In 1864, on this day Otto von Bismarck was relieved of his duties as the Minister President (Ministerpräsident) by the newly crowned King of Prussia, Frederick III.
Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia dies earlierBecause during his two years of service he had shamelessly manipulated his father Wilhelm I. He had in fact established a thoroughly abusive relationship with the old man that permitted him to pursue a belligerent course of action that failed to survive the change of regime. Instead of union through Prussian aggression, common sense prevailed, and the North German Confederation was allowed to peacefully absorb most of the South German States.
Prior to his elevation, he had been the Prussian ambassador to St Petersburg and for nearly a decade before that served as Prussia's ambassador to the German Confederation. He took charge at a time when relations among the Great Powers - Great Britain, France, Austria and Russia - had been shattered by the Crimean War of 1854-55 and the Italian War of 1859. Had William I lived beyond his three score years and ten, then perhaps Bismarck might well have been given the opportunity he craved, the creation by force of a German Empire as the dominant power in Europe. This is a companion article to the Otto von Bismarck dies earlier blog post.