8. Bismarck and the states system 1880-1890
Jan 30, 2013
Key Words Notes
Bismarck would demonstrate his overriding in the decade to come. In
There was a nessecity of the primacy of the alliance system of 1880’s.
making sure that Austria-Hungary
That was the nesesaacity of maintaining the existence of Austria-
still exitsed. This was because if it Hungry as a condition of defending his own solution to the German
didn’t then the german state question. Austria-Hungary’s continual survival was a necessary
would have to inclide the Slavic condition of Prussia’s continuing dominance of (..?) a smaller German
population. That would lead to an Empire not including the Austrian Germans, and also the Slavic
ehtinic clash. Naturally, Slavic population mixed up with the German population of the Austrian
people also felt a sense of bleining
to the Russians. This clash, It was that greater German the Grossdeutsch that Bismarck feared.
Bismarck thought could lead to an That was unlikely to be control-able by the Prussian ruling class,
war. - Because of its complicated cultural composition
- Its inevitable Slavic minority.
Bismarck wanted to avoid No matter how you drew the boundary, these were more
Grossdeutsch-Greater German. It
civilized times. Nobody thought of forcible ethnic cleansing,
would redraw the boundry line deporting of people and population.
contain the Austrian Germans and So Bismarck though no matter how you drew the boundaries of
t chunck of Slavic foreces. a greater German Empire, including the Germans of the
Hapsburg Empire, you’d also have to include a sizeable Slavic
It regarded itself as an alienated minority; it looked to Russia as
its champion. In other words there would be standing reasons
for conflict between greater Germany and the Russian empire
over the Slavic subjects.
That was the confrontation that Bismarck feared. He knew it would
destroy both powers and certainly the Prussian ruling class would not
Therefore, Bismarck thought it like an outbreak of such a war. And they didn’t between 1941-1945.
was fundamental that Austria- Perhaps the primary contribution of Adolf Hitler about the triumph
Hungary be maintained. Bismarck towards his cause.
still hoped to bring Russia into the The commitment to maintaining Austria-Hungary therefore was
tri-part deal. The Russians thought
that if they did not join soon than fundamental. Still Bismarck hoped to Bring Russia on board in a
Tripod deal. Especially with the failure of the Austrian action of
they would be excluded from bringing Britain into Bloc in the Russians place.
Germany’s good favors. Sure enough with his ascendant part in the Austro-German
relationship, and with the Russians now worried that they might be
The Three Emperors Alliance: excluded from Germany’s good offices and favors Bismarck seemed to
- June 18 1881 th
- Signed by Austria, Germany pull of the impossible. On June 18 1881 there was sign in Berlin the
so called (..?) The Three Emperor Alliance:
and Russia - Signed by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia.
- First article: benevolent - First article of that treaty between those three powers was fairly
neutrality bland. It simply committed the other powers to benevolent
- Second article: Balkan neutrality should one of them be attacked by a fourth power.
question. Russia and Austria
promise to take into account - The second article contained what Bismarck was concerned with.
He knew that the Balkan Question, the Eastern Question, and
their respective interest in the inheritance question about the land owned the Turks in Europe
Balkan Peninsula. was the crucial issue permanently setting Austria and Russia
against one another.
The whole point contained in the question, which resulted in a
quarrel over the Ottoman inheritance in southeastern Europe.
The whole point of this was to keep that crisis within tolerable
bounds so that Germany wasn’t dragged in. - s
Bismarck famously said, “The Balkans are not worth a bone of (one
German soldier).” But he knew that if war broke out in Europe because
The Three Emperors Alliance is of a Balkan crisis, and it did of course, in August 1914, then millions
tested when there was a revolt in would die. So he was aware of how profound the question contained in
Eastern Rumelia. the crisis were. The whole point of the Three Emperor Alliance was to
- Rumelia had been part of keep it in bound. So article 2, by the signiary powers, above all Austria
Bulgaria but was added back to and Russia promised to take account of their respective interest in the
the Ottoman Empire with the Balkan peninsula, was the real object of the treaty. To get the two rival
Treaty of San Stefano. powers in the region on board with permanent obligation to consult
- The citizens were not happy. one another in time of International crisis.
The obvious solution was to There was a provision made to deal the text of the treaty with the most
help them rejoin Bulgaria. likely form of the surgence of the Balkan problem or eastern question
might assume. That was the revolt in Eastern Rumelia. That part of
Bulgaria, which had been split from it in the Treaty of San Stefano and
return to Ottoman rule. The powers were well informed enough to
realize the citizens of Eastern Rumelia were seething at the fact that
they were sundered once more from their Bulgarian Brothers and
sisters. the obvious form that such a reemerge might take place was
removal of Eastern Rumelia to rejoin Bulgaria.
The powers said that they would be agreeable to such a development
as long as it happened under their agreement. They sought to resole
this question in advance.
