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HIS103 23. Bismarck and the States system 1871-1879

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University of Toronto St. George
Denis Smyth

7. Bismarck and the States system 1871-1879 Jan 28, 2013 Key words Notes  Von Bismarck was the rarity in international politics and in life someone who seemed to learn not from his mistakes but from his successes.  Bismarck, after the defeat of France and after his unification of Germany under Prussian leadership, and of course to Prussia’s advantage, proceeded to confront the issue of restoring order and stability to a system he had severely shaken. To the on looking British politicians, the Tories Prime Minister Benjamin (..?) it looked as if Bismarck had bough an utter destruction to the balance of power. At the very least the Prime minister saw that the age Bismarck had uttered in, a new international relations order, this was an age of new problems, new uncertainties, and new insecurities. There remained to be seemed that Bismarck could address the issue of restoring the balance of power to Europe.  Some people have argued that Bismarck foreclosed his options to some extent by permanently alienating France to the expropriation of  Bismarck alienated France Alsace and large part of Lorraine. And its integration into the German because he knew they would Empire. be alienated from other. This - However, for start Bismarck thought that France would always be came about because of two estranged by Germany by the fact of its defeat at German hands. It reasons: might not have reconciliation with its opponent. - France would not attempt - Secondly Bismarck was well away that he had debts to pay with the to reconciliate with German nationalist movement-popular German nationalist Germany, especially after movement, which he had hijacked in the Prussian interest. At the Germany had defeated very least the Germans demanded that after the wars with France, them. the recorporatation of Alsace and Lorraine would be into German - Germany demanded to the National territory. incorporation of Alsace and  That was the price Bismarck had to pay with the support of German Lorraine into German nationalism. National territory.  Then to the view the future of German national security Bismarck was persuaded by the German/Prussian high command that Alsace  In matters of German national security Bismarck Lorraine’s incorporation into the western boarders of the new German Empire would render that western frontier all the more defendable thought that it was best that and easily secured against any future aggression from French or Alsace and Lorraine be territorial expansion from them. incorporated into the western  For all those reasons Bismarck was willing to risk alienating the frontiers, so that any future French at least because he thought they were alienated beyond repair French aggression can be blocked. and recovery.  That left him with a reduced set of options within the European system.  In efforts to restore order  His first step to that problem was to restore the order and maintain and maintain security the security in that order within the German empire. In a sense this Bismarck tried to revive the Holy Alliance. His reasons to meant to revive the holy alliance. This union of the northern course, as think that it would work were he called was a natural international decision for Bismarck himself to as follows adopt. He saw that Germany, (Prussia enlarged) Austria and Russia, - They all shared a belief in after all their traditional and recent quarrels, including an Austro- conservative monarchial Prussian war of course, had fundamental interest in common. principals - They shared a belief in conservative monarchial principals. - He was afraid that if they - And on whole an aversion of a major war which might give went to war too often opponents, such as social and political revolutionaries of those people might rise from the principals a chance to exploit the international stability and to bottom and take over. E.g generate domestic disorder. revolutionaries.  Bismarck for all the fact that he had fought two major wars to achieve political ends, Bismarck was adamantly convinced that no international system could prolong violence. Wars had to be short and sharp and then contained, and if possible abolished for the future.  With those guiding principals in mind, Bismarck encouraged an rapprochement between Austria and Russia after the great breach of 1864 with the ultimatum from the Austrians over the Danubian principalities. He mended that Austro-Russian breach and encouraged  Holy Alliance Pact is signed them to sign a Holy Alliance Pact in June 1873. in June 1873 - Russia and Austria uphold monarchial principals - Russia and Austria to - Consult each other in the event of international crisis. In orther uphold monarchial words to try and harmonize their interests in any international principals crisis. That was part of the pact focused on the Balkan peninsula in - Consult each other if an southeastern Europe where the Turkish power threatened the international crisis arose. Austrian power-now the Austrian-Hungarian power reformed as a dual monarchy after the defeat of 1866. And in 1867 it was formed as a Austro-Hungarian power in the aftermath of the defeat. - For the Austro-Hungarian, who succeeded in Southeastern was vast of strategic importance. The other power shouldn’t gain didn’t gain too much of an advantage in that political cockpit of Europe in the southeastern Europe. For that reason it was in Bismarck’s interest to contain the Balkan power head. - To contain the Balkan power head  From the Austrian and Russia point of view they had little choice but to follow Bismarck’s broad suggestion that they mend their fences and conclude this pact because each lived in fear that the other would make a bilateral and exclusive deal with Germany. If any of the powers did a deal detrimental to the other the isolated power would be in a vulnerable position. They weren’t doing it because they loved each other, rather just to listen to Bismarck. Germany itself on the 22 October 1873 Bismarck adhered the name of Germany to this Austro- Russian pact which thereby became The Three Emperors League.  Bismarck named this - This was a pretty lose arrangement and it indicated Bismarcks Austro-Russian and German initial preferred style for managing the new order which he had in pact the Three Emperors fact created by unifying Germany. By establishing a solid block of league. power in the heart of Europe. His preferred style was indirect - Set up in October 22, 1873 management. Getting other powers in a way of doing what he - It had two basic functions: wanted and thereby stabilizing the tripod block, which should be  Protect Germany. able to call the other powers to heel. Even malverick (..?) and  Contain the crisis of the France. Balkan Question. - The problem was that the inadequacy of this instrument to fulfill - However 2 years later the two basic functions. league proved to be  Protection of Germany, Germany primacy within the European inadequate order  The containment of the permanent crisis within the European body of politics-The Balkans questions - The Three Emperor league soon showed within three years to be inadequate for Bismarck’s states purposes and priorities.  