, and of the German 
provinces which I had traversed, to witness the formation 
of a close friendship with the new German Empire, as 
pledge of the future of both powers. I could not doubt 
that community of blood would meet with similar sympa- 
thies in the German Empire, in the South yet more than 
in the North, among Conservatives yet more than among 
the opposition, in the Catholic West more than in the 
Evangelical East. The nominally religious struggles of 
the Thirty Years' war, the purely political struggles of 
the Seven Years' war, and the strife of rival diplomacies 

that went on between the death of Frederick the Great 

268 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

and 1866, had not stifled the sense of this community of 
blood, notwithstanding the otherwise strong disposition of 
the German to fight his fellow-countryman, when occasion 
serves, with more zeal than the foreigner. It is possible 
that the wedge of Slav (Czech) population by which the 
true German stock of the Austrian Fatherland is separated 
from the people of the north-west provinces has mitigated 
the results which are commonly produced by neighbourly , 
shoulder-rubbing with Germans of similar stock, but ow- 
ing allegiance to different dynasties, and intensified in the 
German- Austrian those German sympathies which have 
only been over-laid, not extinguished, by the debris depos- 
ited by the struggles of the past. 

I met with a very gracious reception from the Emperor 
Francis Joseph, who evinced willingness to conclude with 
us. In order to make sure of the assent of my most gra- 
cious master I had daily spent at the writing-table part of 
the time which ought to have been devoted to the ' course,' 
explaining the necessity under which we stood of limiting 
the number of possible coalitions against us, and that an 
alliance with Austria was the expedient most conducive to 
that end. I had, of course, little hope that the dead 
letters of my argumentation would alter the view of his 
Majesty, which rested rather on mental idiosyncrasy than 
political calculation. To conclude a treaty, which though 
merely defensive in form yet contemplated the possibility 
of war, and thus evinced suspicion of a friend and nephew, 
from whom he had only just parted at Alexandrovo amid 
mutual tears and heartfelt pledges of the continuance of 
the cordial relations of the past, ran too directly counter 
to the chivalrous feelings with which the Emperor re- 
garded a friend and equal. I had no doubt whatever that 

269 



BISMARCK 

the sentiments of Czar Alexander were equally frank and 
honourable, but I knew that he brought to political affairs 
neither the native acumen nor the close study which would 
have afforded him permanent protection against the insidi- 
ous influences by which he was surrounded, nor yet the 
scrupulous trustworthiness in personal relations which 
characterised my lord. Czar Nicholas, for good or for 
evil, had displayed a frankness of which his more yielding 
successor had not inherited his full share ; nor was the son 
superior to feminine influences in the same high degree 
as his father. Now the sole security for the permanence 
of Russian friendship is the personality of the ruling Czar, 
and whenever that security falls below the standard set by 
Alexander I, who in 1813 evinced a loyalty to the Prus- 
sian dynasty not always to be expected on the same 
throne, the Russian alliance cannot be counted upon to 
afford in the hour of need a resource adequate to every 
occasion. Even in the last century it was perilous to 
reckon on the constraining force of the text of a treaty of 
alliance when the conditions under which it had been writ- 
ten were changed ; to-day it is hardly possible for the gov- 
ernment of a Great Power to place its resources unreserv- 
edly at the disposal of a friendly state when the sentiment 
of the people disapproves it. No longer, therefore, does 
the text of a treaty afford the same securities as in the 
days of the ' cabinet wars/ which were waged with armies 
of from 30,000 to 60,000 men; a family war, such as 
Frederick William II waged on behalf of his brother-in- 
law in Holland, could hardly to-day be put upon the Euro- 
pean stage, nor could the conditions preliminary to such 
a war as Nicholas waged on Hungary be readily again 

found. Nevertheless the plain and searching words of a 

270 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

treaty are not without influence on diplomacy when it is 
concerned with precipitating or averting a war ; nor are 
even treacherous and violent governments usually inclined 
to an open breach of faith, so long as the force majeure of 
imperative interests does not intervene. 

All the well-pondered arguments which I reduced to 
writing at Gastein, and thence transmitted to the King at 
Baden, as also those which I afterwards sent him from 
Vienna, and finally from Berlin, were entirely without ' 
effect. In order to secure the Emperor's approval for the 
projet de trait/, which I had concerted with Andrassy, and 
which had been sanctioned by the Emperor Francis Jo- 
seph under the impression that the Emperor William 
would also concur, I was compelled to bring the cabinet 
into play, a method of procedure extremely against my 
grain. I succeeded, however, in gaining the approval of 
my colleagues. As I was myself so worn out by the exer- 
tions of the last few weeks, which, as I said before, had 
broken in upon the time required for the treatment at 
Gastein, as to be unfit to travel to Baden-Baden, Count 
Stolberg went thither in my stead. He brought the nego 
tiations, notwithstanding the stout opposition of his Maj- 
esty, to a successful issue. The Emperor was not con- 
vinced by the arguments of policy, but gave the promise 
to ratify the treaty only because he was averse to minis- 
terial changes. 

The Crown Prince was from the outset a strong advo- 
cate of the Austrian alliance, but had no influence on 
his father. 

The Emperor's chivalrous temper demanded that the 
Czar of Russia should be confidentially informed that in 

the event of his attacking either of the two neighbour- 

271 



BISMARCK 

powers he would find himself opposed by both, in order 
that Czar Alexander might not make the mistake of sup- 
posing that he could attack Austria alone. I deemed this 
solicitude groundless inasmuch as the cabinet of St. Peters- 
burg must by our answer to the questions sent us from 
Livad ; a have already learned that we were not going to 
let Austria fall, and so our treaty with Austria had not 
created a new situation, but only legalised that which 
existed. 



A renewal of Kaunitz's coalition might be confronted 
without despair by a United Germany which conducted 
her campaigns with skill ; nevertheless it would be a very 
serious combination, the formation of which it must be 
the aim of our foreign policy, if possible, to prevent. If 
the united Austro- German power had by the closeness of 
its cohesion and the unity of its counsels as assured a 
position as either the Russian or the French power re- 
garded per se y I should not consider a simultaneous attack 
by our two great neighbour empires, even though Italy 
were not the third in the alliance, as a matter of life and 
death. But if in Austria anti-German proclivities, whether 
national or religious, were to gain strength; if Russian 
tentatives and overtures in the sphere of eastern policy, 
such as were made in the days of Catherine and Joseph 
II, were to be thrown into the scale, if Italian ambitions 
were to threaten Austria's possession on the Adriatic sea, 
and require the exertion of her strength to the same de- 
gree as in Radetzky's time then the struggle, the possi- 
bility of which I anticipate, would be unequal. And if 

272 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

we suppose the French monarchy restored, and France 
and Austria in league with the Roman Curia and our ene- 
mies for the purpose of making a clean sweep of the results 
of 1866, no words are needed to show how greatly aggra- 
vated would then be the peril of Germany. This idea, 
pessimistic, but by no means chimerical, nor without jus- 
tification in the past, induced me to raise the question 
whether it might not be advisable to establish between 
the German Empire and Austria- Hungary an organic con- 
nexion which should not be published like ordinary treaties, 
but should be incorporated in the legislation of both Em- 
pires, and require for its dissolution a new legislative Act 
on the part of one of them. 

Such a guarantee has a tranquillising effect on the 
mind; but whether it would stand the actual strain of 
events may reasonably be doubted, when it is remembered 
that the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, which 
in theory had much more effective sanctions, yet failed 
to assure the cohesion of the German nation, and that we 
should never be able to embody our relation with Austria 
in any more binding treaty-form than the earlier confed- 
eration treaties, which in theory excluded the possibility 
of the battle of Koniggratz. All contracts between great 
states cease to be unconditionally binding as soon as they 
are tested by ' the struggle for existence.' No great na- 
tion will ever be induced to sacrifice its existence on the 
altar of fidelity to contract when it is compelled to choose 
between the two. The maxim ' ultra posse nemo obliga- 
tur ' holds good in spite of all treaty formulas whatsoever, 
nor can any treaty guarantee the degree of zeal and the 
amount of force that will be devoted to the discharge of 

obligations when the private interest of those who lie 
VOL. ii. 18 273 



BISMARCK 

under them no longer reinforces the text and its earliest 
interpretation. If, then, changes were to occur in the 
political situation of Europe of such a kind as to make an 
anti-German policy appear salus publica for Austria-Hun- 
gary, public faith could no more be expected to induce her 
to make an act of self-sacrifice than we saw gratitude do 
during the Crimean war, though the obligation was per- 
haps stronger than any can be established by the wax and 
parchment of a treaty. 

An alliance under legislative sanction would have re- 
alised the constitutional project which hovered before the 
minds of the most moderate members of the assembly of 
the Paulskirche, both those who stood for the narrower 
Imperial- German and those who represented the wider 
Austro-German confederation ; but the very reduction of 
such a scheme to contractual form would militate against 
the durability of its mutual obligations. The example of 
Austria between 1850 and 1866 was a warning to me that 
the political changes which such arrangements essay to 
control outrun the credits which independent states can 
assure to one another in the course of their political trans- 
actions. I think, therefore, that to ensure the durability 
of a written treaty it is indispensable that the variable 
element of political interest, and the perils involved 
therein, should not be left out of account. The German 
alliance is the best calculated to secure for Austria a 
peaceful and conservative policy. 

The dangers to which our union with Austria are ex- 
posed by tentatives towards a Russo- Austrian understand- 
ing, such as was made in the days of Joseph II and Cath- 
erine, or by the secret convention of Reichstadt, may, so 

far as possible, be minimised by keeping the strictest pos- 

274 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

sible faith with Austria, and at the same time taking care 
that the road from Berlin to St. Petersburg is not closed. 
Our principal concern is to keep the peace between our 
two imperial neighbours. We shall be able to assure the 
future of the fourth great dynasty in Italy in proportion as 
we succeed in maintaining the unity of the three empire 
states, and in either bridling the ambition of our two 
neighbours on the east or satisfying it by an entente cor- 
diale with both. Both are for us indispensable elements 
in the European political equilibrium ; the lack of either 
would be our peril but the maintenance of monarchical 
government in Vienna and St. Petersburg, and in Rome 
as dependent upon Vienna and St. Petersburg, is for us 
in Germany a problem which coincides with the mainte- 
nance of our own state regime. 



The treaty which we concluded with Austria for com- 
mon defence against a Russian attack \& publici juris. An 
analogous treaty between the two powers for defence 
against France has not been published. The German- 
Austrian alliance does not afford the same protection 
against a French war, by which Germany is primarily 
threatened, as against a Russian war, which is to be ap- 
prehended rather by Austria than by Germany. Germany 
and Russia have no divergencies of interest pregnant with 
such disputes as lead to unavoidable ruptures. On the 
other hand, coincident aims in regard to Poland, and in 
a secondary degree the ancient solidarity which unites 
their dynasties in opposition to subversive efforts, afford 
both cabinets the bases for a common policy. They have 

275 



BISMARCK 

been impaired by the false bias given now for ten years 
past to public opinion by the Russian press. This has 
assiduously planted and fostered in the mind of the read- 
ing part of the population an antipathy to everything 
German, with which the dynasty will have to reckon, even 
though the Czar may wish to cultivate German friendship. 
Scarcely, however, could anti- German rancour acquire in 
Russia a keener edge than it has among the Czechs in 
Bohemia and Moravia, the Slovenes of the countries com- 
prised within the earlier German confederation, and the 
Poles in Galicia. In short, if in deciding between the 
Russian and the Austrian alliance I gave the preference 
to the latter, it was not that I was in any degree blind to 
the perplexities which made choice difficult. I regarded 
it as no less enjoined upon us to cultivate neighbourly re- 
lations with Russia after, than before, our defensive alli- 
ance with Austria; for perfect security against the dis- 
ruption of the chosen combination is not to be had by 
Germany, while it is possible for her to hold in check the 
anti-German fits and starts of Austro- Hungarian feeling 
so long as German policy maintains the bridge which 
leads to St. Petersburg, and allows no chasm to intervene 
between us and Russia which cannot be spanned. Given 
no such irremediable breach Vienna will be able to bridle 
the forces hostile or alien to the German alliance. Sup- 
pose, however, that the breach with Russia is an ac- 
complished fact, an irremediable estrangement. Austria 
would then certainly begin to enlarge her claims on the 
services of her German confederate, first by insisting on 
an extension of the casus faderis, which so far, according 
to the published text, provides only for the measures nec- 
essary to repel a Russian attack upon Austria ; then by 

276 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

requiring the substitution for this casus fcederis of some 
provision safeguarding the interests of Austria in the 
Balkan and the East, an idea to which our press has al- 
ready succeeded in giving practical shape. The wants, 
the plans of the inhabitants of the basin of the Danube 
naturally reach far beyond the present limits of the Aus- 
tro- Hungarian monarchy, and the German imperial consti- 
tution points out the way by which Austria may advance 
to a reconciliation of her political and material interests, ' 
so far as they lie between the eastern frontier of the Rou- 
manian population and the Gulf of Cattaro. It is, how- 
ever, no part of the policy of the German Empire to lend 
her subjects, to expend her blood and treasure, for the 
purpose of realising the designs of a neighbour Power. 
In the interest of the European political equilibrium the 
maintenance of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy as a 
strong independent Great Power is for Germany an object 
for which she might in case of need stake her own peace 
with a good conscience. But Vienna should abstain from 
going outside this security, and deducing from the alliance 
claims which it was not concluded to support. 

Peace between Germany and Russia may be imperilled 
by the systematic fomentation of ill-feeling, or by the am- 
bition of Russian or German military men like Skobeleff, 
who desire war before they grow too old to distinguish 
themselves, but is hardly to be imperilled in any other 
way. The Russian press must needs be characterised by 
stupidity and disingenuousness in an unusual degree for 
it to believe and affirm that German policy was determined 
by aggressive tendencies in concluding the Austrian, and 
thereafter the Italian, defensive alliance. The disingenu- 
ousness was less of Russian than of Polish-French, the 

277 



BISMARCK 

stupidity less of Polish- French than of Russian origin. 
In the field of Russian credulity and ignorance Polish- 
French finesse won a victory over that want of finesse 
in which, according to circumstances, consists now the 
strength, now the weakness of German policy. In most 
cases an open and honourable policy succeeds better than 
the subtlety of earlier ages, but it postulates, if it is to 
succeed, a degree of personal confidence which can more 
readily be lost than gained. The future of Austria, re- 
garded in herself, cannot be reckoned upon with that cer- 
tainty which is demanded when the conclusion of durable 
and, so to speak, organic treaties is contemplated. The 
factors which must be taken into account in this shaping 
are as manifold as is the mixture of her populations, and 
to their corrosive and occasionally disruptive force must 
be added the incalculable influence that the religious ele- 
ment may from time to time, as the power of Rome waxes 
or wanes, exert upon the directing personalities. Not only 
Panslavism and the Bulgarian or Bosnian, but also the 
Servian, the Roumanian, the Polish, the Czechish ques- 
tions, nay even to-day the Italian question in the district 
of Trent, in Trieste, and on the Dalmatian coast, may 
serve as points of crystallisation not merely for Austrian, 
but for European crises, by which German interests will 
be directly affected only in so far as the German Empire 
enters into a relation of close solidarity with Austria. In 
Bohemia the antagonism between Germans and Czechs has 
in some places penetrated so deeply into the army that the 
officers of the two nationalities in certain regiments hold 
aloof from one another even to the degree that they will 
not meet at mess. There is more immediate danger for 

Germany of becoming involved in grievous and dangerous 

278 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

struggles on her western frontier, by reason of the aggres- 
sive, plundering instincts of the French people, which 
have been greatly developed by her monarchs since the 
time of Emperor Charles V, in their lust of power at 
home as well as abroad. 

Austria's help is more readily to be had by us in a 
struggle with Russia than in a struggle with France, see- 
ing that the jealousies which sprang from their courtship 
of Italy no longer exist for these two Powers in their old' 
form. Should France once more become monarchical and 
Catholic she need not abandon the hope of recovering such 
relations with Austria as she held during the Seven Years' 
war, and at the congress of Vienna before the return of 
Napoleon from Elba, such as were threatened during the 
agitation of the Polish question in 1863, and bade fair to 
be actually established during the Crimean war, and in the 
time of Count Beust, 1866-70, at Salzburg and Vienna. 

In the event of the possiblerestoration of monarchy in^ 
France the mutual aUraction^of_th_e^two great Catholic 
Powers, no longer counteracted by the Italian rivalry, 
would induce enterprising politicians to try the experi- 
ment of reviving the old alliance. 

In taking account of Austria it is even to-day an 
error to exclude the possibility of a hostile policy such as 
was pursued by Thugut, Schwarzenberg, Buol, Bach, and 
Beust. May not the policy which made ingratitude a 
duty, the policy on which Schwarzenberg plumed himself 
in regard to Russia, be again pursued towards another 
Power? The policy which from 1792 to 1795, while we 
stood in the field by Austria's side, led us into difficulties, 
and left us in the lurch in order thereby to retain the 

power of settling the Polish question to our disadvantage ; 

279 



BISMARCK 

which in fact was pushed so far as all but to involve us in 
a war with Russia, while we as nominal allies were fight- 
ing for the German Empire against France ; which at the 
congress of Vienna all but resulted in a war between 
Russia and Prussia. Spasmodic symptoms of a tendency 
towards a similar policy will for the present be suppressed 
by the personal honour and loyalty of the Emperor Francis 
Joseph, who is neither so young nor so inexperienced as 
when he allowed Count Buol's personal antipathy to Czar 
Nicholas to dictate a policy hostile to Russia, a few years 
after Vilagos ; but he affords only a personal guarantee, 
which disappears so soon as another succeeds to his place, 
and the elements which from time to time have served to 
support a policy of rivalry with Germany may acquire 
fresh influences. The love of the Poles of Galicia, of the 
Ultramontane clergy, for the German Empire is of a fitful 
and opportunist nature ; nor have we any better guarantee 
that a perception of the value of German support will per- 
manently outweigh the contempt with which the Magyar 
of full blood regards the Suabian. 

In Hungary, in Poland, French sympathies are still 
lively, and the restoration of monarchy upon a Catholic 
basis in France might cause the renewal of those relations 
with the clergy of the united Habsburg monarchy which 
in 1863 and between 1866 and 1870 found expression in 
common diplomatic action, and more or less mature 
schemes of union by treaty. The security which, in re- 
gard to these contingencies, is to be found in the person 
of the present Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary 
is, as has been said, manifest enough, but a far-sighted 
policy must take account of all eventualities which lie 

within the region of possibility. The possibility of a 

280 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

rivalry between Vienna and Berlin for the friendship of 
Russia may return upon us just as in the days of Olmiitz, 
or when, under the auspices (propitious for us) of Count 
Andrassy, it once more attested its existence by the con- 
vention of Reichstadt. 

In face of this eventuality it makes in our favour that 
Austria and Russia have opposing interests in the Balkan, 
while none such in strength enough to occasion an open 
breach and actual struggle exist between Russia and Prus- 
sia with Germany. This advantage, however, may be 
taken from us thanks to the peculiar character of the 
Russian constitution by personal misunderstanding and 
maladroit policy, no less easily to-day than when Czarina 
Elizabeth was induced by the bitter bon mots of Frederick 
the Great to accede to the Franco-Austrian alliance. 
Mischief-making intrigues, such as then served to irritate 
Russia, scandalous fabrications, indiscreet utterances or 
acts, will not be wanting even to-day at either Court; but 
it is possible for us to maintain our independence and dig- 
nity in face of Russia without wounding Russian sensi- 
tiveness or damaging Russia's interests. The wanton stir- 
ring up of bad and bitter feeling reacts to-day with no less 
effect on the course of history than in the times of Czarina 
Elizabeth of Russia and Queen Anne of England. But 
this reaction exerts to-day a much more powerful influence 
upon the present and future weal of the nations than a 
hundred years ago. An anti- Prussian coalition like that 
of the Seven Years' war between Russia, Austria and 
France, in union perhaps with other discontented dynas- 
ties, would to-day expose our existence to just as grave a 
peril, and if victorious would be far more disastrous. It 

i irrational, it is criminal by fomenting personal misun- 

281 



BISMARCK 

derstandings to cut off the way of access to an entente cor- 
diale with Russia. 

We must and can honourably maintain the alliance 
with the Austro- Hungarian monarchy; it corresponds to 
our interests, to the historical traditions of Germany, to 
the public opinion of our people. The influences and 
forces under and amid which the future policy of Vienna 
must be shaped are, however, more complex than with us, 
by reason of the manifold diversity of the nationalities, 
the divergence of their aspirations and activities, the in- 
fluence of the clergy, and the temptations to which the 
Danubian countries are exposed in the Balkan and Black 

Ljfttitllflf^' 

We cannot abandon Austria, but neither can we lose 
sight of the possibility that the policy of Vienna may 
willy-nilly abandon us. The possibilities which in such 
a case remain open to us must be clearly realised and 
steadily borne in mind by German statesmen before the 
critical moment arrives, nor must their action be deter- 
mined by prejudice or misunderstanding, but by an en- 
tirely dispassionate weighing of the national interests. 



It has always been my endeavour to promote not merely 
the security of the country against Russian attacks, but 
also in Russia itself a peaceful tone, and a belief in the 
unaggressive character of our policy . ^N or (thanks to the 
personal confidence which Czar Alexander III reposed in 
me) did I ever fail so long as I remained in office to turn 
the edge of the mistrust which again and again was aroused 

in his mind by misrepresentations on the part both of his 

282 



THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE 

own subjects and of foreigners, and occasionally by sub- 
terranean influences of a military kind from this side of 
the frontier. 

At my first interview with him after his accession (in 
the Dantzic roads), and at all subsequent meetings, he 
was prevented neither by falsehoods disseminated in re- 
gard to the congress of Berlin, nor by the knowledge 
which he possessed of the Austrian treaty, from display- 
ing towards me a good -will which at Skiernevice and at 
Berlin received authentic expression a good- will which 
rested on personal trust in me. Even the affair of the 
forged letters placed in his hands at Copenhagen an in- 
trigue which by its shameless audacity was capable of 
producing the worst impression was rendered innocuous 
by my mere disavowal. No less success had I at the 
meeting in October 1889 in dissipating the doubts which 
he had brought with him from Copenhagen, including the 
last, which concerned my own continuance in office. He 
was far better instructed than I when he put the question, 
whether I was quite sure of retaining my place under the 
new Emperor. I answered, as I then thought, that I was 
convinced that I possessed the confidence of Emperor 
William II, and did not believe that I should ever be dis- 
missed against my will, because his Majesty, by reason of 
my prolonged experience in office, and the confidence 
which I had won for myself, not only in Germany, but in 
foreign Courts, had in my person a servant whom it was 
very difficult to replace. My assurance elicited from his 
Majesty an expression of great satisfaction, though he 
hardly seemed to share it unreservedly. 

International policy is a fluid element which under 
certain conditions will solidify, but on a change of atmos- 

283 



BISMARCK 

phere reverts to its original diffuse condition. The clause 
rebus sic stantibus is tacitly understood in all treaties that 
involve performance. The Triple Alliance is a strategic 
position, which in the face of the perils that were immi- 
nent at the time when it was concluded was politic, and, 
under the prevailing conditions, feasible. It has been 
from time to time prolonged, and may be yet further pro- 
longed, but eternal duration is assured to no treaty be- 
tween Great Powers ; and it would be unwise to regard it 
as affording a permanently stable guarantee against all 
the possible contingencies which in the future may modify 
the political, material, and moral conditions under which 
it was brought into being. It has the significance of a 
strategic position adopted after strict scrutiny of the politi- 
cal situation of Europe at the time when it was concluded, 
but it no more constitutes a foundation capable of offering 
perennial resistance to time and change than did many 
another alliance (triple or quadruple) of recent centuries, 
and in particular the Holy Alliance and the German Con- 
federation. It does not dispense us from the attitude of 
toujours en vedette. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

THE danger of foreign wars, the danger that the next 
war on our west frontier might bring the red flag into the 
struggle, just as a hundred years ago it brought the tri- 
color, was present at the time of Schnabele and Boulanger, 
and is still present. The probability of a war on two sides 
has been to some extent diminished by the death of Kat- 
koff and Skobeleff ; a French attack upon us would not 
necessarily bring Russia into the field against us with the 
same certainty as a Russian attack would bring France ; 
but the inclination of Russia to sit still depends not only 
on moods and feelings, but still more on technical ques- 
tions of armament by land and sea. As soon as Russia is 
in her own opinion ' through ' with the construction of 
rifles, the choice of powder, and the strength of the Black 
Sea fleet, then the tone in which at present the variations 
of Russian policy are maintained will perhaps make room 
for a freer one. 

It is not probable that Russia when she has completed 
her armaments will, calculating on French assistance, use 
them in order at once to attack us. A German war offers 
to Russia just as few immediate advantages as a Russian 
war offers to Germany, at most in regard to the war contri- 
bution. The Russians, if victorious, would be in a more 
favourable position than the Germans, but even so they 
would scarcely recover their expenses. The thought of 

285 



BISMARCK 

acquiring East Prussia which appeared during the Seven 
Years' war will scarcely find adherents now. If the Ger- 
man element in the population of the Baltic provinces is 
already more than they can do with, we cannot suppose 
that Russian policy would be directed towards strengthen- 
ing this minority, which is considered dangerous, by so 
vigorous an addition as East Prussia. Just as little can a 
Russian statesman desire an increase of the Polish subjects 
of the Czar by Posen and West Prussia. If we consider 
Germany and Russia as isolated, it is difficult on either 
side to discover a compelling or even a justifiable ground 
of war. The mere satisfaction of pugnacity, or the desire 
to avoid the dangers of an unoccupied army, might perhaps 
make them enter on a war in the Balkans ; a German- Rus- 
sian war is, however, too serious for either side to use it 
simply as a means for occupying their army and their 
officers. 

I also do not believe that Russia, when she is ready, 
would at once attack Austria, and I am still of the opinion 
that the massing of troops in the west of Russia is not cal- 
culated for any directly aggressive tendency against Ger- 
many, but merely for defence, in case Russia's advance 
against Turkey should decide the Western Powers to 
attempt to check it. When Russia considers herself suffi- 
ciently armed and for this an adequate strength of the 
fleet in the Black Sea is requisite then, I think, the St. 
Petersburg cabinet will act as it did in 1833 at the treaty 
of Hunkiar-Iskelessi; they will offer the Sultan to guar- 
antee to him his position in Constantinople and in the 
provinces which remain to him, on condition that he will 
give to Russia the key to the Russian house-r-that is to 

the Black Sea in the form of a Russian control of the 

286 



THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

Bosphorus. It is not only possible, but, if the affair is 
cleverly managed, it is probable that the Porte would agree 
to a Russian protectorate in this form. In former years 
the Sultan could believe that the jealousy of the European 
Powers would give him guarantees against Russia. For 
England and Austria the maintenance of Turkey was a 
traditional policy ; but Gladstone's public utterances have 
deprived the Sultan of this support not only in London but 
also in Vienna, for one cannot suppose that the cabinet of 
Vienna would at Reichstadt have dropped the traditions of 
the Metternich period (Ypsilanti, hostility to the liberation 
of Greece), had it been sure of English support. The 
check of gratitude to the Emperor Nicholas had already 
been broken by Buol during the Crimean war, and at the 
congress of Paris the attitude of Austria had turned back 
to the old Metternich direction ; this was all the more evi- 
dent, since it was not softened by the financial relations of 
that statesman to the Russian Emperor, but rather had 
been intensified by the injury done to Count Buol's vanity. 
The Austria of 1856 would, but for the dissolving effects 
of the blundering English policy, not have cut itself adrift 
from England, or from the Porte, even for the sake of Bos- 
nia. As things are at the present day, it is not probable 
that the Sultan expects from England, or Austria, as much 
assistance and protection as Russia could promise without 
surrendering her own interests, and in virtue of her prox- 
imity successfully afford. 

If Russia, as soon as she is sufficiently ready, if neces- 
sary, to fall upon and overrun the Sultan and the Bosphorus 
by land and sea, makes a personal and confidential proposal 
to the Sultan to guarantee him his position in the Seraglio 
and all his provinces, not only against foreign countries 

287 



BISMARCK 

but also against his own subjects, in return for permission 
to erect sufficient fortifications and maintain a sufficient 
number of troops at the northern entrance to the Bosphorus 
this would be an offer which he would be much tempted 
to accept. Let us assume the case, however, that the Sul- 
tan of his own impulse or under foreign pressure rejects 
the advances of Russia, then the new Black Sea fleet might 
be destined, even before trying conclusions, to secure that 
position on the Bosphorus which Russia believes she re- 
quires, in order to come into possession of the key to her 
own house. 

Whatever may be the future course of this phase of the 
Russian policy the existence of which I have assumed, 
anyhow it will produce a state of things in which Russia, 
as in July 1853, takes some security and waits to see 
whether and by whom it will be taken away again. The 
first step of Russian diplomacy after these long-prepared 
operations would probably be to find out by cautious 
sounding in Berlin, whether Austria or England, if they 
opposed by war the Russian advance, could reckon upon 
the support of Germany. In my opinion this question 
would have to be met by an unconditional negative. I 
believe that it would be advantageous for Germany if the 
Russians in one way or another, physically or diplomat- 
ically, were to establish themselves at Constantinople and 
had to defend that position. We should then cease to be 
in the condition of being hounded on by England and occa- 
sionally also by Austria, and exploited by them to check 
Russian lust after the Bosphorus, and we should be able 
to wait and see if Austria were attacked and thereby our 
casus belli arose. 

It would be better for the Austrian policy also to with- 

288 



THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

draw itself from the influence of Hungarian Chauvinism, 
until Russia had taken up a position on the Bosphorus, 
and had thereby considerably intensified its friction with 
the Mediterranean states that is with England, and even 
with Italy and France and so had increased the necessity 
of coming to an understanding with Austria a raimable. 
Were I an Austrian minister I would not prevent the Rus- 
sians going to Constantinople, but I would not begin an 
understanding with them until they had made the move ' 
forward. Under any circumstances, the share which Aus- 
tria has in the inheritance of Turkey will be arranged in 
understanding with Russia, and the Austrian portion will 
be all the greater the better they know at Vienna how to 
wait, and to encourage Russian policy to take up a more 
advanced position. As regards England, the position of 
modern Russia might perhaps be considered as improved 
if it ruled Constantinople; but as regards Austria and 
Germany, Russia would be less dangerous as long as it 
remained in Constantinople. It would no longer be possi- 
ble for Prussia to blunder as it did in 1855, and to play 
ourselves out and hazard our stake for Austria, England, 
and France, in order to earn a humiliating admission to 
the congress and a mention honorable as a European Power. 
If the inquiry whether Russia, if it be attacked on its 
advance towards the Bosphorus by other Powers, can 
reckon on our neutrality so long as Austria is not 
endangered, is answered at Berlin in the negative, or 
indeed with threats, then Russia will first of all enter 
on the road she took in 1876 at Reichstadt, and again 
attempt to win Austrian fellowship. The field in which 
Russia can make offers is a very wide one ; there is not 
only the East at the expense of the Porte, but Germany 

VOL. II. 19 289 



BISMARCK 

at our expense. How far we can rely on our alliance 
with Austria- Hungary against temptations of this kind 
will depend not only on the letter of agreement, but 
also to some extent on the character of the personali- 
ties and the political and confessional currents, which at 
the time are influential in Austria. If Russian policy 
succeeds in winning Austria, then the coalition of the 
Seven Years' war against us is complete, for France will 
always be to be had against us, her interests on the Rhine 
being more important than those in the East and on the 
Bosphorus. 

Anyhow, in the future not only military equipment 
but also a correct political eye will be required to guide 
the German ship of state through the currents of coalitions 
to which we are exposed in consequence of our geograph- 
ical position and our previous history. We shall not 
avoid the dangers which lie in the bosom of the future by 
amiability and commercial fourboires to friendly Powers. 
We should only increase the greed of our former friends 
and teach them to reckon on our anxieties and necessities. 
What I fear is, that by following the road in which we 
have started our future will be sacrificed to small and tem- 
porary feelings of the present. Former rulers looked more 
to the capacity than the obedience of their advisers ; if 
obedience alone is the criterion, then demands will be made 
on the general ability of the monarch, which even Fred- 
erick the Great himself would not satisfy, although in his 
time politics, both in war and peace, were less difficult 
than they are to-day. 

Our reputation and our security will develop all the 
more permanently, the more, in all conflicts which do not 

immediately touch us, we hold ourselves in reserve and do 

290 



THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

not show ourselves sensitive to every attempt to stir up 
and utilise our vanity. Attempts of this kind were made 
during the Crimean war by the English press and the 
English Court, and the men who tried to push them- 
selves forward at our own Court by depending on Eng- 
land; we were then so successfully threatened with the 
loss of the title of a Great Power, that Herr von Man- 
teuffel at Paris exposed us to great humiliations in 
order that we might be admitted to take part in sign- 
ing a treaty, which it would have been useful to us not 
to be bound by. Now also Germany would be guilty 
of a great folly if in Eastern struggles which did not 
affect her interests she were to take a side sooner than 
the other Powers who were more directly concerned. 
Even during the Crimean war there were moments in 
which Prussia, weaker though she then was, by resolutely 
arming to support Austrian demands, and even going 
beyond them, could command peace and further an under- 
standing with Austria on German questions ; and just in 
the same way in future Eastern negotiations Germany, by 
holding back, will be able to turn to its advantage the fact 
that it is the Power which has least interest in Oriental 
questions, and will gain the more the longer it holds up 
its stake, even if the advantage were to consist in nothing 
more than a longer enjoyment of peace. Austria, Eng- 
land, Italy will always have to take up a position with 
regard to a Russian move forward upon Constantinople 
sooner than the French, for the Oriental interests of 
France are less imperative, and must be considered more 
in connexion with the question of the German frontier. 
In Russo-Oriental crises France would not be able to en- 
tangle herself either in a new policy for gaining power in 

291 



BISMARCK 

the West, or in threats against England based upon friend- 
ship with Russia, unless she had previously come to an 
understanding or a breach with Germany. 

If Germany has the advantage that her policy is free 
from direct interests in the East, on the other side is the 
disadvantage of the central and exposed position of the 
German Empire, with its extended frontier which has to be 
defended on every side, and the ease with which anti-Ger- 
man coalitions are made. At the same time Germany is 
perhaps the single Great Power in Europe which is not 
tempted by any objects which can only be attained by a 
successful war. It is our interest to maintain peace, while 
without exception our continental neighbours have wishes, 
either secret or officially avowed, which cannot be fulfilled 
except by war. We must direct our policy in accordance 
with these facts that is, we must do our best to prevent 
war or limit it. We must reserve our hand, and not allow 
ourselves before the proper time to be pushed out of a 
waiting into an active attitude by any impatience, by the 
desire to oblige others at the expense of the country, by 
vanity or other provocation of this kind; otherwise plec- 
tuntur Achivi. 

Our non-interference cannot reasonably be directed to 
sparing our forces so as, after the others have weakened 
themselves, to fall upon any of our neighbours or a pos- 
sible opponent. On the contrary, we ought to do all we 
can to weaken the bad feeling which has been called out 
througn our growth to the position of a real Great Power, 
by honourable and peaceful use of our influence, and so 
convince the world that a German hegemony in Europe is 
more useful and less partisan and also less harmful for the 

freedom of others than that of France, Russia, or England. 

292 



THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

That respect for the rights of other states in which France 
especially has always been so wanting at the time of her 
supremacy, and which in England lasts only so long as 
English interests are not touched, is made easy for the 
German Empire and its policy, on one side owing to the 
practicality of the German character, on the other by the 
fact (which has nothing to do with our deserts) that we 
do not require an increase of our immediate territory, and 
also that we could not attain it without strengthening the ' 
centrifugal elements in our own territory. It has always 
been my ideal aim, after we had established our unity 
within the possible limits, to win the confidence not only 
of the smaller European states, but also of the Great 
Powers, and to convince them that German policy will be 
just and peaceful, now that it has repaired the injuria tem- 
forum, the disintegration of the nation. In order to pro- 
duce this confidence it is above everything necessary that 
we should be honourable, open, and easily reconciled in 
case of friction or untoward events. I have followed this 
recipe not without some personal reluctance in cases like 
that of Schnabele (April 1887), Boulanger, Kauffmann 
(September 1887); as towards Spain in the question of 
the Caroline Islands, towards the United States in that 
of Samoa, and I imagine that in the future also opportu- 
nities will not be wanting of showing that we are appeased 
and peaceful. During the time that I was in office I 
advised three wars, the Danish, the Bohemian, and the 
French ; but every time I first made myself clear whether 
the war, if it were successful, would bring a prize of vic- 
tory worth the sacrifices which every war requires, and 
which now are so much greater than in the last century. 
Had I had to say to myself that after one of these wars 

2 93 



BISMARCK 

we should find some difficulty in discovering conditions of 
peace which were desirable, I should scarcely have con- 
vinced myself of the necessity for these sacrifices as long 
as we were not actually attacked. I have never looked at 
international quarrels which can only be settled by a na- 
tional war, from the point of view of the Gottingen stu- 
dent code or the honour which governs a private duel, but 
I have always considered simply their reaction on the 
claim of the German people, in equality with the other 
great states and Powers of Europe, to lead an autonomous 
political life, so far as is possible on the basis of our 
peculiar national capacity. 

The traditional Russian policy, which was based partly 
on community of faith and partly on blood relationship 
the thought of freeing from the Turkish yoke and thereby 
binding to Russia the Roumanians, the Bulgarians, the 
Greeks, occasionally also the Roman Catholic Servians who 
under various names are to be found on either side of the 
Austro-Hungarian frontier has not stood the test. It is 
not impossible that in the far future all these races will be 
forcibly incorporated in the Russian system; but the 
Greek race has been the first to show that liberation alone 
does not change them into adherents of the Russian power. 
After Tchesme (1770) the Greeks were regarded as the 
support of Russia, and as late as the Russo-Turkish war 
of 1806 to 1812 the aims of the Imperial Russian policy 
seemed to be unchanged. It is immaterial whether the 
undertakings of the Hetaeria at the time of Ypsilanti's 
rebellion (and this, which had been made popular also in 
the West, was the outcome of the Hellenising Eastern 
policy of which the Fanariots were the intermediaries) had 

the united support of the different currents of Russian life 

294 



THE FUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA 

which crossed one another from Araktcheyeff down to the 
Decembrists; anyhow the Greeks, the firstborn of the 
Russian policy of liberation, were a disappointment to 
Russia, if not a decisive one. The policy of the libera- 
tion of Greece has, from the time of Navarino, ceased, 
even in the eyes of the Russians, to be a Russian spe- 
ciality. It was a long time before the Russian cabinet 
drew the conclusion from this critical event. The rudis 
indigestaque moles of Russia is too heavy to be easily 
moved by every observation of political instinct. They 
went on liberating, and the experience they had had with 
the Greeks repeated itself with the Roumanians, Servians, 
and Bulgarians. All these races have gladly accepted 
Russian help for liberation from the Turks; but since 
they have been free they have shown no tendency to accept 
the Czar as successor of the Sultan. I do not know 
whether, in St. Petersburg they share the conviction that 
even ' the only friend ' of the Czar, the Prince of Monte- 
negro, will continue to hoist the Russian flag only so long 
as he expects equivalents in gold and power, though this, 
considering his distant and isolated situation, would to 
some extent be excusable; but it cannot be unknown in 
St. Petersburg that the Vladika was ready and perhaps is 
still ready to come forward as constable for the Grand 
Turk at the head of the Balkan peoples, if this idea were 
to find at the Porte an acceptance and support sufficiently 
favourable to make it profitable for Montenegro. 

If at St. Petersburg they wish to draw conclusions from 
their previous mistakes, and profit by their experience, the 
natural thing would be for them to limit themselves to 
the less fantastical progress which can be attained by 
the weight of regiments and cannons. Experience has not 

295 



BISMARCK 

pronounced its placet on the historical and poetical side 
which was in the mind of the Empress Catherine when 
she gave her second grandson the name of Constantine. 
Liberated nations are not grateful but exacting; and it 
seems to me that the advance of Russian policy in dealing 
with Eastern questions in the present realistic time would 
be rather technical than enthusiastic. Their first practical 
requirement for developing their power in the East is to 
make the Black Sea safe. If they succeed in attaining a 
firm control over the Bosphorus by laying down torpedoes 
and placing guns in position, then the south coasts of 
Russia will be even better protected than the Baltic ; and 
in the Crimean war the superior English and French fleets 
could do little to the latter. 

This is the form which the calculation of the St. 
Petersburg cabinet may take if its first object is to close 
the Black Sea and to win over the Sultan for this purpose 
by love, by money, or by violence. If the Porte rejects 
the friendly approach of Russia and draws the sword 
against the threatened violence, then Russia will probably 
be attacked from another side, and in my opinion the mass- 
ing of troops on the western frontier is calculated to meet 
this event. If they succeed in closing the Bosphorus by 
good-will, then perhaps the Powers who find themselves 
injured by this will sit still for a time, since each one 
would wait for the initiative of the other and the decision 
of France. Our interests are more easily reconciled with 
the gravitation of the Russian power to the south than 
those of other Powers ; one can even say that they are 
advanced by it. We can await longer than the others the 
unravelling of the new knot which has been tied by 

Russia, 

296 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE COUNCIL OF STATE 

THE Council of State which was introduced by the law of 
March 20, 1817, was intended to advise the absolute King. 
In his place has now been put the King who by the con- 
stitution is advised by his ministers, and thereby the min- 
istry of state has been absorbed into that governing factor 
which has to be assisted by the previous discussion in the 
council a factor which in former days was represented by 
the King alone. The discussions in the council are nowa- 
days for the information not only of the King, but also of 
the responsible ministers. When it was brought into 
activity again in 1852, the object was to prepare not 
only the decisions of the King, but the votes of the min- 
isters. 

The preparation of drafts of law by the ministry of 
state is incomplete. A reporting secretary is in a position 
to determine the fate of a bill right down to the time of 
its promulgation, for, supposing the subject is difficult and 
the number of paragraphs large, he can divert all attempts 
to influence the contents, which are made either in the 
ministry of state or in the different stages of parliamen- 
tary discussion, to the outward form of the draft. Even 
within the ministry the departmental ministers do not 
always really comprehend the matter which the secretaries 
lay before them in the form of a draft bill accompanied by 

motives and explanations. Much less do the other min- 

297 



BISMARCK 

isters spend time and trouble in making themselves ac- 
quainted with the contents and importance of a new law 
in every detail, unless it will affect their own department. 
If this is the case, then the feeling of independence and 
the particularism which animates each one of the eight fed- 
erated ministerial provinces, and every secretary in his own 
sphere, are set in motion. The departmental minister, 
however, will not be in a condition to judge the effect of 
an intended law on practical life, if he himself be a one- 
sided product of the bureaucracy; much less will his col- 
leagues. Not five per cent, of those whom I have had the 
opportunity of observing are conscious of being not merely 
departmental ministers, but also ministers of state who 
share in the common responsibility for their joint policy. 
The others confine themselves to attempting to administer 
their own departments free from blame, to getting the 
necessary supplies from the Minister of Finance, and hav- 
ing them passed by the Diet, and to defending themselves 
successfully against parliamentary attacks on their depart- 
ment by their eloquence and, if necessary, by throwing 
over their subordinates. The receipts which come to 
them in the form of the royal signature and parliamentary 
grants are sufficient to prevent the question whether the 
law is in itself desirable from coming before the bureau- 
cratic ministerial conscience. The interference of a col- 
league whose department is not directly concerned arouses 
the sensitiveness of the departmental minister, and, as a 
rule, this is spared in return for the similar consideration 
which each one expects for his own proposals. I can 
remember that the discussions of the old Council of State 
before 1848, some prominent members of which I knew, 

were carried on with more pointed exertion of the individ- 

298 



THE COUNCIL OF STATE 

ual judgment and stronger stirrings of the conscience than 
the ministerial consultations which I have been in a posi- 
tion to observe for more than forty years. 

It is also, I consider, misleading to assume that the 
draft of a bill which leaves the ministry badly drawn is 
sufficiently discussed in the Diet. It can and, let us 
hope, it will as a rule be rejected. If, however, the ques- 
tion with which it has to do is pressing, then there is a 
danger that ministerial nonsense goes smoothly through 
the parliamentary stages, especially if the author of the 
scheme succeeds in winning for his product some influen- 
tial or eloquent friend. Considering the great number of 
members who have been at the universities, and who hold 
judicial or administrative posts, there must, one would 
suppose, be some who give themselves the trouble to read 
a draft bill of more than a hundred paragraphs, or who 
might even be able to read it with understanding ; but few 
have the love of work and the feeling of duty, and these 
are divided among groups and parties which are in constant 
conflict with one another, and whose tendencies make it 
difficult for them to come to a judgment on the matter 
itself. Most members read without criticising, and ask 
the party leaders, who work and speak for their own ends, 
when they are to attend the sitting and how they are to 
vote. This all is to be explained by human nature, and 
nobody is to be blamed that he cannot change his skin ; 
only we must not deceive ourselves, and it is a serious 
error to suppose that our laws nowadays have that investi- 
gation and preparatory work which they require, or even 
that which they enjoyed before 1848. 

The Reichstag has set up a monument of this super- 
ficiality in the constitution of the North German confed- 

299 



BISMARCK 

eration, which has been transferred to the constitution of 
the German Empire. Article 68 of the draft constitution, 
which was imitated from a resolution of the Frankfort Diet, 
enumerated five forms of crime which, if they were com- 
mitted against the confederation, were to be punished in 
the same way as though they had been committed against 
a single federal state. The fifth number was introduced 
with the word ' lastly.' Twesten, whose thoroughness 
was well known, proposed as an amendment to strike out 
the three first numbers; he had, however, obviously not 
read to the end the article which he proposed to amend, 
and left the word * lastly ' in it. His proposal was accepted, 
and retained in all stages of the discussion, and the article 
(now No. 74) has the remarkable reading : 

' Every undertaking against the existence, the integrity, 
the safety, or the constitution of the German empire, lastly 
insults against the Federal Council, the Reichstag,' &c. 

Before 1848 people took trouble to find out what was 
right and reasonable ; now they are satisfied with a majority 
and the signature of the King. I can only regret that in 
preparing laws the co-operation of wider circles of the 
kind which was given in the Council of State and in the 
Board for Economics has not been made sufficiently 
powerful against ministerial or monarchical impatience. 
When I found leisure to occupy myself with these prob- 
lems, I occasionally expressed to my colleagues the wish 
that they should begin their legislative activity by pub- 
lishing the draft of laws, exposing them to the criticism of 
publicists, listening to the greatest possible number of cir- 
cles who understood the matter and were interested in the 
question that is the Council of State, the Economic 

Board, and, under circumstances, the provincial Diets 

300 



THE COUNCIL OF STATE 

before they brought them up for discussion in the ministry. 
I attribute the repression of the Council of State and sim- 
ilar consultative bodies chiefly to the jealousy with which 
these unprofessional advisers in public affairs are regarded 
by the professional secretaries and the parliaments, at the 
same time also to the discomfort with which ministerial 
omnipotence within its own department looks on the inter- 
ference of others. 

