International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) | Wikipedia audio article

International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) | Wikipedia audio article


This article covers worldwide diplomacy and,
more generally, the international relations of the major powers from 1814 to 1919. The
international relations of minor countries are covered in their own history articles.
This era covers the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna
(1814–15), to the end of the First World War and the Paris Peace Conference. For the
previous era see International relations, 1648–1814. For the 1920s and 1930s see International
relations (1919–1939). Important themes include the rapid industrialization
and growing power of Britain, France and Prussia/Germany, and, later in the period, the United States
and Japan. This led to imperialist and colonialist competitions for influence and power throughout
the world, most famously the Scramble for Africa in the 1880s and 1890s. The reverberations
are still widespread and consequential in the 21st-century. Britain established an informal
economic network that, combined with its colonies and its Royal Navy, made it the hegemonic
nation until its power was challenged by the united Germany. It was a peaceful century,
with no wars between the great powers, apart from the 1854–1871 interval, and some small
wars between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. After 1900 there were a series of wars in
the Balkan region, which exploded out of control into World War I (1914–18)—a massively
devastating event that was unexpected in its timing, duration, casualties, and long-term
impact. In 1814 diplomats recognised five Great Powers:
France, Britain, Russia, Austria (in 1867–1918, Austria-Hungary) and Prussia (in 1871 the
German Empire). Italy was added to this group after its unification and on the eve of the
First World War there were two major blocs in Europe: the Triple Entente formed by France,
Britain and Russia and the Triple Alliance formed by Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and
Switzerland were smaller powers. Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro initially
operated as autonomous vassals for they were legally still part of the declining Ottoman
Empire, which may also be included among the major powers, before gaining their independence.
By 1905 two rapidly growing non-European states, Japan and the United States, had joined the
Great Powers. The Great War unexpectedly tested their military, diplomatic, social and economic
capabilities to the limit. Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were defeated; Germany
lost its great power status, and the others were broken up into collections of states.
The winners Britain, France, Italy and Japan gained permanent seats at the governing council
of the new League of Nations. The United States, meant to be the fifth permanent member, decided
to operate independently and never joined the League. For the following periods see
Diplomatic history of World War I and International relations (1919–1939).==1814–1830: Restoration and reaction==
For the previous diplomatic era, see International relations, 1648–1814 As the four major European powers (Britain,
Prussia, Russia and Austria) opposing the French Empire in the Napoleonic Wars saw Napoleon’s
power collapsing in 1814, they started planning for the postwar world. The Treaty of Chaumont
of March 1814 reaffirmed decisions that had been made already and which would be ratified
by the more important Congress of Vienna of 1814–15. They included the establishment
of a confederated Germany including both Austria and Prussia (plus the Czech lands), the division
of French protectorates and annexations into independent states, the restoration of the
Bourbon kings of Spain, the enlargement of the Netherlands to include what in 1830 became
modern Belgium, and the continuation of British subsidies to its allies. The Treaty of Chaumont
united the powers to defeat Napoleon and became the cornerstone of the Concert of Europe,
which formed the balance of power for the next two decades.One goal of diplomacy throughout
the period was to achieve a “balance of power,” so that no one or two powers would be dominant.
If one power gained an advantage – for example by winning a war and acquiring new territory–
its rivals might seek “compensation” — that is, territorial or other gains, even though
they were not part of the war in the first place. The bystander might be angry if the
winner of the war did not provide enough compensation. For example in 1866, Prussia and supporting
north German States defeated Austria and its southern German allies, but France was angry
that it did not get any compensation to balance off the Prussian gains.===Congress of Vienna: 1814–1815===The Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) dissolved
the Napoleonic world and attempted to restore the monarchies Napoleon had overthrown, ushering
in an era of reaction. Under the leadership of Metternich, the prime minister of Austria
(1809–48), and Lord Castlereagh, the foreign minister of Great Britain (1812–1822), the
Congress set up a system to preserve the peace. Under the Concert of Europe (or “Congress
system”), the major European powers—Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and (after 1818)
France—pledged to meet regularly to resolve differences. This plan was the first of its
kind in European history and seemed to promise a way to collectively manage European affairs
and promote peace. It was the forerunner of the League of Nations and the United Nations
but it collapsed by 1823.The Congress resolved the Polish–Saxon crisis at Vienna and the
question of Greek independence at Laibach. Three major European congresses took place.
The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) ended the military occupation of France and adjusted
downward the 700 million francs the French were obligated to pay as reparations. The
Russian tsar proposed the formation of an entirely new alliance, to include all of the
signatories from the Vienna treaties, to guarantee the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and
preservation of the ruling governments of all members of this new coalition. The tsar
further proposed an international army, with the Russian army as its nucleus, to provide
the wherewithal to intervene in any country that needed it. Lord Castlereagh saw this
as a highly undesirable commitment to reactionary policies. He recoiled at the idea of Russian
armies marching across Europe to put down popular uprisings. Furthermore, to admit all
the smaller countries would create intrigue and confusion. Britain refused to participate,
so the idea was abandoned.The other meetings proved meaningless as each nation realized
the Congresses were not to their advantage, where disputes were resolved with a diminishing
degree of effectiveness.To achieve lasting peace, the Concert of Europe tried to maintain
the balance of power. Until the 1860s the territorial boundaries laid down at the Congress
of Vienna were maintained, and even more important there was an acceptance of the theme of balance
with no major aggression. Otherwise, the Congress system had “failed” by 1823. In 1818 the British
decided not to become involved in continental issues that did not directly affect them.
They rejected the plan of Tsar Alexander I to suppress future revolutions. The Concert
system fell apart as the common goals of the Great Powers were replaced by growing political
and economic rivalries. Artz says the Congress of Verona in 1822 “marked the end”. There
was no Congress called to restore the old system during the great revolutionary upheavals
of 1848 with their demands for revision of the Congress of Vienna’s frontiers along national
lines.===British policies===
British foreign policy was set by George Canning (1822–27), who avoided close cooperation
with other powers. Britain, with its unchallenged Royal Navy and increasing financial wealth
and industrial strength, built its foreign policy on the principle that no state should
be allowed to dominate the Continent. It wanted to support the Ottoman Empire as a bulwark
against Russian expansionism. It opposed interventions designed to suppress democracy, and was especially
worried that France and Spain planned to suppress the independence movement underway in Latin
America. Canning cooperated with the United States to promulgate the Monroe Doctrine to
persevere newly independent Latin American states. His goal was to prevent French dominance
and allow British merchants access to the opening markets.===Slave trade===An important liberal advance was the abolition
of the international slave trade. It began with legislation in Britain and the United
States in 1807, which was increasingly enforced over subsequent decades by the British Royal
Navy under treaties Britain negotiated, or coerced, other nations into agreeing. The
result was a reduction of over 95% in the volume of the slave trade from Africa to the
New World. About 1000 slaves a year were illegally brought into the United States, as well as
some to Cuba and Brazil. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833, the French
Republic in 1848, the United States in 1865, and Brazil in 1888.===Spain loses its colonies===Spain was at war with Britain from 1798 to
1808, and the British Royal Navy cut off its contacts with its colonies. Trade was handled
by neutral American and Dutch traders. The colonies set up temporary governments or juntas
which were effectively independent from Spain. The division exploded between Spaniards who
were born in Spain (called “peninsulares”) versus those of Spanish descent born in New
Spain (called “criollos” in Spanish or “creoles” in English) The two groups wrestled for power,
with the criollos leading the call for independence and eventually winning that independence.
Spain lost all of its American colonies, except Cuba and Puerto Rico, in a complex series
of revolts from 1808 to 1826.Multiple revolutions in Latin America allowed the region to break
free of the mother country. Repeated attempts to regain control failed, as Spain had no
help from European powers. Indeed, Britain and the United States worked against Spain,
enforcing the Monroe Doctrine. British merchants and bankers took a dominant role in Latin
America, In 1824, the armies of generals José de San Martín of Argentina and Simón Bolívar
of Venezuela defeated the last Spanish forces; the final defeat came at the Battle of Ayacucho
in southern Peru. After the loss of its colonies, Spain played a minor role in international
affairs. Spain kept Cuba, which repeatedly revolted in three wars of independence, culminating
in the Cuban War of Independence. The United States demanded reforms from Spain, which
Spain refused. The U.S. intervened by war in 1898. Winning easily, the U.S. took Cuba
and gave it independence. The U.S. also took the Spanish colonies of the Philippines and
Guam. Though it still had small colonial holdings in North Africa, Spain’s role in international
affairs was essentially over.===Greek independence: 1821–1833===The
Greek War of Independence was the major military conflict in the 1820s. The Great powers supported
the Greeks, but did not want the Ottoman Empire destroyed. Greece was initially to be an autonomous
state under Ottoman suzerainty, but by 1832, in the Treaty of Constantinople, it was recognized
as a fully independent kingdom.After some initial success the Greek rebels were beset
by internal disputes. The Ottomans, with major aid from Egypt, cruelly crushed the rebellion
and harshly punished the Greeks. Humanitarian concerns in Europe were outraged, as typified
by English poet Lord Byron. The context of the three Great Powers’ intervention was Russia’s
long-running expansion at the expense of the decaying Ottoman Empire. However Russia’s
ambitions in the region were seen as a major geostrategic threat by the other European
powers. Austria feared the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire would destabilize its
southern borders. Russia’s gave strong emotional support for the fellow-Orthodox Christian
Greeks. The British were motivated by strong public support for the Greeks. Fearing unilateral
Russian action in support of the Greeks, Britain and France bound Russia by treaty to a joint
intervention which aimed to secure Greek autonomy whilst preserving Ottoman territorial integrity
as a check on Russia.The Powers agreed, by the Treaty of London (1827), to force the
Ottoman government to grant the Greeks autonomy within the empire and despatched naval squadrons
to Greece to enforce their policy. The decisive Allied naval victory at the Battle of Navarino
broke the military power of the Ottomans and their Egyptian allies. Victory saved the fledgling
Greek Republic from collapse. But it required two more military interventions, by Russia
in the form of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–9 and by a French expeditionary force to the
Peloponnese to force the withdrawal of Ottoman forces from central and southern Greece and
to finally secure Greek independence.==Travel, trade and communications==The world became much smaller as long-distance
travel and communications improved dramatically. Every decade there were more ships, more scheduled
destinations, faster trips, and lower fares for passengers and cheaper rates for merchandise.
