This etching, which illustrated an article in the Christian, conservative family magazine Daheim, shows an angry Bismarck in the Reichstag in January 1882, replying to liberal attacks (including from Albert Hänel, shown in the background). The image’s perspective emphasizes Bismarck’s physical power and his aggressiveness, in contrast to the surprised and timid liberals. In the Reichstag on January 24, 1882, Bismarck was replying to accusations that he was hiding behind the crown when he engineered a Royal Decree dated January 4, 1882. That decree “reminded” Prussian civil servants of their obligation to support the crown, especially during parliamentary elections. The decree was prompted by evidence of liberal sympathies among Prussian officials which contributed to the relatively strong showing of the liberal parties in the Reichstag elections of October 1881.

Bismarck in the Reichstag, Outraged by Liberal Criticism (1882)


Source: “‘Na, dann danken Sie Gott!" Fürst Bismarck in der berühmten Reichstagssitzung vom 24. Januar 1882” [“‘Well, thank God!’ Prince Bismarck in the Famous Reichstag Session of January 24, 1882”]. Engraving after a sketch by Carl Koch, Daheim, Nr. 19 (11. February 1882), p. 305. Reprinted in Andreas Biefang, Die andere Seite der Macht. Reichstag und Öffentlichkeit im “System Bismarck” 1871–1890. Düsseldorf: Droste, 2009, p. 275.