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CAUSES OF THE GREAT WORLD WAR 7

 

despised by the rest of the German peoples. In Waterloo year, however, this crude, uncultured folk produced a man, who in abilities, iron will-power, and utter unscrupulousness, stood head and shoulders higher than any political leader Prussia had hitherto possessed or the new Germany has known. In Otto von Bismarck this Junkerdom gave to the world a political genius of the first order, with brain to conceive the vastest projects, ability to shape them, will to put them into practical execution, and far-sighted determination that enabled him to carry them to completion. Under the leadership of Bismarck, Junkerdom became the leading power in Prussian affairs. By the time 1860 came round, Bismarck was the idol of his country, Prussia, and had earned the dislike of the refined, gentler Germans of the South. William the First, King of Prussia, was an old-time German monarch, of the type of the Georges who filled the English throne in not over-distinguished fashion, an average Junker, a glorified country squire, unburdened by any exceptional quantity of either ambition or brain, who sustained, with a certain amount of credit, the role of statesman and soldier. His excellencies were, for the most part, centered in the fidelity with which he trod the marked-out path and obeyed his guide. Standing by the side of Bismarck, the latter's puppet and mouth-piece, he shone in the borrowed light of the master-servant's fame.

Projects utterly beyond the capacity of his mind even to conceive were obediently embarked upon by him, in response to the dominating influence of the great Prussian minister, who hammered ideas into his King's brain with a brusque persistence that gained its ends. Shaping his plans with the precision and crystal-clearness of the supreme genius, Bismarck set about their realization with the cold, exact logic of the mathematician, proceeding step by step, without haste and with certainty, until the result was attained. Having established the authority of Junkerdom over Prussia, Bismarck advanced to the


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