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Why did European relations deteriorate between 1890-1911. Key questions: How important was the Alliance system? Which countries were most responsible for increasing turmoil in Europe?. HMS Dreadnought 1906. Kaiser Wilhelm II. Became Emperor in 1888 Dismissed Bismarck in 1890
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How important was the Alliance system?
Which countries were most responsible for increasing turmoil in Europe?
HMS Dreadnought 1906
Drawn up in 1892 and finalised in 1894. It came at a time of growing financial links between Russia and France (France had provided cheap loans to Russia to build up her military).
Also a reflection of Russia’s concerns with the lapse of the Reinsurance Treaty with Germany in 1890.
Pont Alexandre III in Paris, named after the Russian Tsar who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance. His son, Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in 1896.
‘We can’t do anything other than carry out Weltpolitik.’
Bulow and Kaiser Wilhelm, along with many other Germans, believed that Germany’s growing economic strength should be reflected in an increased empire – ‘a place in the sun’.
Perhaps, alternatively, they aimed to use the build up of an Empire as a diversion from the growth of middle class powers and continuing problems within Germany, which threatened to undermine the traditional ruling class.
Prince Bernhard von Bulow: appointed as Foreign Minister in 1897. Appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1900
Von Tirpitz was appointed Secretary of State of the Imperial Naval Office in 1897. His plan was to develop a navy sufficiently large enough to deter Britain from attacking Germany.
This was achieved through a series of Naval Acts in 1898, 1900, 1908 and 1912.
Admiral von Tirpitz
A telegram sent by Kaiser Wilhelm to congratulate Johannes Kruger, leader of the Transvaal region (next to the British Cape Colony). Kruger had managed to resist the Jameson Raid – an attempt by some Capetown troops to start an uprising in the Transvaal.
“I express to you my sincere congratulations that you and your people, without appealing to the help of friendly powers, have succeeded, by your own energetic action against the armed bands which invaded your country as disturbers of the peace, in restoring peace and in maintaining the independence of the country against attack from without.”
The Boer War, a long and costly war for the British, also sparked increased Anglo-phobia in Germany and Germano-phobia amongst the Brits.
Growing Germano-phobia obliged the British Government to withdraw from its joint venture with Germany over the Berlin-Baghdad railway.
The Invasion of 1910. The enemy?
Britain had avoided formal alliances in the past during a period of ‘splendid isolation’.
However, by the beginning of the century, many leading politicians, including Joseph Chamberlain (left) were beginning to see this policy as unsustainable.
Chamberlain first sought alliances with Germany but these did not emerge.
Britain then become allied with Japan in 1902, hoping that Japan would provide a useful check against Russian plans for expansion in Asia.
Colonial secretary Joseph Chamberlain (father of Neville Chamberlain)
The growing problems between Russia and Japan meant that Britain faced the prospect of a war with France.. (why?)
To avoid potential conflict, Britain and France drew up the Entente Cordiale.
The conditions of the Entente? Britain has Egypt and France has Morocco.
How might Germany respond?
In 1905, the Kaiser landed at the Moroccan port of Tangiers. What do you think were his motives?
France consented to a conference about the fate of Morocco. This was held at Algeciras, Spain. After resistance from France and Britain (whose new Liberal government was even more opposed to German demands), Germany was able to extract very little.
“English policy is to float lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a diplomatic boathook to avoid collisions.”
Germany’s behaviour towards Morocco is an escapade, an extraordinarily clumsy act of diplomacy.
Lord Lansdowne, Foreign Secretary, 1900-1905
An alliance with Russia and France? If it is necessary to check Germany then it could be done.
Lord Salisbury, PM and Foreign Secretary, 1895-1900
Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary 1905-1916
Between 1906-07 Russia and Britain drew up an Entente. They managed to secure agreements over the disputed regions of Tibet, Persia and Afghanistan.
Bosnia and Herzegovina had been controlled by Austria since 1878. In the face of threats to restore the Ottoman Empire, Austria formally annexed Bosnia.
This angered neighbouring Serbia who had hoped to create a united ‘Greater Serbia’ with the Bosnian Serbs.
Serbia looked to Russia for support. Russia proved unable to. In addition, Germany offered her full support to Austria.
Austria was therefore able to annex Bosnia unopposed.
In July 1911, a German gunboat, the Panther, arrived at the Moroccan port of Agadir. Germany’s aims were to intimidate France into granting concessions in Africa.
However, the German demands (the whole of French Congo in return for their accepting French control of Morocco) were too high.
Britain intervened, putting the Entente Cordiale into practice. Germany finally accepted meagre strips of land in the French Congo. This proved to be another failure of Weltpolitik