Otto von Bismarck

German statesman and Chancellor (1815-1898)

Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (April 1, 1815 – July 30, 1898) was a German aristocrat and statesman; Prime Minister of Prussia (1862–1890), First Chancellor of Germany (1871–1890); he is nicknamed the Iron Chancellor and is noted for the laconicity of his statements.

Otto von Bismarck

Sourced quotes

  • "Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden — das ist der große Fehler von 1848 und 1849 gewesen — sondern durch Eisen und Blut."
English: Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.
Simple: The great questions/problems of our time will not be decided by words or votes, but by violence.
About the quote: Speech to the Prussian Diet (September 30, 1862).
  • "A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence."
Simple: An army on the border will not be stopped by words, you need an army of your own.
About the quote: Speech to North German Reichstag (September 24, 1867).
  • "Setzen wir Deutschland, so zu sagen, in den Sattel! Reiten wird es schon können."
English: Let us lift Germany, so to speak, into the saddle. It will certainly be able to ride.
Simple: If we start Germany on the path of greatness, it will reach its destination.
About the quote: Speech to Parliament of Confederation (1867).
  • "He who has his thumb on the purse has the power."
Simple: He who has the money, has power.
About the quote: Speech to North German Reichstag (May 21, 1869).
  • "Wir Deutschen fürchten Gott, sonst aber Nichts in der Welt; und diese Gottesfurcht ist es schon, die uns den Frieden lieben und pflegen lässt."
English: We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world; and already that godliness is it, which let us love and foster peace.
Simple: The only thing we Germans fear is God, nothing else in the world.
About the quote: Speech to the Reichstag (February 6, 1888).
  • "With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to do with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half."[1]
Simple: Whoever I deal with, I try to think as them, and be better at it.


  1. Survey Graphic (1939) by Paul Underwood Kellogg, page 243

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