Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
When Sen. Barack Obama went to Berlin in 2008 and proclaimed himself a “citizen of the world,” he was acclaimed by hundreds of thousands of young Germans. They were as excited as many young Americans were by this avatar of Hope and Change.
The candidate chose an odd backdrop for his address, however. Mr. Obama spoke in front of the Berlin Victory Column. It is an impressive monument to be sure, but it commemorates the lightning victory of Prussia in a lightning war against its unoffending little neighbor, Denmark.
This was the first in a series of aggressive wars waged by the man who would unify Germany by liberal application of “blood and iron.” That man—the true power in the new Germany, was Otto von Bismarck. He openly expressed his contempt for representative government and the processes of constitutional government: “Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.”
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