Wilhelm II's weltpolitik
- literally mean 'world politiks'
- term used to describe the Kaiser's foreign policy in germany 1888
- new nation of germany was the strongest industrial country in europe. Army was the most powerful in the world, yet it did not have an empire
- they felt undervalued by other european countries.
- Aim of weltpolitik was; To win germany the respect it deserved from the world, the kaiser wanted it to have 'it's place in the sun'
- He sought to achieve this goal with an aggressive foreign policy.
- The kaiser wanted to turn germany into a huge trading nation.
- Wanted to become an imperial power- wanted a strong navy, as strong as Britains
- Wanted to create 'Mitteleuropa'.
The Alliance system 1900-14
major great powers of europe divided into rival alliances is often seen as a major cause of the first world war.
- 1882 Germany, Austria-hungary and Italy form the Triple Alliance.
- Germany also had a treaty with Russia, but lapsed in 1890.
- 1894, Franco-Russian alliance.
- Britain tried to remain in 'splendid isolation' in the 19th century, but emerged into the alliance system in fear of germany's growing power.
- 1902 Britain made a naval agreement with Japan.
- 1904 Britain signed Entente Cordial with France.
- 1907 Russia joins and they become the Triple Entente.
People thought Alliances would prevent war, not cause them, as the alliances were defensive.
In a number of ways, it increased the atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust-
- Treaties were signed in secret- a country would think its rivals are making an aggressive move, when it is defensive,
- Relations between rival powers worsened, each power would look to its ally. Local disputes became wider hostility.
- Great Powers were also involved in a race to build up their armies.
- Conflicts took place between 1900-1914 which increased tension between powers, strengthened alliances and created highly volatile situation.
Arms Race 1900-1914
It was argues that the only way to ensure peace was to have a strong army and ward off invaders.
This was supported by weapon manufacturers as they made a vast profit from it.
All of the great powers, except Britain, increased in size of their army during this period.
-in 1913 the french raised their period of conscription from 2 to 3 years. The russians raised theirs from 3 to 3 and a half.
- by 1913 germany was very powerful, only russia had more soldiers, yet it was ill equipped.
-Britain was the only power that had not introduced conscription by 1914.
Naval arms race 1906-14
Britain needed a powerful navy, relied heavily on it. At the end of 19th century, it…