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Questions on World War One

By travelme Apr 07, 2011 8002 Words
To what extent did nationalism within the Austria-Hungarian Empire contribute to the outbreak of war in 1914?

Nationalism within Austria-Hungary: a struggle for self-determination. But Austria-Hungary was brave to meet the challenge and to struggle for preservation of the Empire.

Result: internally, proposal of extending the dual rule to a triple or a quadruple one; externally, nationalistic rivalries started between Austria and Serbia, between Austria and Russia. Her solution was to annex neighbouring states having fellow peoples within the Empire. It contributed to the outbreak of Austro-Serbian War.

But the extension of these rivalries was caused by the alliance system and militarism.

If nationalism within Austria-Hungary contributed, so did nationalism of other powers (Pan-Slavism, Greater Serbia Movement, French Revanchism, Pan-Germanism, etc.)

The Great War was caused by a complexity of conflicts.

To what extent was nationalism a disruptive force in Europe during the period 1900-1914?


1. Nationalism aimed at national independence in initial stage

2. It looked to national expansion and domination

National conflicts in the period of 1900-1914

1. Nationalism in the Balkans to struggle to remain independent.

- they wanted to dismember the Ottoman Empire and drive the Turks from Europe. To save the Empire, the Young Turks seized control and wanted to re-establish its formal vigor.

2. Russian nationalism aimed at having an outlet to the Mediterranean by helping the Balkans people with a Pan-Slav movement.

3. Pan-Slav movement was not only a threat to the Turks but also a threat to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian nationalism showed its attempts to dominate Balkans.

4. German nationalism under Kaiser William II meant ruthless expansion. Pan-Germanism came to a clash with Pan-Slavism of in the Balkans.

5. German aggressive nationalism also showed in her naval conflicts with Britain and imperial rivalries with Britain and France.

6. French nationalism aimed at revenge and making alliance to break her isolation by Bismarck's diplomatic alignments.

Events resulted from conflicting nationalism

1. Formation of rival camps

2. Moroccan Crises, 1905, 1911

3. Bosnian crisis, 1908

4. Berlin-Baghdad Railway crisis

5. Two Balkan Wars, 1912-13.

6. Sarajevo Incident, 1914.

These Rivalries led to the outbreak of a Great War. In fact no country wanted war. Failure to solve the problems by diplomacy stemmed not only from nationalism.

There was another disruptive force

1. militarism

- militarism in Germany alarmed other Powers leading to armament race.

- British naval construction intensified armament race.

- France joined armament race.

- Both Hague Conference and Second International failed to champion peace.

- Militarism rivalry split Europe into Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.

- Military plans and laid in every country.

Results : Military consideration took precedent over political and diplomatic consideration.

To what extent did the Balkans settlement of 1913 sow the seeds of World War One?

The Balkans - focus of Austro-Serbian rivalries and places where Pan-Germanism Vs Pan-Slavism

The 2 Balkan Wars resulted in the Balkan settlements - Ambassadorial Conference (1913) in London and Treaty of Bucharest, 1913.

Expectation of various powers in the Settlement

Serbia - access to the Adriatic and divide Macedonia

Russia - concerned for her Balkan Allies and for the Straits

Austria-Hungary - objected to any kind of increased power for Serbia and backed Bulgaria

Italy and Greece - wished to annex territories (Albania and Macedonia) respectively


Cession of all Turkish territories west of the Enos-Midia line and all the Aegean Islands.

Albania - independent

Internal rifts between Balkan League - quarrel over the spoils of war.

Significance : sowed the seeds of World War One?

1. Strong Serbian resentment on Austria-Hungary.

2. Serbian ambition encouraged.

3. Bulgaria deeply dissatisfied and sought German support.

Upset the Balance of power in the Balkans.

- Turkey and Bulgaria sought German help increased German influence in the Balkans

- Rumanians moved away from Austro-German combination

- Serbia became more dependent on Russian support.

4. It intensified armament race

Germany thought that a general war was inevitable and accelerated the increase in the strength of the German army. Military leaders were tempted to war.

5. Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism conflicted in the Balkans.


There were long-laid conflicts before 1913 - e.g. Alliance system and armament (including naval) race.

Yet the Balkan Wars did intensified conflicts and sowed the seed to Sarajevo Incident (the spark of the Great War).

How were the Balkan Wars caused by the Great powers?

Remote cause -

1. European nationalism inspiring Balkan nationalism

2. Congress of Berlin - Balkan nationalistic aspirations frustrated. Macedonia left as bone of contention between Balkan states.

Formation of Balkan League - initiated by Russia between Bulgaria and Serbia. Greece's hope of union with Crete frustrated by Power. Therefore Greece turned into alliance with Serbia and Bulgaria. On the whole the formation of the Balkan League was impossible (because of racial, religious, national conflicts among the Balkan states) if not for the Great Powers' action.

How was the First Balkan War caused by the Great Powers?

The Great Powers could have prevented it; but they did nothing wholeheartedly to do so because of the hostility between Triple Entente and Central Powers. Co-operation was hampered - both sides remained inactive except a half-hearted Russian-Austrian warning against war. (Hague Court had already been founded)

How did the Second Balkan War break out?