So Bismarck seemed to escape his latent choice of Austria over Russia.
With negations he got Russia on board and seemed to contain and
confined the Balkan question. However, he remained pessimistic by
the prospect of postponing great power conflict in the Balkans forever.
Bismarck made a series of deals He remained with his priority in ensuring that Austria-Hungary, which
which highlighted his concerned
for maintaining Austria he thought would be bound to lose in a direct Austro-Russian contest,
he remained profoundly committed to doing what he could to ensure
- Triple Alliance Treaty that it helps its position as long as possible-Only for Germany’s sake.
May 20 1882 What he proceeded to do was engage in some other diplomatic deals
Launched by Italian Prime which rather Illumined his real concern for maintaining Austria
Minister Depretis interest even at the sake of potentially alienating the Russians.
He got criticism when the th
- The first such agreement came in the Triple Alliance on May 20
French managed to steal 1882.
their colonization in North This was initially an initiative launched by Italy.
Africa The Italian Prime Minister Depretis came into considerable
The French outflanked the domestic criticism and the French managed to steal a march on
Italian in Tunis and the the Italian colonization of North Africa and establish their
Italian public wasn’t happy.
So Depretis approacged, One of the central Mediterranean South African countries,
Bismarck with an offer of which Italy, the smallest of the great powers, aspired to
an alliance dominant the colonized Libya, and much of the southern
Bismarck was reluctant but Mediterranean shore in South Africa.
eventually he realized that
this alliance might be So Depretis was outflanked by the French in Tunis where he
came under considerable domestic criticism.
important in terms of So in an attempt to fix his position with the French, he
Austria’s existence. approached Bismarck with an offer of Alliance. Initially the
Logic behind the German chancellor was skeptical of the support Italy could
Bismarck’s actions: lend, for example in a future war with France. But the more he
a. Italy and Austria were
enemies thought about Deprietis proposal the more he saw the value in
it. Especially from the point of view of propping up Austria’s
b. In a war Italy would existence. chose France over Italy and Austria were recent enemies and thereby align itself
Germany in war. with France in any war between France and Germany and
c. It also relieved the Germany was supported by Austria.
southern pressure of So it relieved the southern flank pressure from Italy upon
Italy on Austria. Austria to secure Austria’s southern frontier, Bismarck was
The terms included that if a prepared to conclude a tri-part alliance.
fourth power were to By the terms of that alliance, Austria and Germany, in effect
attack Austria, Germany or guaranteed each other in any future war with a fourth power.
Italy ten the other would The real bargain from Bismarck’s point of view was that Italy
help. wouldn’t join France in an attack against Germany when it
The whole point was to would need support, and support Germany in future war with
ensure that any power did the French and more importantly it wouldn’t attack Austria in
not attack Austria. the case of a Russian war with the Austrians.
- Austro-German Treaty: The whole point of the triple alliance. An extra obligation from
October 30 1883 Bismarck’s point of view, was not to get Italian military power
Made with Romania. on Germany’s side, rather ensure that it wasn’t against Austria
Bismarck’s logic: in a future European war.
a. The only reason why - Austro-German Treaty of October 30 , 1883 with Romania.
Bismarck wanted to Romania was a country sandwiched between Bulgaria and
guarantee the existence Russia
of Romania was The only point of the central powers, as they came to be known
because it acted as a in the first world war, Germany, Austria and Hungry,
buffer state between it guaranteed the existence of Romania as a buffer state between
and Austria Russia and Bulgaria pushing back the direct influence on Russia
b. To shore up Austria in Bulgaria and thereby a buffer state between Russia and Austria.
Southeast Europe. The whole point of the Romanian treaty was to shore up
Austria in southeast Europe.
It could be argued that the treaty with Romania was in indirect
conflict with Bismarck’s obligations to Russia under the terms
of the Three Emperors league.
But the whole point of it was to deal with what was an essential
problem built into the system that could not be solved by any
diplomatic instrument. That was the problem articulated by
Bismarck in conversations with his old friend, Saburov in 1880.
He said, “all politics reduces itself to his formula. To try to be
one of three, as the world is government by the unstable
equilibrium of five great powers”
When you have five dominant powers, comprising the
international order the trick was to be in the majority.
The only bloc feasible for Bismarck was the Austro-Russian
France would never forgive for the loss of Alsace Lorraine. So
Treaty of Frankfurt Bismarck to some extent himself, by permanently alienating
France by Treaty of Frankfurt had botched himself.
Yet the only possible way was for the three to add to Germany,
Austria and Russia. The problem was that they were permanent
enemies because of the rivalry between and amongst over the
inheritance of southeaster Europe.
That is one why on one hand he was committed to Austria for
the reasons we have, he could not afford to alienate Russia too
easily. It might look elsewhere and suddenly Ge