The inadequacy to protect Germany had been revealed only 2 years  The ‘War-in-sight’ broke out after its signature- in the spring of 1875. in Franco-German relations  Spring of 1875 The ‘War-in-sight’ crisis broke out in Franco-German - Spring of 1975 relations. - Caused by fear of Germany - This crisis was caused by Germanys growing fear on the part of the of the growing French ruling class at the rapid recovery of France from its defeat in 1871. army. - The French had paid off the huge debts they had owned to their - The new government, conquers in little time. The elected a military strong man as directed by a military man, president of Third Republic, which was founded in the ruins of the issued a conscription of empire of Napoleon III. This worried Bismarck because of the very 144,000 men to the French success of stabilizing the public regime. The Third Republic of army in March 1875. making more alliances throughout Europe. It did nto look like a - This rattled the German radical and fragile entity, but ruled by a military strong man, this people and consulted republic now looked like something that might seduce France or Bismarck if they should go one of the other powers along with it to confront Germany. to war. - In March 1875 the French national assembly increased in a sudden - Bismarck unleashed a move the size of the French male population subject to military press campaign, which conscription. They added a 144,000 men to the military attempted to pressure the establishment in terms of people who would be conscripted and French to back off. For trained to joined the arm forces in time of war. example, ‘Is War Insight” in - In fact already by spring of 1875 the Third central republic in times Berlin’s The Post of international crisis could immediately mobilize 600,000 men for - To Bismarck’s surprise war. other great powers came to - This mass conscription scheme and its sudden expansion was what the aid of France. really rattled the Germany military. They had begun planning for preventative or preemptive strike against France as early as 1872. Now they began to suggest to Bismarck that such might be necessary after all. - Bismarck preferred to unleash a war of nerves against the French. He unleashed a press campaign inspired by himself and his assistance to apply pressure to the French to back off and possibly scale down their military establishment. He certainly seemed to be behind the threatening editorial published in The Post newspaper in Berlin in 1875 which asked “Is War Insight?”. - And for the next few weeks similar editorials were published clearly inspired by officials quarters in Bismarck’s Germany. - Bismarck expected the isolated French to perhaps back down and make reconciliatory gestures and even council the direction of their military conscription scheme. However, to his surprise other powers in Europe rallied to the French.  Other European states such  Other European powers rallied to the French. Not only Britain, but also as Britain and Russia rallied the prime minster Disraeli made it very clear that Britain would not for the French stand by if Germany kicked a fight with France and invaded it once more. More stunning from the German point of view was the intersection of Russia again with a clear statement that they would not stand aloof if Germany adopted a unilateral military solution with the problem of its relations with the French republic.  From east and west, the great periphel powers, Britain and Russia, now moved to bring home to Bismarck the falling of his provocative ways.  The height of the crisis, the British ambassador visited Bismarck and told him in no certain terms that if he acted aggressively against France Europe would react. Bismarck responded with “bah, what is Europe”.  Much to the delight of Bismarck’s competitors, Russian foreign minster chancellor Gorchakov, treated Bismarck to Russian emperor and talking to him ensuring him that Germany would have no future aggression against France. The emperor assured him that he was quite ready to issue assuring statements and Bismarck suffered a personal diplomatic humiliation before the very eyes of his competitor.  Bismarck became  As regard to Germany itself, and Bismarck’s perception on how to concerned about the protect it, the Three Emperors hadn’t even guaranteed the protection of Germany. Not membership of that alliance to support Germany, let alone protect it only were the Three Emperors against other powers such as Britain poking their noses into Franco not ready to protect Germany, German relations. they hadn’t even guaranteed  If that wasn’t enough, the following year the onset of another crisis membership. showed up and revealed the wholeness of the League as it diplomatic instrument for securing and confining the eastern question in a non  July 1975 there is a threatening manner for the rest of Europe. rebellion in the province of  What happened was the outbreak in July 1975 of rebellion in the Bosnia-Herzegovina against province of Bosnia-Herzegovina against Turkish rule. Turkish Rule  In June of 1876 the following year, Serbia, which was now semi- independent from the ottoman Turks intervened on the side of the  Following year the Serbia Bosnians. Turkish forces conducted a rather brutal campaigned, intervened and the Turks including massacring villagers and such. The fighting spread into reacted with a horrible Bulgaria and the huge publicity, Britain in particular, the leader of the campaign. opposition Disraeli embarked on a campaign of public speeches denouncing what he called the Bulgarian horrors. Calling on Bulgaria to abandon the Turks and establish an alliance with the subject people of the Balkan peninsula  The Russians intervened  1877 after failed effort at diplomatic dialogue with the Turks the great and they defeated the ottoman protector of the Slavic and Christian people of the east and south east, Empire at Plevna. - December 18, 1877 the Russian empire entered into a war against the Turks. They - Treaty of San Stefano on eventually inflicted a decisive defeat on the Ottoman Empire in rd December 18, 1877 at Plevna. March 3 1878 at Plevna.  The Austro-Hungarians had sanctioned the Russian intervention in the  Russian essentially spreading instability in Balkans in return with the Russian agreement dictated new boundary that they enter and occupy the Bosnia-Herzegovi
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