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1870- 1914
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Understanding the balance of power in
Europe from 1870- 1914
Aims, methods, continuity and change in
German foreign policy to 1914; global
colonial rivalry
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Emergence of Germany as a single state
substantially altered the balance of power in
Europe
A series of wars of unification were fought in the
1860s by Prussia which excluded Austria from
the new German state
1870 Franco Prussian War- loss of Alsace
Lorraine to Germany
Bismarck as Chancellor / Kaiser Wilhelm I
realpolitik
Military superiority + Industrial revolution+
population increase= Germany to dominate in
Europe
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Not an aggressive foreign policy- After 1871
Bismarck saw Germany as a ‘sated power’
Consolidate Germany’s position in Europe
Protect Germany from future attack- concern
was the French desire for revenge
Keep France isolated and Russia onside
This was done through the creation of a
complex web of alliances- essentially a policy
of restraint in diplomacy
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1873 The Dreikaiserbund (Three emperors
league)- Germany, Austria, Russia
1879 The Dual Alliance- Austria and Germanysupport each other if attacked by each other
1881 Three Emperors Alliance- revision of
Dreikaiserbund- remain neutral if other was at
war with another power
1882 Triple Alliance Germany, Austria, Italysupport if attacked by two other powers
1887 Reinsurance Treaty- after the collapse of
Three Emperors- separate deal with Russia to
avoid a war on two fronts
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1888 Kaiser Wilhelm II came to the throne
Bismarck replaced by Chancellor Leo Von
Caprivi
NEW COURSE – or Weltpolitik
Policy looked beyond Europe- EMPIRE and
NAVY
Also diverted attention away from social and
political problems at home
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Much more aggressive foreign policyinvolvement of the Kaiser
Capitalize on Germany’s position in Europe
and beyond
Fear of encirclement
Development of relationship with AustriaHungary
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Aim for Germany- Naval power to rival Britain
1897 Admiral Tirpitz pushed for the
development of the Navy – building of 17 new
ships. Second Naval law also passed in 1900
Pushes Britain to seek security through
alliances- development of Triple Entente
Germany now felt that it was becoming
‘encircled’
Britain develops new class of battleship-
Dreadnought
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Germany tried to expose the weakness of BritishFrench alliance over French interest in Morocco
Britain had given France a ‘free hand’ in Morocco
for their support over Egypt
Germany announced that they would assist the
Sultan of Morocco to maintain his independence
from France
Algerciras Conference- 1906- Britain backed
French interest in Morocco
Morocco a faliure for Weltpolitik and a blow for
German pride
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French sent troops to Morocco on the request of
the Sultan to suppress a revolt that had broken
out
Germany saw this as the beginning of full French
takeover of Morocco
Germany sent a gunboat (the Panther) to Agadiras a way of extracting concessions from the
French
‘gunboat diplomacy’
Germany given parts of the French Congo
Again Germany miscalculated- Britain supported
France- strengthened ties of the Entente
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1912 First Balkan War- Greece, Serbia and Montenegro
formed an alliance- as a way of pushing Turkey out of the
Balkans (Macedonia)- this took just seven weeks
Austria threatened by a strengthened Serbia and a clear threat
of war in the region
British call a conference in London and Turkey’s lands divided
up and the creation of Albania which limits Serbia’s access to
the sea.
Second Balkan War 1913- Bulgaria goes to war over
Bulgarians living in Serbia / Greece
Bulgaria defeated
Austria keen to be involved but Germany urges restraint
Serbia had succeeded on two occasions- proved its strength
diplomatically / militarily. Increased in size