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Abdel Karim Konsowa
European Diplomacy Test Review
Examine the changing balance of power in Europe between 1871 and 1905. Identify what countries were gaining power and what countries were
losing it, and explain the reasons why.
Bismarck’s Europe
a. Germany dominated European politics
i. Bismarck’s policy’s
1. Isolating France from European Politics
a. Since France was Germany’s only enemy, Bismarck’s foreign policy was directed against France to prevent a
war with France.
2. Treaties
a. The Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria
b. The secret Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia
c. Trying to make a treaty with England
i. Failed at signing a treaty
b. Britain’s “Splendid Isolation” Policy
i. Britain did ally itself with any country
1. Britain did not want to commit itself in a war with a country because of its ally
ii. Germany was Britain’s obvious ally
1. The British and the German had very strong ties which include race (they both saw themselves as being of the same racial
group), Kaiser Wilhelm II’s grandmother was the British Queen Victoria, and Germany has been regarded (since the
Franco-Prussian War) to have the strongest military and Britain had the strongest navy, so Britain and Germany would
make good allies.
Bismarck’s dream destroyed
a. Bismarck is forced to resign from Germany as Chancellor (forced by Kaiser Wilhelm II) and Caprivi is the new German Chancellor
i. During Caprivi’s first week in office, Bismarck’s system collapses
1. Caprivi does not sign the secret Reinsurance Treaty with Russia leaving Germany with the Dual Alliance treaty of Austria
2. Russia signs a military treaty with France (which allies France with a major European Power, destroying the major pillar of
Bismarck’s foreign policy).
British-German relations turns sour
a. Britain has just signed a military alliance with Japan (towards Russia) which effectively ended Britain’s “Splendid Isolation” Policy
b. Britain and Germany were discussing a military alliance
i. Bulow’s speech at the Reichstag concerning Chamberlin’s view of the Boer War.
ii. Chamberlin (the British Colonial Secretary and the person in charge of the talks on the British side) was heavily criticized by Bulow
and the German Press, and finally, the discussions were over and no treaty was signed (Gasp!)
c. Britain signs the Entente Cordial with France (under Théophile Déclassé, the French Foreign Minister, Paul Cambon, The French
Ambassador in Britain, and Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Minister)
i. France now has initiated a step towards making an alliance with Britain, which shuts out Germany’s chances of making a treaty with
Britain, and shifts the European Balance of Power against Germany (Now Germany had Austria and Italy as allies, and France had
Russia and Britain which makes the Balance of Power in favor of the French, British, and Russians) (with the exception of the
Ottoman Empire, Austria and Italy were the countries with the worst performance in the First World War)
ii. The Entente basically said that France will recognize Britain’s right to rule Egypt if Britain recognizes France’s right to control
1. France wants Morocco as a colony to extend France’s Empire from Dakar to Djibouti; England also wants Morocco as a
colony because 44% of Morocco’s imports were from Britain as opposed to France which only exported 22% of Morocco’s
imports. However, France controlled all the countries surrounding Morocco.
France claimed control over Egypt and did not recognize Britain’s right to rule Egypt, because the French still believed
that they controlled Egypt from the time of Napoleon as opposed to Britain which actually had an army inside of Egypt.
d. The Morocco Crisis
i. According to the Madrid Conference of 1880, Morocco remain independent, and no European country will control Morocco unless it is
agreed upon by all European countries (that signed the Madrid Treaty of 1880)
ii. France (mainly Déclassé, the French Foreign Minister) had not officially asked Germany if Germany would object to France colonizing
iii. Germany objects to France colonizing Morocco as French troops were demanding from the Sultan to hand over Morocco’s police
1. Germany wanted to break down the Entente Cordial, isolating France
iv. Germany forces the French Foreign Minister (Théophile Déclassé) to resign by threatening the French Prime Minister with war with
France if Déclassé continues to be France’s Foreign Minister.
1. Germany wanted to stop the strengthening of the Entente Cordial by removing Déclassé who wanted a British-French
military alliance, and who was very good at negotiating with the British.
v. Germany then proceed to demand a conference (The Algeciras Conference) despite Déclassé’s removal
1. Germany wanted to completely destroy the Entente by challenging it.
vi. Germany lost a huge diplomatic battle in the Algeciras Conference which strengthened the tie between the French and the British
1. Germany lost due to extremely aggressive tactics from the German representatives (mainly Count Tattenbach)