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Otto von Bismarck

(1815—1898) Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, Prussian minister and German statesman, Chancellor of the German Empire 1871–90

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German statesman. As Minister-President and Foreign Minister of Prussia under Wilhelm I from 1862, Bismarck was the driving force behind the unification of Germany, orchestrating wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870–71) in order to achieve this end. As Chancellor of the new German Empire (1871–90), he continued to dominate the political scene, passing legislation intended to break the influence of the Catholic Church at home and consolidating Germany's position as a European power by creating a system of alliances. Bismarck was forced to resign in 1890 after a policy disagreement with Wilhelm II.

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