This month there will be a number of events held at the IHR to mark the bicentenary of Otto von Bismarck’s birth: an exhibition on the statesman and a lecture given by Prof. Jonathan Steinberg.
This is naturally, therefore, an opportune time to highlight some of the resources to be found in the library’s collections for those researching Bismarck and his impact on German and European politics. Given the central position Bismarck played in many different political arenas it would be feasible to write substantial guides on a number of different subjects (e.g. the nature of his relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and finally Wilhelm II, the Kulturkampf, his attitude to the growth of German party politics, etc.). Yet here we concentrate on the three wars of the 1860s and early 1870s which would bring about the creation of a politically unified German state.
Editions of speeches, letters and telegrams form the core of the library’s holdings on Bismarck where, understandably, one would find his words and thoughts on the prospect and viability of German unity and Prussia’s role within this process as well as the course of the wars with Denmark, Austria and France. The main editions include:
- Die gesammelten Werke
- Die politischen Reden des Fürsten Bismarck
- Anhang zu den Gedanken und Erinnerungen von Otto Fürst von Bismarck
Moving on from the library’s extensive German collection one can find works of relevance in the Diplomatic History and Military Collections, especially regarding the Franco-Prussian War (the library now has over 250 published works on the conflict thanks in part to a large bequest from Dr. Vincent Wright). Other relevant works in the Diplomatic and Military collection include:
- Die auswärtige Politik Preussens 1858-1871
- Quellen zur deutschen Politiks Österreichs 1859-1866
- Der Feldzug von 1864
- Der Feldzug von 1866
- Les origines diplomatiques de la guerre de 1870-1871
- Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten des…Helmuth von Moltke
Additional material can also be found in some of the other national collections within the library. In the Scandinavian collection works on the war with Denmark currently include an account of the Battle of Dybbøl, the general work and source collection Manuel historique de la question du Slesvig and Den Danske Regering og Nordslesvigs geforening med Danmark by the Danish historian Aage Friis; a work about the repercussions of the war in Denmark. Besides the works already mentioned from the Diplomatic and Military collections additional material on the Austro-Prussian War can also be found in the Austrian collection, especially from the period of Richard Belcredi’s chancellorship. Additional sources on the Franco-Prussian War can understandably be found in the library’s French collection including a collection of the writings of Émile Ollivier, Prime Minister of France during the first few months of the war, as well as editions of Le Moniteur Universel from the years 1870-71.
For more information on the library’s German holdings see our guide to the collection. The collection is on open access on the second floor of the IHR. For further information about using the library, see our membership pages.
The Otto von Bismarck exhibition, organised by the Bismarck Foundation, will open at the IHR on 6th May and will be shown until 25th May 2015, before continuing to other locations. See further information about the lecture and exhibition.