Treaty of London - spoil not equally divided therefore leading to intense struggle among Balkan states - tension and hostility outcomed.

Albania created - Serbian hope of Adriatic coast ended therefore alternative - Aegean Coast. (Thus Serbia more than ever determined to struggle for more in Macedonia.)


The Great Powers deliberately caused and intensified hostilities among the Balkan states which had become too strong after the First Balkan War and which had slip out of the Great Powers' control.

"The feeling of Bismarck with regard to France explains the whole of his foreign policy." Discuss.

Explain "the feeling of Bismarck with regard to France"

Bismarck worried about

a. war of revenge after France's revival

b. republican/revolution tradition of France

How did Bismarck's foreign policy reflect such feeling?

Principles :

a. isolation of France.

b. diversion of French attention to overseas interest.

c. kept Austria and Russia in peace so that neither would try to seek French alliance.

d. kept both on German side on the principle of friendship among autocratic monarchies.

e. supported the republicans in France and tried to avoid conflict (prevent the return of monarchy in France which would be more revanchist).

Result of implementing such principles in Germany's foreign policy

1. Alliance System

a. Dreikaiserbund

b. Devotion to peaceful solution of Eastern Question - acted as "honest broker".

c. Dual Alliance, Triple Alliance, Reinsurance Treaty, etc. -> a defensive system directed against France.

2. Colonial Policy

a. kept Germany in peace with all other European powers as far as possible over this question, even with France. e.g. Berlin Conference, 1884.

b. aroused mutual fear and suspicion among the powers so that France would be kept with no friend.

More basic considerations other than just such feelings towards France were important in shaping his policy.

Aim : a. Concentrating on the maintaining of peace and order in Europe in which Germany could develop her internal consolidation and her hegemony in Central Europe.

b. His policies reflected his such consideration more than just his feeling towards France.

Bismarck's philosophy of international politics

- Forces of order and stability (represented by the autocratic monarchies) versus Forces of socialism and republicanism (inspired by republican France).

- Bismarck tried to strengthen the former in order to combat the latter.

- He wanted to be the pilot of European affairs, as a strong force of order and stability.

Peace in Europe was his major concern

- relationship between Austria and Russia had to be good, not just because he wanted to prevent possible drift of either to France, but also, or importantly, their friendship represented the solidarity of the force of order and stability. He did not want to see either collapse.

- yet he also didn't want to see either becoming too strong to threaten European peace and Germany's own security.

- colonial policy of Germany

in the Balkans -> advocated peaceful solution between Austria and Russia.

in Africa -> Germany's good relation with all European powers, but aroused bad feelings among the others so that Germany could be the pilot to manipulate international affairs in his hands.

e.g. supported France in Egypt against Britain

supported Italy in Tunisian against France

supported Britain in Central Asia against Russia

supported Russia in the Far East (to compensate Russia's loss in the West).

Consideration of Internal politics

- related to his philosophy - conservatism against socialism

- the need of industrialization

- the maintenance of the armies (therefore there was the war scare).


Bismarck did fear French revenge and esp. the possibility of a Franco-Russian alliance which would mean attack on Germany on two fronts. So he devoted much efforts to try to separate the two. He was able to do so. However, he seemed to have over-emphasized France's threat. Afterall, Bismarck also considered other matters in designing his policy.

Show how Bismarck negotiated the Triple Alliance in 1882. What were the purpose of this Alliance ?

The Triple Alliance was signed between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy on 20th March, 1882. Germany was placed thereby at the pivoted point of diplomatic relations in Europe. All other agreement, ententes and alliances would be dependent on this particular combination. It was founded in two separate stages - with the signing of the Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary on October, 1879, and the entry of Italy as the third party in 1882. But its history began with the proclamation of the German Empire on January 18, 1871, in Versailles after the Franco-Prussian War. To consolidate his creation of a unified Germany, in particular internally, Bismarck required peace in Europe. This was not only peace for Germany herself, but peace throughout Europe which directly or indirectly would effect her. Therefore, Germany must herself play a leading diplomatic role, in fact, permanently exercise a controlling grip on the European diplomatic situation. To do this Germany had to put herself in the position where she was at once feared and respected, and she must have allies.

There were two obvious possibilities. Germany under the Kaisers was an autocratic power - she had therefore the most in common with Austria-Hungary and Russia, who stood far more for the autocratic system than Germany herself. There were strong links with both. Austria-Hungary was partially a Germanic empire with Germanic dynasty. she had, however, been ejected from Germany after the Prusso-Austrian War of 1866. she was, therefore, in her resentment a possible aggressor against the Prussian-dominated Germany. On the other hand Russia and Germany were linked by family connections of the Kaiser and the Tsar. In addition Russia had, since Bismarck's accession to power in 1862, been courted by him, first, in order to deter Russia from interfering in the course of events leading to Germany unity, second, after the unification to allow the new Germany to have necessary peace. Of the two, Russia appeared militarily the stronger. The Hapsburg Empire was showing obvious signs of disintegration.

