Foreign Policy Bismarckian to Wilhelmian
Task • Create a timeline in your book summarising in sufficient detail the following foreign events under Bismarck and Wilhelm II
1872, THREE EMPORERS DREIKAISERBUND. The three emperors of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia all signed an agreement to say they all had common interests against, primarily, Socialism. It meant little, but was the first step in improving relations with Germany and other countries, as well as between Austria and Russia. It also isolated France, who was looking for allies as it was a Republic not an Empire.
1875, WAR IN SIGHT CRISIS France was building up it’s army and Bismarck wanted to show France that they were not strong enough to threaten Germany. He started a media storm suggesting that a war between France and Germany looked likely, including the headline “WAR IN SIGHT” on the cover of the Berlin Post. Foreign powers firmly placed the blame on Germany, but by then investors had pulled out of France and France’s economy was once again weakened. Overall, it helped gain support for France, and weakened Germany’s relations with other powers. Not a success, but France was very weak.
1875-1878, THE EASTERN QUESTION a.k.a. THE BALKANS CRISIS. A series of revolts against the Ottomans started in the Balkans. The Turks committed atrocities in Bulgaria, and thus as another Slavic country, Russia declared war on Turkey. They had a lot of success, almost getting as far of Constantinople, where they stopped and signed a peace treaty (Treaty of San Stefano, 1878). Other powers were annoyed-they did not want Russia to have such influence over the Balkans, especially Britain. Bismarck organised a conference attended by all powers but France, which rearranged the map of the Balkans, gave land back to the Ottomans, but stripping Russia of nearly everything. Russia was furious with Bismarck, but all other countries involved were pleased. Germany appeared to have averted another war, and thus it improved Diplomatic relations in general, isolated France, but relations with Russia were severely strained.
1879, THE DUAL ALLIANCE. This was an alliance between Austria and Germany that meant they would help each other if attacked, i.e., if Russia attacked Austria, but there was no obligation in the alliance of either helping the other if they attacked, i.e., if Austria attacked Russia. This was supposed to stop any war in the Balkans, unless Germany decided to get involved, which it wouldn’t as Bismarck was against war. Austria couldn’t attack, Russia couldn’t attack, Germany wouldn’t. It was very successful, peace, better relations, and Austria and Russia were forced to talk, they couldn’t fight
1881, DREIKAISERBUND This agreement meant that if one power was involved in a war with a fourth power, the other two could not intervene. This stopped war on two fronts against France and Russia for Germany. It also meant Russia had a chance of re-taking Balkans without Russian intervention. Even so, the agreement meant that mutual consultation was necessary on Balkans affairs. This was a very successful agreement.
1882, TRIPLE ALLIANCE. This brought Italy into the Dual alliance, it guaranteed Italy defence if attacked by France, and meant that Italy would aid Austria and Germany in the event of a war, unless Britain was involved. The basic purpose was to Isolate France by removing potential allies, but it also improved Diplomatic Relations.
1885-1887, 2ND BALKANS CRISIS/BALKANS TROUBLES. Bulgaria annexed East Rumelia, Russia Serbia, and Austria unhappy. Serbia invades Bulgaria, gets crushed. Bulgarian troops stationed on Serbian border. Austria threatens war, Russia threatens war. Germany will not help Austria-the whole thing fizzles out and the Dual Alliance is proven to work, countries are forced to talk. No war, but German-Austrian relations severely strained, as well as Austro-Russian relations.
1887, SECRET REINSURANCE TREATY. Bismarck desperate to avoid war. Signs agreement with Russia saying that Germany will stay neutral if Austria attacks Russia: by saying both will stay neutral in the event of war with a third power-unless Russia attacks Austria, or Germany attacks France. Austria would say it went against Dual Alliance-dangerous agreement. Shows desperation of Bismarck.
1890, FAILURE TO RE-SIGN SECRET REINSURANCE TREATY. Caprivi’s free hand policy and the Kaiser’s nationalism meant that the reinsurance treaty was not re-signed in 1890. The Russian’s took this rightly to mean that in the event of a problem in the Balkans, Germany would support Austria, showing a clear departure from Bismarck’s policies.
