Otto von Bismarck in 1881.
(photo courtesy of German National Archive)
He was Germany’s greatest statesman and united the various bits and small states and principalities which comprised the modern nation of Germany into one nation dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia. Unfortunately, no other German statesman ever had Bismarck’s intelligence or ability for the right diplomatic maneuver at the right time to keep peace in Europe which he managed to do except for small wars he started to unify Germany. In retrospect, of course, it would have been better if Germany had never been unified. Bismarck would never have imagined in his worst nightmare that Germany would unite most of the world in such hatred of her that Prussia itself would be broken up.
German Battleship Bismarck with Nazi flag in 1941. Photo courtesy US Navy History and Heritage Command.
The ship was commissioned, that is accepted into the German Navy as a completed warship on 24 August 1940. The Bismarck and her later twin, the Tirpitz, were the two largest battleships ever built by a European power. The ship was laid down on 1 July 1936 and launched 14 February 1939.
The launching of the battleship Bismarck at Hamburg in 1939. (photo courtesy of the London Daily Mail)