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Portrait of Otto von Bismark in uniform
Otto Von Bismarck was a German statesman made famous for his role in the unification of Germany. General Grant met Bismarck during his visit to Berlin. The Grants were impressed by Berlin, the Prussian capital on the rise. General Grant was knowledgeable on the increasing military prowess of Prussia and the men responsible. He held Otto von Bismarck in high esteem. Grant’s own military reputation preceded him in Prussia. Multiple German officials came forward to pay their respects to Grant. The man General Grant was most anxious to meet was Bismarck. However, finding a time for the two busy men to meet was a challenge. Determined to meet with Bismarck, General Grant decided to skip formalities and walk to Bismarck’s residence. After all, he was staying only minutes away from Bismarck’s Frederick Palace. Appearing unannounced, he caught the palace guards by surprise who recognized Grant instantaneously. They had expected an ex-sovereign such as Grant to arrive by coach surrounded by attendants. His presence was quickly discovered by the palace servants and Grant was welcomed in to meet Bismarck. Their conversation was what one would have expected from two great war heroes. They discussed the military affairs of Germany and America, the American Civil War, and the more recent Franco-Prussian War. After they concluded their conversation, the two shook hands and Grant lit a cigar and walked back to his hotel.
Both Bismarck and the Crown Prince Frederick III were anxious to display their troops for Grant. After this first meeting, a review of the Prussian troops was arranged for Grant. Accompanied by an officer of the Crown Prince, Grant watched the might of the Berlin army perform a mock battle and demonstrate artillery and cavalry capabilities.
Later during Grant’s stay in Berlin, a dinner was held and the General and Bismarck enjoyed a second conversation. It is a German custom to cement a friendship with a bottle of schnapps. The general and Bismarck signaled the lasting friendship of Germany and America by toasting their glasses filled with old-fashioned German schnapps. General and Mrs. Grant did not meet the Emperor and Empress of Germany. However they were invited to dine with the Crown Prince Frederick III and his wife Princess Victoria.
Ulysses Grant Dietz
Ad. Braun and Cie. Dornach, Paris. 43, Avenue de L'Opera and 3 Boulevard de Capucines. Photo formerly part of the Charles L. RItzmann Collection, 943 Broadway N.Y.
Mississippi State University Libraries (electronic version).
Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University Libraries.
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