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Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative German statesman who dominated European affairs from the 1860s to his dismissal in 1890. After a series of short victorious wars he unified numerous German states into a powerful German Empire under Prussian leadership, then created a "balance of power" that preserved peace in Europe from 1871 until 1914.