Bismarck and Gladstone Beyond Caricature

Though they are often seen as polar opposites,the architect of modern Germany and the great British Liberal statesman shared more in common than one might think. Roland Quinault draws comparisons.

'It seems that those popular stars, the "Iron Chancellor" and the "Grand Old Man" will have to respond to another encore', a cover of an edition of the US magazine Puck, 1895.Gladstone and Bismarck were the two most important, enduring and influential European political leaders of the later 19th century. They were also near-contemporaries: Gladstone, born in 1809, was six years older than Bismarck but they both died within ten weeks of one another in 1898. They never met, however, and their tenure of office was quite different. Bismarck was continuously in power for 28 years. He was minister president of Prussia from 1862 to 1890, chancellor of the North German Confederation from 1867 to 1871 and then chancellor of the German Empire until 1890.

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