The decision to join Austria in an alliance appeared to have been taken in 1878. After the Balkan troubles of 1875-6 Russia had advanced to Constantinople and imposed upon the Turks the Treaty of San Stefano. It threatened Europe with a general upheaval. Britain feared Russia's occupation of the Straits controlling access from and to the Black Sea. This was a threat to the Treaty of Paris of 1856. Austria resented the creation of a giant Bulgaria in the Balkans dominated by Russia, who would, in turn, have easy access to the Danube. The questions were to be settled at the Congress of Berlin, over which Bismarck presided. Germany was to perform the humble task of "the honest broker" facilitating business between clients at

cross-purposes, all of whom were the broker's friends. Bismarck carefully supported Austrian interest in the first serious attempt to woo her into the alliance. The big Bulgaria was broken up and the major threat of Russian domination of the Balkans was temporarily shelved. At the same time it was not only in the interests of Austria that this was done - Germany herself was anxious to keep Russia out of the Balkans in order to extend her own influences over Turkey.

After 1878 there was a wave of Pan-Slavism throughout Russia. Bismarck was accused of deliberately betraying Russian interests in order to favour Austria. This was, of course, true. It simply encouraged Bismarck to continue towards Austria. However, before the Dual Alliance could be signed he had to convince the Kaiser of its necessity. The Kaiser was initially against the breach with Russia in favour of Austria on the grounds of (a) the dynastic connection, (b) the support of Russia in every Prussian crisis, (c) the solidarity of system of order on a monarchical basis, as depicted by the "entente" of 1871 between Austria, Russia and Germany. This was, after all, the most effective defence of the autocratic system against the disruption forces of liberalism and radicalism. It required considerable effort to bring the Kaiser behind his proposal. Bismarck himself threatened resignation.

The Alliance provided for two eventualities, (1) if either party were attacked by Russia, the other was to come to its assistance with its whole military force, (2) if either party were attacked by a power other than Russia (i.e. France), the other was to observe a benevolent neutrality.

How was Italy drawn into the alliance? She was driven in by her ambition in the Mediterranean and her colonial policy, and in the hope that she would be able to round off her process of unification by obtaining "unredeemed Italy" ("Italia irredenta") - Trieste and Istria, the Alpine frontier of 1810, and the Balkan littoral of the Adriatic. The first was provoked by her fear of France, the second by the view that the Italian speaking territories would be sooner incorporated into Italy in co-operation with Austria and Germany; rather than in opposition, against whose military she would clearly stand no chance. Her own exposed coasts would be protected by the Alliance. Agreement with Berlin also would ensure, in the age of the "Kulturkampf", the support of Germany in Italy's dispute with the Vatican. Principally, however, the alliance was directed against France and it was the French occupation of Tunis in 1881 that provoked Italy to accede to it. Most of Bismarck's political energy had been aimed at not so much finding allies for Germany but in avoiding having a combination of enemies facing her. He considered that this was most effectively achieved by creating mutual aversions amongst the other powers. The final step in negotiating the Triple Alliance had, in fact, been in encouraging France to take Tunis thereby antagonizing Italy, just as Bismarck in 1878 had exploited the rift between Russia and Austria-Hungary.

What were the purposes of the Triple Alliance? Fundamentally, it was the major move in Bismarck's game to maintain the peace of Europe. In 1872 Lord Odo Russell, the British Ambassador in Berlin, had informed the Foreign Office that Bismarck's policy was "the supremacy of Germany in Europe and of the German race in the world." Time and peace were essential ingredients that he needed in order to allow Germany to solve her internal differences and to prepare herself for the gigantic role that she was to play in international affairs. Bismarck described himself as a "Friedensfanatiker" - a fanatic for peace - and this was true. But it was peace imposed by the armed strength of the Empire, a peace by which Germany would develop every quality and characteristic that established the State as Power." In the last of his great speeches on February 6, 1888, he delivered a passionate plea for an invincible German army as the arbiter in international disputes. Peace was to him the means towards an end - that of German "Power".

Bismarck assumed that all nations and all statesmen thought in his own terms and that fear, greed and jealousy were the main motives of international life. It characterised his "Realpolitik" to the end of his days. To secure peace he had to put himself at the cross-roads of European diplomatic relations and the Dual and then Triple Alliance were his means of achieving this. Berlin became, in fact, as he wanted, the clearing house of these relations whilst Bismarck remained in power. Germany's relations with Austria and Italy through the Alliance and with Russia through the "entente" and eventually the "Reinsurance" Treaty ensured that she was at the centre of the web.

Both the Dual and Triple Alliance were aimed principally at France. By the Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871, the Franco-Prussian war was brought to an end. France was obliged to pay heavy indemnities and endure the occupation of German troops until they were settled. More significant were these factors - (1) she had suffered a serious blow to national pride through the military defeats, and (2) she was obliged to hand over Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Bismarck saw France as the main threat to Germany and European peace, in her desire to wipe off the humiliation and to regain the lost territory. When France quickly paid off the indemnity and then began to build up an army, Germany was greatly alarmed. There were two possibilities before her - either to attack her militarily, but it would not be accepted by other European powers as the new Germany was regarded with both envy and distrust; or try hard to isolate her diplomatically. Practically all the Powers were potential members of alliance - between France and Russia, and between France and Great Britain. The prospect of either haunted him.

