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Bismarck and Hitler

Updated on December 11, 2016
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience. She holds degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Too Big of a Plan

Bismarck’s flaw in unification was the fact that his plan was too extensive. Hitler did not learn from this lesson as he kept moving forward against Europe and continue to construct and eliminate treaties. The one that would undermine all his plans was the Nazi Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. He agreed to keep friendly relations with Russia while he gobbled up the rest of Europe. Russia did not learn from Hitler’s previous acts and agreed to the deal. Hitler set the stage for his attack on Russia. He moved against his ally and found out that it was a foolish plan that would cripple the German army leading to his defeat. He had broken one too many treaties.

Creation of Bitterness

Bismarck brought Germany together but created bitterness that grew to war levels. Yes, there was unity, but it came at a price. Too many were angry at what had transpired. Germany had once been separate principalities, but when they came together as one, they were punished by the rest of the world. At least, that is how the Germans viewed it.

It was that bitterness that opened the door for Hitler to walk through.


Military - Core of German Power

Bismarck believed the military was the core of German power. Without a strong military, Germany was nothing. It was this bitterness and believe in power that gave Hitler the edge he needed. Hitler fed on the bitterness of the Germans to rise to power and pulled the Germans together under a flag of nationalism that surpassed Bismarck’s.

Because Bismarck had already created the seed of military power in the German mindset, it wasn't hard for Hitler to follow through. The people saw the military as the power that the world saw and would fear.

Pure German Blood

Hitler focused on German blood and began a purifying policy that would kill millions of men, women, and children. He pushed the pride of being a German, which by itself is nothing wrong, but it led to too much bloodshed. Hitler took Bismarck's German power to a whole new level.

After WWI, pride was at an all-time low. Germans were bitter. They needed someone to have them cheering for who they were instead of hanging their head in shame on the world state. Hitler became that someone.


Playing the Game

Both men were excellent chess players as they pretended to be friends on the world scene while plotting the demise of said friends. Bismarck was successful in his actions as he died with Germany still an empire to be contended with. Hitler on the other hand broke one treaty that would destroy Germany for many decades and never give it the foundation to rise to such power again. It was the mistake that cost him the one move that would have shaken the world.

It was all about strategy, and looking back on it, they did an excellent job of leading the world by the nose for quite some time.

Both men had a huge impact on Europe, but Hitler’s impact was deeper. He tore Europe apart like it had never experienced in all of history and took genocide to levels that have never been seen since. Bismarck’s nationalism affected Europe but more on the political scene. Hitler’s nationalism tore at the soul of mankind. Europe was never the same after Hitler.


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“Primary Source: Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact Negotiations: The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (August 14, 1939).” PBS. 2009.

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