Man Of The Year: On the Road to a New Reality

THE SETTING: THE HALL OF MIRRORS, VERSAILLES, JANUARY 1871: In the palace of the Bourbons, the rulers of Germany's 25 independent and quarrelsome states gather to savor the fruits of their victory over France's armies. The Franco-Prussian War has given the Germans something that eluded them for centuries—unity. As the architect of that unity, Count Otto von Bismarck looks on, gripping the long spike of his Prussian helmet, while Prussia's King Wilhelm proclaims the establishment of the German Empire. Historian Thomas Carlyle hails the German victory in a letter to the Times of London: "That noble, patient, deep, pious and solid...

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