Bismarck Tells the British Ambassador that Germany has Achieved its Legitimate Objectives (February 11, 1873)
The text below is an excerpt from a letter by Lord Odo Russell (1829-1884), Britain’s ambassador to Germany from 1872 to 1884, to the British Foreign Secretary Lord Granville. Russell was allegedly “Bismarck’s favorite Englishman,” and this account suggests the closeness of the two men’s rapport. In this piece of correspondence, Russell describes Bismarck’s efforts to quell any notion that Germany desired further expansion or intended to build up a naval force. This was in accordance with Bismarck’s frequent statements that Germany after 1871 was a “satiated power.” One wonders, however, whether Russell himself believed the many disingenuous claims Bismarck made during this conversation, including the obvious lie that he preferred the system of ministerial responsibility that England enjoyed.