Prime Minister and minister of foreign affairs under William I, he believed in the policy of "Blood and Iron". His chief goal was to unify Germany, which he accomplished by weakening Austria and France. Bismarck helped strengthen Germany and he created a smooth-running government and legal system. Bismarck also started "Kulturkampf", a persecution of Catholics that ultimately made them stronger. His manipulation of land holdings in Europe is often cited as a cause of WWI, but this is not certain. When William II ascended the throne in 1888, he forced Bismarck to resign.

    Bismarck also initiated the use of Realpolitik. A Machiavelian spin on German politics, Realpolitik justified any political action Bismarck took, regardless of its legality or morality. To create a unified Germany Bismarck readily applied this policy. An example of its use was ignoring the Parliament, or Reichstag, to pass the military budget.