The word realpolitikcomes from Germanic origin meaning actual or practical politics.Realpolitik is taking more of realistic assessment when shapingforeign policy rather than utilizing ethical and moral premisesconcerning politics. It is sometimes used to imply or characterizeusing power in both a coercive or non coercive manner. Realpolitik isoften mistaken for the concept of political realism, whichattempts to analyze, illustrate, and recommend relations in thepolitical field.
This concept first emerged from a German writernamed August Ludwig Von Rochauin the nineteenth century; for himthe philosophy defined the struggle of liberalism during a time wherethe ideals of nationalism were on the rise. Liberalism is founded onideas of equality and freedom whereas nationalism concerns it selfwith the loyalty and devotion to the nation or state. He lived anextensive life of hardships and challenges including: escaping a lifeprison sentence after participation of the event known as the”Frankfurter Wachensturm”, where there was a failed attempt toseize the guard house on April 3rd 1833. Thereafter heescaped to France where he lived in exile for the next ten years andbegan writing essays for liberal German newspapers for the next tenyears.
Rochau’s most famous essay was written in 1953 called thePrinciples of Realpolitik.It consisted of two volumes; the second volume was released in 1869.A great example of the use of realpolitiks would have to start withOtto Van Bismark, who was mainly responsible for creating the Germanempire in 1871 by strategically using power and alliances to hisbenefit. The first step to doing so was starting a war with Austria;the war lasted for seven weeks known as the “The Seven Weeks War”.Shortly after making an alliance with Napoleon, ‘The Three EmperorsLeague’ was negotiated tying Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia toeach other as allies. Therefore he purposefully avoided wars bymaking alliances and strengthening his empire.
Another example isCamillo Di Cavour who is known for being the prime minister of thekingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia and was largely responsible forcreating the nation of Italy; he used a similar strategy with usingalliances to his advantage. He accepted an alliance with Britain andFrance to help support Piedmont’s expansion.