This facilitated international trade and international organization.===Travel===Underwater telegraph cables linked the world’s
major trading nations by the 1860s.Cargo sailing ships were slow; historians estimate that
the average speed of all long-distance Mediterranean voyages to Palestine was only 2.8 knots. Passenger
ships achieved greater speed by sacrificing cargo space. The sailing ship records were
held by the clipper, a very fast sailing ship of the 1843-69 era. Clippers were narrow for
their length, could carry limited bulk freight, small by later 19th century standards, and
had a large total sail area. Their average speed was six knots and they carried passengers
across the globe, primarily on the trade routes between Britain and its colonies in the east,
in trans-Atlantic trade, and the New York-to-San Francisco route round Cape Horn during the
California Gold Rush. The much faster steam-powered, iron-hulled ocean liner became the dominant
mode of passenger transportation from the 1850s to the 1950s. It used coal—and needed
many coaling stations. After 1900 oil became the favoured fuel and did not require frequent
refueling.===Transportation===
Freight rates on ocean traffic held steady in the 18th century down to about 1840, and
then began a rapid downward plunge. The British dominated world exports and rates for British
freight fell 70 percent, from 1840 to 1910. The Suez Canal cut the shipping time from
London to India by a third when it opened in 1869. The same ship could make more voyages
in a year, so it could charge less and carry more goods every year.Technological innovation
was steady. Iron hulls replaced wood by mid-century; after 1870, steel replaced iron. It took much
longer for steam engines to replace sails. Note the sailing ship across from the Lusitania
in the photograph above. Wind was free, and could move the ship at 2-3 knots, unless it
was becalmed. Coal was expensive and required coaling stations along the route. A common
solution was for a merchant ship to rely mostly on its sails, and only use the steam engine
as a backup. The first steam engines were very inefficient, using a great deal of coal.
For an ocean voyage in the 1860s, half of the cargo space was given over to coal. The
problem was especially acute for warships, because their combat range using coal was
strictly limited. Only the British Empire had a network of coaling stations that permitted
a global scope for the Royal Navy. Steady improvement gave high-powered compound
engines which were much more efficient. The boilers and pistons were built of steel, which
could handle much higher pressures than iron. They were first used for high-priority cargo,
such as mail and passengers. The arrival of the steam turbine engine around 1907 dramatically
improved efficiency, and the increasing use of oil after 1910 meant far less cargo space
had to be devoted to the fuel supply.===Communications===
By the 1850s, railways and telegraph lines connected all the major cities inside Western
Europe, as well as those inside the United States. Instead of greatly reducing the need
for travel, the telegraph made travel easier to plan and replaced the slow long-distance
mail service. Submarine cables were laid to link the continents by telegraph, which was
a reality by the 1860s.==1830–1850s==Britain continued as the most important power,
followed by Russia, France, Prussia and Austria. The United States was growing rapidly in size,
population and economic strength, especially after its defeat of Mexico in 1848. Otherwise
it avoided international entanglements as the slavery issue became more and more divisive.
The Crimean War was the most important war, especially because it disrupted the stability
of the system. Britain strengthened its colonial system especially in India, while France rebuilt
its empire in Asia and North Africa. Russia continued its expansion south (toward Persia)
and east (into Siberia). The Ottoman Empire steadily weakened, losing control in parts
of the Balkans to the new states of Greece and Serbia.In the Treaty of London, signed
in 1839, the Great Powers guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium. Germany called it a “scrap of
paper” and violated it in 1914 by invasion, whereupon Britain declared war on Germany.===British policies===The repeal in 1846 of the tariff on food imports,
called the Corn Laws, marked a major turning point that made free trade the national policy
of Great Britain into the 20th century. Repeal demonstrated the power of “Manchester-school”
industrial interests over protectionist agricultural interests.From 1830 to 1865, with a few interruptions,
Lord Palmerston set British foreign policy. His goal was to keep Britain dominant by maintaining
the balance of power in Europe. He cooperated with France when necessary, but did not make
permanent alliances with anyone. He tried to keep autocratic nations like Russia and
Austria in check; he supported liberal regimes because they led to greater stability in the
international system. However he also supported the autocratic Ottoman Empire because it blocked
Russian expansion.===Belgian Revolution===Catholic Belgians in 1830 broke away from
the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium.
They could not accept the Dutch’s king’s favouritism toward Protestantism and his disdain for the
French language. Outspoken liberals regarded King William I’s rule as despotic. There were
high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes. There was
small-scale fighting but it took years before the Netherlands finally recognized defeat.
In 1839 the Dutch accepted Belgian independence by signing the Treaty of London. The major
powers guaranteed Belgian independence.===Ottoman Empire===The Ottoman Empire was only briefly involved
in the Napoleonic Wars through the French campaign in Egypt and Syria, 1798–1801.
It was not invited to the Vienna Conference. During this period the Empire steadily weakened
militarily, and lost most of its holdings in Europe (starting with Greece) and later
in North Africa. Its great enemy was Russia, while its chief supporter was Britain.As the
19th century progressed the Ottoman Empire grew weaker and Britain increasingly became
its chief ally and protector, even fighting the Crimean War in the 1850s to help it out
against Russia. Three British leaders played major roles. Lord Palmerston in the 1830-65
era considered the Ottoman Empire an essential component in the balance of power, was the
most favourable toward Constantinople. William Gladstone in the 1870s sought to build a Concert
of Europe that would support the survival of the empire. In the 1880s and 1890s Lord
Salisbury contemplated an orderly dismemberment of it, in such a way as to reduce rivalry
between the greater powers.====Serbian independence====A successful uprising against the Ottomans
marked the foundation of modern Serbia. The Serbian Revolution took place between 1804
and 1835, as this territory evolved from an Ottoman province into a constitutional monarchy
and a modern Serbia. The first part of the period, from 1804 to 1815, was marked by a
violent struggle for independence with two armed uprisings. The later period (1815–1835)
witnessed a peaceful consolidation of political power of the increasingly autonomous Serbia,
culminating in the recognition of the right to hereditary rule by Serbian princes in 1830
and 1833 and the territorial expansion of the young monarchy. The adoption of the first
written Constitution in 1835 abolished feudalism and serfdom, and made the country suzerain====
Crimean War====The Crimean War (1853–56) was fought between
Russia on the one hand and an alliance of Great Britain, France, Sardinia, and the Ottoman
Empire on the other. Russia was defeated.In 1851 France under Napoleon III compelled the
Sublime Porte (the Ottoman or Turkish government) to recognize it as the protector of Christian
sites in the Holy Land. Russia denounced this claim, since it claimed to be the protector
of all Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire. France sent its fleet to the
Black Sea; Russia responded with its own show of force. In 1851, Russia sent troops into
the Ottoman provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia. Britain, now fearing for the security of the
Ottoman Empire, sent a fleet to join with the French expecting the Russians would back
down. Diplomatic efforts failed. The Sultan declared
war against Russia in October 1851. Following an Ottoman naval disaster in November, Britain
and France declared war against Russia. Most of the battles took place in the Crimean peninsula,
which the Allies finally seized. London, shocked to discover that France was secretly negotiating
with Russia to form a postwar alliance to dominate Europe, dropped its plans to attack
St. Petersburg and instead signed a one-sided armistice with Russia that achieved almost
none of its war aims. The Treaty of Paris signed March 30, 1856,
ended the war. It admitted the Ottoman Empire to the European concert, and the Powers promised
to respect its independence and territorial integrity. Russia gave up a little land and
relinquished its claim to a protectorate over the Christians in the Ottoman domains. The
Black Sea was demilitarized, and an international commission was set up to guarantee freedom
of commerce and navigation on the Danube River. Moldavia and Wallachia remained under nominal
Ottoman rule, but would be granted independent constitutions and national assemblies.New
rules of wartime commerce were set out: (1) privateering was illegal; (2) a neutral flag
covered enemy goods except contraband; (3) neutral goods, except contraband, were not
liable to capture under an enemy flag; (4) a blockade, to be legal, had to be effective.The
war helped modernize warfare by introducing major new technologies such as railways, the
telegraph, and modern nursing methods. In the long run the war marked a turning point
in Russian domestic and foreign policy. Russian intellectuals used the defeat to demand fundamental
reform of the government and social system. The war weakened both Russia and Austria,
so they could no longer promote stability. This opened the way for Napoleon III, Cavour
(in Italy) and Otto von Bismarck (in Germany) to launch a series of wars in the 1860s that
reshaped Europe.====Moldavia and Wallachia====In a largely peaceful transition, the Ottoman
provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia broke away slowly, achieved effective autonomy by
1859, and finally became officially an independent nation in 1878. The two provinces had long
been under Ottoman control, but both Russia and Austria also wanted them, making the region
a site of conflict in the 19th century. The population was largely Orthodox in religion
and spoke Romanian, but there were many minorities, such as Jews and Greeks. The provinces were
occupied by Russia after the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829. Russian and Turkish troops combined
to suppress the Wallachian Revolution of 1848. During the Crimean War Austria took control.
The population decided on unification on the basis of historical, cultural and ethnic connections.
It took effect in 1859 after the double election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Ruling Prince of
the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia (renamed of Romania in 1862).With
Russian sponsorship, Romania officially became independent in 1878. It focused its attention
on Transylvania, the historical region of Hungary with about 2 million Romanians. Finally
when the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed at the end of the First World War, Romania
obtained Transylvania.==1860–1871: Nationalism and unification
==The force of nationalism grew dramatically
in the early and middle 19th century. To a large extent, and involved a cultural realization
of cultural identity among the people sharing the same language and religious heritage.
It was strong in the established countries, and was a powerful force for demanding more
unity with or independence from Germans, Irish, Italians, Greeks, and the Slavic peoples of
southeastern Europe. The strong sense of nationalism also grew in established independent nations,
such as Britain and France.===Great Britain===In 1859, following another short-lived Conservative
government, Prime Minister Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell made up their differences,
and Russell consented to serve as Foreign Secretary in a new Palmerston cabinet. It
was the first true Liberal Cabinet. This period was a particularly eventful one in the world
outside Britain, seeing the Unification of Italy, the Diplomacy of the American Civil
War, and the 1864 war over Schleswig-Holstein between Denmark and the German states. Russell
and Palmerston kept Britain neutral in every case.===France===Despite his promises in 1852 of a peaceful
reign, Napoleon III could not resist the temptations of glory in foreign affairs. He was visionary,
mysterious and secretive; he had a poor staff, and kept running afoul of his domestic supporters.