Why then did Bismarck ally Germany with Austria? There were three main reasons. Firstly, an Austrian alliance gave Germany a powerful word in the control of the Danube. Then the strategical and economical conformation of Central Europe was moulded by three great river basins - the Rhine, the Danube and the Vistual. The latter was beyond his control, the Rhine was in German hands. The Alliance, if Romania were brought into the system, would control the Danube from source to mouth. Secondly, it made Germany a powerful factor in the Balkans question, the explosive power of which had been shown in the Austro-Russian rivalry in 1875-6. It also gave Germany the

opportunity, strengthened by the Reinsurance Treaty of 1884, of being arbiter and controlling influence in the Russo-Austrian rivalry. Besides, Germany had also a growing interest in the Ottoman Empire and Constantinople. A Russian alliance would have meant condoning Russian occupation of Constantinople; the Dual Alliance meant that she could set herself against it. Two Germanic nations could work better than a Germanic and Slav combination. Thirdly, as Bismarck wrote to the Prince of Bavaria - "The German Empire in alliance with Austria would not lack the support of England." A Russian alliance, for instance, in view of Russo-British rivalry over the Straits of Constantinople and Asia, would have definitely antagonised Britain, and probably have brought about a Franco-British entente. The Dual Alliance meant also that there was solid mid-European "bloc", which could work against the Magyar and Slav influences disintegrating the Habsburg Empire.

The accession of Italy to the Alliance had these advantages.

i. It was one possible ally less for France.

ii. It strengthened, Bismarck hoped, the British support for the Alliance through the historic Italo-British friendship.

iii. It meant that he controlled an excitable, ambitious new state, that could easily upset the European equilibrium.

iv. "Trade followed alliance". German commercial interests could exploit Italy.

v. Germany now had a means of access to the Mediterranean.

Bismarck had once said that when one is one amongst five powers, it is necessary to be "a trios". When Russia signed the Reinsurance Treaty, Germany was virtually "a quatre" among six powers. Only Britain, with whom he would have also liked an alliance, and France were outside his system. The Austro-German-Italian combination represented a strong monarchical phalanx against the forces of liberalism that was "corrupting" Britain, and the republicanism that had already taken over France. Bismarck was not over-eager to enter into alliance. They implied obligations besides advantages. But, on the other hand, it would have been folly to stand alone. And it was imperative that Germany selected her partners before France found hers, as she was eventually to do after Bismarck had stepped down from the

Chancellorship. finding Germany's allies, as Bismarck himself said, had been full of "perplexities". these "perplexities" could have brought about a Russo-German alliance. But in 1879 and 1882 it seemed that could be successfully avoided. Germany could enter into an alliance with the antagonist of Russia and still keep the Tsardom within Berlin's orbit. As it was, alliance with Austria was to drag the Hohenzollerns down with the Hapsburgs as a result of the 1914-18 war, and Italy was then no longer an ally.

Just as Bismarck's original system of alliances had been devised to keep the peace, so too, the system of rival alliances which grew up after his retirement was intended to keep the peace in Europe." (David Thomson) Discuss.

Rival alliance system was one of the fundamental causes in leading to World War I. So one may definitely deny Thomson's statement that the alliance system served the function of keeping peace in Europe. Because alliance system led to intensive armament race between the powers and proned to making a local war into a general one. This sounds quite reasonable for the outbreak of the First World War is due to the granting of Germany's "blank cheque" to Austria-Hungary who cashed it immediately by sending an unacceptable ultimatum to Serbia.

But it may be rash to use this fact to put all the blame on the alliance system for causing a general war. For only working with other fundamental causes like : nationalism, militarism, imperial rivalries etc. did the alliance system "contributed" her part in causing the disastrous World War I. Indeed, from looking more closely at the alliance system before and after Bismarck you may side with Thomson on the "peace-keeping nature" of the alliance system.

Bismarck's original system of alliances had been devised to keep the peace.

- why Bismarck constructed alliances - fear of revenge thus determined to isolate France so that the latter was not strong enough to take revenge.

Dreikaiserbund - aimed more at preserving the status quo than being directed to a certain nation. Bismarck at first did not want to be tied too closely with any one of them. -Just enough to prevent France making friend with Austria and Russia.

Other alliances (Dual, Triple and later the Reinsurance Treaty) - too keep Russia and Austria apart from France; the terms included were mostly for mutual protection especially when one ally being attacked by a rival power. Hence - largely defensive in nature, lacking any colours of aggressiveness.

With the alliances, security was gained and enabled Germany to become gradually an industrial power in equality with UK.

On the part of France, she did try her best in finding allies. However, her poor situation after 1871 had obstructed her plan of finding friends. Her traditional animosity with Russia and Britain delayed her in setting up alliance with them.

Therefore, during the time of Bismarck, the alliance system is unilaterally under the direction of Bismarck, who successfully utilize the system in preventing France from launching a war of revenge and able to keep the peace in Europe.

