Otto von Bismarck

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Bismarck)
Jump to: navigation, search
Politics is not an exact science... but an art.

Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1 April 181530 July 1898), German aristocrat and statesman; Prime Minister of Prussia (1862–1890), First Chancellor of Germany (1871–1890); he is nicknamed the Iron Chancellor and is noted for his laconic remarks.

Quotes[edit]

  • Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden — das ist der große Fehler von 1848 und 1849 gewesen — sondern durch Eisen und Blut.
    • Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.
  • Variant translations :
It is not by speeches and majority vote that the great questions of our time will be decided — as that was error of 1848 and 1849 — but rather by iron and blood.
The great questions of the time are not decided by speeches and majority decisions — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.
The great issues of the day are not decided through speeches and majority resolutions — that was the great error of 1848 and 1849 — but through blood and iron.
The great questions of the day will not be decided by speeches and the resolutions of majorities — that was the great mistake from 1848 to 1849 — but by blood and iron.
The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions ... but by iron and blood.
Auswärtige Conflicte zu suchen, um über innere Schwierigkeiten hinwegzukommen, dagegen müsse er sich verwahren; das würde frivol sein; er wolle nicht Händel suchen ; er spreche von Conflicten, denen wir nicht entgehen würden, ohne daß wir sie suchten.
I must protest that I would never seek foreign conflicts just to go over domestic difficulties; that would be frivolous. I was speaking of conflicts that we could not avoid, even though we do not seek them.
  • Die Reden des Ministerpräsidenten von Bismarck-Schönhausen im Preußischen Landtage 1862-1865 (1903) edited by Horst Kohl, p. 31
  • A statesman cannot create anything himself. He must wait and listen until he hears the steps of God sounding through events; then leap up and grasp the hem of his garment.
    • As quoted in Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman (1955) by Alan John Percivale Taylor, p. 115.
  • Haut doch die Polen, daß sie am Leben verzagen; ich habe alles Mitgefühl für ihre Lage, aber wir können, wenn wir bestehn wollen, nichts andres thun, als sie ausrotten; der Wolf kann auch nicht dafür, daß er von Gott geschaffen ist, wie er ist, und man schießt ihn doch dafür totd, wenn man kann.
A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.
  • A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.
    • Speech to North German Reichstag (24 September 1867)
  • Die Politik ist keine exakte Wissenschaft.
    • Politics is not an exact science.
    • Speech to Prussian upper house (18 December 1863)
    • Variant: Die Politik ist keine Wissenschaft, wie viele der Herren Proffessoren sich einbilden, sondern eine Kunst.
      • Politics is not a science, as the professors are apt to suppose. It is an art.
        • Expression in the Reichstag (1884), as quoted in The Quote Verifier : Who Said What, Where, and When (2006) by Ralph Keyes.
  • Setzen wir Deutschland, so zu sagen, in den Sattel! Reiten wird es schon können.
    • Let us lift Germany, so to speak, into the saddle. Surely when that is achieved, it will succeed at riding as well.
    • Speech to Parliament of Confederation (1867)
  • Wer den Daumen auf dem Beutel hat, der hat die Macht.
    • He who has his thumb on the purse has the power.
    • Speech to North German Reichstag (21 May 1869), Stenographische Berichte p. 1017 (left) books.google
  • Wir Deutsche fürchten Gott, aber sonst nichts in der Welt - und die Gottesfurcht ist es schon, die uns den Frieden lieben und pflegen lässt.
    • We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world; and it is the fear of God, which lets us love and foster peace.
    • Speech to the Reichstag (6 February 1888) reichstagsprotokolle.de 1887/88,2 p. 733 (D)
  • Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.
    • Quoted as a remark of Bismark without quotation marks, in Thinking About the Unthinkable in the 1980s (1984) by Herman Kahn, p. 136, a paraphrase of what Bismarck told the Reichstag on Feb. 9, 1876. Referring to March 1875, when the French National Assembly had decided to strengthen their army by 144,000 additional troops, Bismarck asked the deputies to imagine he had told them a year ago that one had to wage war without having been attacked or humiliated: „Würden Sie da nicht sehr geneigt gewesen sein, zunächst nach dem Arzte zu schicken (Heiterkeit), um untersuchen zu lassen, wie ich dazu käme, dass ich nach meiner langen politischen Erfahrung die kolossale Dummheit begehen könnte, so vor Sie zu treten und zu sagen: Es ist möglich, dass wir in einigen Jahren einmal angegriffen werden, damit wir dem nun zuvorkommen, fallen wir rasch über unsere Nachbarn her und hauen sie zusammen, ehe sie sich vollständig erholen – gewissermaßen Selbstmord aus Besorgniß vor dem Tode" (Would you not have been inclined very much to send for a physician in the first place and let him find out, how I with my long experience in politics could commit the colossal stupidity of [...] telling you: It is possible that in some years we might be attacked; to pre-empt that, let us overrun our neighbors and smash them before they have fully recovered [from the war of 1870/71] - in a way [commit] suicide from fear of death) reichstagsprotokolle.de 1875/76,2 p. 1329-30.
  • Your map of Africa is really quite nice. But my map of Africa lies in Europe. Here is Russia, and here... is France, and we're in the middle — that's my map of Africa.
„Ihre Karte von Afrika ist ja sehr schön, aber meine Karte von Afrika liegt in Europa. Hier liegt Rußland, und hier" - nach links deutend - "liegt Frankreich, und wir sind in der Mitte; das ist meine Karte von Afrika."
Eugen Wolf: Vom Fürsten Bismarck und seinem Haus. Tagebuchblätter. 2nd edition Berlin 1904, p. 16 archive.org
  • Der alte Jude, das ist der Mann.
    • The old Jew, he is the man.
    • A conversation in 1879 on who was the centre of gravity at the Congress of Berlin, referring to Benjamin Disraeli, as quoted in Seven Great Statesmen in the Warfare of Humanity with Unreason (1912) by Andrew Dickson White, p. 482
  • They treat me like a fox, a cunning fellow (Schlaukopf) of the first rank. But the truth is that with a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to do with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half.
    • Talking to Gyula Andrássy in Salzburg on 18 September 1877. As quoted in Disraeli, Gladstone, and the Eastern Question. A Study in Diplomacy and Party Politics (1935) by Robert William Seton-Watson, p. 224 books.google; "Schlaukopf" is translated elsewhere as "clever dick" or "smart aleck."
    • They treat me like a fox, a cunning fellow (Schlaukopf) of the first rank. But the truth is that with a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to deal with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half.
      • As quoted in Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy's influence on Habsburg foreign policy during the Franco-German War of 1870-1871 (1979) by János Decsy, p. 21 books.google
  • „Man behandelt mich wie einen Fuchs, wie einen Schlaukopf erster Klasse. Die Wahrheit aber ist, qu'avec un gentleman se suis toujours gentleman et demi, et que quand j'ai affaire ä un corsaire, je täche d'etre corsaire et demi"
Eduard von Wertheimer: Graf Julius Andrássy. Sein Leben und seine Zeit. Vol. III. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt Stuttgart 1914 pp. 42-43 books.google
  • Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal ... A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all ... I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where ... Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.
    • Said during the Congress of Berlin in 1878.
  • Concerning the blunders which had been made in our foreign policy public opinion is, as a rule, first enlightened when it is in a position to look back upon the history of a generation, and the Achivi qui plectuntur are not always immediately contemporary with the mistaken actions."
  • The Kaiser vs. Bismarck. Suppressed Letters by the Kaiser and New Chapters from the Autobiography of the Iron Chancellor. Translated by Bernard Miall. Harper New York & London 1921, p. 183 archive.org
Ueber die Fehler, welche in der auswärtigen Politik begangen wurden, wird sich die öffentliche Meinung in der Regel erst klar, wenn sie auf die Geschichte eines Menschenalters zurückzublicken im Stande ist, und die Achivi qui plectuntur sind nicht immer die unmittelbaren Zeitgenossen der fehlerhaften Handlungen."