The first meetings of the Council of State which I 
attended after 1884, under the presidency of the Crown 
Prince Frederick William, made a businesslike and favour- 
able impression not only on me, but, as I believe, on all 
others who took part in them. The Prince listened to the 
speeches without showing any desire to influence the 
speakers. It was noticeable that the speeches of two for- 
mer officers of the guards, von Zedlitz-Triitzschler, after- 
wards chief President in Posen and Minister of Religion 
and Education, and von Minnigerode, made such an 
impression that the Crown Prince afterwards appointed 
both of them to draw up reports, and in this acted in 
accordance with the opinion of the meeting, although 
without doubt the speeches which showed more theoretic 
knowledge of the subject were made by the specialist 
professors who were present. The influence which in this 
way men who had formerly been officers in the guard 
exercised in projects of law confirmed me in my convic- 
tion that the mere testing of drafts in the ministry is not 
the right way of avoiding the danger that unpractical, 
harmful, and dangerous proposals, drawn up in very incor- 
rect language, should make their way from the composi- 
tions of the dilettante legislative activity of a single re- 
porting secretary unchecked, or at any rate without any 

301 



BISMARCK 

sufficient correction, through all the stages of the minis- 
try of state, the parliaments, and the cabinet, into the 
collections of laws, and then, until some remedy is found, 
form a portion of the burden which creeps among us and 
drags on like a disease. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

ABOUT the middle of the 'seventies the Emperor's intel- 
lect began to work less easily, he had difficulty in compre- 
hending what others said and in developing his own state- 
ments; at times he lost the thread in listening and 
speaking. Curiously enough a change for the better 
began after Nobiling's attempt on his life. Moments like 
those I have described did not occur; the- Emperor was 
freer, had more life, and was also more easily moved. 
When I expressed my delight at the good state of his 
health he was moved to the jest, ' Nobiling knew better 
than the doctors what I wanted a good letting of blood.' 
The last illness was short; it began on March 4, 1888. 
On the 8th at midday I had my last interview with the 
Emperor, at which he was still conscious, and I obtained 
from him the authorisation to publish the order, \ hich had 
been drawn up as long ago as November 17, 1887, in 
which Prince William was commissioned to act as the 
Emperor's representative in cases where his Majesty 
should believe that he required one. The Emperor said 
he expected me to remain in my position and stand at the 
side of his successors ; at first there seemed to be in his 
mind chiefly the anxiety that I should not be able to get 
on with the Emperor Frederick. I expressed myself so as 
to calm his apprehensions, so far as it seemed fitting to 
speak to a dying man of that which his successors and I 

33 



BISMARCK 

would do after his death. Then, thinking of his son's ill- 
ness, he required from me the promise that I would allow 
his grandson to have the benefit of my experience and 
remain at his side, if, as seemed probable, he should soon 
come to the government. I gave expression to my readi- 
ness to serve his successor with the same zeal as himself. 
His only answer was a slightly more noticeable pressure 
of my hand ; then his mind began to wander, and the occu- 
pation with his grandson came so much into the front, that 
he thought the Prince, who in September 1886 had paid a 
visit to the Czar at Brest Litewsk, was sitting in my place 
at his bedside, and suddenly addressing me with ' Du,' he 
said, ' Thou must always keep touch with the Russian 
Emperor ; there no conflict is necessary. ' After a long 
interval of silence the hallucination had disappeared; he 
dismissed me with the words, ' I still see you. ' He saw 
me once more when I came in -the afternoon, and again at 
four o'clock in the night on the Qth, but he can scarcely 
have recognised me among the many who were present ; 
there had been a return of full clearness and conscious- 
ness late in the evening of the 8th, and he was able to 
speak with those who were standing round his deathbed 
in the narrow bedroom in clear and connected words. It 
was the last flicker of that strong and brave spirit. At 
half -past eight he drew his last breath. 



Under Frederick William III only the Crown Prince 
had been consciously educated as successor to the throne ; 
the education of the second son had been on the other 
hand exclusively military. It was natural that throughout 

304 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

his whole life military influences should have in them- 
selves a stronger influence on him than civil, and I myself 
thought that my influence on him was to some extent 
strengthened by the impression of the military uniform 
which I used to wear in order to avoid the necessity of 
changing my clothes many times a day. Among the peo- 
ple who, so long as he was only Prince William, could 
have influence on his development, officers without political 
duties took the first place, after General von Gerlach, who 
had been his aide-de-camp for many years, had temporarily 
dropped out of political life. He was the ablest among 
the aides-de-camp whom the Prince had had ; he was not a 
theoretical fanatic in politics and religion like his brother 
the President, but still he was enough of a doctrinaire not 
to find so much response in the practical understanding of 
the Prince as he did with the brilliant intellect of the King, 
Frederick William. ' Pietism ' was a word and an idea 
which were easily connected with the name of Gerlach, on 
account of the role which the general's two brothers, the 
President and the clergyman, who was author of an exten- 
sive work on the Bible, played in the political world. 

A conversation connected with the name of Gerlach, 
which I had in 1853 with the Prince at Ostend, where I 
had been brought into closer connexion with him, has 
remained in my memory, for I was much struck by the 
Prince's want of acquaintance with our public institutions 
and the political situation. 

One day he spoke with a certain animosity about Gen- 
eral von Gerlach, who as it seemed, in consequence of a 
want of agreement, had in bad humour resigned his post 
as adjutant. The Prince spoke of him as a ' Pietist.' 

/.What does your Royal Highness mean by a pietist? 
VOL. ii. 20 305 



BISMARCK 

He. A man who plays the hypocrite in religion in 
order to advance in his career. 

/. There is nothing of that in Gerlach : what could 
he become ? In the language of the present day the word 
pietist has quite another meaning, viz. a man who believes 
in the Christian religion according to the orthodox creed 
and makes no secret of his belief ; and there are many of 
them who have nothing to do with political life and do not 
think of making a career. 

He. What do you mean by orthodox ? 

/. For example, one who seriously believes that Jesus 
is the Son of God and died for us as a sacrifice for the 
pardon of our sins. At the moment I cannot give a more 
accurate definition, but that is the essential part in the 
difference of belief. 

He (growing very red). Who is there, then, so for- 
saken by God that he does not believe that ? 

/. If what you have just said were publicly known, 
your Royal Highness would yourself be counted among 
the pietists. 

In the further course of the conversation we touched 
on the question of the ' regulation for districts and villages ' 
which at that time was in suspense. On this the Prince 
spoke as follows : 

He was, he said, no enemy to the nobility, but he could 
not allow that the peasant should be ill-treated by the 
nobleman. 

I answered : 

' How can the nobleman set to work ? If I wanted to 
ill-treat my Schonhausen peasants, I should be without 
any means of doing so, and the attempt would end with 

my ill-treatment either by the peasants or by the law.' 

306 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

He rejoined: 'That may be the case with you in 
Schonhausen; but it is an exception, and I cannot allow 
that the poor in the country should be cruelly used. ' 

I asked for permission to lay before him a short expla- 
nation of the origin of our rural conditions and the rela- 
tion between landlord and peasant. He accepted the offer 
with pleasure, and afterwards in Norderney I devoted 
my spare hours to explaining to the heir to the throne, who 
was already fifty-six years old, the legal position of manors 
and peasants in 1853, quoting the passages from the laws. 
I sent him the work not without some fear that the Prince 
would answer curtly and ironically that I had told him 
nothing which he had not already known for thirty years. 
On the contrary, however, he thanked me warmly for the 
interesting collection of facts which were new to him. 



From the moment when the regency began, Prince 
William felt so keenly the want of a proper business edu- 
cation that he shunned no labour by day or night in order 
to make good the deficiency. When he was ' transacting 
public affairs/ then he really worked, seriously and con- 
scientiously. He read all papers which were sent in to 
him, not merely those which attracted him, and studied the 
treaties and laws so that he might form an independent 
judgment. He knew no pleasure which would have taken 
away time from affairs of state. He never read novels or 
other books which did not concern his duties as ruler. 
He did not smoke or play cards. When there was a 
shooting party at Wusterhausen and after dinner they 
went into the room where Frederick William I used to 

307 



BISMARCK 

collect the tabakscollegium in order that the others might 
be able to smoke in his presence, he had a long Dutch 
clay pipe handed to him, took a few puffs at it, and then 
put it down with a wry face. Once when he was in Frank- 
fort, while he was still Prince of Prussia, he came into a 
room where hazard was being played, and said to me, ' I 
will just try my luck once, but I have no money with me; 
give me some.' As I also did not carry money about with 
me, Count Theodor Stolberg came to our help. The 
Prince staked a thaler several times, lost each time, and 
left the room. His only recreation was, after a hard 
day's work, to sit in his box at the theatre ; but even there 
I, as minister, was allowed to seek him out for pressing 
business, and make reports to him in the small room 
behind the box and receive his signature. A good night's 
rest was so necessary to him that he would complain of a 
bad night if he was disturbed twice, and of sleeplessness 
if he were disturbed three times, and yet I never saw the 
slightest touch of annoyance when in difficult circum- 
stances I had to wake him up at two or three o'clock to 
ask for a hasty decision. 

Besides the diligence to which he was impelled by his 
strong sense of duty, he was helped in fulfilling his du- 
ties as ruler by an unwonted measure of clear and healthy 
human understanding, common sense, which was neither 
dependent on nor limited by acquired knowledge. He 
was hindered in understanding affairs by the tenacity with 
which he clung to princely, military, and local traditions ; 
it was always difficult for him to give them up, or to turn 
into new paths when the course of circumstances made it 
necessary, and it easily appeared to him in the light of 

something unpermissible or undignified. He clung firmly 

308 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

to impressions and convictions just as he did to the per- 
sons by whom he was surrounded and the things he used; 
the remembrance of what his father had done in similar 
cases, or would have done, always had much influence on 
him ; especially during the French war he always had be- 
fore his eyes the remembrance of the parallel course of 
the wars of liberation. 

King William once during the Schleswig-Holstein 
episode asked me reproachfully : 'Are you then not also 
a German ? ' because I opposed his intention, which was 
predisposed by domestic influences, to create at Kiel a 
new grand duchy which would vote against Prussia ; and 
yet when he followed his own natural feelings without 
being weakened by political thoughts, he was one of the 
most resolute particularists among the German -princes, 
following the line of a patriotic and conservative Prussian 
officer of his father's time. In riper years the influence 
of his wife brought him into opposition to the traditional 
principle ; the incapacity of his ministers of the new era 
and the precipitate blunders of the Liberals in parliament 
during the Conflict once more made his pulse beat like a 
Prussian prince and officer, the more so that he never 
considered whether the road on which he was entering 
was dangerous. If he was convinced that duty and hon- 
our, or one of the two, required him to enter on a path, 
he went his way without caring for the dangers to which 
he might be exposed, in politics as much as on the field 
of battle. He was not to be intimidated; the Queen was : 
the necessity of living in domestic peace being with her 
a force, the effect of which one could never foresee ; but 
parliamentary rudeness or threats had no effect but to 
strengthen his resolution not to give in. The ministers 

39 



BISMARCK 

of the new era and their parliamentary supporters and fol- 
lowers had never taken this quality into account. Count 
Schwerin went so far in his want of comprehension of 
this fearless officer on the throne, that he thought he 
could intimidate him by an overbearing manner and want 
of courtesy. This was the turning point of the influence 
of the ministers of the new era, the old Liberals and the 
Bethmann-Hollweg party, and from this time the current 
turned in the opposite direction; the lead fell into Roon's 
hands; and the Minister- President, Prince Hohenzollern, 
with his adjutant Auerswald, desired my entrance into the 
ministry. The Queen and Schleinitz prevented this for 
a time when I was in Berlin in the spring of 1 860, but 
the scenes which had passed between the ruler and his 
ministers had made a rent in their mutual relations which 
was never healed. 



During the reign of Frederick William IV the Princess 
Augusta generally was in opposition to the policy of the 
government ; she regarded the new era of the regency as 
her ministry, at least until the retirement of Herr von 
Schleinitz. Before and after that it was a necessity for 
her to be in opposition to the attitude of the government, 
whatever it might be, both to that of her brother-in-law 
and afterwards of her husband. Her influence changed, 
and in such a way that to the very list years of her life it 
always fell into the scale against the ministers. If the 
policy of the government was Conservative, then Liberal 
persons and Liberal tendencies were marked out for dis- 
tinction and advance in her domestic circle; when the 

310 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

government of the Emperor in its task of strengthening 
the new Empire entered the path of Liberalism, then her 
favour inclined to the side of the Conservative elements, 
and especially to the Catholics; as under a Protestant 
dynasty these were often and, to a certain point, regularly 
in opposition, the support of the Catholics was of much 
interest to the Empress. 

During the periods when our foreign policy could go 
hand in hand with Austria, her mood towards Austria was 
distant and unfriendly ; when our policy made opposition 
to Austria necessary, then the Queen became the repre- 
sentative of Austrian interests, and this was the case right 
into the beginning of the war of 1866. Even after fight- 
ing had begun on the Bohemian frontier, the organ of 
Herr von Schleinitz, under the patronage of her Majesty, 
kept up relations and negotiations of a very dubious na- 
ture. After I became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and 
Herr von Schleinitz Minister of the Royal House, he held 
the position of a kind of opposition minister to the Queen, 
who could provide her Majesty with material for criticism 
and for influencing the King. He used for this purpose 
the connexions which, when he was my predecessor, he 
had made by private correspondence, and concentrated in 
his hands a system of regular diplomatic reports. I re- 
ceived the proof of this by accident ; some of these reports 
came into my hands by a mistake of the courier or of the 
post ; they were so drawn up that one could see they were 
not isolated, and they so closely resembled official reports 
that I noticed nothing till I was startled by some refer- 
ences in the text ; then I looked for the envelope in the 
wastepaper basket and found on it the address of Herr 
von Schleinitz. To the officials with whom he maintained 



BISMARCK 

connexions of this kind belonged, among others, a consul 
about whom Roon wrote to me on January 25, 1864, that 
he was in the pay of Drouyn de Lhuys, and, under the 
name of Siegfeld, wrote articles for the ' Memorial Diplo- 
matique,' which among other things supported the occupa- 
tion of the Rhine by Napoleon and compared it to our 
occupation of Schleswig. At the time of the ' Reichs- 
glocke' and the venomous attacks of the Conservative 
party and the ' Kreuzzeitung ' against me, I was able to 
find out that the distribution of the ' Reichsglocke ' and 
similar libellous publications was managed in the office 
of the ministry of the royal family. The person employed 
was one of the higher subordinate officials of the name of 
Bernhard, who cut Frau von Schleinitz's pens and kept 
her writing table in order. By his means thirteen copies 
of the * Reichsglocke ' had gone to the very highest per- 
sonages only, of which two went to the imperial palace and 
others to nearly related Courts. 

One morning, when I had to visit the Emperor, who 
had been made ill through annoyance, in order to lodge 
what, under the circumstances, was a complaint of press- 
ing importance about a demonstration of the Court in 
favour of the Centrum, I found him in bed, and with him 
was the Empress in a costume from which one would con- 
clude that she had come down after I had been announced. 
On my request to be allowed to speak alone with the Em- 
peror she went away, but only as far as a chair which was 
just outside the door, which she had not quite shut; and 
she took care to let me know by her movements that she 
heard everything. I did not allow myself to be prevented 
by this attempt at intimidation (and it was not the first) 

from completing my report. On the evening of the same 

312 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

day I was at a party in the palace. Her Majesty ad- 
dressed me in a manner which made me suppose that the 
Emperor had supported my remonstrance to her. The 
conversation took the turn that I begged the Empress to 
spare the health of her husband, which already was unsat- 
isfactory, and not expose him to conflicting political influ- 
ences. This suggestion, which, according to all Court 
traditions, was quite unexpected, had a remarkable effect. 
During the last ten years of her life I never saw the Em- 
press Augusta so beautiful as she was at this moment ; her 
figure drew itself up, her eyes brightened with a fire which 
I have never seen there before or since. She broke off 
the conversation, left me standing alone, and, as I was 
told by one of the courtiers who was a friend of mine, said, 
* Our most gracious Chancellor is very ungracious to-day.' 
The experience of many years had enabled me by de- 
grees to judge with, some certainty whether the Emperor 
opposed suggestions, which seemed to me logically neces- 
sary, from his own conviction or in the interest of his 
domestic peace. In the first case I could as a rule reckon 
on coming to an understanding if I awaited the time when 
the clear understanding of my master had assimilated 
the matter ; or he would appeal to the council of ministers. 
In such cases the discussion between me and his Majesty 
always remained practical and confined to the subject at 
issue. It was different when the cause of the royal oppo- 
sition to ministerial opinions lay in the previous discus- 
sion of the question which her Majesty had aroused at 
breakfast, and carried on till he had positively expressed 
his agreement with her. When the King at such mo- 
ments, influenced by letters and newspaper articles which 
had been written for the purpose, had been brought to 



BISMARCK 

hasty expressions opposed to the ministerial policy, then 
her Majesty was accustomed to confirm the success she 
had obtained by giving utterance to doubts whether the 
Emperor would be in a condition to uphold the purpose 
or opinion he had expressed ' against Bismarck.' When 
his Majesty opposed me not from his own conviction, but 
as a result of repeated feminine pressure, I could see what 
had happened, for his arguments were not to the point 
and illogical. When he could not find any more argu- 
ments against what I said, then he would end the discus- 
sion with the expression : ' Ei der Tausend, da muss ich 
doch sehr bitten' (' Oh, come, I say! please'}. Then I 
knew that I had met not the Emperor, but his wife. 

All the opponents belonging to the most different re- 
gions, whom during my political struggles I had been 
compelled to make in the interest of the public service, 
found in their common hatred of me a bond of union 
which sometimes was stronger than their mutual antip- 
athies. They made a truce in their feuds in order for 
the time to serve the stronger hostility to me. The Em- 
press Augusta formed the point about which their agree- 
ment crystallised ; her temperament when it was a matter 
of getting her way did not always observe the limits re- 
quired by regard for the age and health of her husband. 

During the siege of Paris, as often before and after- 
wards, the Emperor had often to suffer in the struggle 
between his understanding and his feeling of duty as a 
King on one side, and the requirements of domestic peace 
and female assent to his policy on the other. His chival- 
rous feeling towards his wife, his mystical feeling towards 
the crowned Queen, his sensitiveness to interruptions in 
his domestic life and his daily habits, put obstacles in my 

3H 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

way, which were at times more difficult to overcome than 
those caused by foreign Powers or hostile parties ; in con- 
sequence of the hearty attachment which I had for the 
person of the Emperor, this considerably increased the 
exhausting effect of the struggles which I had to go 
through when in my reports to the Emperor my duty 
compelled me to defend my convictions. 

The Emperor felt this, and in the last years of his 
life he made no secret to me of his domestic relations, 
and used to discuss with me what ways and forms we 
should choose so as to spare his household peace without 
injury to interests of state; when in a confidential mood, 
with a mixture of annoyance, respect, and good-will, he 
used to speak of her as Feuerkopf, and accompanied this 
expression with a motion of his hands as though he would 
say, ' I cannot alter it. ' I found this designation extraor- 
dinarily happy; the Queen was a spirited woman as long 
as physical dangers did not threaten ; she was upheld by 
a high feeling of duty, but her royal feelings made her 
indisposed to recognise other authorities than her own. 



The great influence which, after his accession to the 
government, the will and convictions of the Prince of 
Prussia, afterwards Emperor, exercised outside the military 
and in the political sphere was simply the result of the 
powerful and distinguished nature which was inborn in this 
prince, and quite independent of the education he had 
received. The expression ' koniglich vornehm ' (royal dis- 
tinction) is characteristic of his appearance. With mon- 
archs vanity can be a spur to action and to labour for the 



BISMARCK 

happiness of their subjects. Frederick the Great was not 
free from it ; his impulse to his first actions sprang from 
the desire for historical fame. I will not discuss the 
question whether this motive degenerated towards the end 
of his reign, as was said, or whether he secretly gave ear 
to the wish that posterity should notice the difference be- 
tween his government and that of his successors. He 
dated one of his political effusions from the day before a 
battle and communicated it in a letter with the words 
' Pas trop mal a la veille d'une bataille.' 

The Emperor William I was completely free from 
vanity of this kind ; on the other hand he had in a high 
degree a peculiar fear of the legitimate criticism of his 
contemporaries and of posterity. In this he was com- 
pletely the Prussian officer, who, as soon as he is protected 
by a higher command, goes without wavering to most cer- 
tain death, but through fear of the blame of his superior 
officer or public criticism falls into such doubt and uncer- 
tainty as to choose the wrong path. No one would have 
dared to flatter him openly to his face. In his feeling of 
royal dignity he would have thought, ' if any one had the 
right of praising me to my face, he would also have the 
right of blaming me to my face. ' He would not admit 
either. 

Monarch and parliament had learnt to know and re- 
spect one another by long internal struggles; the King's 
noble dignity and quiet confidence had at last won the 
respect even of his opponents, and the King himself was 
enabled justly to judge the two sides of the situation ow- 
ing to his own high feeling of personal honour. He was 
governed by the feeling of justice, not only towards his 

friends and servants, but also in the struggle against his 

316 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

opponents. He was a gentleman expressed in terms of 
a king, a nobleman in the primary sense of the word, who 
never felt himself dispensed from the principle Noblesse 
oblige by any temptations of the power which belonged to 
him; his attitude both in home and foreign policy was 
always subordinated to the principles of a cavalier of the 
old school and to the normal feeling of a Prussian officer. 
He held fast to honour and loyalty not only towards prin- 
ces but also towards his servants, even down to his valet. 
If in momentary excitement he trespassed on his fine feel- 
ing for royal dignity and duty, he soon recovered and re- 
mained at the same time ' every inch a king, ' and more- 
over a just and kindly king, and an honour-loving officer 
whom the thought of his Prussian porte-tyfe kept in the 
right way. 1 

The Emperor could lose his temper, but did not let 
himself be infected by the ill-temper of any one with whom 
he was conversing; he would break off the discussion in 
a friendly and dignified manner. Outbreaks like that at 
Versailles, when he refused the title of Emperor, were 
very rare. If he got angry with any one to whom he was 
well disposed, as Count Roon and myself, then he was 
either excited by the subject itself, or he had beforehand 
been bound by unofficial promises which could not be de- 
fended. Count Roon listened to explosions of this kind 
as a soldier at the front listens to the rebuke of a superior 
officer, which he believes to be undeserved, but his nerves 
suffered from it and they affected his physical health. I 
did not experience outbreaks of anger on the part of the 
Emperor so often as Roon, and they never had a conta- 
gious but rather a cooling effect on me. I had thought 

'Cf. vol. i. p. 315. 



BISMARCK 

it out for myself in this way : any irregularities in a ruler 
who showed me confidence and good-will to such a degree 
as did William I should be for me of the nature of vis 
major which it was not for me to resist ; I must look on 
it as the weather or the sea, or any natural event to which 
I must accommodate myself. This impression rested on 
my personal love for the Emperor William I, not on my 
general conception of the relation of a king by the grace 
of God to his servants. Towards him I was not person- 
ally sensitive; he could treat me with much injustice 
without creating feelings of indignation in me. The feel- 
ing that I had been insulted was one which I had towards 
him as little as I should have had in my father's house. 
This did not prevent me from being led into a passive 
opposition to him by the nervous excitement which was 
engendered by uninterrupted struggles, when I found him 
without understanding for political matters and interests 
or prejudiced against them by her Majesty 01 by the re- 
ligious or masonic Court intrigues. Now, in thinking over 
this quietly, I disapprove of this feeling and regret it, as 
in remembering points of disagreement one has similar 
feelings after the death of one's father. 



