More Bismarks

by Richard Brookhiser

I read Michael Knox Beran’s piece on the last of the Bismarcks after finishing his terrific new book, Forge of Empires. Everyone should read it. Michael manages, among many other things, to find a fresh context for Abraham Lincoln. His conclusion is one of the most breathtaking I have ever read.

Let the record also show that Count Gottfried von Bismarck-Schonhausen, the old devil’s great grandson, took part in the July 20th plot against Hitler. He was captured, tortured, tried, and acquitted, on Hitler’s orders (evidently, convicting a Bismarck would have been too embarrassing). The Gestapo re-arrested him and put him in a concentration camp, from which he was released at war’s end. He and his wife “were killed in a road accident in 1947 on their way…to visit the Metternichs.” Berlin Diaries, Marie Vassiltchikov.

He was no more a liberal or a bourgeois than the Iron Chancellor or the Coke Queen, but maybe the evil skipped a generation.

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