Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg, Prince of Bismarck, (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), was a Prussian and German statesman and aristocrat of the 19th century. As Minister-President of Prussia from 1862–90, he oversaw the unification of Germany. In 1867 he became Chancellor of the North German Confederation. When the second German Empire was formed in 1871, he served as its first Chancellor and practiced Realpolitik, which gained him the nickname "The Iron Chancellor". As Chancellor, Bismarck held an important role in the German government and greatly influenced German and international politics both during and after his time of service.
ismarck was born in Schönhausen, the wealthy family estate situated west of Berlin in the Prussian Province of Saxony. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck (Schönhausen, 13 November 1771 - 22 November 1845), was a landowner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken (Potsdam, 24 February 1789 - Berlin), the educated daughter of a politician. A.J.P. Taylor later remarked on the importance of this dual heritage: although Bismarck physically resembled his father, and appeared as a Prussian Junker to the outside world - an image which he often encouraged by wearing military uniform, even though he was not a regular officer - he was also more cosmopolitan and highly educated than was normal for men of such background. He spoke English fluently, and as a young man would often quote Shakespeare or Byron in letters to his wife.
Bismarck was educated at the Friedrich-Wilhelm and the Graues Kloster. From 1832-33 he studied law at the University of Göttingen, where he spent only a year as a member of the Corps Hannovera before enrolling in the University of Berlin (1833-35).
Whilst at Göttingen, Bismarck had become the lifelong friend of an American student John Lothrop Motley, who described Bismarck as Otto v. Rabenmark in his novel Morton's...