26.4.11

Otto von Bismarck - Party Animal

26 April 2658

I spent today at Göttingen University delivering all the data and video I collected on my trip back to their fair city in 1865 when they were still part of the Kingdom of Hanover.

Bismarck in soberer days
John Theibault, who follows me on Twitter as @jtheibault asked me if I had visited any sights associated with Otto Von Bismarck. I thought the fellow mad. When was Bismarck in Göttingen? In 1865 Bismarck was the Prime Minister of Prussia, whom Hanover is about to go to war with. All talk I heard of Bismarck back then was all negative.

However, when Dr. Karl Bosch, head of the history department, took me on a tour of modern 27th century Göttingen, he proudly pointed out a stone cottage built into the old city wall in 1459, that he called Bismarckhäuschen.

Bismarckhausen
“Bismarck House?”

“Yes. Otto von Bismarck lived here when he was a student in the 1832.”

“The Otto von Bismarck? The man said to be most responsible for unifying Germany into an empire and then becoming it’s first Chancellor?”

“The very one.”

“Wasn’t he Prussian? Why did he go to college here instead of Berlin?”

Bismarck in wilder days
“He eventually did, but he spent his first year here. Göttingen had such a reputation as a leading university, as it still does. Also I think Bismarck wanted to get away from home. He was seventeen.

“So why did he live here and not on campus?” I asked.

Bosch cleared his throat. “Well, he was seventeen and far from home. He got kicked out of the dorms for overzealous partying.”

“The Iron Chancellor?”

Corps Hannovera House
“He was a teenager then. I understand he was also placed under arrest for ten days in the university jail. That might have been for dueling. He was a indefatigable duelist. He was also a member of the Corps Hannovera Göttingen, a student club devoted the academic fencing. Bismarck was their wildest member.”

“So, there are dozens of memorials all over Germany to Bismarck the statesman and architect of a unified Germany, but you have the only one to Bismarck the party animal?”

Dr. Bosch chuckled at that. “Yes, I guess we do.”

I’m not sure what Otto von Bismarck would have thought of that. I’m sure this was an episode of his life he didn’t want anyone to remember. Perhaps Bismarckhäuschen is Göttingen’s final revenge against the man most responsible for the downfall of the Kingdom of Hanover.

Let that be a lesson to all you college students who spend your academic career partying.

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