Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871

By Otto Pflanze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
THE EXTERNAL FUNCTIONS OF POWER

1. A PRUSSIAN NATIONALIST

AMONG German historians and political scientists the most common justification for authoritarian government has been geopolitical. Located on the open plains of northern Europe with no adequate geographical barriers, the Prussians had to develop a governmental system capable of reacting quickly and effectively against foreign attack. Ranke gave this view its classic statement in his Dialogue on Politics: "The position of a state in the world depends on the degree of independence it has attained. It is obliged, therefore, to organize all its internal resources for the purpose of self-preservation. This is the supreme law of the state."1 In German political literature this principle is known as the Primat der Aussenpolitik. While Ranke was its philosopher, Bismarck is generally considered to have been its greatest practitioner.2

Although a secondary theme, the concept of the Primat der Aussenpolitik does appear in Bismarck's recorded thoughts during the early period of his career. In February 1851 he delivered a harsh speech opposing extension of the financial powers of parliament on the grounds that the proper conduct of foreign policy would be impossible in a government dominated by the second chamber. In a body composed of five to six parties, majority decisions were the "unsteady result of a very complicated diagonal of forces." The composition of the British house of commons, on the other hand, was far different. Here there were only two parties, one of which had a secure majority subject to the "iron discipline" of leaders who were at the same time cabinet ministers.3

____________________
1
Theodore H. von Laue, Leopold Ranke, The Formative Years: ( Princeton, 1950), p. 167.
2
See Max Lenz, "Ranke und Bismarck," Kleine Historische Schriften ( Munich, 1910), pp. 383-408. Despite their seeming affinity in viewpoint, Ranke was very critical of Bismarck's actions after 1862. See Otto Diether, Leopold von Ranke als Politiker ( Leipzig, 1911), pp. 518 ff., and Stephen Skalweit, "Ranke und Bismarck," Historische Zeitschrift, Vol. 176 ( 1953), pp. 277-290. For a criticism of Ranke's concept see Heinrich Heffter, "Vom Primat der Aussenpolitik," ibid., Vol. 171 ( 1951), pp. 1-20.
3
Kohl, Reden, I, 300-301.

-71-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 510

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.