In the end he was incompetent as a diplomat. After a brief threat of an invasion of Britain
in 1851, France and Britain cooperated in the 1850s, with an alliance in the Crimean
War, and a major trade treaty in 1860. However Britain viewed the Second Empire of Napoleon
III with increasing distrust, especially as the emperor built up his navy, expanded his
empire and took up a more active foreign policy.Napoleon III did score some successes: he strengthened
French control over Algeria, established bases in Africa, began the takeover of Indochina,
and opened trade with China. He facilitated a French company building the Suez Canal,
which Britain could not stop. In Europe, however, Napoleon failed again and again. The Crimean
war of 1854–1856 produced no gains. War with Austria in 1859 facilitated the unification
of Italy, and Napoleon was rewarded with the annexation of Savoy and Nice. The British
grew annoyed at his intervention in Syria in 1860–61. He angered Catholics alarmed
at his poor treatment of the Pope, then reversed himself and angered the anticlerical liberals
at home and his erstwhile Italian allies. He lowered the tariffs, which helped in the
long run but in the short run angered owners of large estates and the textile and iron
industrialists, while leading worried workers to organize. Matters grew worse in the 1860s
as Napoleon nearly blundered into war with the United States in 1862, while his Mexican
intervention in 1861–1867 was a total disaster. Finally in the end he went to war with Prussia
in 1870 when it was too late to stop the unification of all Germans, aside from Austria, under
the leadership of Prussia. Napoleon had alienated everyone; after failing to obtain an alliance
with Austria and Italy, France had no allies and was bitterly divided at home. It was disastrously
defeated on the battlefield, losing Alsace and Lorraine. A.J.P. Taylor is blunt: “he
ruined France as a great power.”===Italian unification===The Risorgimento was the era from 1848 to
1871 that saw the achievement of independence of the Italians from Austrian Habsburgs in
the north and the Spanish Bourbons in the south, securing national unification. Piedmont
(known as the Kingdom of Sardinia) took the lead and imposed its constitutional system
on the new nation of ItalyThe papacy secured French backing to resist unification, fearing
that giving up control of the Papal States would weaken the Church and allow the liberals
to dominate conservative Catholics. The newly united Italy was recognized as the sixth great
power.===United States of America===During the American Civil War (1861–1865),
the Southern slave states attempted to secede from the Union and set up an independent country,
the Confederate States of America. The North would not accept this affront of American
nationalism, and fought to restore the Union. British and French aristocratic leaders personally
disliked American republicanism and favoured the more aristocratic Confederacy. The South
was also by far the chief source of cotton for European textile mills. The goal of the
Confederacy was to obtain British and French intervention, that is, war against the Union.
Confederates believed (with scant evidence) that “cotton is king”—that is, cotton was
so essential to British and French industry that they would fight to get it. The Confederates
did raise money in Europe, which they used to buy warships and munitions. However Britain
had a large surplus of cotton in 1861; stringency did not come until 1862. Most important was
the dependence on grain from the U.S. North for a large portion of the British food supply,
France would not intervene alone, and in any case was less interested in cotton than in
securing its control of Mexico. The Confederacy would allow that if it secured its independence,
but the Union never would approve. Washington made it clear that any official recognition
of the Confederacy meant war with the U.S.Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert helped defuse
a war scare in late 1861. The British people generally favored the United States. What
little cotton was available came from New York City, as the blockade by the U.S. Navy
shut down 95% of Southern exports to Britain. In September 1862, during the Confederate
invasion of Maryland, Britain (along with France) contemplated stepping in and negotiating
a peace settlement, which could only mean war with the United States. But in the same
month, US president Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Since support
of the Confederacy now meant support for slavery, there was no longer any possibility of European
intervention.Meanwhile, the British sold arms to both sides, built blockade runners for
a lucrative trade with the Confederacy, and surreptitiously allowed warships to be built
for the Confederacy. The warships caused a major diplomatic row that was resolved in
the Alabama Claims in 1872, in the Americans’ favor.===Germany===Prussia, under the leadership of Otto von
Bismarck, took the lead in uniting all of Germany (except for Austria), and created
a new German Empire, headed by the king of Prussia. To do it, he engaged in a series
of short, decisive wars with Denmark, Austria and France. The many smaller German states
followed the lead of Prussia, until finally they united together after defeating France
in 1871. Bismarck’s Germany then became the most powerful and dynamic state in Europe,
and Bismarck himself promoted decades of peace in Europe.====Schleswig and Holstein====
A major diplomatic row, and several wars, emerged from the very complex situation in
Schleswig and Holstein, where Danish and German claims collided, and Austria and France became
entangled. The Danish and German duchies of Schleswig-Holstein were, by international
agreement, ruled by the king of Denmark but were not legally part of Denmark. An international
treaty provided that the two territories were not to be separated from each other, though
Holstein was part of the German Confederation. In the late 1840s, with both German and Danish
nationalism on the rise, Denmark attempted to incorporate Schleswig into its kingdom.
The first war was a Danish victory. The Second Schleswig War of 1864 was a Danish defeat
at the hands of Prussia and Austria.====Unification====
Berlin and Vienna split control of the two territories. That led to conflict between
them, resolved by the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, which Prussia quickly won thus becoming
the leader of the German-speaking peoples. Austria now dropped to the second rank among
the Great Powers. Emperor Napoleon III of France could not tolerate the rapid rise of
Prussia, and started the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 over perceived insults and other
trivialities. The spirit of German nationalism caused the smaller German states (such as
Bavaria and Saxony) to join the war alongside Prussia. The German coalition won an easy
victory, dropping France to second class status among the Great Powers. Prussia, under Otto
von Bismarck, then brought together almost all the German states (excluding Austria,
Luxembourg and Liechtenstein) into a new German Empire. Bismarck’s new empire became the most
powerful state in continental Europe until 1914. Napoleon III was overconfident in his
military strength and failed to stop the rush to war when he was unable to find allies who
would support a war to stop German unification.==1871: the year of transition=====
Maintaining the peace===After fifteen years of warfare in the Crimea,
Germany and France, Europe began a period of peace in 1871. With the founding of the
German Empire and the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt (May 10, 1871), Otto von Bismarck
emerged as a decisive figure in European history from 1871-1890. He retained control over Prussia
and as well as the foreign and domestic policies of the new German Empire. Bismarck had built
his reputation as a war-maker but changed overnight into a peacemaker. He skillfully
used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany’s position in a Europe which, despite
many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, it was
Bismarck who “remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess
for almost twenty years after 1871, [and] devoted himself exclusively, and successfully,
to maintaining peace between the powers”.Bismarck’s assent to the Army and to intense public demand
in Germany for acquisition of the border provinces of Alsace and Lorraine had turned France into
a permanent, deeply-committed enemy (see French–German enmity). Theodore Zeldin says, “Revenge and
the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine became a principal object of French policy for the next forty
years. That Germany was France’s enemy became the basic fact of international relations.”
Bismarck’s solution was to make France a pariah nation, encouraging royalty to ridicule its
new republican status, and building complex alliances with the other major powers – Austria,
Russia, and Britain – to keep France isolated diplomatically. A key element was the League
of the Three Emperors, in which Bismarck brought together rulers in Berlin, Vienna and St.
Petersburg to guarantee each other’s security, while blocking out France; it lasted 1881-1887.===Major powers===
Britain had entered an era of “splendid isolation”, avoiding entanglements that had led it into
the unhappy Crimean War in 1854-56. It concentrated on internal industrial development and political
reform, and building up its great international holdings, the British Empire, while maintaining
by far the world’s strongest Navy to protect its island home and its many overseas possessions.
It had come dangerously close to intervening in the American Civil War in 1861-62, and
in May 1871 it signed the Treaty of Washington with the United States that put into arbitration
the American claims that the lack of British neutrality had prolong the war; arbitrators
eventually awarded the United States $15 million. Russia took advantage of the Franco-Prussian
war to renounce the 1856 treaty in which it had been forced to demilitarize the Black
Sea. Repudiation of treaties was unacceptable to the powers, so the solution was a conference
in January 1871 at London that formally abrogated key elements of the 1856 treaty and endorsed
the new Russian action. Russia had always wanted control of Constantinople and the straits
the connected the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and would nearly achieve that in the First
World War. France had long stationed an army in Rome to protect the pope; it recalled the
soldiers in 1870, and the Kingdom of Italy moved in, seized the remaining papal territories,
and made Rome its capital city in 1871 ending the risorgimento. Italy was finally unified,
but at the cost of alienating the pope and the Catholic community for a half century;
the unstable situation was resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties.===Conscription===
A major trend was the move away from a professional army to a Prussian system that combined a
core of professional careerists, a rotating base of conscripts, who after a year or two
of active duty moved into a decade or more of reserve duty with a required summer training
program every year. Training took place in peacetime, and in wartime a much larger, well-trained,
fully staffed army could be mobilized very quickly. Prussia had started in 1814, and
the Prussian triumphs of the 1860s made its model irresistible. The key element was universal
conscription, with relatively few exemptions. The upper strata was drafted into the officer
corps for one year’s training, but was nevertheless required to do its full reserve duty along
with everyone else. Austria adopted the system in 1868 (shortly after its defeat by Prussia)
and France In 1872 (shortly after its defeat by Prussia and other German states). Japan
followed in 1873, Russia in 1874, and Italy in 1875. All major countries adopted conscription
by 1900, except for Great Britain and the United States. By then peacetime Germany had
an army of 545,000, which could be expanded in a matter of days to 3.4 million by calling
up the reserves. The comparable numbers in France were 1.8 million and 3.5 million; Austria,
1.1 million and 2.6 million; Russia, 1.7 million to 4 million. The new system was expensive,
with a per capita cost of the forces doubling or even tripling between 1870 and 1914. By
then total defense spending averaged about 5% of the national income. Nevertheless, taxpayers
seemed satisfied; parents were especially impressed with the dramatic improvements shown
in the immature boys they sent away at age 18, compared to the worldly-wise men who returned
two years later.==Imperialism==Most of the major powers (and some minor ones
such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark) engaged in imperialism, building up their
overseas empires especially in Africa and Asia. Although there were numerous insurrections,
historians count only a few wars, and they were small-scale: two Anglo-Boer Wars (1880–1881
and 1899–1902), the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895), First Italo-Ethiopian War (1895–96), Spanish–American
War (1898), and Italo-Ottoman war (1911). The largest was the Russo-Japanese War of
1905, the only in which two major powers fought each other.Among the main empires form 1875-1914,
historians assess a mixed record in terms of profitability. The assumption was that
colonies would provide an excellent captive market for manufactured items. Apart from
India, this was seldom true. By the 1890s, imperialists gained economic benefit primarily
in the production of inexpensive raw materials to feed the domestic manufacturing sector.
