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Imperialism, Alliances, and War Chapter 26. Overview(I) The "New Imperialism“; rapid scramble for control of new colonies concentrated on Asia & Africa.

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Presentation on theme: "Imperialism, Alliances, and War Chapter 26. Overview(I) The "New Imperialism“; rapid scramble for control of new colonies concentrated on Asia & Africa."— Presentation transcript:

1 Imperialism, Alliances, and War Chapter 26

2 Overview(I) The "New Imperialism“; rapid scramble for control of new colonies concentrated on Asia & Africa. Nationalism intensified (particularly after Prussia's success in unifying Germany changed the balance of power in Europe). Nationalism centered in Serbia and Bulgaria caused growing unrest throughout the European portion of the Ottoman Empire. Imperial concerns, coupled with increased rivalries between the great powers, led to the new alliance system in Europe inaugurated by the Austro-German (Dual) Alliance of 1879, which became the Triple Alliance with the addition of Italy in the 1890s. Britain was drawn into the Franco-Russian orbit, forming the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904 and making a similar agreement with Russia in 1907. (

3 Overview(II) Events that followed the assassination of the Austrian heir in June 1914 at Sarajevo transformed the Balkan crisis into the immediate cause of World War I (the Great War). For over four years, the European states slugged it out on battlefields and seas throughout the world. Casualties ran into the tens of millions. The European world -- so safe, secure, and stable -- had literally blown up. The Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires were destroyed. Tsarist Russia had first compromised with liberal forces, and then been swept away in a Communist coup in 1917. Germany and its allies sought an armistice in November 1918 to avoid invasion by the Allies, who were now receiving fresh aid and troops from the United States. The Versailles Treaty ended the war, but satisfied no one. (

4 ‘New Imperialism’ Imperialism can be defined as: “a policy of expanding a nation’s power by seeking a form of hegemony over an alien power.”

5 The economic, strategic, political, and cultural rationales for the New Imperialism(I) By the turn of the century, most of the world was under the control of the industrialized West. The so-called "New Imperialism" was the most significant phenomenon of the last third of the nineteenth century. Economic motives Economic motives were proposed to explain the new imperialism like need for market and raw materials. But investment did not follow colonization in any consistent way, all the powers relied on vital raw materials from areas they did not control, and colonies were only occasionally demonstrably profitable. So the new imperialism depended on more than economics. Cultural, religious, and social motives  The duty of European nations to extend the benefits of their superior civilizations to “backward” peoples.  The hope that imperialism might deflect public interest from domestic problems.  To relieve population pressures in Europe

6 The economic, strategic, political, and cultural rationales for the New Imperialism(I) Strategic and political factors(national pride) certainly played a role in the scramble for Africa: the British needed to control the Suez Canal in order to control the India trade, and to protect Egypt they needed to control the Sudan.  Likewise, control of the Cape of Good Hope seemed to require control of increasing swaths of southern Africa. Using Britain as a model, smaller European states equated colonization with political status.  Bismarck saw African protectorates as a way to improve Germany's status in relation to France and Britain.  Intra-European rivalries also influenced colonial ventures in other parts of the world. In Asia, Japan emerged as a great power that European nations felt obliged to contain. The United States participated extensively in imperial ventures in the Pacific.

7 The search for strategic advantage among European nations and the creation of opposing alliance systems An Overview  Prussia's military power and unification of Germany upset the balance of power created at the Congress of Vienna.  From 1871 until his dismissal by Kaiser William II in 1890, Bismarck acted as an "honest broker" for peace in Europe. He entered Germany into multiple alliances, some of them secret, in a successful effort to maintain a balance of power in Europe. The Dual Alliance with Austria was an anchor of German policy until 1918; Germany under Bismarck's leadership was also at least intermittently allied with Russia and Italy. Bismarck's system of alliances collapsed soon after he left office.  Caprivi's incompetence and Kaiser William II's arrogance made an enemy of Britain, which proceeded to enter relationships with France and Russia, creating the Triple Entente. Germany's Triple Alliance (with Austria and Italy) was weak and unstable by comparison.