In fact, another source of disruption of peace came from the conflicting interests between Russia and Austria, the two partners of Bismarck's alliances. By trying to keep both in his alliances, Bismarck had tried his best and successfully in restraining the two from war.(e.g. Bulgarian crisis 1885-86)

After the retirement of Bismarck

- France succeeded to break out from his isolation

France's loans a must in Russia's industrialization and France's friendship a perequisite if one day Russia fight with Austria over the Balkans.

1894 the Alliance of "the Beauty and the Beast" - yet an alliance for mutual understanding, without any military aims. They were in the fear of being attacked. So the alliance was the seeking for security, not war.

- Fear of the Englishmen about a new balance of power in Europe had compel them into making a new mind of finding allies.

Dual Entente 1904 - not a military alliance, all it did was to clear the way for Britain and France to co-operate and settling various disputes concerning overseas territories that had been obstacles to friendship.

- Moroccan Crisis - Britain supported France showed that her understanding with France was a real one. But the joint venture of Br. and Fr. in Agadir Crisis was in effect avoided a world war from breaking out as early as 1911, hence a proof of the peace-keeping function of the rival alliance system. A full military alliance was made only after the First World War had begun. The Cordiale was found on the basis of mutual understanding and peace-reserving.

An alliance worked only if the interests of the members were touched /involved. Even if there was the absence of the alliance system, the rival powers will come together if there was common interests. Thus the alliance system was only a perfect scapegoat of the ambitious powers, where their selfish aims were the main cause of war. e.g. the Austria-Hungary's and Russian prolonged interests in gaining in the Balkans, or the Serb's dream of a Greater Serbia south of the Danube, or William II's dream of "living space" or "Weltpolitik".

By 1910 Europe was in a perfect balance; the rival alliances produces a balance of fear which helped to defy war.

How far do you think Bismarck's policies, internal and external, contributed to the debacle of 1914?

After the unification of Germany in 1870, the domestic and foreign policies of Germany were mainly in the hands of Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor. His principal object was to preserve a peaceful situation for the building up of the German Empire. His foreign policy was also adopted towards this direction. Yet his aim of internal stability and solidarity not only led to the growth of German Empire, but also an external policy that brought to a complicated diplomatic scene and finally the debacle of 1914.

Bismarck's internal policy was to wipe away any opposition and obstacles that would threaten his system of state. He manipulated the party system in the interest of the country. His anti-socialism and anti-Catholicism policies, though not completely successful, reached a certain degree of success. A certain extent of compromise in these measures succeeded in calming the opposition as well as preventing further resentment. For example, the State Socialism was introduced in Bismarck's anti-socialism policy. Besides, Bismarck also helped in Germany's economic development. Industry and commerce prospered after 1870. His adoption of protectionist policy aided the home

industrialists and merchants a great deal. Thus, form Bismarck's main internal policies, it is seen that he had successfully put Germany into a position of solidarity and stability with the rapid growth of economy. Though this result did not directly contribute to the debacle of 1914, its consequence was an indirect contribution to it. Bismarck's internal achievements turned Germany into a great world power as well as an aggressive one. This internal success was the main driving force that led to a vigorous policy abroad, which had more direct contribution to the debacle of 1914.

Outwardly, it seems that Bismarck's external policy contributed more to the debacle of 1914. In fact, his external policy was related with his internal policy. His aim of isolation of France was for the internal stability of Germany, but this policy led to the formation of an enormous system of alliance which ultimately split the world into two armed camps. The rivalry between them in armaments and policies towards other states, like the Balkans, finally led to the outbreak of war in 1914.

Though the rise of Germany to the status of an aggressive power and the formation of the two opposition Entente were mainly the results of Bismarck's internal and external policies, yet his policies were not wholly responsible for the debacle of 1914. There were many forces together that led to the World War of 1914 and Bismarck's policies only played a leading role in these underlying causes.

The forces of nationalism and imperialism contributed a great deal to the rivalries after 1870. Colonial expansion was a source of conflicts and crisis. This can be seen in the Moroccan crisis. The Balkan Question was also a contributory factor. But Bismarck's system of alliance was responsible for turning these crisis into greater scale, for the involvement of one power naturally draw in the whole alliance and finally the opposite camp too. Thus only a small issue over the question of assassination between Serbia and Austria set the debacle of 1914 and the whole world was affected.

Therefore, Bismarck's policies at home and abroad, with the motive of preservation of peace, turned out to be resulted in a great war. His policies were not the only contributory factors of the 1914 world war, but to a great extent they were responsible for it. They were the main force that led to a complicated diplomatic situation in Europe and ultimately a war.

How far did Salisbury pursue a Policy of Splendid Isolation ===========================================================

Salisbury dominated in British foreign policy in 3 government - 1885-86, 1886-92 and 1895-1902. Most of the time he was Prime Minister as well as Foreign Secretary, Only in 1900 he was not Foreign Secretary in this year.

