Bismarck's Speech on the Issue of the Poles and His Understanding of the German Nation

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What does Bismarck's speech on the issue of the Poles reveal about his understanding of the German nation?

Bismarck's treatment of the Polish population of Prussia, and his consequent defence of that treatment, like his handling of Prussian Catholics and socialists, is of interest both as a problem in itself but also for the insights it gives us into his understanding of the German nation. Bismarck's "Polish Problem" speech delivered to the Lower House of the Prussian parliament is a result of the brutal expulsion from Prussian territory of some 30,000 Poles carried out the year before (1885) and serves as a response to the opponents of that expulsion, the Polish Party and the Central party. It was this domestic parliamentary reaction
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This can be seen to be the case time and time again, especially in his attacks on the Socialists and Catholics as "states within states." The turn of Prussia's Poles came in 1886, and Bismarck's policies toward them, disguised by the rhetoric of nationalism, and "his understanding of the German nation", I would argue, can best be seen in this light.

Bismarck, then, was a statesman and all his policies were premeditated by interests of the state. For Bismarck, the health and progress of the state, as he saw it, was the principal purpose of his policy. In contrast to the opposition, he pictured himself as being above all partisan behaviour, as the true representative of the nation. He could justify this through his belief of the aims of the state and the individual as being the same, thus giving credence to the current setup of government and not allowing for any separation of powers within the state. His concern was to make the things he…

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