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Professor Cohn delivered an interesting lecture last evening before a large audience in Sever Hall. His subject was "A French view of Bismarck."
Bismarck represents the greatest political force that was ever centered in one individual, In many ways he was above Napoleon the First and Cromwell for, while Napoleon, unknown in 1796 was at St. Helena in 1815, and while only about ten years invened between the deaths of Charles the First and Cromwell, Bismarck has been in power for nearly thirty years. Although not a commander he is a conqueror. He began to direct his armies in 1864 and in 1871 France was compelled to sue for peace. On the significance of the French belief in the meaning of Bismarek's career depends their belief in the destiny of France. There are three great points in his foreign policy, the Danish, Austrian and French wars. In a study of his character, however, we must not look solely to his foreign policy but to his intercourse with his own nation.
Bismarck has great contempt for the rights of kings for in 1866 he showed no hesitancy in the annexation to Prussia of some of the petty German states. His action is everywhere marked by a constancy to a certain policy, to the idea of what he considers his duty, which is to develop
strength whenever and wherever possible.
In 1861 Bismarck was called to the ministry by William I who had just come into power and for three years he pursued a policy which was in direct opposition to the Prussian Landstag. First Bismarck was a Prussian in thought and action but when the German confederation was formed and he had the strength of Germany he became entirely German.
In the Danish war several duchies were gained without any decision being made as to whom they should finally belong, but here Bismarck showed his devotedness to the idea that it was lawful to take what he was strong enough to seize; for, when Austria had been conquered he took possession of them almost by force.
Bismarck's dislike for Gladstone is only too evident and his policy varies greatly as Gladstone and his party come into power or go out in England.
In the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine Bismarck linked the German nation against paying attention to the voice of the people. He declared later that it was a mistake for Alsace-Lorraine to be represented in the Reichstag, for it was not for the sake of inoculating the German parliament with a number of Frenchmen that Alsace Loraine was annexed.
Finally, his defeats in carrying on his policy of development of strength have been very few and it is a question if, when he shall have died, there shall not have passed away the greates of those athletes who have thrown the entire weight of their herculean endeavors against a free expression of the will of the people.
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