8 The System of Rival Alliances Together with race for colonies, other major characteristic of European politics in lead-up to World War I was development of rival alliances. They were often established as result of defensive motivations, (based on mutual fear), but their v. existence contributed to distrust & tension. System of alliances that dominated Europe was to impt. extent founded on underlying fear & distrust between France & Germany. Yet, it was ultimately much responsible for allowing what might have remained a relatively small, local crisis in Bosnian capital Sarajevo to escalate into a general war. Each power had become committed to support its allies. As more states began to see war as inevitable, efforts increased to build-up arms in effort to enhance security. But, the arms race that resulted, by raising fears, distrust & tension, contributed to making war more likely.

9 The Three Emperors’ League After uniting Germany Bismarck initially aimed to maintain peace & allow the German state to develop stable foundations. He tried to develop alliances that would help safeguard Germany. In 1873 & again in 1881 he helped establish ‘Three Emperors’ League’, [Germany, Austria, Russia]. Members promised to remain at least neutral if other members were attacked by a 4 th power. Both times, however, the Leagues collapsed as a consequence of rivalries in Balkans between Russia & Austria. Germany Austria- Hungary Russia

10 Dual & Triple Alliances 1879 Bismarck also formed secret military alliance with Austria-Hungary (The ‘Dual Alliance’), to which Italy was also added in 1882, (making it the ‘Triple Alliance’). If any member was attacked by Russia the others would militarily assist, & would at least remain neutral if attacked by other states. (Later other states also joined, e.g. Rumania in 1883). Germany Austria-Hungary GermanyItaly

11 The Reinsurance Treaty (1) 1887 Bismarck signed another secret treaty.. this time with Russia. Known as the ‘Reinsurance Treaty’, it consisted of a Russian promise not to support France if she went to war against Germany, (& more generally that each state would remain at least neutral if the other were attacked by a third party), & a German promise, in return, to support Russian interests in the Balkans.

12 The Reinsurance Treaty (2) Bismarck’s ability to stay allied with both Austria-Hungary & Russia at same time (while these 2 states were rivals in the Balkans) was a sign of his diplomatic skill. GERMANY ITALY AUSTRIA-HUNGARYRUSSIA Triple Alliance Reinsurance Treaty

13 William II & the fall of Bismarck In 1888, however, a new emperor came to the throne in Germany... William II, unhappy with Bismarck completely dominating German foreign policy, supported a more aggressive stance against Russia & more assertive foreign policy generally. In 1890 he basically forced Bismarck to resign & retire. Bismarck’s intricate web of alliances was thereafter not as carefully maintained & Reinsurance Treaty was not renewed.

14 France & the Foundations of the Triple Entente (1) France knew that there had been an alliance formed between Germany, Austria-Hungary & Italy, but was not aware of the details of their agreements, (esp. of the fact that they were essentially defensive clauses). This made her ever- more distrustful of the new, powerful German state, & esp. concerned about being left alone to fight against the Germans as had been the case in the war of 1870.

15 France & the Foundations of the Triple Entente (2) Faced with Triple Alliance, France took opportunity of collapse of Reinsurance Treaty to get her own alliance with Russia with whom she had not traditionally had good relations. With incr. cooperation between Germany & Austria-Hungary (with whom Russians had particularly strained relations in Balkans) & with added sweetener of the promise of French loans & capital investment, Russia was also willing now to form an alliance with France. In 1893 the 2 states formed basis of what was to become the Triple Entente, promising mutual military support if either was attacked by Germany.

16 Britain & the Triple Entente (1) Britain had for some time followed an isolationist policy & avoided joining alliances. Further, Britain had also had poor relations with Russia & France with whom its interests had tended to conflict British & German royal families were related Some in Britain even suggested forming an alliance with Germany Yet Britain eventually joined Triple Entente. Why?

17 Britain & the Triple Entente (2) German insensitivity to Britain’s colonial interests – e.g. “Krüger Telegram” congratulating forces opposing British in S. Africa for their success in battle. Germany becoming an increasingly threatening industrial & commercial rival to Britain Germany began to threaten Britain’s traditional naval dominance All of the above contributed to British decision to abandon its isolationist stance & join the Triple Entente. In 1904 Britain reached agreement with France & in 1907 with Russia.

