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Interview: Jonathan Steinberg

The full text of Jonathan Steinberg's interview with History Today editor Paul Lay.

Our Book Choice for September is Jonathan Steinberg's Bismarck: A Life. Here is the unedited version of the author's discussion about the Iron Chancellor with History Today editor Paul Lay.

Bismarck was a political genius and one of the most important figures of the 19th century, but he was a notoriously uncharismatic figure. How did he attain such influence and who helped him on his path to power?

I would not say that he was 'notoriously uncharismatic'.  It's true that he spoke very softly and even with hesitation.  There is a good description of him in action from September of 1878, at the height of his power and fame. The newspaper Schwäbische Merkur described one of Bismarck’s speeches in the Reichstag:

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