His natural uprightness, the genuine kindliness of his 
disposition, and the amiability which with him came from 
the heart, enabled him to perform with ease and success 
one of the duties which at times causes much trouble to 
the intellectual activity of constitutional rulers and min- 
isters. The annually recurring utterances of those mon- 
archs who are regarded as the patterns of constitutionalism 

318 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

contain a rich storehouse of expressions useful for public 
utterances ; but, notwithstanding all their linguistic skill, 
both Leopold of Belgium and Louis Philippe pretty well 
exhausted constitutional phraseology, and a German mon- 
arch will scarcely be in a position to enlarge the circle of 
available expressions in writing and print. I found no 
work more disagreeable and difficult than the provision 
of the necessary supply of phrases for speeches from the 
throne and similar utterances. When the Emperor Wil- 
liam himself drew up proclamations or when he wrote let- 
ters with his own hand, then, even if the language was 
incorrect, they still had something winning and often in- 
spiring. They moved one in an agreeable way by the 
warmth of his feeling and the security which shone from 
them that he not only required loyalty but gave it. ' II 
etait de relation sure ; ' he was one of those figures, 
princely alike in soul and body, whose qualities belong 
more to the heart than the understanding, and explain the 
life-and-death devotion of their servants and adherents 
which appears now and again in the German character. 
The extent of monarchical devotion is not identical as 
regards every prince ; it makes a difference whether the 
limit is drawn by political understanding or by feeling. 
A certain measure of devotion is determined by the laws, 
a still greater by political conviction; anything beyond 
that requires a personal feeling of reciprocity, and this it 
is which brings it about that loyal masters have loyal ser- 
vants whose devotion extends beyond what is required by 
public considerations. It is a peculiarity of royalist feel- 
ing that any one who is moved by it does not cease to feel 
himself the servant of the monarch, even when he is con- 
scious that he influences the decisions of the King. One 

319 



BISMARCK 

day (in 1865) the King spoke to his wife with admiration 
of my skill in guessing his intentions, and, as he added 
after a pause, of directing them. In acknowledging this 
he did not lose the feeling that he was the master and I 
the servant a useful but a respectful and devoted ser- 
vant. This did not leave him even when, after an excited 
discussion about my resignation in 1877, he broke out 
into the words : ' Am I to make a fool of myself (blamireri) 
in my old age ? It is disloyal of you to desert me.' Even 
with feelings like this he stood so high in his own royal 
estimation and in his sense of justice, that he was never 
accessible to any feeling of Saul-like jealousy of me. 
He had the true kingly feeling; not only was the posses- 
sion of a powerful and respected servant not disagreeable 
to him, but the thought was an elevating one to him. He 
was too distinguished to feel like a nobleman who cannot 
endure to have a rich and independent peasant in the vil- 
lage. This royal and noble character was displayed for 
the public and history in a proper light by the cheerful 
way in which, when I celebrated in 1885 the fiftieth anni- 
versary of my entrance into the public service,* he did not 
order and arrange the celebrations, but allowed them and 
shared in them. It was not commanded by him, but he 
permitted it and cheerfully assisted. Never for a moment 
did the thought of jealousy towards his servant and sub- 
ject come into his mind, and never for a moment did the 
royal consciousness that he was master leave him, just as 
with me all the homage that was paid me, exaggerated 
though it were, never affected my feeling that I was the 
servant of my master and was it gladly. 

* By the wish of the Emperor it was joined with the celebration of ray 
seventieth birthday. 

320 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

Our relations and my attachment to him were in prin- 
ciple based on the fact that I was by conviction a royalist ; 
but the special form which it took is only possible by the 
exercise of a certain reciprocity of good-will between mas- 
ter and servant, just as our feudal law assumed ' loyalty ' 
on both sides. Relations like those in which I stood to 
the Emperor William are not exclusively of a political or 
feudal nature ; they are personal and they must be won by 
the master as well as the servant if they are to be effec- 
tive ; they are easily transferred to one generation rather 
personally than logically, but to give them a permanent 
character and require them as a matter of principle an- 
swers more to the feelings and character of the Romance 
than of the German races ! We cannot transfer the Portu- 
guese porteur du coton into German ideas. 



Certain characteristics of the Emperor will be more 
clearly seen in the following letters than in any descrip- 
tion: 

' Berlin: Jan. 13, 1870. 

' Unfortunately I have always forgotten to give you 
the medal of victory, which really ought to have been in 
your hands first, and so I send it to you now as a seal of 
your historical achievements. 

'Yours, 

'WILLIAM.' 

On the same day I wrote to the Emperor : 
' I present to your Majesty my humble duty, and offer my 
heartfelt thanks for your gracious presentation of the medal, 

and for the honourable place which your Majesty has been 
VOL. ii. 21 321 



BISMARCK 

pleased to assign to me on this historical monument. The 
remembrance which this engraved document will maintain 
for posterity wins for me and mine a special importance 
by the gracious lines with which your Majesty has accom- 
panied the presentation. If my self-esteem finds a great 
satisfaction that it is given to me to see my name go down 
to posterity under the wings of the royal eagle which 
points her way to Germany, my heart derives still more 
satisfaction from the feeling that under God's visible 
blessing I serve an hereditary master, to whom I am at- 
tached with full personal love, and the possession of whose 
approbation is for me the most desirable reward in this 
life/ 

c Berlin : March 21, 1871. 

* With to-day's opening of the first German Reichs- 
tag, after the restoration of a German Empire, begins its 
first public activity. Prussia's history and fate have for 
long pointed to an event like that which has now been 
completed by her summons to the head of the newly- 
founded Empire. Prussia owes this not so much to the 
extent of her territory and her power, although both have 
been increased together, as to her intellectual develop- 
ment and the organisation of her army. In the course of 
the last six years the fortunes of my country have with 
unexpectedly rapid succession developed themselves to the 
culmination at which it now stands. To this period be- 
longs an activity for which I summoned you to me ten 
years ago. All the world can see how you have justified 
the confidence from which I then summoned you. To 
your counsel, to your wisdom, to your untiring activity, 
Prussia and Germany owe the historical event which to- 
day takes place in my residency. 

322 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

' Although the reward for these deeds lies within your- 
self, I am still forced and bound to express to you in pub- 
lic and enduring form the thanks of my Fatherland and 
myself. I therefore raise you into the Prussian Order of 
Princes, and decree that the rank shall always be heredi- 
tary in the eldest male member of your family. 

' May you see in this distinction the never failing 
gratitude of your Emperor and King 

' WILLIAM. ' 

' Berlin : March 2, 1872. 

' We celebrate to-day the first anniversay of the con- 
clusion of that glorious peace which, won by courage and 
sacrifices of every kind, by your wisdom and energy, led 
to unthought-of results. Again to-day I repeat to you 
with grateful emotion the recognition and thanks to which 
I have already given public expression in iron and the 
noble metals. One metal still remains bronze. I to-day 
place at your disposition a token of this metal, and one in 
the form which a year ago you brought to silence ; I have 
arranged that some of the conquered cannon, which you 
yourself shall choose, should be handed over to you, and 
you shall erect them on your own estates as a lasting 
memorial of the great services you rendered to me and 
the Fatherland. 

' Your truly devoted and grateful 

' WILLIAM. ' 

'Coblenz : July 26, 1872. 

' On the 28th of this month you will celebrate a happy 
family festival, which the Almighty in His grace grants 
to you. Therefore I can and must not remain behind in 

323 



BISMARCK 

my sympathy at this festival, and I ask that you and the 
Princess your wife will accept my sincere and warmest 
congratulations at this festival. That among all the 
many gifts of fortune which Providence has chosen for 
you, for both of you domestic happiness stands above all 
this it is for which your prayers and thansgivings rise to 
heaven. Our and my thansksgiving go further, for they 
include our gratitude that at the decisive hour God set 
you at my side, and thereby opened to my government a 
course which went far beyond my thoughts and under- 
standing. But for this also you will send your feelings 
of gratitude above, that God in His mercy granted you 
to achieve such great things. Through all your labours 
you ever found recreation and joy in your home, and that 
it is which preserves you for your difficult calling. I 
never cease to urge you that you will maintain and 
strengthen yourself for this, and I am glad to hear from 
your letter to Count Lehndorff and from himself that you 
will now think more of yourself than of the papers. 

'As a reminiscence of your silver wedding a vase will 
be handed over to you, representing a grateful Prussia, 
which, fragile though the material may be, still in every 
fragment shall express what Prussia owes to you for rais- 
ing her to the height at which she stands. 

' Your truly devoted, grateful King, 

' WILLIAM/ 

' Coblenz : November 6, 1878. 

' It has been granted to you within a quarter of a year, 
by your insight, wisdom, and courage, partly to restore, 
partly to maintain, peace in Europe, and in Germany by 
legal means to oppose an enemy who threatened destruc- 

324 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

tion to all public institutions. These two historical 
events are understood by all who are well disposed, and 
their acknowledgment has been imparted to you ; I myself 
have been able to give proof of my acknowledgment of 
that which I have first named, the congress of Berlin, and 
it is now again my duty publicly to express to you my 
acknowledgment for the decisive manner in which you 
have defended the basis of law. The law * which I have 
in my mind, and which owes its origin to an event painful 
to my heart and feeling, will insure that the German 
states, and therefore also Prussia, will continue to be 
based on law and justice. 

' I have chosen as signs of my acknowledgment of 
your great deserts for my Prussia, the emblems of her 
power crown, sceptre, and sword and had them added 
to the Grand Cross of the Red Eagle which you always 
wear; and I now send you the decoration. 

* The sword speaks for the courage and insight with 
which you know how to protect my sceptre and my crown. 

' May Providence grant you the power for long years 
to devote your patriotism to my government and the weal 
of the Fatherland. 

' Your truly devoted, grateful 

' WILLIAM.' 

4 Berlin : April i, 1879. 

' Unfortunately I cannot personally and verbally bring 
you my good wishes for to-day, for although I am to drive 
out to-day for the first time, I may not yet go upstairs. 

'Above all, I wish for you good health, for from that 

*The law of October 21, 1878, against social democracy and its 

efforts, perilous to the community. 

325 



BISMARCK 

all activity depends, and this you are developing now 
more than for a long time, a proof that activity also keeps 
one in health. May it so continue for the good of the 
Fatherland, large and small alike. 

' I use the day to appoint your son-in-law, Count 
Rantzau, a councillor of legation, for I believe I shall in 
this do you a pleasure. 

' I shall also send you a copy of my great ancestor, 
the Great Elector, as he stands on the Long Bridge, as a 
memorial of the present day, which will I hope often recur 
for you and us. 

' Your grateful 

1 WILLIAM.' 

At Christmas 1883 the Emperor presented to me a 
copy of the Niederwald monument, on which was fast- 
ened a small leaf with the following words : 

'Christmas 1883. 

' The corner-stone of your policy, a celebration which 
was chiefly for you and which you were unfortunately * 
unable to attend.' 

' Berlin : April i, 1885. 

'My dear Prince, If a warm desire has appeared in 
the German country and people to assure you, at the cele- 
bration of your seventieth birthday, that the remembrance 
of all which you have done for the greatness of the Father- 
land lives in so many grateful hearts, I feel deeply the 
necessity of expressing to you to-day how much pleasure 
it gives me that this wave of gratitude and respect 
runs through the nation. I rejoice at it, for it is an 

* Owing to ill-health. 

3*6 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

acknowledgment which you have truly deserved in the 
highest degree ; and it warms my heart that these feelings 
find such widespread utterance, for it is an adornment to 
the nation in the present, and it strengthens our hope for 
the future, if it recognises what is true and great, and 
honours and celebrates men of great deserts. To take 
part in a celebration of this kind is a special pleasure for 
me and my house, and we wish to express to you by the 
accompanying picture (the proclamation of the Emperor 
at Versailles) with what feelings of grateful remembrance 
we do this. It recalls to us one of the greatest moments 
in the history of the House of Hohenzollern, of which we 
can never think without at the same time remembering 
your services. You, my dear Prince, know how I shall 
always have the fullest confidence, the most genuine and 
the warmest gratitude towards you. 

' I therefore in this say nothing which I have not often 
enough already told you, and I think that this picture will 
place before the eyes of your distant descendants that your 
King and Emperor and his house will know what we owed 
to you. With these feelings and thoughts I end these 
lines, as lasting beyond the grave, 

' Your grateful, truly devoted Emperor and King, 

' WILLIAM.' 

' Berlin : September 23, 1887. 

* To-day, my dear Prince, you celebrate the day on 
which, twenty -five years ago, I summoned you to my min- 
istry, and after a short time appointed you President of it. 
The services which up to that time you had rendered to 
the Fatherland in the most varied and important commis- 
sions justified me in giving you this highest post. The 

3*7 



BISMARCK 

history of the last quarter of the century proves that I did 
not err in my choice. 

'A shining picture of true love to the Fatherland, of 
unwearied activity, often to the neglect of your own 
health, with unwearied zeal . you kept clearly in your eye 
the often overwhelming difficulties in war and peace, and 
guided them to good ends which with honour and glory 
led Prussia to a position in history of which we had never 
dreamt. Such achievements may well cause us to cele- 
brate the twenty-fifth anniversary of September 23 with 
thanks to God that He has put you at my side in order 
to carry out His work on earth. 

' And these thanks I once more lay to your heart, as I 
have so often before been able to express and assure you 
of them. 

' With thankful heart I wish you happiness on the 
celebration of such a day, and from my heart I wish that 
your powers may long remain unimpaired to the blessing 
of throne and Fatherland. 

' Your ever grateful King and friend, 

' WILLIAM/ 

' P.S. As a remembrance of the twenty-five years 
which have passed I send you the view of the building 
in which we had to discuss and carry out such decisive 
resolutions, which I hope will always be for the honour 
and good of Prussia, and now I hope also of Germany.' 

I received the last letter of the Emperor on December 
23, 1887. Compared with the previous ones it shows, 
both in the structure of the sentences and in the hand- 
writing, that during the last three months both writing 

and expressing himself in writing had become much more 

328 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

troublesome to the Emperor ; but these difficulties did not 
interfere with the clearness of the thoughts, the fatherly 
regard for the feelings of his invalid son, or the anxiety 
which as ruler he felt for the proper education of his 
grandson. It would be wrong in reproducing this letter 
to attempt to improve anything in it. 

* Berlin : December 23, 1887. 

' Enclosed I send you the appointment of your son to 
be an actual Privy Councillor with the title of Excellency, 
that you may give it to your son a pleasure of which I 
did not wish to deprive you. The pleasure will, I think, 
be threefold for you, for your son, and for me. 

' I take the opportunity of explaining to you my pre- 
vious silence as to your proposal to introduce my grandson 
Prince William more into state affairs in the melancholy 
state of health of the Crown Prince my son. In principle 
I am quite agreed that this should be done, but it is very 
difficult to carry it out. You will know that the decision 
(natural enough in itself) which at your advice I adopted, 
that my grandson W., if I were prevented, should sign the 
current orders of the civil and military cabinet under the 
words " by order," that this decision has much irritated 
the Crown Prince, as though in Berlin they were already 
thinking of a substitute for him. When he has considered 
it more quietly my son will probably have calmed himself. 
This consideration would be more difficult if he were to 
hear that his son is allowed still greater insight into 
affairs of state, and that even a " civil aide-de-camp " is 
given him as I in my time called the secretary who had 
to make reports to me. At that time, however, the posi- 
tion of affairs was quite different, for no reason could 

3 2 9 



BISMARCK 

induce my royal father to appoint an understudy to the 
then Crown Prince, although it had long been possible to 
foresee my succession to the crown, and my introduction 
was omitted till my forty-fourth year, when my brother at 
once appointed me a member of the ministry with the ad- 
dition of the title Prince of Prussia. With this position 
the appointment of an experienced man of business was 
necessary to prepare me for every meeting of the minis- 
try. At the same time I daily received the political dis- 
patches after they had gone through four, five, six hands, 
to judge by the seals ! Merely for conversation, as you 
propose, to assign a statesman to my grandson is not, as 
in my case, justified by the preparation for a definite ob- 
ject, and would decidedly irritate my son again and still 
more, which we must certainly avoid. I therefore pro- 
pose that the previous method of learning the business 
and management of, and the way-about of public affairs 
be maintained, i.e. be assigned to single ministries and 
perhaps be extended to two, as during this winter, when 
my grandson should be allowed as a volunteer to visit the 
Foreign Office as well as the Ministry of Finance, and 
then at the new year this might cease to be left to his 
own free will, and perhaps also the Ministry of the Inte- 
rior, and at the same time my grandson might be allowed 
in cases to make himself acquainted with the Foreign 
Office. This continuation of the present procedure can 
irritate my son less, although you will remember that he 
was sharply opposed to this procedure also. I beg, there- 
fore, for your opinion in this matter. Wishing you all a 
pleasant festival, 

' Your grateful 

' WILLIAM. 
33 



THE EMPEROR WILLIAM I 

' Will you be so good as to sign the accompanying 
patent before delivering it? W. ' 1 

I very rarely received letters from the Empress Au- 
gusta; her last letter, during the composition of which 
she doubtless thought of the struggles which I had to 
wage with her as much as I did in reading it, runs as 
follows : 

(Dictated) 

Baden-Baden : December 24, 1888. 

' Dear Prince, If I write these lines to you it is simply 
in order to fulfil a duty of gratitude at the turning-point of 
a grave year of my life. You have stood loyally by our 
departed Emperor and fulfilled my request to care for his 
grandson. In hours of bitterness you have shown sympathy 
to me, therefore I feel myself called upon, before I com- 
plete this year, to thank you once again and at the same 
time to reckon on the continuance of your help in the 
midst of the painful events of a stirring time. I am 
about to celebrate the end of the year quietly in the circle 
of my family, and send a friendly greeting to you and 
your wife. 

'AUGUSTA/ 

The signature is in her own hand, but very different 
from the firm strokes with which the Empress was wont 
to write in former times. 

1 A large number of letters of the Emperor William I to Bismarck are 
published in the Bismarck-Jahrbuch, i. 140-141 ; iv. 3-12 ; v. 254-5 I vi. 
203. 



33 1 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

IT was a widespread error that the change of government 
from the Emperor William I to the Emperor Frederick 
must be associated with a change of ministry and that 
a tame successor would be appointed. In the summer 
of 1848 I had for the first time an opportunity of be- 
coming acquainted with the young Prince, who was then 
seventeen years of age, and received from him proofs of 
personal confidence; this may from time to time have 
wavered up till 1 886, but was clearly and decidedly shown 
at the settlement of the Dantzic episode at Gastein in 
1863.' During the war of 1866, especially in the strug- 
gle with the King and the higher military authorities re- 
garding the wisdom of the conclusion of peace at Nikols- 
burg, I enjoyed a confidence from the Crown Prince which 
was quite independent of political principles and differ- 
ences of opinion. Attempts to shake this confidence were 
made from many sides, not excluding the Extreme Right ; 
many excuses were made and many pretexts invented, but 
they had no permanent success. At any time after 1 866 
a personal conversation between the Prince and myself 
was all that was necessary to make them unavailing. 

When the state of William I's health in 1885 gave 
occasion to serious anxiety, the Crown Prince summoned 
me to Potsdam and asked whether, in case of a change on 

1 Cf. vol. i. p. 355. 
33 2 



THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

the throne, I would remain in office; I declared that I 
was ready to do so under two conditions : no parliamentary 
government and no foreign influence in politics. The 
Crown Prince with a corresponding gesture answered, 
' Not a thought of that. ' 

I could not assume that his wife had the same kindly 
feeling for me ; her natural innate sympathy for her home 
had, from the beginning, shown itself in the attempt to 
turn the weight of Prusso-German influence in the group- 
ings of European power into the scale of her native land ; 
and she never ceased to regard England as her country. 
In the differences of interests between the two Asiatic 
Powers, England and Russia, she wished to see the Ger- 
man power applied in the interests of England if it came 
to a breach. This difference of opinion, which rested on 
the difference of nationality, caused many a discussion 
between her Royal Highness and me on the Eastern 
question, including the Battenberg question. Her influ- 
ence on her husband was at all times great, and it in- 
creased with years to culminate at the time when he was 
Emperor. She also, however, shared with him the con- 
viction that in the interests of the dynasty it was neces- 
sary that I should be maintained in office at the change 
of reign. 

It is not my intention, and it would in fact be an im- 
possible task, expressly to contradict every legend and 
malicious invention. As, however, the story that in 1887, 
after his return from Ems, the Crown Prince signed a docu- 
ment in which, in the event of his surviving his father, he 
renounced his succession to the throne in favour of Prince 
William, has found its way into an English work on the 
Emperor William II, I will state that there is not a 

333 



BISMARCK 

shadow of truth in the story. It is also a fable that, as 
in 1887 was maintained in many circles and believed in 
others, an heir to the throne who suffers from an incur- 
able physical complaint is by the family laws of the 
Hohenzollern excluded from the succession. The family 
laws contain no provision on the matter, any more than 
does the text of the Prussian constitution. On the other 
hand there was one point in which a question of a public 
nature compelled me to interfere in the treatment of the 
sufferer, which otherwise belonged to medical science. 
The doctors who were treating him were at the end of 
May 1887 determined to make the Crown Prince uncon- 
scious and to carry out the removal of the larynx without 
having informed him of their intention. I raised objec- 
tions, required that they should not proceed without the 
consent of the Prince, and, as they were dealing with the 
successor to the throne, that the approval of the head of 
the family should also be required. The Emperor, after 
being informed by me, forbade them to carry out the oper- 
ation without the consent of his son. Of the few discus- 
sions which during his short government I had with the 
Emperor Frederick I may mention one to which I can 
connect some remark about the constitution of the Em- 
pire which occupied me on former occasions and again in 
March 1890. 

The Emperor Frederick was inclined to refuse his 
consent to the law prolonging the period of the legislative 
assembly from three to five years in the Empire and in 
Prussia. As regarded the Reichstag, I explained to him 
that the Emperor as such was no factor of the legislature, 
but that his co-operation took place only as King of Prus- 
sia by the Prussian vote at the federal council ; he did not 

334 



THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

possess by the imperial constitution a veto against unani- 
mous resolutions of the two legislative assemblies. This 
explanation was sufficient to determine his Majesty to 
complete the document by which the publication of the 
law of March 19, 1888, was ordered. 

To the question of his Majesty in what position the 
matter stood as regards the Prussian constitution, I could 
only answer that the King had the same right of adopting 
or rejecting every project of law as either of the two 
houses of the Prussian Parliament. His Majesty then for 
the time refused his signature, reserving his decision. 
The question then arose how the ministry of state which 
had requested the royal consent must behave. I supported 
the view that for a time we should not insist on a discus- 
sion with the King, since he was exercising an undoubted 
right; since, moreover, the project of law had been intro- 
duced before the change of ruler; and lastly, since we 
must avoid intensifying, by raising cabinet questions, the 
situation which, even without this, was sufficiently difficult 
on account of the illness of the monarch. My view was 
adopted. The end of the matter was that his Majesty, of 
his own accord, sent to me on May 27 the Prussian law 
also completed. 

In practice people have been accustomed to regard the 
Chancellor as responsible for the whole policy of the gov- 
ernment of the Empire. This responsibility can only be 
maintained if we admit that the Chancellor is justified first 
in refusing to countersign, then in rendering inoperative 
the imperial messages by means of which proposals of the 
allied governments find their way to the Reichstag (Art. 1 6) . 
The Chancellor himself, if he is not at the same time a 
Prussian plenipotentiary at the imperial council, would, 

335 



BISMARCK 

according to the text of the constitution, not even have 
the right personally to take part in the debates of the 
Reichstag. If, as has hitherto been the case, he has at 
the same time a Prussian commission for the federal coun- 
cil, then he has by Art. 9 the right of appearing in the 
Reichstag and being heard at any time. No clause of the 
constitution gives this right to the Imperial Chancellor as 
such. If, therefore, neither the King of Prussia nor any 
other member of the confederation provides the Chancel- 
lor with a commission for the federal council, he is en- 
tirely without any constitutional claim to appear in the 
Reichstag ; he presides indeed in the federal council by 
Art. 15, but without a vote, and the Prussian plenipoten- 
tiaries would be just as independent of him as those of 
the other allied states. 

Supposing the existing relations were altered so that 
the responsibility of the Chancellor was limited to the 
ordinances of the imperial executive power, and the quali- 
fication, let alone the duty of appearing and taking part 
in the discussions of the Reichstag, were withdrawn from 
him, it is obvious that this would be not merely a formal 
change, but would essentially alter the centre of gravity 
of the factors of our public life. I considered the ques- 
tion whether it was desirable to discuss eventualities of 
this kind at the time when, in December 1884, I found 
myself opposed to a majority in the Reichstag which con- 
sisted of a coalition of the most varied elements of Social 
Democrats, Poles, Guelfs, the French party in Alsace, the 
Radical Crypto-Republicans, and occasionally also the 
discontented Conservatives at Court the coalition which, 
for example, refused the vote for a second director at the 
Foreign Office. The support which I found at Court, in 

336 



THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

parliament and elsewhere against this opposition was not 
unconditional, and was not free from the co-operation of 
grudging supporters who were trying to push their way in 
the world as my rivals. At that time I for some years 
considered, both alone and with others, whether the 
amount of national unity which we had attained did not 
require for its security another form than that which pre- 
vailed at the time, which had been delivered to us by the 
past, had been developed by active life and compromise 
between governments and parliaments ; my opinion on 
the pressing importance of this often wavered. At that 
time I have, as I think, also hinted in public speeches 1 
that the King of Prussia might see himself compelled to 
lean for stronger support on the foundations which the 
Prussian constitution afforded him, if the Reichstag car- 
ried its hindrance to the monarchical establishment be- 
yond the limits of what was possible. At the restoration 
of the imperial constitution I feared that danger to our 
national unity was in the first place to be feared from the 
separate interests of the dynasties, and had therefore set 
myself the task of winning the confidence of the dynasties 
by an honourable and friendly maintenance of their con- 
stitutional rights in the Empire, and I had the satisfaction 
that the prominent princely houses more especially found 
at the same time their national feeling reconciled with 
their particular rights. In the feeling of honour which 
always inspired the Emperor William I towards his allies 
I always found an understanding for what was politically 
necessary, which in the end outweighed his own strong 
dynastic feeling. 

On the other side I had calculated on setting up a 

1 Political Speeches, vol. xi. p. 468. 
VOL. ii 22 337 



BISMARCK 

bond of union in the common public institutions, espe- 
cially in the Reichstag, in finances based on indirect taxes, 
and in monopolies, the receipts of which would only re- 
main available if the permanence of our connexion were 
assured, and 'that this bond would be sufficiently strong to 
resist the centrifugal movements of certain of the allied 
governments. Notwithstanding all the bad will which I 
had had to combat in the Reichstag, at Court, in the Con- 
servative party, and from the declaranten at the end of the 
'seventies, I had not yet been confirmed in the conviction 
that I was mistaken in this calculation, that I had under- 
estimated the national feeling of the dynasty, and over- 
estimated that of the German voters, electors, or the 
Reichstag. Now I have to ask pardon of the dynasties ; 
history will some day decide whether the group-leaders 
owe me a pater feccavi. I can only bear witness that I 
lay to the charge of the parties more blame for the injury 
done to our future than they themselves feel, and I in- 
clude in this the idle members who shunned their work as 
much as those ambitious men in whose hands lay the lead- 
ing and the votes of their followers. ' Get you home, you 
fragments/ says Coriolanus. The Centrum is the only 
party of which I can say it has not been incapably led ; 
but it is calculated for the destruction of the disagreeable 
edifice of a German Empire with a Protestant Emperor ; 
at elections and divisions it accepts the assistance of every 
party, hostile though it may be in itself, but which for the 
moment is working in the same direction, not only of the 
Poles, Guelfs, and French, but also of the Radicals. The 
leaders alone would be able to judge how many of the 
members work consciously for ends hostile to the Empire, 
and how many do so from the limitations of their intel- 

338 



THE EMPEROR FREDERICK III 

lect. Windthorst, politically a latitudinarian, in religion 
an unbeliever, was by accident and the blunders of the 
bureaucracy driven on to the side of our enemies. Not- 
withstanding all, I still hope that in times of war the 
national feeling will rise high enough to tear asunder the 
web of lies in which the party leaders, ambitious orators, 
and party newspapers hold the masses during the times of 
peace. 

Any one who recalls the period in which the Centrum 
(relying less on the Pope than on the Jesuits), the Guelfs 
(not merely from Hanover), the Poles, the French Alsa- 
tians, the people's party, the Social Democrats, the Free- 
thought party, and the Particularists, linked together only 
by hostility to the Empire and the dynasty, held under 
the leadership of the same Windthorst, who before and 
after his death was made a national saint, a firm and com- 
manding majority against the Emperor and the allied gov- 
ernments, and who is also in a position fully to judge the 
situation of that time and the dangers which threatened 
us to East and West, will find it natural that an imperial 
chancellor who was responsible for the final results should 
have thought of meeting possible foreign combinations, 
and an alliance of them with internal dangers, with no less 
independence than we had undertaken the war in Bohe- 
mia, without considering political feelings, and often in 
opposition to them. 

Of the Emperor Frederick's private letters I add one, 
for his sake and for mine, as an example of his character 
and his method of writing, and also to overthrow the le- 
gend that I have been an enemy of the army. 



339 



BISMARCK 

4 Charlottenburg: March 25, 1888. 

' To-day, my dear Prince, I think with you of the fifty 
years which have gone by since you entered the army, 
and I am genuinely glad that the Garde Jdger of that time 
can look back with so much satisfaction to this half-cen- 
tury which has gone by. I will not to-day enter on long 
considerations on the political services which have for 
ever enwoven your name with our history. One thing I 
must lay stress on, that where it was a question of the 
welfare of the army, of completing its strength and readi- 
ness, you never failed to fight out the struggle and carry 
it through. The army therefore thanks you for the bless- 
ings attained, which it will never forget ; at its head the 
war-lord who but a few days ago has been called to take 
up that place after the departure of him who never ceased 
to carry in his heart the welfare of the army. 

' Yours most truly, 

' FREDERICK.' 



INDEX. 



AACHEN (Aix), i. ios? t 15, 282, 322 

Abeken. Herr, i. 384 ; his telegram 
from William I (at Ems) to Bis- 
marck, ii. 97 n, 100 

Ache, the (Gastein), i. 374 

Adam, Mme. : her work 'La So- 
ciete de Berlin,' ii. 186 n 

Adlerberg, Count, i. 241 

Adrianopole, the peace of, i. 302 

Aix. See Aachen 

Albert, King (Saxony), ii. 86 

Albert, Prince Consort (England), 
i. 1 20, 123 ; the visit to Paris in 
1855, 163 ; his estimate of Bis- 
marck, 164 

Albrecht, Prince (of Prussia), ii. 26 

Alexander I, Czar, i. 241,245, 302, 
320, 340 

Alexander II, Czar, i. 103, 217, 252, 
340; acquiesced in the Nikolsburg 
preliminaries of peace (1866), ii. 
61 ; his project for a Prusso-Rus- 
sian alliance in 1863, 70 ; examina- 
tion of the proposal by Bismarck, 
70 sqq ; inquiries of Prussia as to 
its neutrality in case of Russian 
war against Austria, 231 ; singular 
form of the inquiry, ib. ; Bis- 
marck's tardy reply, 233 ; the 
storm passes, 235 ; meeting of 
Alexander and Francis Joseph : 
the convention of Reichstadt, ib. ; 
the Balkan campaign, ib. \ Bul- 
garia, ib. \ Berlin Congress, 236 ; 
the Czar threatens war in a letter 
to William I, 239 

Alexander III, Czar, i. 397; his 
coronation, 413 ; his love of peace, 
414 ; Bismarck complains to him 
of Gortchakoffs dishonest pro- 
ceedings, ii. 191 ; the Emperor's 
treatment of his minister, 193 ; 



letter of Bismarck to Alexander, 
ib. ; his confidence in Bismarck, 
282 ; his doubts of Bismarck's con- 
tinuance in office (1889), 283 

Alexandrovo, ii. 240, 260 

Altmark, the, i. 36, 37 

Alvensleben, Count Albrecht von, i. 
119, 150; (called the 'old lark- 
eater') 150, 1 60 

Alvensleben, General Gustav von, i. 
139. 346 

Allemans (Palatinate), the, i. 321 

Alsace, ii. 227 

Alsen, ii. 13 

American Republics, the, i. 193 

Amsberg, Herr (a great legal au- 
thority), ii. 167 

Ancillon (minister), i. 3, 5 

Andrassy, Count (Austrian Minis- 
ter) : meeting with Bismarck at 
Gastein (1879): their provisional 
understanding, ii. 260 ; resignation 
of Andrassy, 264 , 281 

Anglo-European interference : Ger- 
many's safeguard against, i. 370 

Anne, Queen (England), ii. 281 

Anspach, ii. 43 sq, 82 sq 

Anthony, Prince, ii. 90 

Antonelli, Cardinal, ii. 138 

Araktschejew, ii. 295 

Archdukes, Grand Dukes, and 
Princes : their order of prece- 
dence, ii. 132 

Army, the Prussian : the growth of, 
ii. 59 ; the charge that Bismarck 
was ' hostile to the army,' 166 

Arnim-Boitzenburg, Count, i. ii, 16 

Arnim, Count von ( Arnim- Hein- 
richsdorf-Werbelow : d. 1859), i. 

9 r ' 95 

Arnim, Count Harry von, i. 102, 
312, ii. 161, 165 ; sketch of his 



341 



BISMARCK 



life and character, 177 ; ambassa- 
dor to Paris, 178 ; beginning of 
his intrigues against Bismarck, ib. ; 
his untruthfulness, ib. ; his claims 
to be able to settle the struggle 
with Rome, 1 80 ; his proposal to 
send Oratores from the Emperor 
to the Vatican Council, ib. ; his de- 
tention of official documents, 181; 
trials and sentences, ib. ; relations 
with Baron Hirsch, ib. ; dishonest 
communications to the press, 182 ; 
opinions of the Arnim case ex- 
pressed by various statesmen, 182 
sq 

Aschaffenburg district (Bavaria), 
the, ii. 52, 82 

Asia Minor, ii. 117 

Attila, i. 208 

Auerswald, Alfred, i. 20 

Auerswald, General von, the murder 
of, i. 74 

Auerswald, Rudolf von, i. 102 ; 
261 ; his death, 264, 

Augusta, Princess of Prussia (after- 
wards Queen, later Empress), i. 
21 sq, 24 ; proposal to make her 
Regent, 40 sq ; her method of ex- 
posing her political views, 44; 
liking for French and English : 
aversion to everything Russian, 
132 sq\ prejudice in favour of 
Catholicism, 136 sq; political in- 
fluence, 233 ; political dislikes, i. 
263 ; Queen becomes more friend- 
ly to Bismarck, 274 ; influence 
over her husband, 296 ; her per- 
sonal policy, 333; her restraining 
influence on the King in 1870, ii. 
96, 125; favoured the 'Catholic 
section,' 140 ; her Catholicising in- 
fluence at the time of the Cultur- 
kampf, 144 ; dislike of Bismarck 
openly manifested, 176 ; Bismarck 
complains of the discourtesy 
shown him by the Empress's ad- 
herents, ib. ; she always retained 
her Catholic predilections, 188; 
generally in opposition to the 
policy of the Government, 310; 
her varying moods on foreign 
policy, 31 1 ; Schleinitz, her Oppo- 
sition minister : his regular diplo- 
matic reports, ib. ; an assistant of 
his, 312 ; example of the Empress's 



influence over her husband, ib. ; 
the pivot of opposition, 314 ; her 
last letter to Bismarck, 331 
Augustenburg, Prince of, i. 154, ii. 

sq, 13 

Augustenburg, Hereditary Prince 
of, ii. 28, 30 sqq 

Austria: position in 1848, i. 71; 
during the Crimean war, i. 105 
sqq, 113 sqq, 129; relations with 
Russia, 204 ; helped by Russia in 
1849,239 ; severe measures against 
unfaithful employes, 254 ; Bis- 
marck's estimate of the relation- 
ship of Austria and Prussia, 318 
sq ; the Schleswig-Holstein ques- 
tion (1864), *'. 378 sqq\ relations 
with Prussia in 1863, ii. 4 ; nego- 
tiations with Hanover (1866), 26 ; 
end of the war against Denmark, 
32; war of 1866, ^sqq\ cession 
of Venetia to France, 37 ; invites 
Neopoleon's intervention, ib. ; the 
behaviour of her allies at Konig- 
gratz, 46 ; a truce, ib. ; battle of 
Blumenau, 47 ; negotiations for 
peace, ib. ; rapprochement with 
France, 59 ; the danger of a Rus- 
sia, war in 1876, 231 sqq ; the con- 
vention of Reichstadt : Austria 
acquires Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
235 ; the Berlin Congress, 236 ; 
Bismarck's arguments on behalf 
of an alliance between Germany 
and Austria, 256 sqq ; his fore- 
cast of the future relations of 
Austria and Germany, 257 ; her 
Polish policy, ib. ; preliminary 
agreement between Count An- 
drassy and Bismarck, 260 

Austria. House of: lessons of its 
neglected opportunities, i. 301 

Avars, the, i. 182 

Avron, Mont, the bombardment of, 
ii. 124 

BABELSBERG, Castle of, i. 42, 44, 
280, 351 

Bach, Herr (Austrian statesman), 
i. 93, 204, ii. 279 

Bacmeister, Herr (Prussian states- 
man), i. 97 

Baden, i. 66, 69 sqq 

Baden-Baden, i. 274, 312 

Baden, Duke of, ii. 131 



342 



INDEX 



Baden, Prince William of, i. 248 
Baden, Princess William of (/<? 

Princess Leuchtenberg), i. 248 
Baden, Grand Duchy of, ii. 52, 54 
Baden, Grand Duchess of, i. 258 
Baden, Grand Duke of, ii. 81; his 
proclamation of the ' Emperor 
William,' 133 
Baden guerillas, i. 74 n 
Baireuth, ii. 43 sq. 52 
Bajuvarian dynasty, the, i. 321 
Balabin, Herr, Prussian ambassa- 
dor, ii. 248 

Balkan States, the, ii. 117, 281 
Balkan war (1876), the. ii. 235 
Baltic and North Sea Canal, ii. io > 

32 

Bamberg, i. 108, in 
Bamberg, Herr (Consul at Paris), 

i. 237 

Basle, the peace of, i. 184, 202 
Bassewitz, Herr von, i. n 
Batoum, ii. 117 
Battenberg, Prince of, ii. 117 
Battenberg question, the, ii. 333 
Battenbergian Bulgaria, ii. 14 
Bavaria, i. 45, 62, 69 sqq t in, 113, 
128, 130, 184; (the dynasties of), 
311 ; political events of Lewis II 's 
reign) 388 sqq, ii. 44, 82 sqq 
Beauharnais House, the, i. 323 
Beaumont, i. 139 
Beckerath, Herr, i. 20, 54 
Befehlerle ( = ' red tape '), i. 12 
Belgium, i. 184, 193, 195, 207, 212 ; 

the constitution of, 361 
Belgrade, i. 323 
Belle-Alliance, ii. 99 
Below, Herr von, i. 260 
Below-Hohendorf, Herr, i. 160, 374 
Benckendorf, Count (Russian mili- 
tary attache, 1850), i. 82, 162 
Benecke, Professor (surgeon), i. 

260 

Benedetti, Count (French ambassa- 
dor) : assists at the conferences 
for peace (1866), ii. 47 ; propo- 
sals submitted by him from Na- 
poleon, ib. ; at Ems (1870), 94 
sqq ; his final demand from Wil- 
liam I, 97 n 

Bennigsen, Herr Rudolf von : nego- 
tiations for his succession to Count 
Eulenburg, ii. 197 ; his demands, 
198 ; rupture of the negotiations, 



201 ; Bennigsen definitely de- 
clines, ib. 

Berlichingen, Goetz von, i. 33 

Berlin : song of the troops in their 
retreat from, 1848, i. 42 ; the 
events of 1848, i. 46, 49 

Berlin Congress (1878). the, Rus- 
sian gains in, ii. 117 232, sqq 

Bernadotte, the House of . i. 194 

Bernhard, Herr (private secretary 
to Frau von Schleinitz), ii. 312 

Bernstorff, Count, i. 237, 272, 275, 
279, 280, 283 , 285, ii. 16 

Bessarabia, i. 205 

Bethmann-Hollweg, Herr von : let- 
ter to William I, 1866, ii. 15 

Bethmann - Hollweg group, the 
(Prussian political party), i. 101 
sqq, 121, 125, 134, ii. 14 

Beust, Count von (Saxon minister), 
i. 130, 376 

Beust, Count (Austrian minister), ii. 
6, 59 ; the Austrian policy dur- 
ing the Franco-Prussian war, ii. 
no sqq ; the origin of the phrase 
4 They must be squeezed to the 
wall,' 205 

Biarritz, i. 384, ii. 28 

Bismarck-Bohlen, Count (cousin of 
Bismarck) , ii. 85 

Bismarck, Count Herbert, i. 405 ; 
made Privy Councillor with the 
title of Excellency, ii. 329 

Black Sea : Russian restrictions in, 
by the treaty of Paris, ii. 115, 
254 ; Russian aim at the control, 
285 

Blanckenburg, M o r i t z Henning 
(Roon's nephew), i. 294, ii. 152, 

159 

Blind's attempt to assassinate Bis- 
marck (1866), i. 372; a satirical 
cartoon on the occasion, 372 n 

Blome, Count, ii. 18 sq 

Bloomfield, Lord, i. 253 

Blucher, Prince, i. 6. ii. 161 

Bludoff, Count, i. 241 

Blumenau, battle of, ii. 47 

Blumenthal, Count (later Field Mar- 
shal), ii. 126 

Blumenthal, Countess (an English 
lady), ii. 126 

Bockum-Dolffs, Herr, i. 336 

Bockheim Wood, i. 366 

Bodelschwingh, Herr Ernst von 



343 



BISMARCK 



(Minister of the Interior ; resigned 
in 1848), i. 23, 32, 60, 70, 104, 
148 

Bodelschwingh, Herr Karl von 
(Minister of Finance), i. 309, 
328 ; (letter to Bismarck) 356, 
385, ii. 156 s(/ 

Bodelschwingh, Pastor von, i. 33 n 

Boetticher, Oberprasident von, i. 87 

Bohemia, i. 71, 302, 374, ii. 12, 43, 
276, 311 

Bonapartism, i. 116, 144, 196 sq, 
206 

Bonin, Herr von, i. 28, 232 

Bonnechose, Cardinal (Archbishop 
of Rouen), ii. 135 

Bordeaux, ii. 112 

Bordeaux, Duke of, i. 199 

Bordighera, ii. 156 

* Borussian ' sentiment, i. 72 

Bosnia, ii. 235 

Bosphorus, Russia's aim at the con- 
trol of, ii. 287 sq 

Boulanger, General, ii. 285, 293 

Bourbons, the, i. 196; 206, 209 

Boycott, a military, ii. 104, 108 

Boyen, General von, i. 231 

Brabant dynasty, the, i. 321 

Brandenburg, i. 58 

Brandenburg, House of, i. 325 

Brandenburg, the March of, ii. 130, 
184 

Brandenburg Margraves, the, i. 182 ; 
their old seat, ii. 44 

Brandenburg, Count (Minister- 
President) i, 53, 55, 58, 62 ; at 
Erfurt, i. 72 ; his death. 73, 77 

Brandenburg, Count : his physical 
weakness, i. 308 

Brassier, Herr (Prussian ambassa- 
dor), i. 6 

Brater, Herr, i. 353 

Brauchitsch, Herr von (Rath), i. 7, 
20, ii. 155 

Braunau, the district of, ii. 45 

Bregenz coalition, the, ii. 4 

Breslau, i. 105 

Bresson, Count (French ambassador 
to Berlin, 1854), i. 125 

Brints, Frau von (sister of Count 
Buol), i. 242 

Bruck, Baron von (Austrian states- 
man) i. 93 

' Bruderstamm ' movement, the 
Polish, i. 347 



Brunnen (Canton Schwyz), I. 270 
Brunnow, Baron von, i. 129 
Brunswick, i. 76, 210, ii. 80 
Brunswick dynasty, the, i. 321 
Brunswick, Elector of, i. 325 
Budberg, Baron von (Russian dip- 
lomat, 1850), i. 82, no, 254, 283, 
ii. 247, 248 

Billow, Baron von, i. 137 ; letter to 
Bismarck on Harry Arnim, ii. 182 
Billow, Herr Bernard von, ii. 214 ; 
letter from Bismarck on von Gru- 
ner's case. 223 
Bug, the, ii. 72 
Bukowina, the, ii. 50 
Bulgaria, ii. 117, 235, 263, 294 jy 
Bund, the, i. 85, 90, 174 sq, 188, 

319, 327, 368 _ 

Bunsen. Chevalier de (ambassador 
to London), i. 114 n, 118, 122, 
152, 309 

Buol, Count von (Austrian states- 
man), i. 93, 108, 115, 127 sqq, 161, 
204, 235, 385, ii. 279 
Bureaucracy, the Prussian, i. 12 sqq 
Burnes, Sir Alexander : his dis- 
patches from Afghanistan, ii. 237 
Bur schensc haft, the, i. 2, 46 
Byzantinism, i. 64, 312 

1 CABINET wars, ' ii. 270 

Csesarism, i. 208, ii. 67 

Camarilla, the, i. 52, 138, 144, 159 

Camphausen, Herr Ludolf (Minis- 
ter-President), i. 47 sq, 354, ii. 
216, 224 

Canitz, General von. i. 6, 170 

Caprivi, Count von, i. 35 , ii. 166 

Carlowitz, Herr, i. 58 

Carlsbad, ii. 45 

Carlsruhe, i. 253, 291 

Caroline Islands, the, ii. 293 

' Cartridge, Prince ' (nickname of 
Prince of Prussia, 1848), i. 40 

Caspar Hauser story, the, i. 323 

Cassel, ii. 27 

Catherine, Empress (Russia), i. 250, 
ii. 272, 274, 296 

Catholicism : favoured by Princess 
(later Empress) Augusta, i. 136 sq 

Catholic party in Germany, the, i. 
402 

'Catholic section,' the, in the Min- 
istry of Public Worship, ii. 139, 
141 ; its abolition, 142 



344 



INDEX 



Catholics, German : the ' Cultur- 
kampf,' ii. 135 sqq\ party spirit 
of the Catholics, 136; the May 
Laws, 142, 147 sqq\ position of 
Prussian Catholics before 1870, 
149; changed conditions in recent 
times, 187 

Cattaro, Gulf of, ii. 277 

Cattle plague, ii. 227 

'Centrum' party, ii. 138; its anti- 
Imperial character, 338, 339 

Champagne, the Prussian campaign 
in (1792), ii- 49 

Chamisso's poem, Vetter Anselmo, i. 