Disputed[edit]

  • Who is master of Bohemia is master of Europe.
    • Reported as frequently quoted but unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989), which states, "it cannot be found in the official writings and pronouncements of Bismarck. It is possible that he said it, and it was passed on orally rather than being recorded, or that he expressed the sentiment in other terms and the idea took this form as others tried to quote him".


Misattributed[edit]

  • There is a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.
    • This saying appears as early as 1849 in the form “the special providence over the United States and little children”, attributed to Abbé Correa. There is no good evidence that Bismarck ever repeated it. See talk page for more details.
  • Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.
    • Though similar remarks are often attributed to Bismarck, this is the earliest known quote regarding laws and sausages, and is attributed to John Godfrey Saxe University Chronicle. University of Michigan (27 March 1869) books.google and "Quote... Misquote" by Fred R. Shapiro in The New York Times (21 July 2008); according to Shapiro's research, such remarks only began to be attributed to Bismarck in the 1930s.
    • Variants often attributed to Bismarck:
    • If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.
    • Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.
    • Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.
    • Laws are like sausages. You should never see them made.
    • Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made.
    • Law and sausage are two things you do not want to see being made.
    • No one should see how laws or sausages are made.
    • To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.
    • The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight.
    • Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts.
      • The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.
        • (No citation exists for where this German phrase or this translation originated).

About Bismarck[edit]

  • He trusted to the levelling effect of time and to the pressure exercised by the process of evolution, the steady action of which appeared more effective than an attempt to break the resistance which the individual states offered at the moment. By this policy he showed his great ability in the art of statesmanship. And, as a matter of fact, the sovereignty of the Reich has continually increased at the cost of the sovereignty of the individual states.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: