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.