IO2 

Chancellor, Imperial : his duties, 
responsibility, and rights, ii. 
335 sqq 

Charles the Great, i. 182, ii. 127 
Charles I, King (England), i. 314 
Charles I, King (Portugal), i. 194 
Charles V, Emperor, i. 326, ii. 279 
Charles X (France) , i. 302 
Charlotte, Empress Dowager (Rus- 
sia) , i. 248 

Charlottenburg, i. Ill, 153 sq 
Chasseurs de Vincennes, i. 243 
Chauvinism, Hungarian, ii. 289 
Chemnitz, ii. 46 

Chevkin, Herr (the railway 'gener- 
al '), i. 242 

Cholera, attack of, among the Prus- 
sian troops (1866), ii. 49 
Chotek, Count, ii. 112 
Christian IX, King (Denmark), ii. 22 
Church, the Christian : its old time 
influence on European politics, i. 
182 

Cipher dispatches : difficulty of 

keeping the cipher secret, ii. 231 

'Circle,' the (Stettin): Bismarck 

deputy of, i. 19 
Cis-Leithania, i. 94 
Civil-diplomats, Prussian, character 

of, i. 4 

Civil Marriages : Bismarck's opin- 
ion on, ii. 152 
Clarendon, Lord, i. 306 
' Classen- Steuer,' the, i. 38 n 
Coalitions : Bismarck's objection to, 

". 245, 255 

Cobenzl, Count von, i. 190, 202 
Coblenz, i. 135. 169, ii. 81 
Coburg, Duke of, i. 100, ii. 5 
Cologne, i. 169 



Committee of National Defence 

(Prussia), ii. 33, 35 
Confederation, the North German, 

ii. 57 sqq, 284 

Conflict, the Ministry of, i. 328 sqq 
Conservative party the Prussian : 
reactionary tendencies in. 1867, 
ii. 69 sq ; Bismarck's rupture with 
(1872), ii. 155 sqq\ political re- 
sults, 165 

Constance, Lake of, i. 205 
Constantine, Grand Duke, i. 245, 

304, 346 

Constantinople, i. 396, ii. 289 
Constitution, the English, i. 355, 361 ' 
Constitution, the French (1791), 

i. 196 

Constitution, the Prussian : the 
King's position in, i. 156; Bis- 
marck's criticism of it, ii. 77 
Copenhagen, i. 151, 215, ii. 283 
Cossacks in Berlin (1813), i. 302 
'Cossacks of the Spree,' i. 188 
Costenoble, Geheimrath, ii. 10 
Council of State, the Prussian : its 
institution (1817) and object, ii. 
297 ; why it was recalled into ac- 
tivity (1852), ib. ; causes of its 
defective drafting of proposed 
laws, 294 sqq ; results of indolence 
and party blindness, 299 ; a strik- 
ing example, 299 sq ; corrective 
influences, 300 ; excellence of the 
Council's work after 1884, 301 
Courland, i. 216 

Court etiquette and manners in var- 
ious countries compared, i. 167 
Creisau, ii. 109 n 

Crimean war : Prussia's position 
during the, i. 105 sqq, 161, 213, 
303 

Culturkampf, the, ii. 135 
Curia, the Roman, ii. 149 sq \ its 
policy towards Prussia after 1866, 
184 

Czechs, ii. 269, 276, 280 
Czernahora, the ' council of war ' at 
(1866), ii. 39 

DALWIGK-COEHORN, Herr von, i. 

108, ii. 7 

Danish question, the, i. 312 
Danish war (1864), the, i. 76 
Dantzic, i. 75, 233, 264, 301, ii. 283 
Dantzic episode, the, i. 349, ii. 332 



345 



BISMARCK 



Danube, the, ii. 41 

Danube principalities, the Russian 
retreat from, i. 161 

Dardanelles, the, i. 113 

Darmstadt, i. 86, 108, 128, 184, 378 

Dauner, Countess, i. 216 

Decazes, M., ii. 244 

December Constitution, the, i. 144 

Decembrists, the, ii. 295 

4 Decorations,' popular admiration 
of, in St. Petersburg, i. 243 

Delbruck, Herr, i. 3, 329, 384 

Denmark, i. 195, 215, 303, 380; 
voted in the Federal Diet, ii. 13 

Departments, Government, B i s- 
marck's relation with, ii,225, sqq\ 
Ministry of Education, 226 ; Fi- 
nance, 227 ; Agriculture, ib. ; 
Treasury, 228 ; Post Office, ib. 

Deputies, Chamber of (Prussian), i. 
157, (1849) 313, (1863) 316 

Derby, Earl of, ii. 244 

Dispatches, political : general and 
systematic tampering with en 
route, i. 251 sqq 

Dessau, i. 45, 184 

Deutsch-Wagram, ii. 41 

Diest, Herr von. ii. 155, 157 

' Diet of Princes, ' the Frankfort 
(1863), i. 366 sqq; its object, a 
union of all Germany on the basis 
of dualism (Prussia and Austria), 
368 ; different from Schwartzen- 
berg's scheme, ib. 

Dijon, ii. 122 

Diplomacy, Prussian training in, i. 
3 sqq 

District president (' Landrath '), bu- 
reaucratised into a Government 
official, ii. 196 ; the result, 197 

Divorce and matrimonial proceed- 
ings in Prussia (1835), i. 8 

Doberan, i. 289, 293 

Donhoff family, the, ii. 207 

Dohna, Count Frederick zu, i. 138 

Dolgorouki, Prince, i. 255 

Donchery, ii. 87 

Drahnsdorf, i. 119, 149 

Dresden, i. 46 jy, 66 sq, 84, 371, ii. 
40 n 

Drouyn de Lhuys, ii. 55, 60, 312 

Duppel, ii. 13, 22, 166 

Duncker, Max, i 349, 354 

Dynasties and stocks, the importance 
of to German patriotism, i. 318 ; 



lack of the dynastic sentiment in 
other European nations, 322 ; in 
Germany, ii. 44 

ECONOMICS, Board for, ii. 300 

Echstaedt, Count Vitzthum von, i. 
55 w, ii. 60 

Eger valley, the, i: 45 

Elbe, the, ii. 34 

Elbe Duchies, the, i. 122, 322 

Elector, the Great, i. 183, ii. 10, 326 

Elizabeth, Czarina, ii. 281 sq 

Elizabeth, Queen (wife of Freder- 
ick William IV), i. 41-, 35, 169, 
218 sq, 375 

Elsass-Lothringen, the organization 
of (1871) i. 10 

Emperor: William I's dislike for 
the title, ii. 64 

' Emperor ' and ' King of Prussia,' 
distinction between, as to func- 
tions, ii. 221 

Ems telegram : the original, ii. 97 
n; as edited for Ue press, 100 

Enghien, Due d\ i. 207 

England : rival Continental policies 
of Lord Palmerston and Prince 
Albert, i. 120; Napoleon Ill's 
objection to the naval preponder- 
ance of England, 214 ; lack of 
the dynastic sentiment in, 323, 
the Constitution, 354, 361; her 
varying policy in seeking allies, 
370; the Turkish question (1876), 
396 ; relations with Germany 
(1877), 400 ; the cant of humani- 
tarianism during the siege of 
Paris, ii. 125 ; capitulation through 
bombardment or through famine : 
which is more humane ? 125 
English female influences at 
Prussian headquarters, ib. ; ' se- 
lection' of papers for the public 
eye, 237 ; little hope of support 
in Germany in case of war (1875), 
255 ; her old policy towards Tur- 
key modified through Mr. Glad- 
stone's denunciation of the Sul- 
tan, 287 

' Era articles of Perrot,' the, ii. 167, 

177 

Erfurt parliament, the, i. 71, 143 
Ernestine line (Saxony), i. 122 
Erxleben, i. 119, 150 
Etzel, General von, ii. 37 



346 



INDEX 



Eugenie, Empress, i. 277, 344, ii. 
184 sqq 

Eulenburg, Count Botho zu, ii. 202, 
206 sqq ; correspondence with 
Bismarck, 209 ; his resignation, 

211 

Eulenburg, Count Frederick zu, i. 
228 ; specimen of his business ca- 
pacity, 330 sqq ; ii. 196 ; his ad- 
ministrative reform, 196 ; choice 
of his successor, 197 ; as go-be- 
tween, 200 

European politics in the middle ages, 

1. 182 

Evangelical Church question, the, 
ii. 146 

FALK, Herr, i. 137 

Falk, the May Laws, ii. 142 ; causes 
of his retirement : feminine Court 
influence, 143 

Fanariots, the, ii. 294 

Faubourg St. Germain, the, ii. 246 

Favre, M. Jules, ii. 254 

' February conditions,' the, ii. 28 

Federal Council, the, i. 394, 398 

Federal Diet (restored to activity 
by Austria), i. 85, (Bismarck en- 
voy to) 86, 142, ii. 3 

Federation, German, i. 310, ii. 43 

Fischer, Hannibal, ii. 21 sq 

Flemming, Count, i. 253 

Flenry, General, i. 346 

Florence, i. 225 sq 

Floridsdorf lines, the, ii. 40 sq, 123 

Fontainebleau, i. 282 

Forckenbeck, Herr, ii. 198 

France; relations with England after 
1855. i. 187 ; a war with Prussia 
a logical sequence to the war with 
Austria (1866), ii. 42 ; the contin- 
gency of its again becoming mon- 
archical and Catholic, 279 

Franchi, Cardinal, i. 402 

Francis Joseph, Emperor, i. 91, 160, 
239 sq ; at Gastein : the summon- 
ing of the ' Diet of Princes,' 374 ; 
inherent difficulties of his political 
position, 386 sq 

Franconian principalities, the, i. 184, 
ii- 45 

Franco -Prussian war, Bismarck's 
preparations for, ii. 58 sqq, 73 sqq 

Frankfort, (the outbreak of 1833) i. 

2, 140, 377 sq 



Frankfort Assembly, the (Pauls- 

kirche), i. 61 sq 
Frankfort, Diet of, i. 74 
Frankfort, the peace of, ii. 185 
Franks (of the Main), i. 321 
Fransecky, General von, ii. 47 
Frantz, Constantine, i. 146 
Frederica of Hanover, Princess, ii. 

26 

Frederick I (Elector), ii. 43 
Frederick II (the Great), i. 84, in, 
(subsidies paid by him to Russia) 
183, 298 sqq, 320, ii. 42, 281 ; his 
desire for historical fame, 316 
Fredericklll. See Frederick, Prince 
Frederick VII, King (Denmark): 
Bismarck's interview with (1857), 
i. 215 ; his death (1863), 378 
Frederick, Prince (afterwards Crown 
Prince: later Emperor Frederick 
III),i. 44 ; his visit to Italy (1878), 
137 ; Bismarck's relations with 
him in 1863 (the Dantzic episode), 
349; the result, 351 sqq ; visit to 
Bismarck at Gastein, 355 ; letter 
to Bismarck, ib. ; a conversation 
between them, 357 ; the King's 
reply to the Prince's requests, 358 
sqq ; statement of the claims of 
Prussia in the Augustenburger 
question, ii. 31 ; head of the Com- 
mittee for National Defence, 33 ; 
his strong dynastic family feeling, 
43 ; supports Bismarck's views on 
peace proposals of Austria (1866), 
53 ; objection to the restoration 
of the Imperial title, 127 ; views 
about the form of his father's title, 
131 ; unchanging confidence in 
Bismarck, 217; a strong advocate 
of the Austrian alliance, 271 ; his 
illness at the time of his father's 
death, 304 ; cordial relations with 
Bismarck from his youth up, 332 ; 
contradiction of the story that (in 
1887) he renounced his succession 
in favour of his son, 333 ; and the 
myth about an incurable physical 
complaint excluding from the suc- 
cession an heir to the throne, 334 ; 
reason of Bismarck's interfering 
in the medical treatment of the 
Prince, ib. ; differences of opinion 
between Frederick III and Bis- 
marck on some points of consti- 



347 



BISMARCK 



tutional law, 334 sqq ; distinction 
between 'Emperor' and ' King of 
Prussia, ' 334 ; a letter from the 
Emperor Frederick to Bismarck, 
340 

Frederick. Hereditary Prince 
(Hesse), ii. 27 ; letter to Bismarck, 

29, 31 

Frederick of Prussia, Prince, i. 
169 

Frederick of Wurtemburg, Prince, 
ii. 56 

Frederick Charles, Prince (Prussia), 
i. 24 sq, ii. 45, 99 

Frederick William I, i. 96 

Frederick William II : his policy 
criticised, i. 301 

Frederick William III, (his suppres- 
sion of student aspirations for 
German unity) i. 44, (object of 
his wars against France) 183, 255, 
(his will) 262, 320, ii. 81. 

Frederick William IV : his at- 
te'mpted alteration of the Prus- 
sian marriage law, i 9 ; his princi- 
ples of government, 18; treatment 
of Bismarck (1847) , 21 ; the events 
of 1848, 22 sqq, 29 ; his 'Deutsch' 
national sentiment, 44 ; relations 
with Emperor Nicholas (Russia), 
46; estimate of his conduct dur- 
ing the revolution of 1848, 47 ; 
visit of Bismarck to, at Sans- 
Souci, 47 ; his conduct in 1848, 
48 sq ; his policy after 1848, 59 
sqq ; the imperial crown offered to 
him by the Paulskirche parliament, 
60 , 62 sq \ objected to his mini- 
sters dancing, 90 ; letter to Em- 
perior Francis Joseph, 91 ; letter 
to Bismarck on the proposed 
Second Chamber, 153; his man- 
ner of living, 154 ; ' edited ' auto- 
graph letters, 160 ; his treatment 
of Bismarck in 1854, 161 ; strange 
proposal for bringing Bismarck 
into his ministry, 211 ; sudden ill- 
ness : Prince of Prussia appointed 
Regent, 216 sqq\ letters to Bis- 
marck, 226, 228 ; estimate of the 
policy of Frederick William IV, 
i. 308, 371 

Frederick William, Prince (Electoral 
Hesse), ii. 21 sq 

Frederick William, Prince (Prussia): 



work as President of the Council 

of State (1884), ii. 301 
Freemasonry, i. 225 
Free press : benefit of its criticism 

to a state, ii. 68 
Free trade, ii. 217 

French (language) , former apprecia- 
tion of in Prussia, i. 4 ; used in 

ambassadorial reports, 5 
Friendenthal, Herr, ii. 203, 215 sq, 

224 

Friesland, East, ii. 43 
Frobel, Herr Julius : initiator of the 

1 Diet of Princes,' i. 374 
Furstenberg - Stammheim, Count, 

i. 101 
Fulda, ii. 80 

GABLENZ, General von, i. 373, ii. 37 

Gagern, General Frederick von, i. 
73 ; his death, 74 n 

Gagern programme, the, ii. 5 

Galicia, i. 94, 107, ii. 6, 276, 280 

Gallicanism, ii. 136 

Garde J tiger, the, ii. 340 

Garibaldi, General, i. 225, ii. 60 ; 
his dramatic military performances 
on behalf of France. 136 

Gastein, i. 344, 374, ii. 214, 267, 
332 

Gastein Convention, the. ii. 18, 25 

Geffcken, Herr (Hanseatic Guelf) : 
his pseudo-diary of the Crown 
Prince, i. 353, ii. 128 

Geheimer Rath, i. 147 

Geheimrath, i. 89 

Gensdarmenmarkt, i. 56 

Genthin, i. 32, 41 

George V, King (Hanover), i. 97; 
Bismarck's visit to him, 97 ; under 
Austrian influence (1866), ii. 27 ; 
letter to William I (i86/), not ac- 
cepted by the latter, 80 

Geppert, Justizrath, i. 77 

Gerard, M. (reader to Augusta), i. 
133 n, ii. 186, 188 ; in correspon- 
dence with Gambetta, 186 n 

Gerlach, General von, i. 51, 99; on 
Frederick William IV and General 
Radowitz. 71 n ; letter to Bis- 
marck, 104 ; correspondence in 
cipher between him and Bismarck 
(1854), 109 sqq, 113 ; letter from 
Bismarck to (1856), 126 ; on Man- 
teuffel and Rhino Quehl, 144 sq ; 



34S 



INDEX 



correspondence between Bismarck 
and him (1857), 171 ; his early 
relations with William I (when 
Prince), ii. 305 ; called a 'Pietist' 
by the Prince, ib. 

Gerlach, Leopold von, i. 61 

Gerlach, Ludwig von (President ; 
brother of the General), i. 51, 159, 
ii. ii 

German element in Austrian parlia- 
ment after 1866, ii. 86, 269 

' German Emperor ' or ' Emperor of 
Germany' ; difficulties about the 
title, ii. 131 

German Empire : its foundation 
more firmly laid through intestine 
conflicts, i. 47 

4 German-National ' political aims 
(1832) among students, i. 2 

German national unity, the initia- 
tion of, the aim of Bismarck, ii. 

51 

Germany : the various dynasties in, 
i. 318; influence of party spirit 
in politics and religion, ii. 23; its 
position in regard to Russia's fu- 
ture policy, 288 sqq 

Gerstenberg, Governor - General : 
death by violence, i. 338 

'Gladstone Ministry,' the so-called 
(i.e. Stosch, Rickert, and others), 
ii. 148, 206 sy, 216 

Gladstone, Mr., result of his denun- 
ciations of the Sultan, ii. 287 

Glatz, i. 381 

Gneisenau, General, i. 6, 191 

Goeben, General, i. 6 

Gorres, Herr, ii. 99 

Goethe, i. 132 

Goltz, Count Charles von der (aide- 
de-camp to Emperor William), i. 
100 

Goltz, Count Robert von der, i. 101, 
122, 124, 312; letter to Bismarck, 
344; difference with Bismarck 
concerning the Schleswig-Hol- 
stein question, ii. i 

Goluchowski, Count (Stadtholder of 
Galicia) , ii. 205 

Gontaut-Biron, Vicount de (French 
ambassador), ii. 186; his activity 
in St. Petersburg, 188 

Gontaut-Gortchakoff intrigue, the, 
ii. 1 88 sqq 

Gortchakoff, Prince, ii. 60, 75, in ; 



antipathy to Bismarck stronger 
than his patriotism, 115; his van- 
ity : epigram by Bismarck, 116; 
his best dispatches the work of 
Jomini, 119; story of a box set 
with diamonds, 151 n ; on the re- 
lations of France and Prussia in 
1875, 188; claims to have pre- 
vented the outbreak of war, 189; 
rebuked by Bismarck, 190 ; his 
methods in 1876, 231; took part 
in Berlin congress contrary to his 
master's wish, 236; premeditated 
dishonesty, 238; his share in the 
Czar's threatening letter to Wil- ' 
Ham I, 240; examples of his old 
confidence in Bismarck, 247 sq ; 
opposed the proposed alliance of 
the three Emperors, 254 sq 

Gossler, Herr von (Minisfer of Reli- 
gion), i. 333 

' Gotha, ' meaning of, as a political 
term, i. 100, 120 

Gottberg, Frau von, ii. 126 

Gottberg, Herr von, ii. 126 

Gottorp, the House of, i. 322 

Govone, General, ii. 60 

Gramont, Duke of, ii. 90, 93 

Graudenz, i. 349 

Greece, i. 193 ; a disappointment to 
Russia, ii. 295 

Griesheim, Colonel von, i. 57 

Groben, Count von der, i. 138 

Grote-Schauen, Freier Standesherr 
von, i. 68 

Gruner, Herr Justus, ii. 217 

Gruner, Herr von, i. 85; an enemy 
of Bismarck, ii. 217 ; appointed to 
an office irregularly, 218; Bis- 
marck interferes, ib. ; the appoint- 
ment not gazetted, 224 

Guelf, House of, i. 325 

Guelf legion, the : its formation and 
dissolution, ii. 84 

Guelfs, the, ii. 26, 

Guntershausen, i. 140 

HABSBURG-LOTHRINGEN, the HoUSC 

of, i. 207 

Habsburgs, the, i. 327, ii. 280 
Hague, treaty of the (1785), i. 194 
Hahn, Geheimrath, ii. 207 
Hambach festival (1832), the, i. 2 
Hamburg, i. 368, ii. 33 
Hanau, i. 327, ii. 80, 99 



349 



BISMARCK 



Hanover, i. 68, 71, 97, in, 113, 
368, ii, 26, 43 ; its position after 
the war of iS66, ii. 79 sq 

Hanse towns, i. 322 

Hantge, Herr, i. 114 n 

Hapsburg monarchy, the composite 
character of the, i. 386 

Hardenberg. Prince (Prussian diplo- 
mat), i. 6, 320, ii. 44, 161 

Harkort, Herr, i. 54 

Hassenkrug(a secret agent), i. 126 

Hatzfeldt, Count (Prussian ambas- 
sador in Paris, 1855), i. 118, 163, 
176 

Hatzfeldt, Count Max, i. 6 

Haugwitz, Count von, i. 190, 201, 
302, 371 

Haxthausen-Abbenburg, Baron von, 
i. 1 20 ; his theory of the three 
zones, 132 

Haymerle, Baron (Andrassy's suc- 
cessor), ii. 264 n 

Hecker, Herr, i. 74 n 

Hedemann, General von, i. 28 

Heidelberg, i. 3, 258 

Heidt, Herr, i. 20 

Heinzes, the (husband and wife), the 
proceedings against (1891), i. 7 

Helene, Grand Duchess, i. 271 

Helene, Princess, ii. 56 

Heligoland, ii. 35 

Henry the Lion, i. 325 

Henry V, King (France), i. 198 

Herzegovina, ii. 235 

Hess, General, i. 109 

Hesse, i. 66, 368 

Hesse-Darmstadt, ii. 52, 54 

Hesse, Electorate of, i. 210, ii. 27 
sq, 43; its position after the war 
of 1866, ii. 79 sq 

Hetaeira, the (Greece) , ii. 294 

Heydt Baron von der, i. 271, 288, 
309, 329, ii. 156 

High Consistorial Court, the, ii. 
144 

Hinckeldey, Herr von (First Com- 
missioner of Police), i. 126, 146 

Hindersin, General von, ii. 40 n 

Hirsch, Baron: Harry Arnim's re- 
lations with, ii. 181 

Hodel: attempt to assassinate Wil- 
liam I, ii. 204 

Hofburg. the, i. 284 

Hohendorf, i. 260 

Hohenlohe - Ingelfingen, Prince 



Adolf von (President of the Min- 
istry, 1862), i. 275 
Hohenlohe, Prince Krafft, i. 399, ii. 

124 

Hohenschwangau, i. 391 
Hohenstaufen, the, i. 326 
Hohenzollern (acquired for Prussia 

by Frederick William IV), ii. 10, 

81 
Hohenzollern dynasty, the, i. 322, 

327 ; the family laws of the, ii. 

334 
Hohenzollern, Leopold, Hereditary 

Prince of : selected by Spanish 

Ministry for the throne of Spain, 

ii. 87; events arising out of this, 

87 sqq ; the Prince renounces his 

candidature, 94 
Hohenzollern, Prince von (Ministry 

of the 'New Era'), i. 222, 261, 

263, 271, ii. 310 
Holland, i. 183, 193,212; rumoured 

German designs on, 400 (also ii. 

55) ; importance of its large inland 

canals, ii. 34 
Holland, Queen of (1866) : her an- 

ti - Austrian sentiments, ii. 54; 

changed feelings towards Bis- 
marck, 55 

Holnstein, Count, i. 390, ii. 129 
Holstein, i. 322 
Holstein Estates, the, ii. 8 
Holy Alliance, the, i. 209, ii. 284 
Holy Roman Empire, the, ii. 273 
' Homage ' question, the, i. 264, 

267 

Homburg, ii. 113 
Horriez (pronounced ' Horsitz ' ), ii. 

