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German statesman responsible for the unification of Germany in 1871, Chancellor of Germany 1871‒90.

Bismarck was Minister President of Prussia from 1862 and Chancellor of the North German Confederation from 1867 to 1871. He conducted wars against Denmark, Austria, and France (the Franco-Prussian War of 1871), thereafter serving as the first Chancellor of the Second German Empire until 1890. His greatest achievement lay in unifying hundreds of principalities and free cities into a single country, and making Germany one of the most powerful nations in Europe.

Bismarck and Schenker

In an early reference to him, Schenker wrote admiringly (on the day he submitted the Foreword to his Harmonielehre ) of "Bismarck's strivings and battles midst a world of midgets" (diary, October 20, 1906). Five years later he wrote: "Only geniuses build, and even then only where they appear merely to destroy! A Bismarck destroyed the lives of many people in order to found the German Empire!" (diary, May 30, 1911), and two years after that: "the genius-imbued (genial) accomplishment of a Bismarck" (diary, October 25, 1913). In his unpublished 1914 article "German Genius in Battle and Victory," he included Bismark in a roll-call of geniuses: "the absolute heights of, say, a Caesar, a Frederick the Great, a Bismarck or Goethe, a Kant or Johann Sebastian Bach ..." (OJ 21/2, [1]). Although Bismarck is not included in the several such lists in the first issue of Der Tonwille (1921), he is alluded to in: "something touched by aristocratic genius, something Bismarckian ..." ( Tonwille 1, p. 11; Eng. transl., I, p. 11).


  • Ian Bent

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  • OJ 10/1, [45] Handwritten letter from Dahms to Schenker, dated September 26, 1919

    Dahms responds to Schenker's letter (non-extant). He reflects on Prussian militarism. He declares that there is no such things as "military genius"; Germany was as guilty as the Entente Powers for the war; soldiers were treated as slaves by their officers, with Wilhelm II bearing the ultimate guilt. He rejects all political parties. England does not treat its people as Germany does. He believes only in the German spirit, which he regards as the spirit of the world. He cannot wait to leave Germany, and wants only to immerse himself in Schenker's work.

  • OJ 10/1, [78] Handwritten letter from Dahms to Schenker, dated August 23, 1923

    Dahms has received Tonwille 4 but not yet examined it. — Has deferred work on his Haydn book because of financial problems over Musik des Südens and poor take-up of subscriptions. — Debates whether to attend the Leipzig musicology conference. — Comments on German politics as the occupation of the Ruhr unfolds, and compares German attitudes with Italian.

  • OJ 89/6, [8] Typewritten letter (carbon copy), from Hoboken to Schenker, dated July 20, 1933

    The Hobokens will not come to Reigersberg; — He re-sends his two songs for further comment; — He sends a booklet by Gottfried Benn; — They are isolated in Partenkirchen, and are distressed at events in Germany; — Alfred Cortot has visited the Photogram Archive and expressed an interest.

  • OJ 9/34, [42] Handwritten letter from Cube to Schenker, dated October 4, 1934

    Quotes letter from Furtwängler in extenso touching on reasons for dismissal and articulating the importance of Schenker's theory; Cube describes the impact of this letter on his Director. The names of Schenker, Halm, and Kurth were deleted from a recent text of his, and censorship has been imposed. Describes his own recent activities. Outlines his geometric theory of the diatonic components of tonality. Encloses photograph of his wife and son; describes hardships. Denies rumors that he has cheated Moriz Violin, and refers to the resulting backlash on him: Violin has a "complex", feels downtrodden by everyone.