Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman

By A. J. P. Taylor | Go to book overview

I I
THE DIPLOMAT

WITH the meeting of the federal diet at Frankfurt, the old order in Germany seemed to have been restored unchanged. This was far from being the case. Though the great revolution had blown over, the men who ruled in Vienna and Berlin had been shaped by their experiences in it. Frederick William IV went on dreaming of some impossible stroke by which he could make Prussia dominant in Germany with Austrian consent. Though he would never go against Austria, he would alsonever accept subordination to her. Manteuffel, the foreign minister, knew nothing of foreign affairs. He was an old-style civil servant, who had been pushed into the office on the sudden death of Brandenburg in November 1850 and he had no plan of foreign policy. All he wanted was to keep out of difficulties; but he, too, had a sturdy Prussian pride and would not accept Austrian orders.

There was a greater change on the Austrian side. Her rulers had acquired new confidence from their victories in Hungary and Italy. They despised Metternich's gentle methods and thought that rudeness was the best diplomatic method. Schwarzenberg, who directed Austrian policy until his sudden death in 1852, planned to include the entire Habsburg monarchy in the German confederation; and a conference to achieve this was held at Dresden early in 1851. But the smaller states, who had welcomed Austrian support against Prussian encroachment, were equally opposed to Austrian control and voted solidly against her plans. The confederation had to be carried on unchanged. The federal diet had seventeen members--the larger states one each, the smaller lumped together with five delegates.1

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1
The plenum of all thirty-nine states met only to approve changes of the federal constitution--and none was ever made.

-32-

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Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • I - The Boy and the Man 9
  • II - I- The Diplomat 32
  • III - Prime Minister of Prussia 53
  • IV - The Defeat of Austria 70
  • V - The North German Confederation 92
  • VI - The German Empire in the Days of Liberalism 123
  • VII - The Change of Course 158
  • VIII - The Conservative Chancellor 194
  • IX - The Fall from Power 231
  • X - Into the Grave--And beyond It 254
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 279
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