Saturday, February 11, 2012

Iron, then blood

"Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden . . . sondern durch Eisen und Blut".

     Otto von Bismark, "Shortly after being appointed premier of Prussia in [(on 30 September)] 1862," as quoted by R. J. W. Evans, in "The gambler in blood and iron," The New York review of books 59, no. 3 (February 23, 2012), 37n1, citing Die gesammelten Werke, ed. H. von Petersdorff (Berlin:  Otto Stolberg, 1924-1934), vol. 10, p. 140.  According to the 3rd edition of the Oxford dictionary of quotations, Bismark himself reversed the two words in his famous speech to the Prussian House of Deputies on 28 January 1886.  But Prof. Evans thinks that by that point he was simply going along with the "geflugeltes Wort" that the public had been making of it since the 1860s (note to me dated 12 February 2012).

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