MO4936 Bismarck: Biography - Politics - Mythology
   
Lecturer Dr Claudia Kreklau  (St Katharine’s Lodge, room 2.26)
   
Credits 60
   
Availability Semesters 1 and 2, 2019-20
   
Class Hour TBC
   
Description A celebrated recent history of Germany accorded Otto von Bismarck almost biblical status. The book opens with a thunderous: "In the beginning was Bismarck." An opinion poll published by the Berlin Illustrated News in 1899 declared him the greatest statesman of the century. This course aims to approach, understand and evaluate the life, career and personality of this alleged giant. Scrutinising a large selection of primary sources and drawing on a rich body of sophisticated secondary literature, we will try to appreciate Bismarck both as a shaper and a product of his time. Consideration will also be given to Bismarck's legacy in European and German politics as well as his role in the pantheon of Germany's political iconography.
   
Basic Reading D. Blackbourn: The Long Nineteenth Century, 1780-1918 (Fontana History of Germany, 1997)
J. Breuilly (ed.): Nineteenth-Century Germany. Politics, Culture and Society 1780-1918 (2001)
E. Feuchtwanger: Bismarck (2002)
K. Lerman: Bismarck (2004)
C. Clark: IRON KINGDOM. The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 (2006), pp. 468-618
   

Course Structure

Semester 1

  1. Course Introduction: Growing up in Prussia - Bismarck, 1815-1847
  2. 1848: Political Awakening
  3. A Leader in Waiting: Bismarck and the German Question, 1850-1862
  4. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  5. Constitutional Crisis and National Conflict: 1862-1864/5
  6. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  7. Omelettes and Eggs I: the War against Austria and the End of the German Confederation, 1865-1867
  8. Omelettes and Eggs II: the War against France and the Foundation of the Reich, 1870-1871
  9. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  10. The House that Otto Built: Assessing the Kaiserreich
  11. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary

Semester 2

  1. Enemies of the Reich I: the Kulturkampf
  2. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  3. An “Honest Broker”? - Bismarck's foreign policy, 1871-1879
  4. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  5. Juggling ever more Balls: Bismarck's foreign policy in the 1880s
  6. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  7. A “Second Foundation”? - The Conservative Turn of 1878/9
  8. Enemies of the Reich II: the fight against Social Democracy
  9. Stalemate, Resignation and Exile, 1888-1898
  10. Work with Selected Sources: Criticism and Commentary
  11. Concluding Discussion: Bismarck: Icon and Spectre - Triumph and Failure
   
Assessment

2017-18 onwards:
40% examination - two 2-hour papers
60% coursework - one 5,750-word essay, 4 oral presentations (incl. two shorter essays) and four gobbet exercises

   

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the life and politics of Otto von Bismarck and thus of the political development of Germany in the course on the nineteenth century.
  • Peruse a wide selection of primary sources (diplomatic documents, memoirs, letters cartoons etc.).
  • Consider the impact of political iconography/mythology and its use by subsequent generations.
 
   
Restrictions Available only to students in the second year of the Honours programme
   
Resource Lists http://resourcelists.st-andrews.ac.uk/modules/mo4936.html