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German History in Documents and Images
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The Training of Young Diplomats (1903-1904)
Here the satirical magazine Simplicissimus pokes fun at diplomats’ training. The text below the image reads: “It is probably not generally known that there is an institute in Berlin that devotes itself exclusively to the training of young diplomats. Only those who have successfully completed this school have the abilities that are absolutely necessary to hold an embassy post in a foreign country. Through systematic schooling, the last traces of Bismarck’s dilettantism have been successfully erased from our foreign policy.” Rather than mastering the arts of diplomacy and political maneuvering, as Bismarck had done, German diplomats at the turn of the century sought to achieve their goals through flattery, bullying, and other clumsy means. The illustrations in Simplicissimus often affronted the regime and officials in Germany. The magazine was banned during the 1890s, but this only increased its popularity.