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A few years ago, I was enjoying a lazy evening in my university library when I noticed that an essay was due for the following day. I had been completely unaware of it until then (having been absent on the day it was set). To my further anxiety, I noted that I was also unaware of its subject, the Father of Germany – Otto Von Bismarck.
I can be excused for the latter offence, I think. In British schools, we are taught an extremely limited curriculum (usually covering only the Holocaust, Henry VIII and Slavery in any detail). Bismarck was a familiar name to me, as it is to most people, but I had never been given a reason to make him any more vivid or lifelike in my imagination.
Needless to say, I got no sleep that night, spending the whole period in the library, pumped full of machine coffee and knee deep in a pile of thick, dusty books. But despite the anxious mood in which I was prompted to discover it, the story of Bismarck has proven enduringly fascinating to me. More than anyone in European history, Bismarck seemed to have been a living embodiment of the romantic ideal – Nietzsche’s ‘Ubermensch’, Carlyle’s ‘Great Man’, Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’ – a superman of reality, gifted far beyond the ordinary and with a drive to succeed that dramatically alters world history. There wouldn’t even be a ‘Germany’ without Bismarck, without his deviousness, intellect and personal strength. He is the author of Germany. Germany is his magnum opus. What other major country can call itself the product of one man’s cunning?
I believe the elephantine heroism exhibited by Bismarck goes some way to explain the quintessentially Germanic reverence for strong leaders (a reverence which, of course, went terribly astray in the 20th century). Bismarck was the proof of the German type. He demonstrated what a German could achieve. In this regard, he can be compared to Abu Bakr, the Muslim leader who conquered most of what is now defamed as the ‘Muslim World’. Bakr, like Bismarck, demonstrated an ideal – an ideal which Muslims try (in vain) to emulate right up to the present day (see, Bin Laden, Baghdadi, Zarqawi etc…). They are unwilling to accept that Bakr was a one-off giant, unrepresentative of the human average. Hitler and the Jihadists are thus products of the same delusion.
Still, unlike Bakr (a talented barbarian), Bismarck still has lessons to teach the leaders of the civilised world. For example, what would a man like Bismarck do in the context of the Euro-Islamic war? Let’s speculate now with the aid of three famous Bismarck quotes.
“A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.”
This saying could hardly be more timely. As in Bismarck’s tinderbox era, Europe today finds itself under a long and potentially devastating siege. This time, the conquering army is not composed of other Europeans, but represents a detachment of our most ancient geo-cultural rival. Bismarck is surely correct to say that eloquence, reason and speech-making are bladeless weapons, useless in times of war and crisis. What we need is a physical, material blockade, strong enough to keep the hordes from advancing on our cities. In the case of the ‘refugee’ invasion, we should be deploying a massive, pan-European military force to Southern and South-Eastern coastlines. Anybody who shows up and is unable to prove they are Christian or of another non-Muslim minority faith must be turned away. If they try to rush the borders after being warned, they should be shot. That’s what war is like.
“With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to do with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half.”
Bismarck here uses ‘pirate’ to mean barbarian. He is correct to say that one should adjust one’s manner and values depending upon the force one is faced with. Since with Islam we are faced with a force of barbarism, we need not be overly civilised in defending ourselves.
“The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.”
As regards European politics, this is a timeless truth. No attempt to secure Europe is feasible if it does not factor in the influence of Russia. To have thought otherwise is the foundational error of NATO. If Islam is to be kept at bay, Russia must be incorporated into our security structure and provided with a role reflecting her size and innate capabilities.
Though the age of Great Europeans has passed, their words and wisdom remain as relevant and necessary as in their own time.