18 Rival Alliances The Triple Entente The Triple Alliance (Central Powers) Britain FranceRussia Italy * Germany Austria-Hungary vs. By 1907 the great European Powers had been divided into 2 main rival blocs. * While these alliances principally joined for defensive purposes in effort to enhance national security, Italian motivations were somewhat exceptional & related to goal of creating an ‘Italia Irridenta’ from territories won in the upcomming war. Italy, in fact, eventually abandoned Triple Alliance & in 1915 joined Triple Entente upon promise of territorial gains at war’s end.

19 Origins and course of World War I An Overview The 1908 Bosnian crisis, the second Moroccan crisis in 1911, and the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912 and 1913) solidified Europe's alliances and antagonisms, and left many of the powers feeling they could not afford to repeat various "mistakes" they had made in facing these crises. When the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in June 1914, no country had a strong stake in going to war over it. But as the crisis dragged on throughout the summer, all the European powers came to feel, for various reasons, that they must go to war. Both the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) and the Central Powers (essentially, Austria and Germany) had reasonable expectations of quick victory. Both sides bungled their strategies, however. More significantly, neither side understood how to take the offensive against machine guns; no one had foreseen trench warfare. The land war dragged on with massive casualties and minimal results. On the sea, Germany's fleet – the cause of so much antagonism with Great Britain – served little purpose except, eventually, to help bring the United States into the war against the Central Powers. United States entry into the war came only after the Russian Revolution had overthrown the tsar. (

20 Assassination of Francis Ferdinand The local crisis which led to outbreak of World War I concerned assassination of heir to Austro-Hungarian throne (& his wife) on June 28 th, 1914. Assassin was Gavrilo Princip, a young Bosnian Serb who belonged to underground Serbian nationalist society called “Union or Death” (aka “The Black Hand”). Habsburg government, already fearful that Serbia, with Russian backing, was turning into potential Piedmont or Prussia, (i.e. a state to lead national unification, in this case of Slavs), treated murders as Serbian provocation of war. After getting assurances of support from German ally, Austria issued an ultimatum to Serbia, with demands that were virtually impossible for Serbia to accept.

21 Outbreak of World War I (1) Austrian ultimatum directly challenged Serbian sovereignty demanding Austrian officials take part in investigating & punishing all those involved in planning the assassination. Serbia’s response was quite moderate, but rejected demands seen to challenge its sovereignty. While aware of superior power of Austro-Hungarian state, Serbs felt relatively confident Russia could not afford to lose prestige in Balkans & so would not leave Serbia alone. Russia, in turn, counted on France for support & France, terrified of possibility of again being caught alone in war with Germany, was determined to keep Russia an ally. When Serbia refused to fully accept ultimatum, Austria- Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 th July 1914.

22 Outbreak of World War I (2) 30 th July Russia began to mobilize its forces in support of Serbia. Expecting that Germany would assist Austria- Hungary, it also mobilized its forces along German frontier. Next day Germany began to mobilize its own forces & with Russians failing to respond to German demands that they end their own military activities, Germany declared war against Russia on August 1 st. Feeling certain that France would also join the war in support of Russia, Germans also declared war against France (Aug 3 rd ).

23 Britain Enters the War While Germans had been somewhat concerned about danger of escalation of war, many German leaders mistakenly believed that in final analysis British would not get involved in the conflict... But they were wrong! Britain had joined Triple Entente in an attempt to maintain a balance-of-power in Europe & particularly to counter danger of German domination. When Germany invaded Belgium, (the neutrality of whose territory had been guaranteed by the 5 great powers since 1839), there was a united outcry & anger among the British public. The same day, 4 th August, Britain declared war on Germany.

24 Major Causes of World War I Colonial Rivalries Growing Industrial/Commercial Rivalry The Alliance System Arms Race (esp. naval between Germany & Britain) Rivalries in the Balkans

25 America Enters the War When Germans again began unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, it became a cause of US entry into war. Gradually, by end 1916, blockade hurting Germans who were suffering shortages of vital materials. They took a calculated risk, believing that if they could crush Britain within 6 months by cutting- off her contact overseas, then even if US entered war, it would take too long for her to project her power. There had been strong non-interventionist stand among American public, & even some pro-German sentiment, but Americans progressively began backing Wilson’s position of support for Entente powers & accepting US entry into war. Aside from anger at sinking of US ships, American public also turned against Germans when in Jan. 1917 it learned of the ‘Zimmermann Telegram’.

