German Foreign Policy 1900 - 1914


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German Foreign Policy 1900 - 1914
Alliances and War Plans,
To protect their new Empire, after the German victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, a series of alliances were
created. Otto Von Bismarck was the architect of this new system. They sought to seek revenge on France by isolating them
from this new alliance system. The League of the Three Emperors of 1881 was to keep the peace between
Austria-Hungary, Russia and Germany. The Triple Alliance of 1882 was between Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany, it was a
defensive alliance. There was a profound impact on German Foreign Policy when the new Kaiser Wilhelm the second made
his accession to the throne in 1888 and Bismarck departed from his post as Chancellor.
Germany and Britain,
The Kaiser's attitude towards Britain was complex as his Grandmother was Queen Victoria. However in 1896 there was still
a chance that German would be able to woo Britain into joining the Triple Alliance however that was changing due to:
Flottenpolitik and a series of Navy Laws that directly challenged the Royal Navy and sparked rivalry between the two
nations. Germany also supported the Boers in the Boer War 1899 -1902 which further antagonised relationships. In the
coming years Britain ended its Splendid Isolation and started to make allies such as Japan in 1902 and the Entente
agreements with France in 1904 and Russia in 1907, this left Germany dependent on Austria-Hungary.
Limits to Weltpolitik,
In 1897 Germany involvement in China resulted in her gaining a lease on the port of Kiaochow
In 1898 Germany brought the Pacific islands of the Carolines and the Marianas from Spain
In 1899 an agreement was made with Britain resulting in Germany taking some of the eastern Samoan islands
Despite involvement in the Constantinople to Bagdad railways, these gains did not constitute a great success and did
not deliver Germany's 'Place in the Sun'
However, Russia's misfortune in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905 and its subsequent weakening due to
revolution in 1905 gave Germany a freer diplomatic hand in the Near East
The First Moroccan Crisis, 1905-1906,
Kaiser Wilhelm visited Tangier in the French Sphere of Influence in Morocco, trying to protect Germany's economic
France spoke to Britain and Italy about increasing interest in Morocco
Germany then tried to drive a wedge between Russia and France
Russia rejected these attacks and remained allied
The defeat was humiliating for Germany - they only country they had left to ally with was Austria-Hungary
The Second Moroccan Crisis 1911,
1909, French and German governments signed an agreement to respect each other's interests in Morocco
In April 1911 a disturbance in the town of Fez led to the French military intervening and the German's complaining
Germany wanted to drive a wedge between France and Britain, which Failed
Lloyd George gives his Mansion House Speech in which he warned Germany against aggression
Ended with Germany giving up two strips of land in the Congo and France keeping Morocco
Tensions mount,
German foreign policy was based on the understanding that the imperial rivalries of France and Britain in Africa, and Britain
and Russia in Asia, would mean that Germany would be able to divide and dominated these three countries. However this
was not the case, and in 1907 Britain and Russia signed an entente that put their differences aside.
The Naval race between Britain and Germany persisted, despite Bulow and Hollweg's attempts to persuade the Kaiser to
come to some kind of agreement. He would not compromise. The Failure of the Haldane Mission in February 1912 marked
the last chance for the two countries to come to an agreement.
The Balkans,
The expansion into the Balkans by Germany and Austria-Hungary was due to the fact that they wanted to claim
whatever they could from the Ottoman Empire
It created tension as Serbia and the Balkan League wanted to be independent
Serbia was backed by Russia
Austria had been allowed to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 led by the blank cheque agreement in which Germany
offered their complete military support

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France and Britain side with the Balkans and Russia, the French lost land to Germany in 1871 and Britain were concerned
with maintaining the balance of power in Europe
It was the Balkans that was a main trigger to war in 1914 but it was not the only cause
July Crisis,
28th June 1914, the heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand was shot by a member of the Black Hand group which
was a Serbian nationalist group
This is where the Blank Cheque came…read more


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