OTTO VON BISMARCK
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Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) was a German statesman and the first chancellor of a unified Germany. He rose to become the leader of Prussia, then a member of the German Confederation. He led Prussia to military victory over Denmark, Austria, and France in wars that he initiated. After defeating Austria, he united the German states into the German Empire. His skillful diplomacy and domestic power earned him the nickname “Iron Chancellor”. He created the first modern welfare state and instituted universal male suffrage. Bismarck was forced to resign in 1890 by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who opposed the chancellor’s more guarded foreign policy.