The manner of France’s defeat (Punitive Reparations and Taking away of territory against the will of the French citizens living there) in the Franco Prussian War was of such a kind that it made long term peace between the two nations impossible. Bismarck apparently did not want to take the territory but his general staff, namely Moltke the Elder, insisted. He then set about spending the remainder of his career in social and domestic policies while his foreign policies involved trying to form alliances with England, Austria and Russia, to better isolate France. On the domestic front, Bismarck spent much of his time enacting a series of policies to strengthen the state, first against the Catholics (Kulturkampf), then allying with the newly formed Catholic Center party, against the socialists, while at the same time, passing welfare laws to the surprise and consternation of his conservative allies, namely pension for elderly workers and access to affordable insurance laws. Bismarck saw the latter as preferable to the socialist alternative of regulated workspace, safety inspections, and a shorter working week. the French, the Poles, the Jews) to better strengthen the center and ruling right coalition. His downfall came with the rise to power of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The latter favoured an expansionist foreign policy while expressing opposition to Bismarck’s then anti socialist policies (not out of any sympathy to socialism but merely because he didn’t want to appear as a tyrant so early in his career). In his retirement, Bismarck spent his time writing his memoirs while giving interviews on how Germany would be ruined and be on the course of disaster without him. The outbreak of World War I, breaking out as Bismarck had predicted over “some damned foolish thing in the Balkans” appeared to have vindicated him.
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