28, 37 

Hotel Meinhard, the, i. 26 
Hiibner, Baron von, i. 176 
Humbert, King (Italy), i. 137 
Humboldt, Baron von, i. 28, 320 
Hungarian Diet, the, i. 209 
Hungary,^. 94, 114, 239, 383, ii. 38 

IONATIEFF, General, ii. 117 
' Immediatbericht,' the, ii. 128 
Indemnity, Bill of (Prussian), ii. 59 
Indemnity for ministers during the 

'Conflict' period, ii. 77 
1 Interim,' the, i. 205 
' Interimisticum.' the, i. 211 
Intrigues against Bismarck, ii. 177 

sqq 



35 



INDEX 



Iron Cross, the, i. 22, 255 
Italian war (1859), i. 251, 310 
Italy, i. 114 sq, 185, 209 ; position 
in 1866, ii. 50; subservience to 
France after the war of 1866, 59 ; 
Republican protest against Ital- 
ian subservience to France, 113 ; 
relations with Prussia, 273 
Itzenplitz, Count (Minister of Com- 
merce), i. 328 sq 

JACOBINI, Monsignor (Nuncio at 

Berlin, 1879), i. 407 
Jagow, Herr von (Minister of the 

Interior), i. 280, 329 
Jahde, the, ii. 34 

Jahde district : acquired by Freder- 
ick William IV, ii. 10 
Jahde harbour, the, i. 179 
Jahn, Herr, ii. 99 
Jahn's drill-system in schools, i. i, 

16 

Jena, i. 141 
Jerichow, i. 23 
Jesuits : Bismarck's relations with, 

i. 223 ; their influence in parts of 

Germany, i. 402, ii. 139 
John, King (Saxony), i. 216, 376, ii. 

86 
Jomini, Baron : wrote Gortchakoff's 

best dispatches, ii. 119 
Jordan, Herr von (ambassador at 

Dresden), i. 88 

Joseph II, Emperor, ii. 68, 272, 274 
Juterbogk, i. 312 
July revolution, the, i. 304 
' Junker ' policy, i. 164 
Jutland, the invasion of, i. 379 

KALENBURG, ii. 80 

Kammergerichts-Auskultator, i. 3, 7 

Kandern, i. 74 n 

Karlsburg, ii. 85 

Karolyi, Count, i. 222, 370, 380, ii. 

45 Jf , 47 
Kars, ii. 117 ; the Blue Book on, 

237 

Katkoff. Herr, ii. 285 

Kauffmann, Herr, ii. 293 

Kaunitz, Prince von, i. 254, ii. 272 

Ketteler, Baron von (Bishop of 
Mainz), ii. 137; his demand in 
regard to the position of the 
Catholic Church in Prussia, 137 ; 
argument with Bismarck, 138 



Keudell, Herr von, i. 90, 229, ii. 
150 

Kiel, ii. 10 ; the harbour of, 20 sqq ; 
claimed as a Prussian marine sta- 
tion, 31 ; importance of the pro- 
posed canal, 34 

' King of the Germans ' title pro- 
posed in 1870, ii. 128 ; objections 
to it, 128 

Kisseleff, Count von, i. 176 

Kissingen, i. 394 sqq 

Kissinger, Herr, i. 266 

Kleine Mauerstrasse, i. 27 

Kleist-Retzow, Oberprasident von, 
i. 138, ii. 153. 157 

Klenze. Herr (Director-General of 
Taxes), i. 95, 140 

Klutzow, Herr, i. 142 

Knesebeck, Herr, i. 191 

Kniephof, i. 317 

Kniephausen, Count (Hanoverian 
Minister, Berlin, 1848), i. 57 

Koniggratz, battle of, ii. 36 

Konigsberg, i. 322 

Kolberg, ii. 225 

Kossuth, i. 114 ii. 256 

Kratzig, Herr, ii. 140, 142 

Krause, Herr (a dyke-surveyor), i. 

23 

Kremlin, the, i. 256 

1 Kreuzzeitung, ' the : the Rhino 
Quehl question, i. 143 sqq ; its 
campaign of calumny against Bis- 
marck, ii. 167 

Ktthne, Herr, i. 269 

Ktilz, i. 19 

Kiistrin, i. 351 

Kullmann (would-be assassin of Bis- 
marck), i. 393 

Kulm, the battle of, i. 255 

' Kulturkampf,' the, i. 41 

Kutusoff, Count, ii. 115, 119 ; a 
witticism on the Russian termina- 
tion of his name, 120 

LAKE, Province of Baden, the, i. 205 

La Marmora, i. 229 

Lambert, Count (Governor of War- 
saw), i. 338 

Landlords and peasants, the relation 
between, in Prussia, ii. 307 

' Landrath, ' the (district president), 
i. 19, ii. 196 

Landshut, i. 321 

Land-tag, the first United, i. 17 



351 



BISMARCK 



Landwehr, the, i. 15, 59, 77, 304 

Languages, foreign, former appre- 
ciation of a knowledge of, in 
Prussia, i. 4 

Lasker, Herr, ii. 162 

Latenberg, Herr, i. 104 

Lauenburg. Duchy of : taken pos- 
session of by Prussia (1865), ii. 20, 

25 

Launay, Count, ii. 150 sq 

Lebbin, Geheimrath von, ii. 166 

Le Coq, M. (a Prussian diplomat), i. 
104, 141 

Ledochowski. Count (Archbishop of 
Posen and Gnesen), ii. 135 sq 

Ltgationsrath, i. 85 

Legitimists, French: their manners, 
i. 168 

Legnano, battle of, i. 325 

Lehndorff, Count, ii. 324 

Lehrbach, Herr, i. 190, 202 

Leipzig, i. 141, ii. 46, 99 

Leo XIII, Pope: relations with 
Germany, i. 402, 407 sqq 

Leopold, King (Belgium), ii. 319 

Leopold, Grand Duke (Baden) , i. 323 

Leopold, Prince (present Regent of 
Bavaria), ii. 131 

Lerchenfeld, Count (Bavarian am- 
bassador), i. 69 

Leuchtenberg, Princess, i. 248 

Levinstein, Herr (banker) : his at- 
tempted ' transaction, with Bis- 
marck, i. 234 sqq 

Lewis, Emperor, ii. 130 

Lewis II, King (Bavaria, 1864): de- 
scription of (as Crown Prince) , i. 
388 ; extracts from his corre- 
spondence with Bismarck, 39 1 s qq\ 
letter of Bismarck to, ii. 129 ; the 
King's letter in reply to William I, 
130; correspondence of Bismarck 
with (1879), ii. 261, 267 

Lewis XIV (France),!. 18, 112, 196 

Lewis XVI (France), i. 196, 314 

Lichnowski, Prince Felix, i. 3, 34 

Linz, ii. 268 

Lippe, i. 368 

Lippe, Count zur (Minister of Jus- 
tice), i. 334 

Lissi, i. 106 

Livadia, ii. 231 

Loe, Herr von, ii. 183 

Lowenstein-Wertheim, Prince, ii. 
138 



London Conference, ii. 16, 31; Black 

Sea clauses of the Treaty of Paris, 

ii. 254 

London, the Convention of, ii. 7 
London protocol, the, i. 185 
Louis Philippe (France), (manners of 

his Court), i. 168, 209, 360, 11.319 
Lucadou, Herr. ii. 232 
Ludom, Nathusius, ii. 167 
Ludwig, Margrave, i. 323 
Luchow, i. 326 
Luneburg, ii. So 
Lusatia, i. 77 
Luther: his views of civil marriages, 

ii. 154 
Luxemburg, i. 212, 368, ii. 59, 103, 

194, 252 
Lyons, i. 293 

MAGDEBURG, i, 28, 35 (acquired by 
the Great Elector), ii. 10, 40 

Magyars: their opinion of Germans, 
ii. 257; feelings towards the 
Suabians, ii. 280 

Main, the, ii. 52 

Maintz (commission of inquiry), i. 

369, ii- 39 

Makoff, M. (Russian statesman), ii. 
262 

Mallinckrodt, Herr, ii. 138 

Malmo, the armistice of, i. 369 

Maltzahn, Herr. ii. 228 

Manche. H of rath, i. 238 n 

Manteuffel, Edwin von, i. 31, 48, 
138; arrested for a duel with 
Twesten, i. 265 

Manteuffel. Field-Marshal von, i. 
230, ii. 1 66, 182 

Manteuffel, Herr von (Minister), i. 
18, 55 J?, 73. 83, 85 sq, (letter to 
Bismarck) 106, 109, in, 132, 
134, 136, (relation with Rhino 
Quehl, a journalist) 141 sq (dis- 
agreement with the King 1853) 
149 (severance from Quehl), 151, 
159, 185, 211 (action during the 
Regency 1857-58), 218, (letter to 
Bismarck) 219, (dismissed from 
office) 222, 305, ii. 291 

Marburg, i. 260 

Marchfeld, the, ii. 46 

Marienbad, i. 216 

Marriage, Luther's view of, as a 
municipal matter, ii. 154 

Mars-la-Tour, i. 139, ii. 113 



352 



INDEX 



Mary, Queen (Bavaria, 1860), i. 388 

Mary, Queen (Hanover), ii.ns 

Massenbach, Herr, i. 191 

Maximilian II (Bavaria), i. 113, 388 
( = King Max) 

May Laws, the, ii. 142 

Mazzini, Signer, i. 225 

Mecklenburg, i. 42, 66 

Mediterranean: the desire to make 
it a French lake, i. 213 

Meier, Herr, i. 26 

Meiningen, ii. 43 

Memel-Tilsit railway, the, i. 230 

Mencken, Fraulein (Bismarck's 
mother), i. 16 

Mencken, Privy Councillor (Bis- 
marck's maternal grandfather), i. 
16 

Mensdorff, Count, i. 384 

Mentchikoff, Prince, i. 241, 245, ii. 
237 

Mertens, Colonel, ii. 40 n 

Metternich, Prince, i. 65 (proposi- 
tions to Napoleon III from Aus- 
tria) i. 283, 300, 304, 386, ii. 288 

Metz, i. 137, 139, ii. in 

Mevissen, Herr, i. 20 

Meyendorff, Baron (Russian ambas- 
sador), i. 83 

Meyendorff, Baroness von (sister of 
Count Buol), i. 242 

Meyendorff, Baron Peter von, i. 242 

Meyer, Herr (Councillor to the em- 
bassy), i. 353 sq 

Meyerinck, Lieut. -General von, i. 

3i 

Michael Feodorowitch, Czar, i. 256 

Milutin, M. (Russian War Min- 
ister), ii. 262 

Minden, (acquired by the Great 
Elector) ii. 10, 27 

Minnigerode, Herr von, ii. 301 

Minutoli, Herr von (Chief Commis- 
sioner of Police, 1848), i. 32 

Moabit, i. 125 

Mollendorf, General von, i. 24, 27 

Moller, President von, i. 266 

Mohammed, i. 208 

Moldavia, i. 108 

Moltke, Count, i. 6 ; opposed the 
construction of the Kiel Canal, ii. 
33 ; relaxed his opposition later, 
35 ; his intended action in case 
of active French intervention in 
1866, 40 ; his estimate of the en- 



terprise at Pressburg, 46 ; the 
telegram from Ems, 97 ; pre- 
pared for war, 101 ; perpetrates a 
pun, 102 ; his tactful courtesy, 
104 

Moltke, Countess (an English lady), 
ii. 126 

Moltke, Herr Adolf, ii. 109 n 

Monarchy, the old Prussian, esti- 
mate of, i. 17 ; Bismarck's ideal 
of a monarchy, 18 

' Monosyllabic' ministry, the (Buol, 
Bach, Bruck), i. 93 

Montenegro, ii. 244 ; Prince of, 
295 

Montpellier, i, 292 n 

Moravia, ii. 276 

Moritz, Herr, i. 273 

Moscow, i. 255 

Motley, Mr. J. L., i. 85 

Motz (Prussian diplomat), i. 6 

Moufang, Dr., i, 403 

Moustier, Marquis (French ambas- 
sador), i. 126, 141, 222 

Miihler, Herr von (Minister of 
Religion), i. 333, ii. 142 

Miihler, Frau von (wife of the 
above), i. 333 

Miinster, Count, i. 123, 138, 251, 
ii. 194 

Mulert, Pastor, ii. 94 

Munich, i. 70, 388 

Myslowitz, i. 347 

NAPLES, i. 198 

Napoleon III, Emperor : his desire 
(1855), for an alliance with Prus- 
sia, i. 1 68 ; Bismarck's opinion of 
him in 1855, 169 ; General Ger- 
lach's opinion of his position, 185 ; 
Bismarck's estimate of his posi- 
tion, 196 sq his desire to effect 
a landing in England, 209 ; notes 
of an interview of Bismarck with, 
in 1857, 212; Bismarck's reticence 
thereon, 215; interview of Bis- 
marck with him (1862), proposal 
of a Franco-Prussian alliance, 282; 
Austria's propositions to the Em- 
peror, 283 ; desired the friendship 
of Russia (after Crimean war), 
306 ; after the battle of Konig- 
gratz : Venetia ceded to him, and 
his intervention invited by Aus- 
tria, ii. 37 ; proposed conditions 



VOL. II. 23 



353 



BISMARCK 



of peace between Austria and 
Prussia, 47 ; desire to form a 
South German Confederation affil- 
iated to France, ib. ; events after 
the war, 57 sqq ; his attempts to 
hinder the development of a 
United Germany, 58 ; the begin- 
nings of the war of 1870: the 
Hohenzollern candidature for 
Spain, 87 ; how the Spanish 
question was garbled into a Prus- 
sian one, 90 ; the first demands 
from Prussia, 91 ; a wrong esti- 
mate of the national sentiment in 
Germany, 93 ; working of Ultra- 
montane influences, ib. ; attitude 
of the Gramont-Ollivier ministry, 
93 ; Benedetti at Ems, 95 ; the 
Ems telegram, 97, 100 ; the Salz- 
burg meeting (1867), 255 
Nassau, ii. 43, 80 
Nassau, Duke of, i. 86, ii. 80 
Nathusius-Ludom, Herr von, ii. 

221 

National Assembly, Prussian (1848). 
i- 37 39 I the ' day-labourer par- 
liament,' 49 sq, 54 ; transferred 
to Brandenburg, i. 58 

National Defence, Committee of, ii. 

33, 35 

National Liberal party, Bismarck's 
dealings with, ii. 198^^; a cur- 
rent untrue myth contradicted, 
205 

Navarino, ii. 295 

Navy, the German, ii. 21, 33 

Nauheim, the baths of, i. 260 

Neocaesarea, Archbishop of (Papal 
diplomat, 1878), i. 402 

Nesselrode, Count, i. 144, 204, 241, 
312, ii. 221 

Netherlands, the, i. 304 

Neuchatel, the royalist rising at, i. 
18, 144, 176, 178, 185, 205 

Neustettin, the gymnasium at, ii. 

177 
Neutrals, conduct of the, in the war 

of 1870, ii. no sqq 
1 New Era,' the Ministry of the, i, 

222 

Nicholas, Emperor (Russia), i. 46, 
82, (alleged instructions to his 
heirs), 122 ; service rendered by 
him to Austria (1849), 239; ex- 
ample of his distrust of his Rus- 



sian subjects, 240 ; description of 
the members of his Court, 241 
sqq ; life in his palaces, 247 sqq, ; 
peculation by his servants, 249 sq, ; 
transactions with Sir H. Sey- 
mour, ii. 231 

Niebuhr, Herr (private secretary to 
Frederick William IV), i. 51, 
no, (letter to Bismarck), 112, 
138, 147 sq, 159, 309 

Niederwald monument, the, ii. 326 

Nikolsburg, i. 44, ii. 37, 45, 332 

Nobiling : attempt to assassinate 
William I, ii. 204, 303 

Norderney, the baths at, i. 97, ii. 
307 

Normann, Herr von, ii. 206 

Nothomb, Herr, ii. 183 

Nuremberg, ii. 44, 52 

OBOLENSKI, Prince : letter to Bis- 
marck, i. 256 

Obrucheff, Herr, ii. 118 

Oertzen, Herr von (Mecklenburg 
envoy), i. 319, 367 

Of en- Frankfort, i. 145 

Ohm, Herr, i. 114 n 

Old-Bavarians, the, i. 321 

Old Catholic Church, the establish- 
ment of the, ii. 180 

Oldenburg, i. 76, 128, ii. 115 

Old-Hanoverians, i. 324 

Old Mark, the, i. 326 

Olmutz meeting (1848), the, i. 68 r 
83, 239, 261 sq, 319, ii. 281 

Oriula, Count (Prussian ambassa- 
dor), i. 6, 31 

Orleans, ii, 122 

Orloff, Prince, i. 241 

Oscar I, King (Sweden), i. 206 

Ostend, ii. 305 

Oubril, Herr von, ii. 235, 246, 248 

PALATINATE : the insurrection in 
(1848), i. 68 sq ; Upper Palati- 
nate, ii. 44 ; Bavarian Palatinate, 
52 

Palmerston, Lord, i. 120, 185, 198, 
207, 209 

Panslavist party, the, i. 339, 347, 
ii. 278 

Pardubitz, ii. 28 

Paris, i. Si, 119 ; popularity of 
1 decorations,' 89, 244 sq 

Paris conferences on the dispute 



354 



INDEX 



between Prussia and Switzerland, 
1857, i. 212 

Paris : the siege of, ii. 109 ; Prus- 
sian losses, ib.\ the Parisians re- 
jected the provisions stocked for 
them by the Prussians before their 
surrender, 123 

Paris, treaty of (1856), i. 109, 185, 
247 ; Prussia's share in, ii. 291 

Parliamentary government, Bis- 
marck's dislike of, i. 296 

Party spirit in Prussia : instance of 
a judicial decision influenced by. 
ii. 1 68 ; political and religious 
party conflicts conducted with no 
regard for honour and courtesy, 
169 ; party spirit in the Reichs- 
tag. 338; enumeration of the 
many various parties, 339 

Patow, the Presidency of, i. 271 

Patow, Herr, i. 336 

Patzke, Herr, i. 268 

Paul, Czar (grandfather of Empress 
Augusta), i. 133 

Paulskirche parliament (Frankfort, 
1848-49), i. 60 n, 62, 82, ii. 274 

Paul's Palace (St. Petersburg), i. 
250 

Perglas, Baron Pergler von (Bava- 
rian Ambassador), ii. 150 

Perponcher, Herr (Prussian am- 
bassador), i. 6 

Perrot, Dr., ii. 167 

Pestalozzi's system of teaching, i. 
16 

Peter the Great, Czar : his apo- 
cryphal will, i. 122 

Peterhoff, palace of, i. 247 

Peucker, General von, i. 87 sq 

1 Peucker, to,' meaning of, i. 88* 

Pfaueninsel, the, i. 25 

Pfordten, Herr von der, i. 128, 130, 
ii., sq 545 

Pfretzschner, Herr von (Bavarian 
Minister), i. 393, 401 

Pfuel, General von, i. 71 

' Phseacian governments,' i. 60 

Philippe Egalite, i. 196 

1 Pietist,' William I's definition of, 
ii. 306 

4 Pigtail,' intellectual, i. n 

Pillnitz, i. 216 

Pirogow, Dr. i. 259 

Pius IX, Pope, i. 137; policy to- 
wards Prussia, ii. 184 



Plamann's preparatory school, i. i, 
16 

Platen, Count, i. 57, ii, 26 

Platen, Count Adolf (Hanoverian 
ambassador), i. 94 

Plonplon ' (Prince Napoleon), i. 
187 

Podbielski, Generil von, ii. 104 

Poland (and Poles), i. 82, 107 (pro- 
posed kingdom of), 114, 116, 239, 
300; the insurrection of 1831, 
302 , revolutir-iary movement in 
1862, 338 ; Austrian friendly 
action towards, in 1863, 343 ; 
Prussian Poland acquired by 
Frederick William II, ii. 10 ; the 
' Culturkampf ' in, 139 

Polignac, M., i. 314 

Political training, Prussian, i. 3 sqq 

Pomerania, i. 322 

Pomerania, Further : acquired by 
the Great Elector, ii. 10 

Pomerania, Hither : acquired by 
Frederick William I, ii. 10 

Pomeranian estates of Bismarck's 
family, the, i. 15 

Pommer-Esche. Herr, i. 3 

Pope : the territorial claims, ii. 135 

Portugal, i. 193, 195 

Poschinger, Herr, ii. 104 

Posen, i. 105, ii. 140 

Potsdam, i. ii, 15, 25, 27, ii. 332 

Potsdam Stadtschloss, the, i. 41 

Pourtales, Count Albert, i. 101, 118, 
124, 141 

Pratorius, Herr (Rath), i. 8 

Prague, i. 241, ii. 69 

Pressburg, ii. 41 

Prim, Marshal : an alleged letter of 
Bismarck to, ii. 90 

Prince Imperial (son of Napoleon 
III), i. 208 

Princes, the Congress of, i. 344 

Prittwitz, General von, i. 24, 27, 
(letter from Bismarck to, 1848) 
29, 32 

Prokesch, Baron (Austrian diplo- 
mat), i. 112, ii. 55 

Propertied class, the prudent and 
restraining influence of the, ii. 66 

Protective Tariff, a. Bismarck's let- 
ter on, ii. 217 

Provincial Fund, the Hanoverian, 
the dispute about (1868), ii. 155 
sq 



355 



BISMARCK 



Prussia: politics in 1847, i. 20; its 
position (1848) compared with 
that of other German states, 44 
sq\ condition after 1848, 63 sqq\ 
partisan schemes against Russia, 
123 ; letter of Bismarck on her 
abdication of her European posi- 
tion, 126 ; political parties in, 
278 ; retrospect of Prussian policy, 
298 sqq ; neglected opportunities 
in its history, 301 ; particularism, 
324 sq ; growth of its possessions, 
ii. 10 ; internal condition after the 
war of 1866, 57 ; growth and 
organization of its army, 59 

Prussia, West : Catholic influences 
in, ii. 140 

Prusso-Franco-Russian alliance, a 
possibility (1857), i. 201 

Plickler, Prince, i. 167 

Putbus, i. 112, 161 

Putbus, Prince, ii. 85 

Putbus, Princess, ii. 86 

Puttkamer, Herr von (successor to 
Falk), ii. 145, 212 

Pyrenees, the, i. 291 

QUEHL, Rhino (journalist) : his writ- 
ings, i, 116 ; his relations with 
Minister Manteuffel, 142 sqq ; 
how their separation was effected, 
150 

4 Questenberg in the camp ' ( a nick- 
name of Bismarck), ii. 48 

RADETZKY, General, ii. 272 

Radowitz, General, i. 50, 68, 70 sq, 
74, 146, ii. 190 

Radziwill, House of, ii. 138 j 

Radziwill, Prince Anthony, ii. 139 
sq 

Radziwill, Prince Boguslaw, i. 26, 
ii. 139 sq 

Radziwill, Prince William, ii. 139 
sq 

Rantzau, Count (Bismarck's son-in- 
law), ii. 326 

Rastatt. i. 188 

Rathenow, i. 23 

Raumer, General von, i. 51, 148 
(his character), 53 sq, 104, 148, 
sq, 309, ii. 226 

Rechberg, Count (Austrian Minister 
President, and Minister for For- 
eign Affairs, 1859-64), 1.129, 253, 



(a quarrel with Bismarck), 366, 
(pacification and friendship), 367, 
377. 378; the Schleswig-Holstein 
question, 381 sqq ; dismissed from 
office, 384, 

Rechberg, (General) Count, ii. 39 
Recke-Volmerstein, Count von der, 

i. 137 

Red Cross, the, ii. 105 
Red Eagle, Order of the, ii. 325 
Redern, Count (Russian ambas- 
sador), ii. 189 

Redern, Count William, i. 163 
Reform Bill, the English, i. 144 
Regency (France), the, i. 196 
Regency, the Prussian (1857), i. 

217 sqq 

Pegirungs- Assessor, i. 6 
Kegirungs-Referenda : studies for 
attainment of the position, i. 3 
sqq 
Reichenbach, the Convention of, i. 