1896, KRUGER TELEGRAM. After the failure of the Jameson raid, the British attempt to start an uprising in the Transvaal, the Kaiser sent a telegram to Paul Kruger to congratulate him on not needing German aid. The Kaiser had wanted to send troops, Hohenlohe convinced him not to. The Germans were positive about it, saw it as standing up to Britain the oppressor, Britain was outraged however, it did not see why Germany was messing in its own affairs. It was clumsy policy-it did nothing for Weltpolitik, but did anger Britain. (Weltpolitik was the policy of attempting to get Germany a voice amongst the other powers. It was to be done in various ways, and only appeared a few years into the Wilhelmein era: e.g. TRADE, NAVY (FLOTTENPOLITIK), EMPIRE, CHALLENGE BRITAIN, DIRECT VOICE
1898-1912, FLOTTENPOLITIK. With the appointment of Admiral Tirpitz came a large change in the German navy. Both Tirpitz and the Kaiser wanted a larger Navy, and as such bills were passed to increase the size of the fleet. Helgoland was also bought to use as a naval base in the north sea-to threaten Britain’s dominance of the seas. (Britain would have to divert ships from the Mediterranean, thus making it easier for other nationality ships to trade there.) Other purposes were also to increase Germany’s world voice-countries should take notice if you have a large Navy at your side. (Gunboat diplomacy). Overall Britain took notice, and built numerous more ships including the Dreadnought as a response. Tirpitz had originally wanted to build secretly, but that was soon discovered. In all, it worsened Anglo-German relations, without really threatening Britain.
1902, GERMANY AND THE BOER WAR. During the war, Germany sent armaments and aid to the Boers fighting the British, as well as cheap loans. The size of the shipments was not small-Kruger wished to fully re-equip his troops. This was slightly nationalistic, but not really Weltpolitik-it did nothing for colonies, trade, or a direct voice. It did however, make Britain feel weak and isolated. This caused Britain to come out of splendid isolation, signing the 1904 ENTENTE CORDIALE, and the TRIPLE ENTENTE in 1907. Germany believed that these agreements were supposed to threaten Germany, to stop Germany changing the ‘old order’. Now Germany felt surrounded.
1905 1ST MOROCCAN CRISIS. Morocco is weak, and France wants it-to control all of North Africa. In a period of unrest, France demands control of Moroccan Police and Army, Sultan refuses. Kaiser gives a speech in Morocco proclaiming that Moroccan independence and free trade should be upheld. Weltpolitik, as Kaiser went with Armed Escort, used Direct Voice, it involved Trade, and stopped other powers increasing their own Colonies. It sparked a crisis and a conference the 1906 AGADIR CONFERENCE, where it is agreed France and Germany must stay out of Morocco. Kaiser gains nothing, but loses nothing, and he tests the 1904 ENTENTE. It seems strong-Britain supports France. This convinces Germany that other countries are ganging up on her.
1908, BOSNIAN CRISIS Russia proposes to Austria, that if Austria appeals for removal of the INTERDICT OF THE BLACK FLAG, then Russia will not oppose an Austrian annexation of Bosnia. Austria asks, but to no avail, and annexes Bosnia anyway. It was a secret agreement. Serbia angry, and Russia supports Serbia, they want Serbia to have access to the Adriatic sea, and propose a conference. Instead, Germany threatens to support Austria, and Russia is forced to back down. This only puts off problems.
1911, 2ND MOROCCAN CRISIS. France believes that Germany is distracted in The Balkans, and sends the French Foreign Legion into Morocco to crush a rebellion. They then make a large loan to Morocco, so large that they demand control of taxes and customs, and send in a gunboat to Agadir. Germany says this breaks the terms of the 1906 AGADIR CONFERENCE, and announces it will send an army to Southern Morocco, it does send a gunboat, the PANTHER to Agadir too. Tension rises as both have a gunboat in Moroccan waters. There is war fever in Britain and France, Britain says it will support France. Again this was Weltpolitik, but not particularly successful. Anglo-French relations strengthened, France gains Morocco, and Germany gets given a strip of the Congo as compensation. Not happy about it though.
1912, 1ST BALKANS WAR Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria form Balkans League. They help revolts against the Ottomans in Albania and Macedonia. Bulgaria attacks first, without warning, and makes the most gains. The rest follow as quick as they can and they all fight for whatever they can get. Between them they get nearly all European Turkey, except Albania becomes independent, and sign a peace treaty, 1913 TREATY OF LONDON, before Austria and Russia can mobilise. However, the terms make Serbia angry as it is land locked still. Bulgaria thought however that more of Macedonia should be theirs, as they did most of the fighting.
1913 2ND BALKANS WAR 1 month after 1913 TREATY OF LONDON, an angry Bulgaria invaded Serbia and Greece in the hope of winning more lands. However, Turkey joins with Serbia and crushes Bulgaria. The treaty drawn up removes nearly all Bulgarian gains from 1ST BALKANS WAR. Bulgaria humiliated, Serbia has a heightened sense of confidence. It attacks Albania, but withdraws after Austrian intervention.
1914. THE GREAT WAR. Another problem in the Balkans caused another war, but there were numerous other causes too. • Germany had some responsibility, due to it’s alliance systems drawing other countries in. It could have also been planning for war, there was a war conference in 1912, and it would have been a good distraction against Socialism. • The war was big because of Germany’s actions bringing Europe into two camps, TRIPLE ALLIANCE and TRIPLE ENTENTE. • But other powers were also responsible, Russia mobilised first, for example. • Economic rivalry between the powers, as well as nationalism, and Imperialism were other causes of countries wanting to fight.