New Constellations, New Conflicts
Otto von Bismarck’s whole make-up was such that he always retained a keen awareness of the process whereby private gradually became dissipated in public life. In Bismarck’s eyes, the only man who was beholden to nobody was the man who owned land. Friedrichsruh brought to an end twenty years of a nomadic existence in which Bismarck had always seen an element of the artificial, an element that at the very deepest level ran counter to his true nature. The process that he helped along with the policy for which he was responsible seems in retrospect to have been so ineluctable and so inevitable that attention tends in fact to become concentrated solely on the obstacles that Bismarck himself increasingly placed in its path. Bismarck’s speech had touched on all the elements and furnished all the cues that were to play a part in the conflict and dominate future discussions.