|Ancient||New Warriors are veterans|
|Medieval||+1 production from forest regions|
|Industrial||1/2 cost Barracks|
|Modern||2% interest on gold reserves|
Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), known as the "Iron Chancellor," was the founder of the modern state of Germany. Born to a well to do Prussian family, Bismarck came of age in an era of much turmoil. Revolutions were sweeping the breadth of Europe, and previously ethereal concepts such as "democracy" and "socialism" were becoming political forces to be reckoned with. A strict believer in the divine right of kings, Bismarck became a close ally of the Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, after being elected to the Prussian legislature. His loyalty to the monarch aided in his rise through the administrative ranks, and before long, Bismarck was being granted important ambassadorships in France and Russia.
In 1861, while Bismarck was still in France, Friedrich Wilhelm passed away, leaving his brother, Wilhelm I to rise to the throne. With the more liberal sections of the Prussian establishment in control of the legislature, King Wilhelm and his administration decided that a savvy and powerful leader would be needed to take the position of Prime Minister. For that role, they chose Bismarck.
Bismarck quickly assuaged any fears there may have been about placing him in a leadership role. He immediately broke all stalemates the liberal legislature had managed to create. When wars broke out in quick succession with Denmark, Austria and France, Bismarck and his fellow ministers led Germany to victory, greatly expanding the territory of Prussia and earning the respect of the Prussian populace. Germany's victory over France and Austria, two of the nation's greatest enemies, brought a number of previously unfriendly German provinces into the Prussian fold and shattered the strength of the democratic agitators in the legislature. It was Bismarck who ensured that each alliance, treaty and annexation would turn out in favor of Prussia.
Thanks in great part to Bismarck's machinations, on January 18, 1871, King Wilhelm I declared the creation of the German Empire, the most powerful German political body since the Holy Roman Empire, and selected Bismarck to become the nation's first Chancellor.
As Chancellor, Bismarck strove to create a unified German state and to make it the most powerful state in Europe - if not the world. He sought to limit the power of the Catholic Church, as well as strike deals with any nation necessary to keep the peace in his newly formed nation. And while Bismarck was an undoubtedly hard-right politician, he advocated a number of social programs that earned him the grumbled respect of his more left-leaning opponents.
Bismarck's political career finally came to an end with the death of Wilhelm I, and the subsequent rise of Wilhelm II to the throne. Wilhelm II was a far more bellicose ruler than his predecessor, much to the chagrin of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck resigned after a dispute over a measure to reduce the influence of socialists in the Germany legislature in 1890. He passed away in 1898.
While certainly a strongly conservative politician, Bismarck was the first leader in the world to propose a social security system to care for the elderly, sick and invalid.
Bismarck's retreat from politics left a far less tactful ruler at the helm of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Where Bismarck had made Germany Europe's strongest nation by isolating his foes, less than twenty years after Bismarck's retirement, Wilhelm's blunt style of rule turned nearly every nation in Europe against Germany, leading the continent into the First World War.