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Explain briefly why Britain entered into entente with France in 1904

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Introduction

´╗┐Explain briefly why Britain entered into entente with France in 1904 The long term background to this alliance is Salisbury?s concern that Europe was sliding into a war which would de-stabilise Britain?s Empire and his failure to prevent tensions rising by creating a concert of Europe. In 1904 Britain seemed to be isolated in Europe. The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy had been formed in 1882 and the Franco Russian Alliance was signed in 1893. ...read more.

Middle

The Conservative government had become concerned about Britain?s declining trade. Germany was becoming an important trading nation selling the same goods as Britain. The Germans were building up their armed forces, especially the navy. Their Dreadnoughts seemed to be a direct challenge to Britain. The German expansion in Africa was a threat to existing British territories. Relations with France had been even worse. The French felt that they had been betrayed over Egypt. They had grown close to Russia. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austria and Russia were competing for control of the new Balkan states. Salisbury did not want such a war to start ? it would interfere with trade at a crucial time. So Salisbury decided that an alliance with the weaker of the two alliances might put off the clashes towards which Europe seemed to be heading. The Entente Cordiale was much less formal than an alliance. It did not commit Britain to support for France in war, but it improved the poor relations Britain and France had over Africa. On top of this it was a warning that the Triple Alliance would need to be careful. ...read more.

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