Overall, Great Britain profited well from India, but not from most of the rest of its
empire. The Netherlands did very well in the East Indies. Germany and Italy got very little
trade or raw materials from their empires. France did slightly better. The Belgian Congo
was notoriously profitable when it was a capitalistic rubber plantation owned and operated by King
Leopold II as a private enterprise. However, scandal after scandal regarding badly mistreated
labour led the international community to force the government of Belgium to take it
over in 1908, and it became much less profitable. The Philippines cost the United States much
more than expected.The world’s colonial population at the time of the First World War totaled
about 560 million people, of whom 70.0% were in British domains, 10.0% in French, 8.6%
in Dutch, 3.9% in Japanese, 2.2% in German, 2.1% in American, 1.6% in Portuguese, 1.2%
in Belgian and 1/2 of 1% in Italian possessions. The home domains of the colonial powers had
a total population of about 370 million people.===French Empire in Asia and Africa=======
France seizes Mexico====Napoleon III took advantage of the American
Civil War to attempt to take control of Mexico and impose its own puppet Emperor Maximilian.
France, Spain, and Britain, angry over unpaid Mexican debts, sent a joint expeditionary
force that seized the Veracruz customs house in Mexico in December 1861. Spain and Britain
soon withdrew after realizing that Napoleon III intended to overthrow the Mexican government
under elected president Benito Juárez and establish a Second Mexican Empire. Napoleon
had the support of the remnants of the Conservative elements that Juarez and his Liberals had
defeated in the Reform War, a civil war from 1857–61. In the French intervention in Mexico
in 1862. Napoleon installed Austrian archduke Maximilian of Habsburg as emperor of Mexico.
Juárez rallied opposition to the French; Washington supported Juárez and refused to
recognize the new government because it violated the Monroe Doctrine. After its victory over
the Confederacy in 1865, the U.S. sent 50,000 experienced combat troops to the Mexican border
to make clear its position. Napoleon was stretched very thin; he had committed 40,000 troops
to Mexico, 20,000 to Rome to guard the Pope against the Italians, and another 80,000 in
restive Algeria. Furthermore, Prussia, having just defeated Austria, was an imminent threat.
Napoleon realized his predicament and withdrew all his forces from Mexico in 1866. Juarez
regained control and executed the hapless emperor.The Suez Canal, initially built by
the French, became a joint British-French project in 1875, as both considered it vital
to maintaining their influence and empires in Asia. In 1882, ongoing civil disturbances
in Egypt prompted Britain to intervene, extending a hand to France. France’s leading expansionist
Jules Ferry was out of office, and the government allowed Britain to take effective control
of Egypt.===Takeover of Egypt, 1882===The most decisive event emerged from the Anglo-Egyptian
War, which resulted in the British occupation of Egypt for seven decades, even though the
Ottoman Empire retained nominal ownership until 1914. France was seriously unhappy,
having lost control of the canal that it built and financed and had dreamed of for decades.
Germany, Austria, Russia, and Italy – and of course the Ottoman Empire itself– were
all angered by London’s unilateral intervention. Historian A.J.P. Taylor says that this “was
a great event; indeed, the only real event in international relations between the Battle
of Sedan and the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war.”
Taylor emphasizes the long-term impact: The British occupation of Egypt altered the
balance of power. It not only gave the British security for their route to India; it made
them masters of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East; it made it unnecessary
for them to stand in the front line against Russia at the Straits….And thus prepared
the way for the Franco-Russian Alliance ten years later.Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
and his Liberal Party had a reputation for strong opposition to imperialism, so historians
have long debated the explanation for this sudden reversal of policy. The most influential
was study by John Robinson and Ronald Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians (1961), which focused
on The Imperialism of Free Trade and was promoted by the Cambridge School of historiography.
They argue there was no long-term Liberal plan in support of imperialism, but the urgent
necessity to act to protect the Suez Canal was decisive in the face of what appeared
to be a radical collapse of law and order, and a nationalist revolt focused on expelling
the Europeans, regardless of the damage it would do to international trade and the British
Empire. Gladstone’s decision came against strained relations with France, and maneuvering
by “men on the spot” in Egypt. Critics such as Cain and Hopkins have stressed the need
to protect large sums invested by British financiers and Egyptian bonds, while downplaying
the risk to the viability of the Suez Canal. Unlike the Marxists, they stress “gentlemanly”
financial and commercial interests, not the industrial, capitalism that Marxists believe
was always central. More recently, specialists on Egypt have been interested primarily in
the internal dynamics among Egyptians that produce the failed Urabi Revolt.===Great Game in Central Asia===The “Great Game” was a political and diplomatic
confrontation that existed for most of the nineteenth century between Britain and Russia
over Afghanistan and neighbouring territories in Central and Southern Asia, especially Persia
(Iran) and Turkestan. Britain made it a high priority to protect all the approaches to
India, and the “great game” is primarily how the British did this in terms of a possible
Russian threat. Russia itself had no plans involving India and repeatedly said so. This
resulted in an atmosphere of distrust and the constant threat of war between the two
empires. There were numerous local conflicts, but a war in central Asia between the two
powers never happened.Bismarck realized that both Russia and Britain considered control
of central Asia a high priority, dubbed the “Great Game”. Germany had no direct stakes,
however its dominance of Europe was enhanced when Russian troops were based as far away
from Germany as possible. Over two decades, 1871-1890, he maneuvered to help the British,
hoping to force the Russians to commit more soldiers to Asia.===Scramble for Africa===The “scramble for Africa” was launched by
Britain’s unexpected takeover of Egypt in 1882. In response, it became a free-for-all
for the control of the rest of Africa, as Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal
all greatly expanded their colonial empires in Africa. The King of Belgium personally
controlled the Congo. Bases along the coast become the nucleus of colonies that stretched
inland. In the 20th century, the scramble for Africa was widely denounced by anti-imperialist
spokesman. At the time, however, it was praised as a solution to the terrible violence and
exploitation caused by Unrestrained adventurers, slave traders, and exploiters. Bismarck took
the lead in trying to stabilize the situation by the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. All the
European powers agreed on ground rules to avoid conflicts in Africa.
In British colonies, workers and businessmen from India were brought in to build railways,
plantations and other enterprises. Britain immediately applied the administrative lessons
that had been learned in India to Egypt and the other new African colonies.Tensions between
Britain and France reached tinder stage in Africa. At several points war was possible,
but never happened. The most serious episode was the Fashoda Incident of 1898. French troops
tried to claim an area in the Southern Sudan, and a British force purporting to be acting
in the interests of the Khedive of Egypt arrived to confront them. Under heavy pressure the
French withdrew securing Anglo-Egyptian control over the area. The status quo was recognised
by an agreement between the two states acknowledging British control over Egypt, while France became
the dominant power in Morocco, but France experienced a serious disappointment.The Ottoman
Empire lost its nominal control over Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It retained only nominal
control of Egypt. In 1875 Britain purchased the Suez canal shares from the almost bankrupt
khedive of Egypt, Isma’il Pasha.====Kenya====The experience of Kenya is representative
of the colonization process in East Africa. By 1850 European explorers had begun mapping
the interior. Three developments encouraged European interest in East Africa. First was
the emergence of the island of Zanzibar, located off the east coast. It became a base from
which trade and exploration of the African mainland could be mounted.By 1840, to protect
the interests of the various nationals doing business in Zanzibar, consul offices had been
opened by the British, French, Germans and Americans. In 1859, the tonnage of foreign
shipping calling at Zanzibar had reached 19,000 tons. By 1879, the tonnage of this shipping
had reached 89,000 tons. The second development spurring European interest in Africa was the
growing European demand for products of Africa including ivory and cloves. Thirdly, British
interest in East Africa was first stimulated by their desire to abolish the slave trade.
Later in the century, British interest in East Africa was stimulated by German competition,
and in 1887 the Imperial British East Africa Company, a private concern, leased from Seyyid
Said his mainland holdings, a 10-mile (16-km)-wide strip of land along the coast.
Germany set up a protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar’s coastal possessions in 1885.
It traded its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890, in exchange for German control over
the coast of Tanganyika. In 1895 the British government claimed the
interior as far west as Lake Naivasha; it set up the East Africa Protectorate. The border
was extended to Uganda in 1902, and in 1920 most of the enlarged protectorate became a
crown colony. With the beginning of colonial rule in 1895, the Rift Valley and the surrounding
Highlands became the enclave of white immigrants engaged in large-scale coffee farming dependent
on mostly Kikuyu labour. There were no significant mineral resources—none of the gold or diamonds
that attracted so many to South Africa. In the initial stage of colonial rule, the administration
relied on traditional communicators, usually chiefs. When colonial rule was established
and efficiency was sought, partly because of settler pressure, newly educated younger
men were associated with old chiefs in local Native Councils.Following severe financial
difficulties of the British East Africa Company, the British government on 1 July 1895 established
direct rule through the East African Protectorate, subsequently opening (1902) the fertile highlands
to white settlers. A key to the development of Kenya’s interior was the construction,
started in 1895, of a railway from Mombasa to Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, completed in
1901. Some 32,000 workers were imported from British India to do the manual labour. Many
stayed, as did most of the Indian traders and small businessmen who saw opportunity
in the opening up of the interior of Kenya.===Portugal===Portugal, a small poor agrarian nation with
a strong seafaring tradition, built up a large empire, and kept it longer than anyone else
by avoiding wars and remaining largely under the protection of Britain. In 1899 it renewed
its Treaty of Windsor with Britain originally written in 1386.
Energetic explorations in the sixteenth century led to a settler colony in Brazil. Portugal
also established trading stations open to all nations off the coasts of Africa, South
Asia, and East Asia. Portugal had imported slaves as domestic servants and farm workers
in Portugal itself, and used its experience to make slave trading a major economic activity.
Portuguese businessmen set up slave plantations on the nearby islands of Madeira, Cape Verde,
and the Azores, focusing on sugar production. In 1770, the enlightened despot Pombal declared
trade to be a noble and necessary profession, allowing businessmen to enter the Portuguese
nobility. Many settlers moved to Brazil, which became independent in 1822.After 1815, the
Portuguese expanded their trading ports along the African coast, moving inland to take control
of Angola and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). The slave trade was abolished in 1836, in
part because many foreign slave ships were flying the Portuguese flag. In India, trade
flourished in the colony of Goa, with its subsidiary colonies of Macau, near Hong Kong
on the China coast, and Timor, north of Australia. The Portuguese successfully introduced Catholicism
and the Portuguese language into their colonies, while most settlers continued to head to Brazil.===Italy===Italy was often called the Least of the Great
Powers for its weak industry and weak military. In the Scramble for Africa of the 1880s, leaders
of the new nation of Italy were enthusiastic about acquiring colonies in Africa, expecting
it would legitimize their status as a power and help unify the people. In North Africa
Italy first turned to Tunis, under nominal Ottoman control, where many Italian farmers
had settled. Weak and diplomatically isolated, Italy was helpless and angered when France
assumed a protectorate over Tunis in 1881. Turning to East Africa, Italy tried to conquer
independent Ethiopia, but was massively defeated at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. Public opinion
was angered at the national humiliation by an inept government. In 1911 the Italian people
supported the seizure of what is now Libya.Italian diplomacy over a twenty-year period succeeded
in getting permission to seize Libya, with approval coming from Germany, France, Austria,
Britain and Russia. A centerpiece of the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–12 came when Italian forces
took control of a few coastal cities against stiff resistance by Ottoman troops as well
as the local tribesmen. After the peace treaty gave Italy control it sent in Italian settlers,
but suffered extensive casualties in its brutal campaign against the tribes.===Japan becomes a power===Starting in the 1860s Japan rapidly modernized
along Western lines, adding industry, bureaucracy, institutions and military capabilities that
provided the base for imperial expansion into Korea, China, Taiwan and islands to the south.