26 The Zimmermann Telegram German Foreign Minister Artur Zimmermann sent a message to the Mexican government calling upon Mexico to form an alliance with Germany & promising German support in getting back ‘lost territories’ of Texas, New Mexico & Arizona, taken by US in US- Mexican war of 1846-48.

27 Wilson & the ‘Fourteen Points’ (1) Revolution in Russia in March 1917 (see below) also made it easier for Americans to follow lead of President Wilson & openly support the Entente. With authoritarian government of Tsar overthrown & more liberal provisional government established, Americans could see themselves as fighting for ideals, on side of liberalism, democracy “civilization” * Images available at &

28 Wilson & the ‘Fourteen Points’ (2) In Jan. 1918 Woodrow Wilson publicly outlined his idealist objectives for peace after the war in his ‘Fourteen Points’. Wilson called for “peace without victors”, strengthening of democracy, national self-determination, an end to secret diplomacy & agreements, free trade, general disarmament & an international organization, the ‘League of Nations’ to preserve world peace. WOODROW WILSON

29 Wilson & the ‘League of Nations’

30 The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia An Overview Nicholas II was incapable of managing a viable war effort, and on March 15, 1917, Russia's last tsar abdicated. The Duma (Parliament) formed a provisional government; the provisional government continued the war against Germany, which meant that when the Russian army continued to suffer, popular discontent turned against the provisional government. Socialist factions formed soviets, councils of workers and soldiers, which did not support the provisional government, although at first they did not interfere with it, either. Meanwhile the Germans, correctly assuming that he would cause enough trouble in Russia to get Russia out of the war, helped Lenin get from his exile in Switzerland to Petrograd (St. Petersburg). The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Trotsky, attempted a coup in the summer of 1917, which failed. On Novemer 6, 1917, a second Bolshevik coup took control. When Bolsheviks failed to win a majority of seats in the new Constituent Assembly, the Bolshevik-controlled Red Army dispersed the legislature. The Bolsheviks nationalized land, factories, banks, and church property; they repudiated the tsarist government's debt; and they withdrew from the war. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk imposed harsh terms on Russia, but Lenin had no choice but to sign. It took the Bolsheviks until 1921 to overcome domestic resistance and a civil war against the White Russians.

31 Russia, 1917 If US entry to War was one major development of 1917, the 2 nd was Russian Revolution. Though it ultimately led to Russia’s withdrawal from war, its impact was long-lasting & global. In March 1917* Tsar was overthrown & a provisional government of liberals & social democrats, which determined to continue war took over. The people, however, were tired of war, & new government’s military efforts proved no more successful than those of Tsar. By November 1917*, in confusion & instability caused by major military defeats, public discontent & hunger, socialists led by Vladimir Lenin (& known as Bolsheviks), managed to carry-out a coup overthrowing provisional government & taking control of Russia. * According to calendar used in Russia at the time, dates were actually February & October, so names “February Revolution” & “October Revolution” often used.

32 The Bolshevik Revolution 2 major factors seen as contributing to Bolsheviks’ desire to end Russian involvement in War: 1) Pragmatic: Russia & the Russians were exhausted. The war effort had little popular support, & by giving the people what they wanted, i.e. peace, the Bolsheviks could hope to gain their sympathy & support. 2) Ideological: As far as their political beliefs were concerned the Bolsheviks saw this War as a war between capitalist & imperialist powers. They preferred to see these powers destroy each other. Despite having to make major concessions, Bolsheviks therefore finally signed peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on 3 rd March 1918.

33 The End of the First World War(I) Despite successfully ending war with Russia, & the initial success of renewed submarine warfare, entry of US into War proved decisive. Her fresh, well-equipped forces turned balance against exhausted Germany & her allies. Within a few months British navy developed new means to combat German submarine warfare, incl. use of depth-charges & large convoys. By mid-1918 Germany & her allies were under severe attack on all fronts & German generals insisted time had now come to make peace... before German heartland was itself invaded. German emperor abdicated on 9 th Nov. 1918 & fled to neutral Holland, & 2 days later Germans signed an armistice to end War.

