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HIST2128 Germany, 1871-1933: From Empire to Republic Bismarck’s foreign and colonial policy, 1871-90 Lecture 8 16 January 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "HIST2128 Germany, 1871-1933: From Empire to Republic Bismarck’s foreign and colonial policy, 1871-90 Lecture 8 16 January 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 HIST2128 Germany, : From Empire to Republic Bismarck’s foreign and colonial policy, Lecture 8 16 January 2012

2 Three Emperors’ League, Oct 1873 No revival of Holy Alliance of 1815 No block formation of G, R, A = More rivalries than common interests: Bismarck: To keep France in check Gorchakov: To keep Germany weak Andrássy: To keep Germany + Russia apart

3 War scare, 1875 (1) France’s strong efforts to re-militarize: → Bismarck’s offer to Russia for political deal, 1875: ► G’s support of R’s Balkan policy ► R’s support of G’s France policy →To outmanoeuvre pro-French Gorchakov → To separate Russia from France = Gorchakov: Unwilling to give up ‘French option’ regarded as pressure tool vs. Germany + succeeded in turning public mood vs. Bismarck

4 War scare, 1875 (2) Bismarck’s reaction, spring 1875 : Threatened with preventive war to break-up Germany’s ‘encirclement’ + launched Is War in Sight?’press article Sent calculated alarm signals to put pressure on + to intimidate F, R, A Predicted a ‘Catholic League’ vs. ‘Protestant Germany’

5 War scare, 1875 (3) Reactions: F: No end of militarization program R: No separation from but closer contacts to F + de-facto guarantee for F = Major defeat of Bismarck = Irreparable break Bismarck ≠ Gorchakov = Consolidation of Russia’s hegemony position in Europe

6 War scare, 1875 (4) Consequences for Bismarck: To accept political-territorial realities in Europe To recognize 1871 status quo as fundament of policies of R, A, F To relinquish unsuccessful tactic of terrorizing + beating isolated enemies To escape ‘encirclement’ not by intimidation + war but by defence + alliance To look for support vs. Russia’s hegemony

7 5 Options ☻ Revitalising Three Emperors’ League: G + A + R ☻ Strong alliance + partnership with R ☻ Huge imperialist compensations for F + R ☻ Waging war against F to reach full hegemony ☺ Sophisticated balancing between and with 5 big powers → Strategy of alliances

8 Dual Alliance, Oct 1879 (1) Committed G + A to resist R’s aggression Entering war for partner only after R’s aggression = Cornerstone + ‘landmark’ of German foreign policy until 1918 = Unusual peacetime engagement not concluded on eve of wars = Stimulated similar treaties until Europe’s division in pacts + counter-pacts

9 Dual Alliance, Oct 1879 (2) Bismarck’s reasons: Russia regarded as Slavophil + Francophile: No secure partner for G Austria regarded as major partner to fight encirclement Dual Alliance regarded as step forward to new Three Emperors’ League = To improve G’s position vs. R by making A a junior partner = To pave way into more stable Three Emperors’ League connected by mutual alliances

10 Triple Alliance, 1882 Added Italy to Dual Alliance (1879) Promised assistance if A, G, I were attacked by 2 or more powers I’s promise of neutrality in case of war between A + R I’s promise of support in case of French attack on G A’ + G’s promise of support of I in case of French attack on I = Italy for Bismarck mainly important to deprive France of a potential ally, not for I’s strength

11 Reinsurance Treaty, Jul 1887 Promise of benevolent neutrality if R or G were at war with third power →Except: Attack R-A or G-F ☺No contravention to Dual Alliance ☺ Masterpiece of Bismarck’ diplomacy but also another temporary expedient to remove fear of F-R alliance ☻ Weak effect on R-G economic relations ☻ No reduction of Balkan tensions ☻ F’s attack on G still possible

12 Bismarck’s alliance system Peace-oriented OR ready for preventive war? Flexible alliance system OR crisis management? Rapprochement with France OR ‘inherited enemy’? Dual Alliance major achievement OR trap to be dragged into war in 1914?

13 Colonial Policy (1) Bismarck’s lack of interest in colonies: Europe in foreground Private companies as unsuccessful colonizers: No government support German Colonial Association (Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft, ) as private initiative for mass propaganda

14 Colonial Policy (2) Society for German Colonisation (Gesellschaft für deutsche Kolonisation, 1884) as private initiative Acquisition of colonies by Germany: Togoland, the Cameroons, German East Africa, German South West Africa, New Guinea = Apr 1884 to May 1885 = Short imperialist phase

15 Colonial Policy (3): 5 Interpretations 1)Conversion to imperialism (external) 2)Enhancing Germany’s position in Europe and vs. GB (external) 3)Satisfy pro-colonial popular sentiments in 1884 election campaign (domestic) 4)Driving wedge between liberal Crown Prince and GB (domestic) 5)Expansionism as counter-measure vs. economic depression (to find new markets + raw materials for industry) = ‘Social Imperialism’ (domestic) = Probably combination of interpretations 2-5


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