It saw itself vulnerable to aggressive Western imperialism unless it took control of neighboring
areas. It took control of Okinawa and Formosa. Japan’s desire to control Taiwan, Korea and
Manchuria, led to the first Sino-Japanese War with China in 1894–1895 and the Russo-Japanese
War with Russia in 1904–1905. The war with China made Japan the world’s first Eastern,
modern imperial power, and the war with Russia proved that a Western power could be defeated
by an Eastern state. The aftermath of these two wars left Japan the dominant power in
the Far East with a sphere of influence extending over southern Manchuria and Korea, which was
formally annexed as part of the Japanese Empire in 1910.====Okinawa====Okinawa island is the largest of the Ryukyu
Islands, and paid tribute to China from the late 14th century. Japan took control of the
entire Ryukyu island chain in 1609 and formally incorporated it into Japan in 1879.====War with China====Friction between China and Japan arose from
the 1870s from Japan’s control over the Ryukyu Islands, rivalry for political influence in
Korea and trade issues. Japan, having built up a stable political and economic system
with a small but well-trained army and navy, easily defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese
War of 1894. Japanese soldiers massacred the Chinese after capturing Port Arthur on the
Liaotung Peninsula. In the harsh Treaty of Shimonoseki of April 1895, China recognize
the independence of Korea, and ceded to Japan Formosa, the Pescatores Islands and the Liaotung
Peninsula. China further paid an indemnity of 200 million silver taels, opened five new
ports to international trade, and allowed Japan (and other Western powers) to set up
and operate factories in these cities. However, Russia, France, and Germany saw themselves
disadvantaged by the treaty and in the Triple Intervention forced Japan to return the Liaotung
Peninsula in return for a larger indemnity. The only positive result for China came when
those factories led the industrialization of urban China, spinning off a local class
of entrepreneurs and skilled mechanics.====Taiwan====The island of Formosa (Taiwan) had an indigenous
population when Dutch traders in need of an Asian base to trade with Japan and China arrived
in 1623. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) built Fort Zeelandia. They soon began to rule
the natives. China took control in the 1660s, and sent in settlers. By the 1890s there were
about 2.3 million Han Chinese and 200,000 members of indigenous tribes. After its victory
in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894–95, the peace treaty ceded the island to Japan.
It was Japan’s first colony.Japan expected far more benefits from the occupation of Taiwan
than the limited benefits it actually received. Japan realized that its home islands could
only support a limited resource base, and it hoped that Taiwan, with its fertile farmlands,
would make up the shortage. By 1905, Taiwan was producing rice and sugar and paying for
itself with a small surplus. Perhaps more important, Japan gained Asia-wide prestige
by being the first non-European country to operate a modern colony. It learned how to
adjust its German-based bureaucratic standards to actual conditions, and how to deal with
frequent insurrections. The ultimate goal was to promote Japanese language and culture,
but the administrators realized they first had to adjust to the Chinese culture of the
people. Japan had a civilizing mission, and it opened schools so that the peasants could
become productive and patriotic manual workers. Medical facilities were modernized, and the
death rate plunged. To maintain order, Japan installed a police state that closely monitored
everyone. In 1945, Japan was stripped of its empire and Taiwan was returned to China.====Japan defeats Russia, 1904-1905====Japan felt humiliated when the spoils from
its decisive victory over China were partly reversed by the Western Powers (including
Russia), which revised the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 saw Japan
and Russia as allies who fought together against the Chinese, with Russians playing the leading
role on the battlefield. In the 1890s Japan was angered at Russian encroachment on its
plans to create a sphere of influence in Korea and Manchuria. Japan offered to recognize
Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as being within the
Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused and demanded Korea north of the 39th parallel
to be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The Japanese government decided
on war to stop the perceived Russian threat to its plans for expansion into Asia. The
Japanese Navy opened hostilities by a surprise attacks on the Russian Eastern Fleet at Port
Arthur, China. Russia suffered multiple defeats but Tsar Nicholas II fought on with the expectation
that Russia would win decisive naval battles. When that proved illusory he fought to preserve
the dignity of Russia by averting a “humiliating peace”. The complete victory of the Japanese
military surprised world observers. The consequences transformed the balance of power in East Asia,
resulting in a reassessment of Japan’s recent entry onto the world stage. It was the first
major military victory in the modern era of an Asian power over a European one.====Korea====
In 1905, the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire signed the Eulsa Treaty, which brought
Korea into the Japanese sphere of influence as a protectorate. The Treaty was a result
of the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War and Japan wanting to increase its hold
over the Korean Peninsula. The Eulsa Treaty led to the signing of the 1907 Treaty two
years later. The 1907 Treaty ensured that Korea would act under the guidance of a Japanese
resident general and Korean internal affairs would be under Japanese control. Korean Emperor
Gojong was forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Sunjong, as he protested Japanese
actions in the Hague Conference. Finally in 1910, the Annexation Treaty formally annexed
Korea to Japan.===Dividing up China===Officially, China remained a unified country.
In practice, European powers and Japan took effective control of certain port cities and
their surrounding areas from the middle nineteenth century until the 1920s. Technically speaking,
they exercised “extraterritoriality” that was imposed in a series of unequal treaties.In
1899-1900 the United States won international acceptance for the Open Door Policy whereby
all nations would have access to Chinese ports, rather than having them reserved to just one
nation.===British policies=======
Free trade imperialism====Britain, in addition to taking control of
new territories, developed an enormous power in economic and financial affairs in numerous
independent countries, especially in Latin America and Asia. It lent money, built railways,
and engaged in trade. The Great London Exhibition of 1851 clearly demonstrated Britain’s dominance
in engineering, communications and industry; that lasted until the rise of the United States
and Germany in the 1890s.====Splendid isolation====
Historians agree that Lord Salisbury as foreign minister and prime minister 1885-1902 was
a strong and effective leader in foreign affairs. He had a superb grasp of the issues, and proved: a patient, pragmatic practitioner, with a
keen understanding of Britain’s historic interests….He oversaw the partition of Africa, the emergence
of Germany and the United States as imperial powers, and the transfer of British attention
from the Dardanelles to Suez without provoking a serious confrontation of the great powers.In
1886–1902 under Salisbury, Britain continued its policy of Splendid isolation with no formal
allies. Lord Salisbury grew restless with the term in the 1890s, as his “third and final
government found the policy of ‘splendid isolation’ increasingly less splendid,” especially as
France broke from its own isolation and formed an alliance with Russia.====Policy toward Germany====
Britain and Germany each tried to improve relations, but British distrust of the Kaiser
for his recklessness ran deep. The Kaiser did indeed meddle in Africa in support of
the Boers, which soured relations.The main accomplishment was a friendly 1890 treaty.
Germany gave up its small Zanzibar colony in Africa and acquired the Heligoland islands,
off Hamburg, which were essential to the security of Germany’s ports. Overtures toward friendship
otherwise went nowhere, and a great Anglo-German naval arms race worsened tensions, 1880s-1910s.====Liberal Party splits on imperialism====
Liberal Party policy after 1880 was shaped by William Gladstone as he repeatedly attacked
Disraeli’s imperialism. The Conservatives took pride in their imperialism and it proved
quite popular with the voters. A generation later, a minority faction of Liberals became
active “Liberal Imperialists”. The Second Boer War (1899 – 1902) was fought by Britain
against and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African
Republic (called the Transvaal by the British). After a protracted hard-fought war, with severe
hardships for Boer civilians, the Boers lost and were absorbed into the British Empire.
The war bitterly divided with Liberals, with the majority faction denouncing it. Joseph
Chamberlain and his followers broke with the Liberal Party and formed an alliance with
the Conservatives to promote imperialism.==The Eastern Question==The “Eastern Question” involved the slow steady
disintegration of the “Sick man of Europe” (the Ottoman Empire, often called “Turkey”),
the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, and the general issue of alliances in Eastern
Europe. In the 1870s the “Eastern Question” focused on the mistreatment of Christians
in the Balkans by the Ottoman Empire, and what the European great powers ought to do
about it.===Long-term goals===
Each of the countries paid close attention to its own long-term interests, usually in
cooperation with its allies and friends.====Ottoman Empire (Turkey)====
The Ottoman Empire was hard-pressed by nationalistic movements among the Christian populations.
After 1900, the large Arab population would also grow nationalistic. The threat of disintegration
was real. Egypt for example although still nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, have
been independent for century. Turkish nationalists were emerging, and the Young Turk movement
indeed took over the Empire. While the previous rulers had been pluralistic, the Young Turks
were hostile to all other nationalities and to non-Muslims. Wars were usually defeats,
in which another slice of territory was sliced off and became semi-independent, including
Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, and Albania.====Austro-Hungarian Empire====
The Austro-Hungarian Empire, headquartered at Vienna, was a largely rural, poor, multicultural
state. It was operated by and for the Habsburg family, who demanded loyalty to the throne,
but not to the nation. Nationalistic movements were growing rapidly. The most powerful were
the Hungarians, who preserved their separate status within the Habsburg Monarchy and with
the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the creation of the Dual Monarchy they were getting
practical equality. Other minorities, were highly frustrated, although some – especially
the Jews – felt protected by the Empire. German nationalists, especially in the Sudetenland
(part of Bohemia) however, looked to Berlin in the new German Empire. There was a small
German-speaking Austrian element located around Vienna, but it did not display much sense
of Austrian nationalism. That is it did not demand an independent state, rather it flourished
by holding most of the high military and diplomatic offices in the Empire. Russia was the main
enemy, As well as Slavic and nationalist groups inside the Empire (especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina)
and in nearby Serbia. Although Austria, Germany, and Italy had a defensive military alliance
– the Triple Alliance – Italy was dissatisfied and wanted a slice of territory controlled
by Vienna. Gyula Andrássy after serving as Hungarian
prime minister became Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary (1871–1879). Andrássy was
a conservative; his foreign policies looked to expanding the Empire into Southeast Europe,
preferably with British and German support, and without alienating Turkey. He saw Russia
as the main adversary, because of its own expansionist policies toward Slavic and Orthodox
areas. He distrusted Slavic nationalist movements as a threat to his multi-ethnic empire. As
tensions escalated in the early 20th century Austria Foreign-policy was set in 1906-1912
by its powerful foreign minister Count Aehrenthal. He was thoroughly convinced that the Slavic
minorities could never come together, and the Balkan League would never accomplish any
damage to Austria. 1912 he rejected an Ottoman proposal for an alliance that would include
Austria, Turkey and Romania. His policies alienated the Bulgarians, who turned instead
to Russia and Serbia. Although Austria had no intention to embark on additional expansion
to the south, Aehrenthal encouraged speculation to that effect, expecting it would paralyze
the Balkan states. Instead, it incited them to feverish activity to create a defensive
block to stop Austria. A series of grave miscalculations at the highest level thus significantly strengthened
Austria’s enemies.====Russia====Russia was growing in strength, and wanted
access to the warm waters of the Mediterranean. To get that it needed control of the Straits,
connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and if possible, control of Constantinople,
the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Slavic nationalism was strongly on the rise in the
Balkans. It gave Russia the opportunity to protect Slavic and Orthodox Christians. This
put it in sharp opposition to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.====Serbia====
Serbia had multiple national goals. Serbian intellectuals dreamed of a South Slavic state–which
in the 1920s became Yugoslavia. The large number of Serbs living in Bosnia looked to
Serbia as the focus of their nationalism, but they were ruled by the Germans of the
Austrian Empire. Austria’s annexation of Bosnia in 1908 deeply alienated the Serbian peoples.