34 The End of the First World War(II) The Great War was over, at a cost of millions of soldiers' lives and millions more civilians who died from war-related causes. Europe was transformed forever: the German, Austro- Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires were all dissolved; the United States became a factor in European affairs; and the nineteenth-century belief in the inevitability of progress was shattered. The Ottoman Empire, which had allied with the Germans early in the war, was dismembered by a treaty between Turkey and the Allies in 1920. Britain and France controlled large swaths of the Arab world, while Ataturk established the independent Republic of Turkey in 1923.

35 The Versailles Treaty and its legacies An Overview The Treaty of Versailles was ultimately a failure because it was not mild enough to win long-term acceptance by all parties, but it was also not harsh enough to make another war impossible. The victorious Big Four – Wilson for the United States, Lloyd George for Britain, Clemenceau for France, and Vittorio Emanuele for Italy – represented constitutional democracies, and had to respond to public opinion. In Europe, nationalism had reached the status of a secular religion, while the pledges contained in Wilson's Fourteen Points had raised unrealistically idealistic expectations; a comprehensive resolution of Europe's nationalist controversies was impossible. Previously made agreements and secret treaties could not all be honored, and in any case were sometimes mutually exclusive. All the powers feared the spread of communism, while France in particular feared a re-armed Germany. The League of Nations was meant to be a mechanism through which the inevitable shortcomings of the peace settlement could be remedied, but it had no military power to back up its claims. The most problematic aspect of the treaty was the harshness of its terms towards Germany – which was not even allowed to join in negotiations, but presented with a document that had to be ratified – which included a blanket admission of guilt for "all the loss and damage" relating to the war, and a huge reparations bill. The exclusion of Russia from the settlement and from the League of Nations also reflected a stunning failure of the Big Four to face basic realities of European politics.

36 The Paris Peace Conference The international peace settlement following WWI was reached at Conference of Paris (Jan. 1919- Jan. 1920). Conference & various treaties that resulted from it can generally be seen as a failure. Esp. controversial, undoubtedly a failure, has been Treaty of Versailles that was concluded with Germany. Other 4 treaties, which met with various degrees of success were: Treaty of St. Germain with Austria Treaty of Trianon with Hungary Treaty of Neuilly with Bulgaria Treaty of Sèvres with Turkey

37 The Paris Peace Conference (2) Together these treaties created a new map for Europe, with the political map of Eastern Europe in particular being completely revised. 7 new independent states were created largely upon the territories held by powers that had been on the losing side: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland&, Czechoslovakia & Yugoslavia.* * The latter 2 are no more, & the 3 Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania only recently regained their independence after Soviet occupation.

38 The Treaty of Versailles Many have argued Treaty of Versailles itself became a cause of rise of Hitler & of eventual outbreak of World War II. Signed in same location German Empire had been proclaimed in 1871, (‘Hall of Mirrors’), harsh conditions of treaty too humiliating for Germans to accept. Others have argued opposite... That the treaty was too lenient, & any potential future German threat should have been completely eliminated by even harder terms. Hall of Mirrors Palace of Versailles

39 Major Provisions of the Treaty of Versailles (1) 1.Germany forced to evacuate lands occupied during the War (e.g. Baltic states taken from Russia as a consequence of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk) 2.Alsace & Lorraine returned to France 3.Plebiscite to be held to decide the future of Schleswig 4.Germany’s military capacity v. seriously limited: a) army no greater than 100,000 men b) no longer permitted to build tanks, military planes, or heavy artillery c) size of German navy restricted to 36 vessels (no submarines & naval base of Heligoland destroyed)

40 Major Provisions of the Treaty of Versailles (2) 5. Germany prohibited from having any military positions to left of Rhine River, or for 50km to right. 6. Output of Saar coalmines given to France for 15 years & the region to be administered by League of Nations during this period, & then to undergo a plebiscite 7. Occupation forces to remain in Rhineland till all reparations paid (actual sum of reparations to be decided by a Reparations Commission) 8. Germany to give-up some former eastern lands for establishment of independent Polish & Czech states 9. Germany to lose all her colonies (to be administered under the mandate system) 10. Germany to commit to never attempt ‘Anschluss’

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