Success and failures of Bismarck’s foreign policies
Bismarck, nicknamed the ‘iron chancellor’ can be considered as the father of Germany, uniting Prussia and other states. During his years as chancellor from 1871-1890, he successfully secured the new German boarders by keeping peace within Europe. Through rallying the southern states of Germany by engaging the Franco-Prussian war of 1871, with the German ‘traditional enemy, Bismarck successfully achieved his aim of uniting the scattered states of Germany and in addition gained control over the fertile lands: Alsace and Lorraine through the treaty of Frankfurt in 1871. This sparked a new era for international relationships between the great European powers as Bismarck efficiently modernized Germany in both industrialization and enhancing the German military. During his time as chancellor, Bismarck’s priority was to keep Germany a ‘satisfied state’ through keeping peace in Europe, he stated ‘…here is Russia and here is France, and we are in the middle’. As problems started to appear such as the demise of the ‘sick man of Europe’ and increased tension of the Balkan states that might jeopardize peace in Europe, Bismarck cleverly making alliances with Russia and Austria-Hungary, both geographically and politically with the signing of the first Dreikaiserbund of 1873. The signing of the DKB strongly deterred any alliance between Russia and France; in addition, the DKB eased the tension between Russia and Austria-Hungary over the Balkan issues, which could have easily ignite a war in Europe, thus the forming of the DKB can be arguably one of the greatest success in foreign policy from Bismarck. In 1875, Bismarck foolishly provoked war against France with no clear purpose but also contradicted his policy to keep the boarders of Germany safe with the arising of the ‘War in sight’ crisis. Although the crisis may have been caused by Bismarck’s restlessness of France rapidly recovering her loses from the treaty of...
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