Plotters swore revenge, which they achieved in 1914 by assassination of the Austrian heir.
Serbia was landlocked, and strongly felt the need for access to the Mediterranean, preferably
through the Adriatic Sea. Austria worked hard to block Serbian access to the sea, for example
by helping with the creation of Albania in 1912. Montenegro, Serbia’s main ally, did
have a small port, but Austrian territory intervened, blocking access until Serbia acquired
Novi Pazar and part of Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire in 1913. To the south, Bulgaria
blocked Serbian access to the Aegean Sea. Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria formed
the Balkan League and went to war with the Ottomans in 1912-13. They won decisively and
expelled that Empire from almost all of the Balkans. The main remaining foe was Austria,
which strongly rejected Pan-Slavism and Serbian nationalism and was ready to make war to end
those threats. Ethnic nationalism would doom the multicultural Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Expansion of Serbia would block Austrian and German aspirations for direct rail connections
to Constantinople and the Middle East. Serbia relied primarily on Russia for Great Power
support but Russia was very hesitant at first to support Pan-Slavism, and counselled caution.
However, in 1914 it reversed positions and promised military support to Serbia.====Germany====
Germany had no direct involvement in the Balkans, but indirectly Bismarck realized that it was
a major source of tension between his two key allies, Russia and Austria. Therefore
Germany’s policy was to minimize conflict in the Balkans.===Great Eastern Crisis of 1875-78 Turkey
at war with Serbia and Russia===In 1876 Serbia and Montenegro declared war
on Turkey, and were badly defeated, notably at the battle of Alexinatz (Sept. 1, 1876).
Gladstone published an angry pamphlet on “The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the
East,” which aroused enormous agitation in Britain against Turkish misrule, and complicated
the Disraeli government’s policy of supporting Turkey against Russia. Russia, which supported
Serbia, threatened war against Turkey. In August 1877, Russia declared war on Turkey,
and steadily defeated its armies. In early January 1878 Turkey asked for an armistice;
the British fleet arrived at Constantinople too late. Russia and Turkey on March 3 signed
the Treaty of San Stefano, which was highly advantageous to Russia, Serbia, and Montenegro,
as well as Romania and Bulgaria.Britain, France, and Austria opposed the Treaty of San Stefano
because it gave Russia and Bulgaria too much influence in the Balkans, where insurrections
were frequent. War threatened. After numerous attempts a grand diplomatic settlement was
reached at the Congress of Berlin (June–July 1878). The new Treaty of Berlin revised the
earlier treaty. Germany’s Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) presided over the congress and
brokered the compromises. Keeping ethnic groups together was not a priority when boundaries
were drawn, thus creating new grievances between ethnic groups.One result was that Austria
took control of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, intending to eventually merge
them into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bosnia was eventually annexed by Austria-Hungary
in 1908. to the anger of Serbs. Bosnian Serbs assassinated Austria’s heir to the crown,
Franz Ferdinand, in 1914 and the result was the First World War.===Minority rights===The 1878 Treaty of Berlin had a new type of
provision that protected minorities in the Balkans and newly independent states Great
Power recognition was nominally conditional on the promise of guarantees of religious
and civic freedoms for local religious minorities. Historian Carol Fink argues: “the imposed clauses on minority rights became
requirements not only for recognition but were also, as in the cases of Serbia, Montenegro,
and Romania, conditions for receiving specific grants of territory.Fink reports that these
provisions were generally not enforced—no suitable mechanism existed and the Great Powers
had little interest in doing so. Protections were part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919
and became increasingly important after World War II.===British policies===
Britain stayed aloof from alliances in the late 19th century, with an independence made
possible by its island location, its dominant navy, its dominant position in finance and
trade, and its strong industrial base. It rejected tariffs and practiced free trade.
After losing power in Britain in 1874, Liberal leader Gladstone returned to center stage
in 1876 by calling for a moralistic foreign policy, as opposed to the realism of his great
adversary Benjamin Disraeli. The issue drew the party line between Gladstone’s Liberals
(who denounced the immoral Ottomans) and Disraeli’s Conservatives (who downplayed the atrocities
and supported the Ottoman Empire as an offset to Russian power). Disraeli had threatened
war with Russia on the issue and Gladstone argued he was wrong. Liberal opinion was convulsed
by atrocities in the Balkans, in particular the massacre of more than 10,000 Christian
Bulgars by Turkish irregulars. Gladstone denounced the Turks for committing “abominable and bestial
lusts … at which Hell itself might almost blush” and demanded they withdraw from European
soil “bag and baggage”. His pamphlet sold an astonishing 200,000 copies.The climax was
his “Midlothian campaign” of 1880 when he charged Disraeli’s government with financial
incompetence, neglecting domestic legislation, and mismanagement of foreign affairs. Gladstone
felt a call from God to aid the Serbians and Bulgarians (who were Eastern Orthodox Christians);
he spoke out like an ancient Hebrew prophet denouncing tyranny and oppression. The real
audience was not the local electorate but Britain as a whole, especially the evangelical
elements. By appealing to vast audiences denouncing Disraeli’s pro-Turkish foreign policy, Gladstone
made himself a moral force in Europe, unified his party, and was carried back to power.===German policy, 1872–1890===
Chancellor Bismarck took full charge of German foreign policy from 1870 to his dismissal
in 1890. His goal was a peaceful Europe, based on the balance of power, with Germany playing
a central role; his policy was a success. Germany had the strongest economy on the Continent
and the strongest military. Bismarck made clear to all that Germany had no wish to add
any territory in Europe, and he tried to oppose German colonial expansion. Bismarck feared
that a hostile combination of Austria, France and Russia could overwhelm Germany. If two
of them were allied, then the third would ally with Germany only if Germany conceded
excessive demands. The solution was to ally with two of the three. In 1873 he formed the
League of the Three Emperors, an alliance of the kaiser of Germany, the tsar of Russia,
and the emperor of Austria-Hungary. It protected Germany against a war with France. The three
emperors together could control Eastern Europe, making sure that restive ethnic groups such
as the Poles were kept in control. The Balkans posed a more serious issue, and Bismarck’s
solution was to give Austria predominance in the western areas, and Russia in the eastern
areas. The system collapsed in 1887. Kaiser Wilhelm ousted Bismarck in 1890 and developed
his own aggressive foreign policy. The Kaiser rejected the Russian alliance, and Russia
in turn turned to an alliance with France.====War in Sight crisis of 1875====
Between 1873 and 1877, Germany repeatedly intervened in the internal affairs of France’s
neighbors. In Belgium, Spain, and Italy, Bismarck exerted strong and sustained political pressure
to support the election or appointment of liberal, anticlerical governments. This was
part of an integrated strategy to promote republicanism in France by strategically and
ideologically isolating the clerical-monarchist regime of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon.
It was hoped that by ringing France with a number of liberal states, French republicans
could defeat MacMahon and his reactionary supporters. The modern concept of containment
provides a useful model for understanding the dynamics of this policy.Containment almost
got out of hand in 1875 in the “War in Sight” crisis. It was sparked by an editorial entitled
“Krieg-in-Sicht” in an influential Berlin newspaper the Post. It indicated some highly
influential Germans, alarmed by France’s rapid recovery from defeat in 1871 and its rearmament
program, talked of launching a preventive war against France to hold it down. There
was a war scare in Germany and France, and Britain and Russia made it clear they would
not tolerate a preventive war. Bismarck did not want any war either, but the unexpected
crisis forced him to take into account the fear and alarm that his bullying and Germany’s
fast-growing power was causing among its neighbors. The crisis reinforced Bismarck’s determination
that Germany had to work in proactive fashion to preserve the peace in Europe, rather than
passively let events take their own course and react to them.>===The alliance between Russia and France,
1894–1914===The
central development in Russian foreign policy was to move away from Germany and toward France.
This became possible in 1890, when Bismarck was dismissed from office, and Germany refused
to renew the secret 1887 Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. That encouraged Russian expansion
into Bulgaria and the Straits. It meant that both France and Russia were without major
allies; France took the initiative and funding Russian economic development, and in exploring
a military alliance. Russia had never been friendly with France, and remembered the wars
in the Crimea and the Napoleonic invasion; it saw republican France as a dangerous font
of subversion to Russia’s style of absolute monarchy. France, which had been shut out
of the entire alliance system by Bismarck, decided to improve relations with Russia.
It lent money to the Russians, expanded trade, and began selling warships after 1890. Meanwhile,
after Bismarck lost office in 1890, there was no renewal of the Reinsurance treaty between
Russia and Germany. The German bankers stopped lending to Russia, which increasingly depended
on Paris banks.In 1894 a secret treaty stipulated that Russia would come to the aid of France
if France was attacked by Germany. Another stipulation was that in a war against Germany,
France would immediately mobilize 1.3 million men, while Russia would mobilize 700,000 to
800,000. It provided that if any of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria, Italy) mobilized
its reserves in preparation for war, then both Russia and France would mobilize theirs.
