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Lecture 2

HST 504 - Week 2.docx

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Ryerson University
HST 504
Mike Kasprzak

HST 504 – Week 2 Keywords First and Second Moroccan Crisis “gunboat diplomacy” Boer Wars Triple Entente Triple Alliance Entente Cordiale Kaiser Wilhelm II Schlieffen Plan Mitteleuropa The Blame Game: Origins of the Great War - contended that the war aims of the imperial German government and its widespread supporters were expansionist - The Second Reich had planned and pursued a grandiose plan to assume control over most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. - Since the beginning of the early 1890s, the German military, economic and political elites had supported a strategy that promoted the acquisition of new territories, sources of raw materials and markets. Great Power Status - Firstly, colonial acquisitions came to be perceived as the most genuine indication of having achieved Great Power status. - Public opinion encouraged the belief that only through the establishment of a vast empire could a state really fulfill its nationhood. - These ideas were often fuelled by the press and various colonial associations, clubs and societies. - Many emerging ideologies concluded that a state would acquire colonies or it would cease to exist. Imperial Overstretch - Secondly, many of the Great Powers felt the consequences of imperial overstretch. - In the Second Anglo-Boer War, the British forces managed to defeat the rebels in open warfare, and then by suppressing the guerrilla campaign. - However, the conflict lasted three years, required the use of thousands of troops from the home isles and colonies, and revealed many of Britain’s weaknesses (e.g., military ineffectiveness). - Thereafter, Britain became especially obsessed with national security. - She abandoned splendid isolation and sought allies (such as France, Russia and Japan) and became overly sensitive to the aspirations of others (such as Germany). Old Timers vs. Latecomers - Thirdly, there were tensions between established colonial powers and the latecomers. - The French and the British became the victors of the Scramble for Africa, creating vast empires. - Others, such as Italy and Germany, struggled to acquire political and economic influence. - After its unification, Italy began its imperial venture in the 1870s, reawakening the nostalgia of the Roman Empire. - But her acquisition of the Ottoman province of Tunisia was thwarted by the French, pushing Italy into the Triple Alliance (with Germany and Austria-Hungary), increasing militarism and national ambitions. - By the 1880s, the Italians turned to East Africa, creating Italian Somaliland, and by the mid-1890s, as their ambitions expanded, declaring war on Ethiopia. - The humiliating defeat by the Ethiopian forces was only avenged by the war with the Ottoman Empire in 1911, which gave Italy control over Libya. Instability in International Relations - Lastly, imperial rivalry stimulated instability in international relations in Europe. - Although globalization promoted peace by making war more expensive, international trade more beneficial, societies more democratic, and countries more constrained in reaching for military force, imperial rivalry was a major cause of the First World War. - The Franco-German rivalry over Morocco and the Russo-Austrian competition in the Balkans pushed the G
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