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Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck was born on All Fools Day in1815 during the Hundred Days and he died in Friedrichsruh onJuly 30 1898 while the European powers were partitioningAfrica and extending their dominion over parts of Asia Apolitical genius Bismarck used everything from his legacy tohis connections to become the powerhouse that he was in EuropeBismarck was born in Schoenhausen the wealthy family estatelocated west of Berlin in the Prussian Providence of SaxonyHis father Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarckwas a Junkerestate owner and a former Prussian military officer hismother Wilhelmine Luise Mencken was the well-educateddaughter of a senior government official in Berlin Bismarcksdual heritage would play a considerable role in his life forhis ancestors filled classes that dominated Prussia such asthe nobility army and civil service Bismarck physicallyresembled his father and appeared as a Prussian Junker to theoutside worldan image which he often encouraged by wearingmilitary uniform even though he was not a regular officerhewas also more cosmopolitan and highly educated than was normalfor men of such background for von Bismarcks did not have realwealth other than their name and land until after theunification of GermanySo when Otto turned seven his mother who found the providentiallife to be confining sent him to the progressive PlamannInstitute in Berlin and moved to be near him The youngBismarck resented having to exchange his easy life in thecountry for a more restricted life in Berlin where he wascontraposed against the sons of the citys best-educatedfamilies He would then move on to go to Fredrick WilliamGymnasium and several years later pass the university entranceexamination in 1832 He then attended the University ofGoettingen to study law at his mothers encouragement to gethim involved with diplomatic service though he would leave thefollowing fall However while there he joined the Hanoverafraternity and made friends of some foreign students amongthem John Lothrop Motley the American writer futureambassador for his country and historian of the DutchRepublic and Count Alexander von Keyserling an aristocratmarked by
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