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264

BISMARCK

prepared on this ground for a close alliance with Austria. feared that he might bring down the monarchy with him. He found, however, a deliberate intention on the part of Standing almost alone he succeeded in the task he had Austria to humble Prussia, and to degrade her from the undertaken. For four years he ruled without a budget, position of an equal Power, and also great jealousy of taking advantage of an omission in the constitution which Prussia among the smaller German princes, many of whom did not specify what was to happen in case the Crown and owed their thrones to the Prussian soldiers, who, as in the two Houses could not agree on a budget. The conflict Saxony and Baden, had crushed the insurgents. He of the ministers and the House assumed at times the form of therefore came to the conclusion that if Prussia was to bitter personal hostility ; in 1863 the ministers refused any regain the position she had lost she must be prepared for longer to attend the sittings, and Bismarck challenged the opposition of Austria, and must strengthen herself by Virchow, one of his strongest opponents, to a duel, which, alliances with other Powers. The solidarity of Conserva- however, did not take place. In 1852 he had fought a tive interests appeared to him now a dangerous fiction. duel with pistols against George von Vindre, a political At the time of the Crimean war he advocated alliance opponent. In June 1863, as soon as parliament had with Russia, and it was to a great extent owing to his risen, Bismarck published ordinances controlling the advice that Prussia did not join the western Powers. liberty of the press, which, though in accordance with Afterwards he urged a good understanding with the letter, seemed opposed to the intentions of the conNapoleon, but his advice was met by the insuperable stitution, and it was on this occasion that the crown objection of the king to any alliance with a ruler of prince, hitherto a silent opponent, publicly dissociated himself from the policy of his father’s ministers. Bismarck revolutionary origin. The change of ministry which followed the establishment depended for his position solely on the confidence of the of a regency in 1857 made it desirable to appoint a new king, and the necessity for defending himself against the envoy at Frankfort, and in 1858 Bismarck was appointed attempts to destroy this confidence added greatly to the ambassador at St Petersburg, where he remained for four suspiciousness of his nature. He was, however, really years. During this period he acquired some knowledge of indispensable, for his resignation must be followed by a Russian and gained the warm regard of the Tsar, as well Liberal ministry, parliamentary control over the army, as of the Dowager-Empress, herself a Prussian princess. and probably the abdication of the king. Not only, therefore, During the first two years he had little influence on the was he secure in the continuance of the king’s support, but Prussian Government; the Liberal ministers distrusted his he had also the complete control of foreign affairs. Thus known opinions on parliamentary government, and the he could afford to ignore the criticism of the House, and monarchical feeling of the prince regent was ofiended by the king was obliged to acquiesce in the policy of a minister Bismarck’s avowed readiness for alliance with the Italians to whom he owed so much. He soon gave to the policy of the monarchy a resolution and his disregard of the rights of other princes. The. failure of the ministry, and the estrangement between the king and which had long been wanting. When the emperor of pri a the Liberal party, opened to him the way to power. Boon, Austria summoned a meeting of the German policy, who was appointed Minister of War in 1861, was an old princes at Frankfort to discuss a reform of the friend of his, and through him Bismarck was thenceforward confederation Bismarck insisted that the king kept closely informed of the condition of affairs in Berlin. of Prussia must not attend. He remained away, and his On several occasions the prospect of entering the ministry absence in itself made the congress unavailing. There can was open to him, but nothing came of it, apparently be no doubt that from the time he entered on office because he required a free hand in foreign affairs, and Bismarck was determined to bring to an issue the long this the king was not prepared to give him. When an struggle for supremacy in Germany between the house of acute crisis arose out of the refusal of parliament, in Hapsburg and the house of Hohenzollern. Before he was 1862, to vote the money required for the reorganization of able to complete his preparations for this, two unforeseen the army, which the king and Roon had carried through, occurrences completely altered the European situation, and he was summoned to Berlin; but the king was still unable caused the conflict to be postponed for three years. The to make up his mind to appoint him, although he felt first was the outbreak of rebellion in Poland. Bismarck, that Bismarck was the only man who had the courage an inheritor of the older Prussian traditions, and recollecting and capacity for conducting the struggle with parlia- how much of the greatness of Prussia had been gained at ment. He was, therefore, in June, made ambassador at the expense of the Poles, offered his help to the Tsar. By Paris as a temporary expedient. There he had the oppor- this he placed himself in opposition to the universal tunity for renewing the good understanding with Napoleon feeling of Western Europe; no act of his life added so which had been begun in 1857. He also paid a short much to the repulsion with which at this time he was visit to England, but it does not appear that this had any regarded as an enemy of liberty and right. He won, political results. In September the parliament, by a large however, the gratitude of the Tsar and the support of majority, threw out the budget, and the king, having no- Russia, which in the next years was to be of vital service where else to turn for help, at Roon’s advice summoned to him. Even more serious were the difficulties arising in Bismarck to Berlin and appointed him minister-president Denmark. On the death of the king in 1863 Prince Frederic of Augustenburg came forward as claimant to and foreign minister. Bismarck’s duty as minister was to carry on the the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein which had hitherto been government against the wishes of the Lower House, so as joined to the crown of Denmark. He was strongly to enable the king to complete and maintain the supported by the whole German nation and by many of its Ministry. reorganized army. The opposition of the House princes. Bismarck, however, once more was obliged to was supported by the country and by a large party at oppose the current of national feeling, which imperiously court, including the queen and crown prince. The in- demanded that the German duchies should be rescued from dignation which his appointment caused was intense; a foreign yoke. Prussia was bound by the treaty of he° was known only by the reputation which in his early London, which guaranteed the integrity of the Danish years he had won as a violent ultra-Conservatiye, and the monarchy; to have disregarded this would have been to apprehensions were increased by his first speech, in which he bring about a coalition against Germany similar to that of said that the problems of the time could only be settled by 1851. Moreover, he held that it would be of no advantage blood and iron. His early fall was predicted, and it was to Prussia to create a new German state ; if Denmark