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The Iron Chancellor

As Chancellor of the new German
empire, Bismarck pursued several
foreign policy goals (Goals outside
of France). Bismarck became
known as the “Iron Chancellor” of
Germany because he sought to
crush and erase any opposition to
his new state. For starters, he
wanted to keep France weak. He
made alliances with Austria and
Russia, in hopes that France would
never attack Germany, because war
with Germany meant war with
Russia and Austria. Meanwhile, any
French people living in Germany and German lands were being
targeted by Bismarck and the German government. All French people
living within the Rhine Land was forced to leave the area, or be
subjected to harsh (cruel) treatments. The German treatment of
French people in Germany furthered angered France. The actions and
policies of Germany towards France will eventually play a role in the
beginning of World
War I.
After unification, Catholics made up about a third of the German
population in Germany. Bismarck was Lutheran, and thus, distrusted
many Catholics. Bismarck especially distrusted the clergy and
bishops, whose first loyalty, he
believed, was to the Pope
instead of Germany. In response
to what he saw as a Catholic
threat, Bismarck launched the
“Kulturkampf”, or “battle for
civilizations.” His goal was to
make Catholics put loyalty to
the state above allegiance
(loyalty) to the Church. The
Chancellor had laws passed that gave the state the right to monitor
and supervise Catholic education, mass services, and approve the
appointment of priests. Bismarck furthered outraged (angered)
Catholics by making them sign a loyalty oath, stating allegiance to the
state and Kaiser over the Pope. Catholics were not allowed to vote
or hold offices in government; although this law changed within a year
of being created.

Bismarck also saw a threat to the new German empire in the growing
power of socialism. By the late 1870’s, followers of Marxism had
organized a Socialist Political Party, which called for equality
among all people, whether you were German or a different ethnicity
(background / culture), whether you were Catholic or Lutheran, and
whether you were rich or poor. Bismarck feared that Marxist
followers would cause a revolution in Germany, and influence factory
workers to revolt and go on strike. Thus, Bismarck had laws passed
that dissolved (got rid of) Socialist groups. He shut down their
newspapers, and banned any kind of meetings. Any socialist in
Germany trying to go against one of these laws would be fired upon,
and trialed if not killed.
Although paranoid (worried) about his position as chancellor and
enemies ruining his new German state, Bismarck did make some
positive changes to
Germany. Within ten years,
Germany had become
industrialized. Bismarck
learned about the problems
Britain had made with
industrialization, and
tried not to repeat those
mistakes. Therefore,
Bismarck created schools
to train workers, so they
knew how to do their job right and safely. Accidents in German
factories were very minimal (few). By 1890, major Germany cities
were powered by electricity, and the sounds of railroads and
steamships were an everyday sound. Germany became number two in
Europe, behind Britain, when it came to factories producing goods.
Every male was given the right to vote, to obtain an education, and
have the right to work themselves up in the working world. Bismarck
would serve as chancellor of Germany for over thirty years, until the
beginning of World War I.

Part 1 – Answer the following multiple-choice questions.
1) The slogan “Blood and Iron” and a united Germany are most closely associated with
A) Prince Metternich
B) Simon Bolivar
C) Camillo Cavour

D) Otto Von Bismarck
2) The unification of Germany under Otto Van Bismarck demonstrates the
A) influence of Marxism
B) impact of nationalism
C) force of civil disobedience
D) power of democratic ideals

3) During the 1800s, reforms and legislation passed in Great Britain, France, and
Germany to deal with industrialization and factory problems led to
A) the formation of zaibatsu, greater equality for men, and establishment of a banking
system
B) legalizing trade unions, setting minimum wages, and limiting child labor
C) government-owned factories, establishment of five-year plans, and limits place on
immigration
D) bans on overseas trade, mandatory military service, and universal suffrage for women
Part 2 - Complete TWO of the four questions below. Be sure to
answer the question COMPLETELY in a response of at least EIGHT
SENTENCES.
1) In your own words, (Using today’s lesson and yesterday’s), discuss
some of the positive or negative changes Bismarck brought to
Germany. WHY are these changes positive or negative?

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2) Which groups of people did Bismarck oppose? WHY did he oppose
them? Should he fear these people? WHY or why not?
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3) When Bismarck finally died, he was remembered for a lot of things.
What do you think he will be MOST remembered for? WHY? Explain
your reasoning.

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4) Think back to the two lessons on Bismarck. Was Bismarck a good
leader for the German people? Why or why not?

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