In Salisbury's Guild Hall Speech 1896, he mentioned the term Splendid Isolation for the first time, he intended to use this term against his opponents. Britain between 1885 and 1902 was pursuing isolation because in Europe there were two camps of alliance system - Triple Alliance (1882) and dual Alliance (1893) Britain kept out from European alignment until 1902 with an alliance with Japan. This meant Britain followed a policy of non-intervention in Europe. Salisburg said, 'No government, in this country would ever pledge itself to go to war in some future contingency.' He wrote a memo (1901)

specifically against joining the Triple Alliance. He put up a very strong case against giving undertakings to other countries. He disliked indefinite undertakings for possible action in hypothetical circumstances at some future data and avoided any entanglements.

Although Salisbury said this and wrote memo against entanglements with other countries, was he able to have complete avoidance from entanglements? The answer is NO, and there are examples:

a. 1887 the Mediterranean Agreements - there were two agreements:

i) in February 1887, both Britain and Italy agreed to cooperate to preserve the status quo in the Mediterranean including Aegean Sea and the Black Sea.

ii) Later in 1887 Britain, Italy and Austria-Hungary again made agreement to preserve the status quo. It seemed to indicate that Britain would fight to preserve the status quo, though in a letter to the Queen he denied this was so.

b. 1902 the Anglo-Japanese Alliance

Salisbury accepted this alliance showed that Britain would involve in some future undertakings with other nations. If Japan was fighting with two or more countries, Britain would help.

Why did Britain join alliance with Japan? The reason was she found that isolation was no longer splendid when all the major powers in Europe grouped up. She had conflicts with France in colonial rivalry in Africa, conflicts with Russia in Central Asia and in Balkan areas, and conflicts with Germany in Africa and naval race. In fact Britain had never isolated herself from world affairs. In the Far Near, Near East, America and Africa, she involved deeply.

a. Far East - 1895-98 she played an active part in the Scramble for Concession in China.

1900 she joined the Eight Powers Expedition after the Boxer Uprising

1886 she got Burma

b. Africa - 1885 she took over Bechuanaland

1890 Berlin conference between Britain and Bismarck, Britain exchanged Zanzibar for Heligoland with Germany

1890 and 1896 she took over Kenya and Uganda

1891 she got Rhodesia

1896 she took over Sudan

c. South America

1895-6 boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana

1902 Britain asked for Venezuela for compensation to Britain because of loss of property and lives - Britain called for an international arbitration involving Germany and Italy

d. Near East - 1886 Bulgarian question, Bulgaria joined East Rumelia and Britain supported Bulgaria.

So Salisbury did not really follow splendid isolation in deed and in word, because of the force of circumstances, he did things against his intention. In fact Salisbury did not initiate the term 'Splendid Isolation'. 'The Times' newspaper did, and when Salisbury mentioned the term for the first time, he intended to use it as a mildly sardonic rebuke of his critics. His main objective was to avoid his country becoming involved in the contemporary quarrel which divided Europe into two 'armed camps' and to treat each group with

impartiality. He succeeded. This is the sense in which the expression is applicable.

Assess the relationship between Britain and Germany before the First World War?

Why assess the relation of these two countries?

They were leaders of rival camps in the First World War.

Britain's traditional policy

- Splendid Isolation

- cared the Balance of Power in Europe - her safety

- interfered at the time when equilibrium in Europe was disrupted and her insecurity threatened

Thus Anglo-German confrontation came from German threat to dominate Europe.

Responsibility of Anglo-German confrontation lay on Germany's political blunder.

Traditional Anglo-German relation was friendly

- personal link between Britain and Germany's royal family

- Bismarck's restraint and cautious foreign policy

Bismarck tried his best not to antagonize Britain :

i. naval power

ii. imperial venture

iii. peace and tranquility in Europe

- Britain's attitude toward Germany : to check Russia and France

- even after Europe was divided into two camps, Britain thought that the Franco-Russian Alliance threatened her more than Germany.

Turning Point came in time of William II

Weltpolitik - struggle for a place in the sun, a world power status

i. imperial rivalries in Africa, China and Turkey

ii. naval challenge

Political blunder -

i. declined the offer of friendship by Britain in 1898-1902 (sphere of influence and entente proposed 1901).

ii. After Edward VII succeeded the throne of Britain in 1901, relation deteriorated.

iii. use Moroccan crisis to test the Entente Cordiale

Armament (in particularly Naval) Race and Schlieffen Plan

Economic strength of Germany challenged Britain as the "Workshop of the World".

The announcement of the construction of Berlin Baghdad Railway became a shock to Britain.

Thus the common fear of Germany forced the Entente into virtually a military alliance.

Assess Emperor William II's influence upon German foreign policy up to World War I.

Bismarck's policy - check and balance, and restraint for the sake of peace

After the resignation of Bismarck, William II changed Bismarck's foreign policy and decided to drive Germany to the path of 'greatness' - influence European politics greatly.

William II was the product of the Germany which Bismarck had made (he had not witnessed either 1848 or 1860, his memory began in 1870). He had been formed in the shadow of Germany's expanding and seemingly limitless might, knowing nothing of the risks; he thought that Germany was strong enough to stand in the world without the support of check and balance policy ---> aggressive foreign policy.

