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German History in Documents and Images
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Alexander Friedrich Werner, Bismarck Leaving the Reichstag on February 6, 1888 [Bismarck verläßt den Reichstag am 6. Februar 1888] (1892)
This painting by “another” Werner – Alexander Friedrich Werner (1827-1908) – was completed in 1892. Known as “Fritz” Werner, the painter and engraver was a friend of Adolph Menzel; he was also a member of the Berlin Academy of Art after 1880. The date is February 6, 1888. Upon leaving the Reichstag, Bismarck meets with spontaneous applause from Berlin passers-by. The Reichstag, still in its provisional quarters at Leipziger Straße 4, can be seen behind the horse-drawn trolley, squeezed in between the Prussian House of Lords and the War Ministry building. In his Reichstag speech of a few minutes earlier, shown in a painting by Ernst Henseler (1901), the chancellor had argued for more army recruits, in the process delivering a résumé of Germany’s peaceful foreign policy since 1871. Near the end of his long speech Bismarck uttered the words: “We Germans fear God, and nothing else in the world; and it is this fear of God which makes us love and cherish peace.”