Preparation was begun in earnest after the accession of King William I., who selected Bismarck as his chancellor, Moltke as his chief of staff and Roon as his minister of war, and gave them a free hand to create the political situation and prepare the military machinery necessary to exploit it.
So striking an object lesson was not lost on the Prussian regent, and he entered on a vigorous policy of reforming and strengthen ing the army, General von Roon being appointed minister of war for this purpose.
1873 he, indeed, resigned the office of minister-president to Roon; and in the same way Caprivi, during the years 1893-1894, held the chancellorship alone; but in neither case was the experiment successful, and Hohenlohe and Bulow adhered to the older plan.
Roon, who was appointed minister of war in 1861, was an old friend of his, and through him Bismarck was thenceforward kept closely informed of the condition of affairs in Berlin.
When an acute crisis arose out of the refusal of parliament, in 1862, to vote the money required for the reorganization of the army, which the king and Roon had carried through, he was summoned to Berlin; but the king was still unable to make up his mind to appoint him, although he felt that Bismarck was the only man who had the courage and capacity for conducting the struggle with parliament.
One day the caliph, Haroun-al-Raschid, [Footnote: Haroun-al-Raschid (_pro._ ha roon' al rash'id).] made a great feast.