The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 532 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10.

  Prince Bismarck.  By Franz von Lenbach

  The Bismarck Monument at Hamburg.  By Lederer

  William I on his Deathbed.  By Anton von Werner

  Moltke.  By Anton von Werner

  Count Moltke

  Moltke at Sedan.  By Anton von Werner

  King William at the Mausoleum of his Parents on the Day of the French
  Declaration of War.  By Anton von Werner

  The Capitulation of Sedan.  By Anton von Werner

  Ferdinand Lassalle

  The Iron Foundry.  By Adolph von Menzel

  Flax Barn in Laren.  By Max Liebermann

* * * * *

BISMARCK AS A NATIONAL TYPE[1]

By Kuno Francke, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D.  Professor of the History of German Culture, Harvard University.

No man since Luther has been a more complete embodiment of German nationality than Otto von Bismarck.  None has been closer to the German heart.  None has stood more conspicuously for racial aspirations, passions, ideals.

It is the purpose of the present sketch to bring out a few of these affinities between Bismarck and the German people.

I

Perhaps the most obviously Teutonic trait in Bismarck’s character is its martial quality.  It would be preposterous, surely, to claim warlike distinction as a prerogative of the German race.  Russians, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans, undoubtedly, make as good fighters as Germans.  But it is not an exaggeration to say that there is no country in the world where the army is as enlightened or as popular an institution as it is in Germany.

The German army is not composed of hirelings of professional fighters whose business it is to pick quarrels, no matter with whom.  It is, in the strictest sense of the word, the people in arms.  Among its officers there is a large percentage of the intellectual elite of the country; its rank and file embrace every occupation and every class of society, from the scion of royal blood down to the son of the seamstress.  Although it is based upon the unconditional acceptance of the monarchical creed, nothing is farther removed from it than the spirit of servility.  On the contrary, one of the very first teachings which are inculcated upon the German recruit is that, in wearing the “king’s coat,” he is performing a public duty, and that by performing this duty he is honoring himself.  Nor can it be said that it is the aim of German military drill to reduce the soldier to a mere machine, at will to be set in motion or be brought to a standstill by his superior.  The aim of this drill is rather to give each soldier increased self-control, mentally no less than bodily; to develop his self-respect; to enlarge his sense of responsibility, as well as to teach him the absolute necessity of the subordination

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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