“The mobilization is the declaration of war,” the French chief of staff told Tsar Alexander
III in 1892. “To mobilize is to oblige one’s neighbor to do the same.” This set up the
tripwire for July 1914.George F. Kennan argues that Russia was primarily responsible for
the collapse of Bismarck’s alliance policy in Europe, and starting the downward slope
to the First World War. Kennan blames poor Russian diplomacy centered on its ambitions
in the Balkans. Kennan says Bismarck’s foreign policy was designed to prevent any major war
even in the face of improved Franco-Russian relations. Russia left Bismarck’s Three Emperors’
League (with Germany and Austria) and instead took up the French proposal for closer relationships
and a military alliance.==Balkan crises: 1908-1913=====Bosnian crisis of 1908–09===
The Bosnian crisis of 1908–09 began on 8 October 1908, when Vienna announced the annexation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These territories were nominally owned by the Ottoman Empire
but had been awarded in custody to Austria-Hungary in the Congress of Berlin in 1878. The provinces
were chiefly by Serbs, and the territory blocked Serbia’s access to the sea, which was a secret
but powerful goal for Austria. This unilateral action—timed to coincide
with Bulgaria’s declaration of independence (5 October) from the Ottoman Empire—sparked
protestations from all the Great Powers and especially Serbia and Montenegro. In April
1909 the Treaty of Berlin was amended to reflect the fait accompli and bring the crisis to
an end. The crisis permanently damaged relations between Austria-Hungary on one hand and Serbia,
Italy and Russia on the other. At the time it appeared to be a total diplomatic victory
for Vienna, but Russia became determined not to back down again and hastened its military
build-up. Austrian–Serbian relations became permanently stressed. It aroused intense anger
among Serbian nationalists that led to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914.===Balkan Wars===The continuing collapse of the Ottoman Empire
led to two wars in the Balkans, in 1912 and 1913, which were a prelude to World War I.
By 1900 nation states had formed in Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia. Nevertheless,
many of their ethnic compatriots lived under the control of the Ottoman Empire. In 1912,
these countries formed the Balkan League. There were three main causes of the First
Balkan War. The Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or
deal with the rising ethnic nationalism of its diverse peoples. Secondly, the Great Powers
quarreled among themselves and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed
reforms. This led the Balkan states to impose their own solution. Most important, the members
of the Balkan League were confident that it could defeat the Turks. Their prediction was
accurate, as Constantinople called for terms after six weeks of fighting.The First Balkan
War broke out when the League attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October 1912 and ended
seven months later with the Treaty of London. After five centuries, the Ottoman Empire lost
virtually all of its possessions in the Balkans. The Treaty had been imposed by the Great Powers,
and the victorious Balkan states were dissatisfied with it. Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the
division of the spoils in Macedonia, made in secret by its former allies, Serbia and
Greece. Bulgaria attacked to force them out of Macedonia, beginning the Second Balkan
War. The Serbian and Greek armies repulsed the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked
into Bulgaria, while Romania and the Ottoman Empire also attacked Bulgaria and gained (or
regained) territory. In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria lost most of the territories
it had gained in the First Balkan War. The long-term result was heightened tension
in the Balkans. Relations between Austria and Serbia became increasingly bitter. Russia
felt humiliated after Austria and Germany prevented it from helping Serbia. Bulgaria
and Turkey were also dissatisfied, and eventually joined Austria and Germany in the First World
War.==Coming of World War==The main causes of World War I, which broke
out unexpectedly in central Europe in summer 1914, included many factors, such as the conflicts
and hostility of the four decades leading up to the war. Militarism, alliances, imperialism,
and ethnic nationalism played major roles. However the immediate origins of the war lay
in the decisions taken by statesmen and generals during the Crisis of 1914, which was sparked
by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the Archduke of Austria Hungary) by a Serbian
secret organization, the Black Hand.By the 1870s or 1880s all the major powers were preparing
for a large-scale war, although none expected one. Britain focused on building up its Royal
Navy, already stronger than the next two navies combined. Germany, France, Austria, Italy
and Russia, and some smaller countries, set up conscription systems whereby young men
would serve from 1 to 3 years in the army, then spend the next 20 years or so in the
reserves with annual summer training. Men from higher social statuses became officers.Each
country devised a mobilisation system whereby the reserves could be called up quickly and
sent to key points by rail. Every year the plans were updated and expanded in terms of
complexity. Each country stockpiled arms and supplies for an army that ran into the millions.Germany
in 1874 had a regular professional army of 420,000 with an additional 1.3 million reserves.
By 1897 the regular army was 545,000 strong and the reserves 3.4 million. The French in
1897 had 3.4 million reservists, Austria 2.6 million, and Russia 4.0 million. The various
national war plans had been perfected by 1914, albeit with Russia and Austria trailing in
effectiveness. All plans called for a decisive opening and a short war.===France===
For a few years after its defeat in 1871 France displayed a bitter Revanchism: a deep sense
of bitterness, hatred and demand for revenge against Germany, especially because of the
loss of Alsace and Lorraine. Paintings that emphasized the humiliation of the defeat came
in high demand, such as those by Alphonse de Neuville.French policy makers were not
fixated on revenge. However strong public opinion regarding Alsace-Lorraine meant that
friendship with Germany was impossible unless the provinces were returned, and public opinion
in Germany would not allow a return to happen. So Germany worked to isolate France and France
sought allies against Germany, especially Russia and Britain. Apart perhaps from the
German threat, most French citizens ignored foreign affairs and colonial issues. In 1914
the chief pressure group was the Parti colonial, a coalition of 50 organizations with a combined
total of 5000 members.France had colonies in Asia and looked for alliances and found
in Japan a possible ally. At Japan’s request Paris sent military missions in 1872–1880,
in 1884–1889 and in 1918–1919 to help modernize the Japanese army. Conflicts with
China over Indochina climaxed during the Sino-French War (1884–1885). Admiral Courbet destroyed
the Chinese fleet anchored at Foochow. The treaty ending the war, put France in a protectorate
over northern and central Vietnam, which it divided into Tonkin and Annam.Bismarck’s foreign
policies had successfully isolated France from the other great powers. After Bismarck
was fired, Kaiser Wilhelm took erratic positions that baffled diplomats. No one could quite
figure out his goals. Germany ended its secret treaties with Russia, and rejected close ties
with Britain. France saw its opportunity, as Russia was looking for a new partner and
French financiers invested heavily in Russian economic development. In 1893 Paris and St.
Petersburg signed an alliance. France was no longer isolated – but Germany was increasingly
isolated and distrusted, with only Austria as a serious ally. The Triple Alliance included
Germany, Austria, and Italy, but Italy had serious disputes with Austria, and switched
sides when the world war erupted. Britain was also moving toward alliances, having abandoned
its policy of splendid isolation. By 1903, France settled its disputes with Britain.
After Russia and Britain settled their disputes over Persia in 1907, the way was open for
the Triple Entente of France, Britain, and Russia. It formed the basis of the Allies
of the First World War.====Franco-Russian Alliance====France was deeply split between the monarchists
on one side, and the Republicans on the other. The Republicans at first seemed highly unlikely
to welcome any military alliance with Russia. That large nation was poor and not industrialized;
it was intensely religious and authoritarian, with no sense of democracy or freedom for
its peoples. It oppressed Poland, and exiled, and even executed political liberals and radicals.
At a time when French Republicans were rallying in the Dreyfus affair against anti-Semitism,
Russia was the most notorious center in the world of anti-Semitic outrages, including
multiple murderous large-scale pogroms against the Jews. On the other hand, France was increasingly
frustrated by Bismarck’s success in isolating it diplomatically. France had issues with
Italy, which was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance. Paris made a few overtures
to Berlin, but they were rebuffed, and after 1900 there was a threat of war between France
and Germany over Germany’s attempt to deny French expansion into Morocco. Great Britain
was still in its “splendid isolation” mode and after a major agreement in 1890 with
Germany, it seemed especially favorable toward Berlin. Colonial conflicts in Africa brought
Britain and France to a major crisis The Fashoda crisis of 1898 brought Britain and France
almost to the brink of war and ended with a humiliation of France that left it hostile
to Britain. By 1892 Russia was the only opportunity for France to break out of its diplomatic
isolation. Russia had been allied with Germany the new Kaiser Wilhelm removed Bismarck in
1890 and in 1892 ended the “Reinsurance treaty” with Russia. Russia was now alone
diplomatically and like France, it needed a military alliance to contain the threat
of Germany’s strong army and military aggressiveness. The pope, angered by German anti-Catholicism,
worked diplomatically to bring Paris and St. Petersburg together. Russia desperately needed
money for our infrastructure of railways and ports facilities. The German government refused
to allow its banks to lend money to Russia, but French banks eagerly did so. For example,
it funded the essential trans-Siberian railway. Negotiations were increasingly successful,
and by 1895. France and Russia had signed the Franco-Russian Alliance, a strong military
alliance to join together in war if Germany attacked either of them. France had finally
escaped its diplomatic isolation.In its continuing effort to isolate Germany, France went to
great pains to woo Great Britain, notably in the 1904 Entente Cordiale with Great Britain,
and finally the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907 which became the Triple Entente.Paris and
London had a high level military discussions about coordination in a joint war against
Germany. By 1914, Russia and France worked together and Britain was hostile enough toward
Germany to join them as soon as Germany invaded Belgium.====Anglo-German relations deteriorate: 1880-1904
====In the 1880s relations between Britain and
Germany improved as the key policy-makers, Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and Chancellor
Bismarck were both realistic conservatives and largely in agreement on policies. There
were several proposals for a formal treaty relationship between Germany and Britain,
but they went nowhere; Britain preferred to stand in what it called “splendid isolation”.
Nevertheless, a series of developments steadily improved their relations down to 1890, when
Bismarck was fired by the aggressive new Kaiser Wilhelm II. In January 1896 he escalated tensions
with his Kruger telegram congratulating Boer President Kruger of the Transvaal for beating
off the Jameson raid. German officials in Berlin had managed to stop the Kaiser from
proposing a German protectorate over the Transvaal. In the Second Boer War, Germany sympathised
with the Boers. In 1897 Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz became German Naval Secretary of State
and began the transformation of German Navy from small, coastal defence force to a fleet
meant to challenge British naval power. Tirpitz calls for Riskflotte (Risk Fleet) that would
make it too risky for Britain to take on Germany as part of wider bid to alter the international
balance of power decisively in Germany’s favour. At the same time German foreign minister Bernhard
von Bülow called for Weltpolitik (World politics). It was the new policy of Germany to assert
its claim to be a global power. Bismarck’s conservativism was abandoned as Germany was
intent on challenging and upsetting international order. Thereafter relations deteriorated steadily.