1 Give up Bismarck's principle of check and balance.

- replaced by an erratic foreign policy - blunder and ignorance

- withdraw from the friendship with Russia

- to secede the reconciliation with France and alliance with England

Bismarck's intricate and delicate system then broke down and was impossible to be erected again.

William II and Hohenlone, the new Chancellor- never had an
understanding of the cordial principle underlying Bismarckian system, and they lacked the superb intelligence and delicate precaution which enabled Bismarck to be successful.

Results - German foreign policy came into confusion, did not possess a definite principle or direction, sometimes even wild and ruthless, disregarding reaction of the other great powers.

2. Give up Bismarck's principle of "restraints"

Bismarck's foreign policy was actually one of Prussian but not German i.e. to restrain German ambition for the sake of Prussia.

William II wanted to be the Emperor of all Germans.

A new foreign policy full-steam ahead - limitless expansion in the world - Weltpolitik - yet it alarmed, alienated and embittered other powers, like a runaway horse, like a public fever

Results - isolation except Austria-Hungary.

The situation were sometimes worsened by William's personal stupid activities, speeches and interviews.

To meet Germany's dangerous isolation situation - Willaim II made more blunders - he was too eager to assert German authority and strength in the world politics, e.g. Moroccan Crisis

He wanted to show that any important decision should not made without Germany and methods used was "the threat of war".

Conclusion - Willaim II repudiated Bismarck's principle but possessed none, thus exerted a disastrous influence on the German foreign policy. Yet he should not be solely responsible. "World Policy" seemed an inevitable trend in Germany - arising from economic, political needs of the German public.

William II's responsibility - limitless, directionless, confused and blind foreign policy

Discuss the effects of Bismarck's dismissal in 1890 upon international relations in Europe.

Emperor William II dropped Bismarck in 1890 largely because he wanted to rule on his own. Bismarck's departure and William's headstrong qualities were felt primarily in foreign affairs.

Bismarck's alliance system began to unravel in 1890. One of the reasons for his dismissal was the widespread resentment within the German government against the complexity of his diplomacy and particularly, against the alliance with Russia that many felt conflicted with obligations to Austria.

- let the Reinsurance agreement lapse; and thus gave France a chance to end its diplomatic isolation. Result - Russo-French Dual Alliance versus German-Austrian Dual Alliance.

A major change in the diplomatic balance. But it did not lead immediately to heightened tensions.

It was in the imperial fields that the most ominous developments occurred in the 1890s. Armaments programs were stepped up in the interests of empire expansion. 1897 Germany embarked on a major naval program, inspired by the skilful politicking of Admiral Tirpitz, by the pressure of heavy industrialists and by William II's own passionate interest in the Sea. "As an amateur yachtsman delighted with his new toy", William II periodically boasted about Germany's great imperial future in a way that could only frighten the other powers - Britain grew increasingly hostile to Germany's bluster and her concrete competition in industry and on the sea. Thus imperial rivalries were beginning to color relationship within Europe.

After imperialistic game, new appetites had been whetted. Germany no longer talked like a satiated power, while Italy and Russia longed to compensate for their failures in the imperialist game. Most governments had grown accustomed to using imperialist success to counter potential unrest at home -> it means that now peaceful negotiation, conference with a neutral broker could no longer work.

Merely to preserve existing empires amid growing difficulties, several powers had to contemplate new alliances. Britain was forced to commit herself to the alliance system. Europe's diplomatic flexibility was greatly reduced.

When the pre-war alliance system was complete - 3 Vs 3. Germany alone was threatened on two sides. But he could not back down. Nationalist group like the Pan-German League talked of uniting all Germans. They were exceptionally belligerent.

Result - nationalist fervor

Weltpolitik -> Berlin-Baghdad Railway

-> Armament race intensified

-> unlimited support to Austria-Hungary

"Unfriendly and provocative." To what extent is this an accurate summary of Germany's policies towards the European Powers between 1890 and 1914?

It is obvious that other European Powers - particularly Britain, France and Russia - came to see Germany's policies as "unfriendly and provocative". You should attempt to separate German motives and intentions from the impression her policies created, and assess the extent to which this impression was justified. Note that the two descriptions are not necessarily inseparable - you may for instance, find her policies "provocative" but not essentially "unfriendly". You should certainly not take this question as simply an opportunity to discuss German responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War.

Answer plan

1. The basic difference between German foreign policy under Bismarck and under William II and his ministers: Bismarck's purpose was to establish Germany as the diplomatic arbiter of Europe - but it was limited, circumscribed and essentially peaceful in character. He had little sympathy with Pan-German ambitions and, for most of his term of office, was markedly unenthusiastic about colonies. Under William II the role of dominant continental Power was no longer enough for Germany. She aspired to the "place in the sun" of world politics. With "Weltpolitik", Germany advanced ambitions for recognition as a world power, with colonies and a large navy.

2. The "New Course" in German diplomacy reflected the growth in the power of a nation that had consolidated its position on the continent and was seeking new outlets for its nationalist and expansionist energies; note the very considerable growth of German industrial potential. However, German imperial ambitions reached their height in the late period of 19th-century imperialism when there was little territory left for distribution among the Powers. Seen from one angle, the German leaders simply applied to their own situation imperialistic ideas and ambitions that existed everywhere. Other countries had long been world powers and were used to rounding off their territories in a suitable way.

