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  • Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, Pour le Mérite, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890. In the 1860s he engineered a series of wars that unified the German states into a powerful German Empire under Prussian leadership. With that accomplished by 1871 he skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to preserve German hegemony in a Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, Bismarck, who "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost twenty years after 1871, devoted himself exclusively, and successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers." Upon his 1862 appointment by King Wilhelm I as Minister President of Prussia, Bismarck provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark, Austria and France, aligning the smaller German states behind Prussia in defeating his arch-enemy France. In 1871 he formed the German Empire with himself as Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia. Wikipedia

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  • As Chancellor he was able to influence both the Emperor and the elected government, his policies shaping Prussia, Germany, and Europe as a whole.
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