Otto von Bismarck’s (1815-1898) Top Ten Conflict Tips

Having just quoted from Otto von Bismarck, I thought it time we did one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips on him:

  1. People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election
  2. Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the  battlefield will think hard before starting a war
  3. When you want to fool the world, tell the truth
  4. Politics is the art of the possible
  5. When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice
  6. A statesman cannot create anything himself. He must wait and listen until he hears the steps of God sounding through events; then leap up and grasp the hem of his garment
  7. Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.
  8. Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal … A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all … I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where … Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.
  9. A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence
  10. Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

See also:

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1990-023-06A, Otto von Bismarck.jpg

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Processes, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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