3. German demands were accompanied, though, by particularly swashbuckling statements and propaganda, e.g. General Bernhardi's book 'World Power or Destruction'; and the Pan-German League, which argued that Germany would draw to itself all German-speaking peoples in Europe and emphasized the "world horizon". Those Powers which were already established resented what they saw as the reckless and threatening assertion of German power: there was rivalry with Britain, particular over naval policy; Alsace-Lorraine and Morocco soured Franco-German relations, while Germany's claim to influence in the Near East aroused strong Russian apprehensions.

4. When the actual content of German ambitions is examined, they turn out to be lacking in precision. There was a disproportion between the vastness of potential menace, as seen by Britain, France and Russia, and the actual German pursuit of concrete objectives - e.g. Germany was throughout this period acquiring major financial interests in the Near East (at this time her share of the Turkish debt rose from 5%-20%). But wild talk from the Kaiser, declaring himself the friend of 300 million Moslems, and the arrival of German military experts in Constantinople gave legitimate interests a flavor of reckless aggression, which was plainly provocative.

5. Over Morocco the Kaiser was anxious to prove that no serious issue in world politics could be decided without him. This was a recurring pattern. In each case there was something to be said for German demands. For instance, what gain had Germany to compare with the most recent French acquisitions of Tunis and Morocco? The misfortune of the German situation was that she was in a position where she could not expand without destroying the existing order - that is, expand in line with her growing power, population and economic potential. Her position, therefore, forced her to appear consistently unfriendly in her ambitions. Her presentation of her demands and policies, particularly the interventions of the Kaiser, were diplomatic catastrophes and plainly extremely provocative.

6. Relations with Britain: When Britain launched the Dreadnought in 1906 all previous battleships were rendered obsolete and the navy race became desperate. While for Germany the fleet was a luxury, the British regarded their own fleet as essential for their survival as an imperial world power. Tirpitz's "risk theory" amounted to diplomatic blackmail. The effect was inevitably to bring Britain closer to both France and Russia, whereas she might have been a natural ally of Germany. It was not simply with this (and such provocations as the support for Austria during the Bosnian Crisis) that Germany lost the sympathy of the Powers - it appeared to them that she was quite indifferent to their attitude.

7. Note the domestic background to German policy: "Weltpolitik" represented in part a systematic attempt to mobilize the forces of conservatism in Germany. What Tirpitz called "this great overseas policy" was intended to silence internal criticism and rally support for the Kaiser and the Reich.

8. There were grounds on which each of the main elements of "Weltpolitik" might be justified - these elements being the naval expansion, the development of empire in Africa and the commercial and financial penetration of the Near East. It can be argued, though, that for Germany to pursuit all three courses at the same time was the worst possibly policy. It kept alive the suspicion of the Entente Powers and made them more anxious than ever to stick together.

9. The success of the Triple Entente's policy of containment and rearmament increasingly limited the scope of German policy and gave rise to increasing fears of "encirclement". In the end, the Reich stood alone in 1914 with Austro-Hungary as the only reliable ally. But the outbreak of war was not so much the result of reckless German imperialism as of her desire to have complete security in the face of the other powers. While her policies from 1890 onwards were undoubtedly ill-judged, tactless and provocative, it is harder to substantiate that they were consistently unfriendly. There were threats but there was also considerable vacillation.

Comment on the view that the First World War was a diplomatic accident rather than consequence of any insoluble differences.

Analyze the origin of the First World War and critically examine the truth of the statement.

Elaborate the view put forward (the view is quite true)

a. Differences existed within the international system.

- 2 rival camps, each considered mutual commitment to their allies as essential for defence

- armament race

- conflicts between Austria and Russia (imperial interest and security)

- conflict between Germany and the Entente powers.

b. In fact, many of those problems seemed not insoluble

- mutual commitment within each camp was not tight.

i. elaborate the Entente relation

N.B. the conflicts among themselves had been even greater than that between them and the Triple Alliance.

ii. elaborate the reliability of the mutual commitment within the Triple Alliance.

- conflicts between Germany and the Entente powers had been successfully dealt with by 1914, and relation between them showed improvement.

- even the conflict between Austria and Russia was not necessarily fatal.

c. the War as a diplomatic accident :

- Austria did not time for war (she only seized opportunity), but was determined to teach Serbia a lesson.

- Germany's support to Austria did not mean to want war, but a diplomatic victory over Russo-French alliance and asserted her status as a world power.

- Russia's mobilization was also a diplomatic move rather than a military showdown.

- Britain believed she could continue to act as mediator and remain non-committed. When Grey proposed a peace conference, Germany advised Austria to "halt at Belgrade".

- France did not declare neutrality for believing a diplomatic victory with Britain on their side.

- What was vital was the military consideration. The military men and statesmen became "prisoners of the railway time-table".

N.B. Both statesmen and generals miscalculated, the former in their belief that mobilization would not necessarily

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