London began to see Berlin as a hostile force and moved to friendlier relationships with
France.====Two crises in Morocco====
Morocco on the northwest coast of Africa, was the last major territory in Africa not
controlled by colonial power. France sent in financiers advisors and military consultants,
had stirred up trouble locally, and now was prepared to move in to ensure domestic tranquility
and, eventually, to add Morocco to the French Empire. Germany did not want Morocco itself,
but felt embarrassed that France was making gains while Germany was not. On 31 March 1905,
Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Morocco’s capital, Tangier, and delivered a sabre-rattling
speech demanding an international conference to ensure Morocco’s independence, with war
the alternative. Germany’s goal in the First Moroccan Crisis was to enhance its prestige
and diminish the Entente Cordiale linking Britain and France. Historian Heather Jones
argues that Germany’s use of warlike rhetoric was a deliberate diplomatic ploy: Another German strategy was to stage dramatic
gestures, and dangerously play up the threat of war, in the belief that this would impress
upon other European powers the importance of consultation with Germany on imperial issues:
the fact that France had not considered it necessary to make a bilateral agreement with
Germany over Morocco rankled, especially given Germany was deeply insecure about its newly
acquired Great Power status. Hence Germany opted for an increase in belligerent rhetoric
and, theatrically, Kaiser Wilhelm II dramatically interrupted a Mediterranean cruise to visit
Tangier, where he declared Germany’s support for the Sultan’s independence and integrity
of his kingdom, turning Morocco overnight into an international ‘crisis.’ Germany’s
plan backfired when Britain made it clear that in the event of a German attack on France,
Britain would intervene on France’s side. In 1906 the Algeciras Conference ended the
crisis with a stinging diplomatic defeat for Germany as France gained the dominant role
in Morocco. The experience brought London and Paris much closer and set up the presumption
they would be allies if Germany attacked either one. The German adventure resulted in failure
as Germany was left more isolated and alienated. A momentous consequence was the heightened
sense of frustration and readiness for war in Germany. It spread beyond the political
elite to much of the press and most of the political parties except for the Liberals
and Social Democrats on the left. The Pan-German element grew in strength and denounced their
government’s retreat as treason, stepping up chauvinistic support for war.In the Agadir
Crisis of 1911 France strong-armed itself into seizing more control over Morocco. The
German Foreign Minister Alfred von Kiderlen-Waechter was not opposed to these moves, but he felt
Germany was entitled to some compensation elsewhere in Africa. He sent a small warship,
made saber-rattling threats, and whipped up anger among German nationalists. France and
Germany soon agreed on a compromise. However, the British cabinet was alarmed at Germany’s
aggressiveness toward France. David Lloyd George made a dramatic “Mansion House” speech
that denounced the German move as an intolerable humiliation. There was talk of war, and Germany
backed down. Relations between Berlin and London remained sour.===British-German naval race===After 1805 the dominance of Britain’s Royal
Navy was unchallenged; in the 1890s Germany decided to match it. Grand Admiral Alfred
von Tirpitz (1849 – 1930) dominated German naval policy from 1897 until 1916. Before
the Germany Empire formed in 1871, Prussia never had a real navy, nor did the other German
states. Tirpitz turned the modest little fleet into a world-class force that could threaten
the British Royal Navy. The British responded with new technology typified by the Dreadnaught
revolution, and remained in the lead.Germany’s navy was not strong enough to confront the
British in World War I; the one great naval Battle of Jutland failed to end Britain’s
control of the seas or break the stifling blockade. Germany turned to submarine warfare.
The laws of war required an effort be made to allow passengers and crew to board lifeboats
before sinking a ship. The Germans disregarded the law and in the most dramatic episode sank
the Lusitania in 1915 in a few minutes. The U.S. demanded it stop, and Germany did so.
Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff (1853-1919), chief of the admiralty staff, argued successfully
in early 1917 to resume the attacks and thus starve the British. The German high command
realized the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare meant war with the United States but
calculated that American mobilization would be too slow to stop a German victory on the
Western Front.==The Great War==The First World War was a global conflict
that lasted from 1914 to 1918. It saw the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary,
later joined by the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria), fighting the “Entente” or “Allied” powers,
led by Britain, Russia and France from 1914, who were later joined by Italy in 1915, and
other countries such as Romania in 1916. The United States, initially neutral, tried to
broker a settlement but in April, 1917, it declared war on Germany. The U.S. cooperated
with the Allies but did not formally join them, and it negotiated peace separately.
Despite overcoming Romania in 1916 and Russia in March 1918, the Central Powers collapsed
in November, 1918; and Germany accepted an “armistice” that in practice was a total surrender.
Much of the diplomatic efforts of the major powers was oriented toward learning neutral
countries into the alliance with promises of rich territorial rewards. Britain, United
States and Germany spent large sums funding their allies. Propaganda campaigns to maintain
morale at home and undermine morale in the enemy camp, especially among minorities, was
a priority for the major powers. They also engaged in subversion, by subsidizing political
groups that try to overthrow the enemy regime, as the Bolsheviks did in Russia in 1917.
Both sides made secret agreements with neutrals to entice them into joining the war in return
for a slice of enemy territory after victory was achieved. Some land was promised to several
nations, so some promises therefore had to be broken. That left permanent bitter legacies
especially in Italy. Blaming the war in part on secret treaties, President Wilson called
in his Fourteen Points for “open covenants, openly arrived at”.==Paris Peace Conference and Versailles Treaty
1919==The world war was settled by the victors at
the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. 27 nations sent delegations, and there were many nongovernmental
groups, but the defeated powers were not invited.The “Big Four” were President Woodrow Wilson of
the United States, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau
of France, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando. They met together informally 145
times and made all the major decisions, which in turn were ratified by the others.The major
decisions were the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with defeated
enemies (most notably the Treaty of Versailles with Germany); heavy reparations imposed on
Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as “mandates”, chiefly
to Britain and France; and the drawing of new national boundaries (sometimes with plebiscites)
to better reflect the forces of nationalism. In the “guilt clause” (section 231), the war
was blamed on “aggression by Germany and her allies.” Germany only paid a small fraction
of the reparations before they were suspended in 1931.==See also==
Diplomatic history of World War I Diplomatic history of World War II
Free trade History of French foreign relations
History of German foreign policy Foreign policy of the Russian Empire
Historiography of the British Empire History of the foreign relations of the United
Kingdom International relations (1919–1939)
Pax Britannica Great Eastern Crisis
New Imperialism History of colonialism
History of globalisation Concert of Europe
Timeline of British diplomatic history Timeline of imperialism
Timeline of United States diplomatic history History of Europe
European balance of power Foreign relations of Italy==
Notes====
Further reading=====Surveys===
New Cambridge Modern History (13 vol 1957-79), old but thorough coverage, mostly of Europe;
strong on diplomacy Bury, J. P. T. ed. The New Cambridge Modern
History: Vol. 10: the Zenith of European Power, 1830-70 (1964) online
Craig, Gordon. “The System of Alliances and the Balance of Power.” in J.P.T. Bury, ed.
The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 10: The Zenith of European Power, 1830-70 (1960)
pp 246–73. Crawley, C. W., ed. The New Cambridge Modern
History Volume IX War and Peace In An Age of Upheaval 1793-1830 (1965) online
H. C. Darby and H. Fullard The New Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 14: Atlas (1972)
Hinsley, F.H., ed. The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 11, Material Progress and World-Wide
Problems 1870-1898 (1979) online Mowat, C. L., ed. The New Cambridge Modern
History, Vol. 12: The Shifting Balance of World Forces, 1898-1945 (1968) online
Abbenhuis, Maartje. An Age of Neutrals: Great Power Politics, 1815-1914 (Cambridge UP, 2014).
297 pp. On the role of neutrality online review Albrecht-Carrié, René. A Diplomatic History
of Europe Since the Congress of Vienna (1958), 736pp; basic survey
Anderson, Frank Maloy, and Amos Shartle Hershey, eds. Handbook for the Diplomatic History of
Europe, Asia, and Africa, 1870-1914 (1918), highly detailed summary prepared for use by
the American delegation to the Paris peace conference of 1919. full text
Bartlett, C. J. Peace, War and the European Powers, 1814-1914 (1996) brief overview 216pp
Black, Jeremy. A History of Diplomacy (2010); Focus on how diplomats are organized
Bridge, F. R. & Roger Bullen. The Great Powers and the European States System 1814-1914,
2nd Ed. (2005) Evans, Richard J. The Pursuit of Power: Europe
1815-1914 (2016), 934pp. Figes, Orlando. The Crimean War: A History
(2011) excerpt and text search Gildea, Robert. Barricades and Borders: Europe
1800-1914 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World) (3rd ed. 2003) 544 pp excerpt and text
search; online 2nd ed, 1996 Gooch, G.P. History of Modern Europe: 1878-1919
(1923) online Haas, Mark L. The Ideological Origins of Great
Power Politics, 1789-1989 (Cornell UP, 2005), Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great
Powers Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500-2000 (1987), stress on economic
and military factors Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy (1995), 940pp;
not a memoir but an interpretive history of international diplomacy since the late 18th
century Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World
History (5th ed. 1973); highly detailed outline of events online free
Langer, William. European Alliances and Alignments 1870-1890 (1950); advanced history online
Langer, William. The Diplomacy of Imperialism 1890-1902 (1950); advanced history online
Mowat, R.B. A history of European diplomacy, 1815-1914 (1922) online free
Petrie, Charles. Diplomatic History, 1713-1933 (1946) online free; detailed summary
Rich, Norman. Great Power Diplomacy: 1814-1914 (1992), comprehensive survey
Schroeder, Paul W. The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848 (1994) 920pp; advanced
history and analysis of major diplomacy online Schroeder, Paul W. “International Politics,
Peace, and War, 1815-1914,” in T. C. W. Blanning, ed. The Nineteenth Century: Europe 1789-1914
(Oxford UP Press, 2000) Seaman, L.C.B. From Vienna to Versailles (1955)
216pp; brief overview of diplomatic history online
Sontag, Raymond. European Diplomatic History: 1871-1932 (1933), basic summary; 425pp online
Spender, J.A. Fifty years of Europe: a study in pre-war documents (1933) covers 1871 to
1914, 436pp. Taylor, A.J.P. The Struggle for Mastery in
Europe 1848–1918 (1954) 638pp; advanced history and analysis of major diplomacy; online
free Taylor, A.J.P. “International Relations” in
F.H. Hinsley, ed., The New Cambridge Modern History: XI: Material Progress and World-Wide
Problems, 1870-98 (1962): 542-66.===Maps===
Banks, Arthur. A World Atlas Of Military History 1861-1945 (1988) pp 29–94
Catchpole, Brian. Map History of the Modern World (1982) pp 2–32.
Haywood, John. Atlas of world history (1997) online free
Rand McNally Atlas of World History (1983), maps #76-81. Published in Britain as the Hamlyn
Historical Atlas online free Taylor, George. A Sketch-map History of Europe,
1789-1914 (1936) pp 32–65.===Coming of World War I===Clark, Christopher. The Sleepwalkers: How
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