War in Sight Crisis 1875


What was the war in sight crisis?

  • The crisis emerged out of Bismarck's concern of Germany's old enemy, France. 
  • France had recovered significantly since its defeat to Germany in 1871, and had seen the overthrow of a relatively peaceful republican government by a new royalist one, which sought to increase its prestige via an agressive foreign policy. 
  • Bismarck feared that France would support catholic defiance in Germany. 
  • He warned the French government that there would be a threat to peace in Europe if France sided with the vatican over German domestic policy. 
  • While some such as Helmut von Moltke believed that a prevantative war was necessary. Essentially he believed that Germany should attack France before they had the capability to attack Germany. 
  • Bismarck disagreed and instead organised a press campaign to put pressure on France. An article in The Berliner Post contemplated whether "war was in sight", and the article seemed to indicate that the German government thought that it was. 
  • This caused considerable alarm among the major european powers and the Kaiser, Queen Victoria and Alexander II of Russia held private talks in Germany. The Russian chancellor Alexander Gorchakov informed the press that peace had been assured. 
  • Bismarck was furious, claiming that Russia had undermined his policy towards France and that Britain was interfering in German affairs. 
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