CHAPTER X The Iron Chancellor 217
Chapter X The Iron Chancellor Among the leading personalities in nineteenth century Germany, Otto von Bismarck, often called “the Iron Chancellor,” was unquestionably the most important. So many honors were bestowed upon him that one is jus- tified in speaking of a Bismarck cult.1 Some 450 German cities made him an honorary citizen.2 Four localities in the United States bear his name.3 His importance and stature are reflected, above all, in the unprecedented and staggering number of monuments erected to him. Already in the years 1869–1898, i.e. before his death on 30 July 1898, he was honored by sixteen towers or columns bearing his name4 and by a statue designed by Fritz Schaper and erected in Cologne in 1879.5 It is difficult to keep track of the literally hundreds of monuments which memorialized him after his 1 Hans-Walter Hedinger, “Der Bismarckkult: Ein Umriß,” in Gunther Stephenson, ed., Der Religionswandel in unserer Zeit im Spiegel der Religionswissenschaft (Darmstadt 1976) 201–15. Hedinger, “Bismarck-Denkmäler” 277–314, gives an excellent account; a brief summary ibid. 279. Lothar Machtan, “Bismarck-Kult und deutscher National- Mythos 1890–1940,” in id. ed., Bismarck und der deutsche National-Mythos (Bremen 1994) 15–67. Alings, Monument und Nation 128–29. And cult can degenerate into Kitsch. See Konrad Breitenborn, Otto von Bismarck: Kitsch und Kult um den Reichsgründer (Frankfurt and Leipzig 1990). 2 Körner and Weigand, Denkmäler 20. Epkenhans, “Otto von Bismarck und sein Mythos” 161–62. 3 In Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, and North Dakota...
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