183, 301 

Reichenberg, ii. 36, 45 
' Reichsglocke ' ( libel action against : 
the Arnim case), ii. 166, 175, 

183 

Reichstadt, the convention of (1876), 
ii. 235, 255, 274, 281 

Reichstag : attempt to institute a 
' responsible Minister to the Em- 
pire, ' i. 398 

Reichstag, the variety of parties in 
the, ii. 336 ; Bismarck's over-es- 
timate of its patriotism, 338 ; anti- 
Imperial character of the Centrum 
party, ib. 

Reinfeld, i. 161, 266, 274, 292 

Rendsburg, ii. 31 

Representatives, House of, i. 336 
sq 

Reuss, Prince, i. 407 

Revolution, the American, i. 193 

Revolution, the English (1688), i. 
193 sq 

Revolution, the French, i. 183, 195 

Revolution, modern : its widespread 
character, i. 192 sqq ; its real 
origin, 195 

Revolutionary movements of 1848, 
i. 22 sqq 

' Rheinbundelei,' ii. 81 

Rhine Confederation, the, i. in, 
189, 202, ii. 45 

Rhine frontier, the (1857), i. 212 



356 



INDEX 



Rhine : proposed canalization by the 
Rheingau, ii. 225 

Rhine, the French army of the, i. 
138 

Rhine Province (acquired by Frede- 
rick William III), i. 135, ii. 10 

Rickert, Herr, ii. 148, 216 

Rochow, General von (envoy to the 
Federal Diet), i. 85 sqq 

Roggenbach, ii. 82 

Roon, Count von, (correspondence 
between him and Bismarck 
1861-62), i. 227, 264, 266, 270, 
276, 278 sq, 284, 288, 291, 293, 
313, (his character) 331 sqq, ii. 
40, 96, 102, 104, 122, 124 sqq, 
153 ; correspondence with Bis- 
marck in 1868, 157 sqq ; acts for 
Bismarck during an illness, 165 ; 
other references, 199, 310, 317 

Rossbach, i. 141 

Rotzi, the embankment at, i. 15 

Roumania, ii. 278, 294 sq 

Roumania, King of, ii. 90 

Rudhart, Herr von, i. 399 sq 

Riigen, i. 161 

Russbach, the, ii. 41 

Russell, Lord John: a sarcasm on 
his versatility, i. 211 

Russell, Lord Odo, ii. 116, 183, 195 

Russia: action during the 1848 rev- 
olutionary movement, i. 82 sq ; 
the Crimean war, 105 sqq ; the 
evacuation of Wallachia and Mol- 
davia, 108 ; its internal condition, 
1 20 ; schemes for its dismem- 
berment, 123 sqq ; the retreat 
from the Danubian principalities, 
161 ; Polish movement of 1862, 
338 sqq ; relations with Germany 
in 1883; i, 413 sqq ; its army in 
1863, ii. 6; estimation of her posi- 
tion towards Prussia in 1866, 41; 
uneasiness at Prussia's growth, 60; 
danger of war with Austria (1876), 
231; and with England and 
Austria, 236; Bismarck's forecast 
of the future policy of Russia, 
285 sqq ; no pretext for fighting 
Germany, 285; its aim the occu- 
pation of Constantinople, with a 
protectorate of the Sultan, and 
the control of the Black Sea, 286; 
fiasco of the Russian policy in the 
Balkan peninsula, 294; its experi- 



ence of the ingratitude of ' libe- 
rated ' nations, 295 

SADOWA, ii. 166 

St. Petersburg: popularity of ' dec- 
orations ' in, i. 89; society in 
reign of Nicholas I, 241; the 
flood of 1825, 250; no cipher 
secure from officials there, 252; 
Bismarck's desire to remain as 
ambassador there, 341 

Salzburg, ii. 59, 268 

Salzwedel, i. 326 

Samoa, ii. 293 

Samwer, Herr, ii. 30 

Sand, the crime of, ii. 99 

Sans-Souci, i. 47, no sq, 113, 135 

San Stefano, the peace of, ii. 117, 

235 

Saracens, the, i. 182 
Sardinia, i. 130, 185, 209 
Sarskoe, palace of, i. 247 
Sassulitch, Vera, the acquittal of, i. 

339 

Saucken-Tarputschen, Herr, i. 20 

Savigny, Herr von (Prussian am- 
bassador), i. 6, ii. 86, 138, 187 

Savigny, Professor von, ii. 86 

Saxony, i. 66, 68, 71, in, (relations 
with Prussia) 130, 210, (Lower 
Saxony) 326, (West Saxony) ii. 
43, 44, 52, 83, 86 

Saxony, Grand Duke of, ii. 120 

Saxony, John, King of, ii. 46 

Schack, Herr von, i. 42 

Schaffranek, Herr, ii. 139 

Scharnhorst, General, i. 191 

Schaumburg, ii. 13 

Schele, Herr von (Prussian states- 
man), i 97 

Schenk Flechtingen, the house of, i. 
88 

Scherff, Herr von (Dutch envoy), ii. 

55 

Schierstadt-Dahlen, Herr. i, 20 
Schiller, i. 132 
Schillerplatz(Gastein), i. 37^ 
Schlei, the battles on the, ' 79 
Schleinitz, Herr von, i, ., 232, 
237, 261 sq, (the c ^re of 
Princess Augusta) 26 j ^q, 271, 
(his withdrawal) 274, (Foreign 
Minister) 310 sq. ii. 206, 224, 249, 
310 
Schleinitz, Frau von, ii. 312 



357 



BISMARCK 



Schleswig-Holstein, 1.322, 378, 380, 
" 43. 

Schleswig-Holstein, Duke of, ii. 13 

Schleswig-Holstein question, ii. ij 
Bismarck's aim, 10 

Schlieffen, Count, i. 225, 266 sq 

Schloss Berg, i. 409 sqq 

Schmerling, Herr, i. 384,ii. 3 

Schnabele, Herr, ii. 285, 293 

Schneider, Hofrath, ii. 132 

Schonbrunn, i. 216, 380 

Schonhausen, i. 19, 22, 28, 36 

Scholz, Herr, ii. 227 sq 

School Inspection Bill (1872), ii. 162 

Schramm, Assessor Rudolf (revolu- 
tionary leader, 1848), i. 45, 313 

Schulenburg, Countess (wife of 
General von Peucker), i. 87 

Schwark, Herr, i. 268 

Schwartau, i. 76 

Schwarzenberg, Prince, i. 84, 103, 
200, 205, 302, 319, 368, ii. 279 

Schweinitz, General von, i. 414, ii. 

234 

Schweninger, Dr. (Bismarck's medi- 
cal attendant), ii. 217 

Schwerin, Count, i. 23" , 336 

Second Chamber ('Hous A Lords') 
proposed for Prussia 1852), i. 152, 
156 

Second Empire, the: Court manners 
under, i, 168 

Secret voting: disliked by Bismarck, 
ii. 66 ; introduced by Fries's mo- 
tion into Prussian law, 66 n 

Sedan, i. 139, ii. 32, 87, 166 

Selchow, Herr von (Minister of 
Agriculture), i. 330 

1 Separation Compacts,' i. 39 

Septennate, the, ii. 138 

Servia, ii. 244, 294 sq 

Seven Years' war, the, i. 370, ii. 42, 
250, 268 

Seymour, Sir H., ii, 231 

Shipka Pass: Russian sentinels in 
(1877), i- 250 

Shuvaloff, Count, ii. 116, 215, 236, 
(in disgrace) 261 

Shuvaloff, Count Peter: correspon- 
dence with Bismarck, ii. 241; he 
suggests a Russo-German offensive 
and defensive alliance, 245; Bis- 
marck's objections, 246 sq, 249; 
Bismarck preferred the alliance 
of the three Emperors, 250 



Shuvaloff, Herr Peter, i. 241 
Siegfeld, Herr (an agent of Drouyn 

de Lhuys), ii. 312 
Silesia, i. 106, 322, 346 (acquired by 

Frederick II) ii. 10 
Silesia, Austrian, ii. 43 sq 
Silesian wars, the (1740-' 63), i. 183, 

ii. 42 

Silistria, the bridge of, ii. 263 
Skiernevice, ii. 283 
Skobeleff, Herr, ii. 277, 285 
Slavonic element in Austria, the, ii. 

45 
Slavonic movement, the (1876), i. 

397 

Slavs, ii. 205, 269 
Slovenes, the, ii. 276 
Social Democracy, the law (1878) 

against the dangerous endeavours 

of, ii. 325 

Socialist Bill, the, ii. 207, 214 
Socialist party in Germany, the, i. 

402 sqq 

Solms, Prince, ii. 27 
Spain, i. 184, 193, 195; selection of a 

Hohenzollern for its throne (1870), 

ii. 87; Spanish passivity during 

the resulting Franco - German 

y/ar, 91 

Spichern, ii. 113 
Spiegelthal,Herr (a Prussian consul), 

i. 99 

Spires, i. 3 
Spree, the, i. 125 
Squirearchy, the Prussian, i. 3 
Stahl, Herr, i. 159 
Stanzke, Herr (a Pomerania mayor), 

i. 74 n 

States-General, the, i. 194 
Stauffenberg, Herr, ii. 198 
Steigerwald, the, i. 72 
Stein, Baron von, i. 6, 280,320, ii. 99 
Stendal, i. 36 

Stephan, Herr von, ii. 225, 228 sqq 
Stettin, i. 19, 161, 259 
Stieber, Herr, i. 268 
Stillfried, Count, i. 222, 312, 268 
Stockhausen, General von (War 

Minister, 1850), i. 75 sqq 
Stockmar, Baron von, i. 123, 354 
Stolberg, Count, ii. 215 
Stolberg, Count Anthony, i. 138 
Stolberg, Count Eberhard, ii. 105 
Stolberg, Count Theodor, ii. 308 
Stolpmunde, i. 266, 274 



358 



INDEX 



Stolzenfels, i. 126 

Stosch, General von, ii. 86, 148, 206, 

216 

Strafford, Earl of, i. 314 
Strasburg, i. 3, 107, ii. 75 
Strotha, General von (War Minister, 

1848), i. 56 

Stuarts, the, i. 194, 354 
Stuttgart, i. 107 
Sub-Diets, district, i. 296 
Substitutes Bill, the, ii. 198 
Succession, the Spanish War of, ii. 

59 

Sultan: Russian desire to have a 
protectorate of him and his domin- 
ions, ii. 286 sq 

Sulzer, Herr (Under-Secretary of 
State), i. 228 

Summer Garden, the (St. Peters- 
burg), story of a sentry there, i. 
250 

Suworoff. Prince, i. 241 

Swabia, i. 321, ii. 280 

Sweden, i. 193, 215 

Swiss Radicals, i. 187, 191 

Switzerland, i. 193, 207, (the dis- 
putes with Prussia, 1857) 212 

Sybel, Herr von, i. 109, ii. 28, 32 

Sydow, Herr, ii. 8 

TAAFFE, Count, i. 309 

Tabakscollegium, ii. 308 

Tachen (a police agent), i. 125 

' Tallenay, M. le Marquis de,' i. 90 

Talleyrand : his introduction of ' Le- 
gitimacy,' in its modern sense, i. 
170 

Tangermimde, i. 22 

Tausenau, Herr, i. 114 n 

Taxis Palace, the. i. 174 

Tchesme (1770), ii. 294 

Tegernsee, the, i. 93 

rempelhoff, Herr (Rath), i. 8 

Templin, i. 94 

Teplitz, treaty of, i. 310 

Teutonic Order, the, i. 182 

Thiers, M., ii. no, 183 

Thile, Herr von, i. 145, (letter to 
Bismarck) 384, ii. 217 

Thirty Years' war, the, ii. 268 

Thorn, i. 301 

Three Kings, the League of the, i. 
65 

Thugut, Baron, i. 190, 202, 311, ii. 
279 



Thuringia, i. 113 

Thurn and Taxis post office : tam- 
pering with correspondence, i. 

253 

Tiedemann, Geheimrath : letter of 
Bismarck to, ii. 207 ; his relations 
with Eulenburg, 207 sqq> 210 ; 
letter to him from Bismarck, on 
von Gruner's irregular appoint- 
ment, 218 

Tilsit, the peace of, i. 320 

'Times,' the: its account of the 
Dantzic episode, i. 352 ; surmises 
of the source of this account, 353 

Timur, i. 208 / 

Titles, Bismarck's opinion of, ii. 
161 

Toleration, religious, Bismarck's pol- 
icy of, ii.i37 

Tours, ii. 112 

Trans -Leithania, i. 94 

Treaties : no longer afford the same 
securities as of old, ii. 270 ; 
treaties between Great Powers are 
of limited stability, 273 ; the 
clause rebus sic stantibus always 
tacitly understood, 284 

Treitschke, Professor von, ii. 40 

Triad, the, i. in 

Triple Alliance, the, ii. 251 sqq\ its 
original aim : alliance of the three 
Emperors, with Italy brought in, 
251 ; Bismarck's estimate of the 
value of certain alliances, 255 
sqq ; his inclination to Austria, 
2 59 -W> a provisional under- 
standing with Count Andrassy, 
260 

Tuileries, Bismarck ambassador at 
the (1862), i. 276 

Turin, i. 225 sq, 229 sq 

Turkey, i. 130, 395, ii. 235, 244 

Turks, the Austrian wars against 
the, i. 182 

Twesten, Herr, i. 265 n, 268 

Tyrol, ii. 50 

ULTRAMONTANISM, i. 115 sq 
United Diet, the first, i. 17, 20, 34, 

37 

United States (America), i. 194 
Universal suffrage, the question of, 

in Germany, ii. 65 
Unnatural vice, prosecution against, 

in Berlin (1835), i. 7 



359 



BISMARCK 



Upper Chamber (Prussian), (dispute 
about the formation of), i. 143, 
152, i^ sqq, 286, 337 

Usedom, Count, i. 118, 124, 185, 
223 ; his conduct as ambassador to 
Italy, 225 sq, 228, 232 

Usedom, Countess von, i. 224 

VALDEGAMAS, DONOSO CORTES DE 
(Catholic writer), ii. 184 

Vannovski, Herr, ii. 118 

Varnbiiler, Herr von, i. 374, ii. 54 
sq, 81 

Varzin, i. 226, 412, ii. 231 

Vatican Council, the, ii. 92, 180, 
184 

Venetia : ceded to France by Aus- 
tria (1866), ii. 37 

Venice, i. 21 

Versailles, ii. 108, 135, (a state ball 
and supper at) 166, 317, 327 

Victor Emmanuel, King, ii. 60 ; 
friendly disposition to Emperor 
Napoleon in 1870, 113 ; visit to 
Berlin (1873), 150 ; valuable pres- 
ents to Bismarck, ib. 

Victoria, Princess Royal of Eng- 
land (afterwards Crown Princess 
of Prussia : later Empress) : in- 
herited her father's opinion of 
Bismarck, i. 164 ; her strong Eng- 
lish prejudices in all political Dis- 
cussions, ii. 333 ; approved the re- 
tention of Bismarck in office at her 
husband's accession, ib. 

Victoria, Queen : her visit to Paris in 
1855, i. 163; letter to Alexander 
III (1875), ii. 192 ; Bismarck's 
comments on it, 193 sqq 

Vienna, (in 1848) i. 45, (relations 
with Prussia) 47, (Bismarck deputy 
to Count Arnim at) 92, 128, 140 ; 
Prussian proposal to advance on 
(1866), ii. 40 ; Bismarck's desire 
to avoid a triumphal entry into, 42 

Vienna conference, the', 109, ii. 

37 
Vienna, Congress of, i. ^84, 201, 

302, 320 

Vienna, peace of, ii. 16 
Vienna, treaty of, i. no 
Viiagos, ii. 280 

Villeneuve (Lake of Geneva), i. 97 
Vincke, George von, i. 20, 25, 40 sq, 

54 



Vincke, Lieut. -Colonel von : letter 
to William I on constitutional 
law, i. 335 

Vionville, i. 139 

Vistula, the, i. 82, 340 

4 Von ' : Bismarck's reason for using 
it, i. 37 

WAGENER, Herr, i. 146 sqq 

Walewska, Countess, i. 166 

Walewski, Count ii. 207 

Wallachia, i. 108 

Walz, Dr. : the injury he did to 
Bismarck, i. 258 sq 

War of 1870: the Hohenzollern 
candidature, ii, 87 ; Bismarck's 
surprise at the position taken up 
by France, ib. ; his view on the 
whole question, 88 ; Spain's pas- 
sivity in the event, 91 ; French 
threats take the form .of interna- 
tional impudence, 93 ; ' La Prusse 
cane ' a climax, ib, ; Prince Leo- 
pold renounces his candidature : 
Bismarck's indignation, 94 ; King 
William's direct transactions with 
Benedetti at Ems : Bismarck 
determines to resign, 94 sq ; the 
Ems telegram, 97, loo ; Versailles, 

108 ; before Paris : Prussian losses, 

109 ; conduct of the ' neutrals,' 
no; the position of Italy, 113; 
of Russia, 114 ; stagnation of the 
siege, 1 20 ; the besieged army 
stronger than the besiegers, 122 ; 
the fighting in the provinces, ib. ; 
want of siege-guns and transport 
material, 123 ; provisions stocked 
for the Parisians on their surren- 
der, refused by these, ib. ; great 
cost of the siege, 124; energy of 
von Roon, ib. ; interference of fe- 
male influences on the side of ' hu- 
manity,' 125 sq; von Roon's state- 
ments of the reasons for the delay 
in the attack on Paris, 126 

Warsaw, i. 81, 260 
Wartburg, Herr, ii. 99 
Wartensleben-Karow, Count, i. 20, 

22 
Wehrmann (Privy Councillor), i.226, 

2*9 sg 

Weimar, i. 132, 210 
Weimar, Grand Duchess of (mother 

of Empress Augusta), i. 134 



360 



INDEX 



Werder, General von, ii. 231 

Werther, Baron, i. 395, ii. 19 

Werther, Baron Carl von, i. 6, 116 

Weser, the, i. 76, ii. 34 

Westminster [?], Dean of : wit- 
ticism on Lord John Russell, 
i. 211 

Westphalen, Herr, i. 104, 142, 147 
sq 

Wielopolski, Marquis, i. 346 

Wildbad, i. 375 sq 

William II, King (Wurtemberg), i. 
107 

William III (England), i. 194, 206 

William, Prince of Prussia (after- 
wards King and Emperor Wil- 
liam I), i, 24, 40 sqq, 100, 
103; domestic life at Sans-Souci, 
134; residence at Coblenz ( 1849), 
135; appointed Regent (1857), 
218; letter to Bismarck, 226; 
the Homage question, 264; 
his coronation, 264 n ; political 
worries after his accession, 272 ; 
his coronation, 274; conceives the 
idea of abdication, 295 ; appoints 
Bismarck provisional President of 
the ministry of state, 297 ; his 
natural fearlessness, 315 ; letter of 
von Vincke on Constitutional law, 
335 ; memorandum on the Crown 
Prince's position (the Dantzic 
episode), 358 sqq ; the summoning 
of the Frankfort ' Diet of Princes,' 
374 ; refusal to attend it, 376 ; 
letter from Bismarck to(i86s),ii. 
1 8 ; letters to Bismarck (1864), 
30 sq ; after Koniggratz : expected 
active intervention of France, 36 
sqq ; Bismarck's advice, 37 ; dan- 
ger on the South German side, 
38 ; the proposed advance upon 
Vienna, 40 ; Bismarck's proposal 
to pass the Danube at Pressburg, 
41 ; first draft of the peace con- 
ditions, 43 ; the King's demands 
increased, ib. ; an armistice, 47 ; 
terms of peace proposed by Ka- 
rolyi and Benedetti, ib. ; Bis- 
marck's reasons for advising their 
acceptance, 48 ; the King's reply, 
51; heated discussion, 51 sq \ 
intervention of the Crown Prince: 
the King agrees with Bismarck, 
53 ; question of introducing the 



Prussian Constitution in the new 
provinces, 63 ; William's dislike 
for the title of ' Emperor, ' 64 ; 
the suggested revision of the Con- 
stitution, 76 ; question of indem- 
nity for ministers, 77 sq\ the Ho- 
henzollern candidature for the 
throne of Spain : See War of 
1870; on the military boycott of 
Bismarck, 105 ; reasons for as- 
sumption of the Imperial title, 
126; question of form of title: 
' King of the Germans,' ' German 
Emperor,' or ' Emperor of Ger- 
many,' 127 sqq ; the form of proc- 
lamation : Bismarck in disgrace, 
134; his aversion to civil mar- 
riages, 152 sqq ; bestows the title 
of Prince on Bismarck, 161 ; an- 
gry letter to Bismarck about the 
Bennigsen negotiations, 200 ; ' No. 
109 Stauffenberg Regiment,' 202 
attempted assassination, 204 ; cor- 
respondence with Bismarck ( 1 88 1 ), 
211 ; a curious dream, ib. ; object 
of his visits to St. Petersburg and 
Vienna in 1873, 252 ; dislike of a 
league with Austria, 269 ; Bis- 
marck overcomes his objections, 
271 ; chivalry towards the Czar, 
ib. : improved health after Nobil- 
ing's attempt to assassinate him, 
303 ; his last illness, ib. ; his 
death, 304 

William I : Bismarck's sketch of his 
life and character : as second son 
of Frederick William III, his 
early training was exclusively 
military, ii. 304; relations with 
General von Gerlach, 305 ; his 
definition of a 'Pietist,' 306; his 
strong religious convictions, ib. \ 
ignorance of political institutions, 
Ib. ; his conscientious industry 
when Regent, 307 ; his only rec- 
reation, 308 ; possessed an un- 
wonted measure of common sense, 
ib. ; influenced by remembrance 
of his father's methods, 309 ; par- 
ticularism, ib. ; fearlessness in 
the path of duty, ib. ; rupture 
with the ministers of the New 
Era, 310 ; influence of the Prin- 
cess Augusta, ib. ; his chivalrous 
feeling towards his wife, 314; yet 



361 



BISMARCK 



she was a Feuerkopf, 315; the 
4 royal distinction' of William, 
ib. ; he was free from all vanity, 
316; fear of just criticism, ib. ; a 
' gentleman expressed in terms of a 
King, '31 7; his temper, ib. ; the 
tone of his addresses and procla- 
mations, 319; he returned loyalty 
for loyalty, ib. ; mutual relations 
of William and Bismarck, 321; 
letter from William I to Bis- 
marck, 321 sqq 

William, Prince (grandson of Wil- 
liam I: present Emperor), ii. 305; 
his grandfather's instructions to 
Bismarck regarding him, ii. 329 sq 

Wimpffen, Count, ii. in 

Windischgratz, Prince, i. 241 

Wlndthorst, ii. 216, 339 

Winter, Herr (Burgomaster of Dan t- 
zic), i. 233, 349 

Wirsitz, i. 41 

Wittelsbach dynasty, the, i. 321 

Wittgenstein, Prince, i. 7 



' Wochenblatt ' party, the, i. loi, 

119, 310 
Worth, ii. 113 
Wolkersdorf, ii. 41 
Woronzoff, Prince, i. 241 
Wrangel, Field-Marshal, i. 28, 58, 

379; breach and reconciliation 

with Bismarck, 379 n 
Wurzburg, ii. 4, 52 
Wurtemberg, i. 62, 70, 107, in, 

184, ii. 54, 81 
Wussow, ii. 94 
Wusterhausen, i. 15, ii. 307 

YORK'S corps (1812), i. 87, 125 
Ypsilanti's rebellion, ii. 287, 294 

ZEDLITZ-TRUTZSCHLER, Herr von, 

ii. 30 1 

Zimmerhausen, i. 274, 289 
Zollverein, the, i. 92 sq, 175 sq, 186, 

189, ii. 30 
Zuider Zee, ii. 55 
Zwickau, ii. 46 






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