• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was Bismarcks main foreign policy aim the isolation of France?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent was Bismarck's main foreign policy aim the isolation of France? The creation of the German Empire in 1871 was the beginning of a series of events, all leading up to Bismarck's ambition of Germany becoming a Super-power. However, before 1870, the Bismarckian foreign policy had aims, such as Prussia being a main influence in the confederation, rather than Austria. Another foreign policy aim was for Germany to deflect the hostility of France after their defeat in 1871. This defeat had a profound effect on international relations as the newly formed German empire destroyed the balance of power in Europe, which was a real threat to its neighbouring countries as the new Germany was growing dramatically in economic and military strength. Bismarck's primary aim was then to prevent any external events from disrupting the settlement that he had created, meaning that he would go to any measures to ensure that the strength of his empire was to remain strong. In order to do this he had to keep the peace and status quo in Europe, create allies and stay on good terms with France's most likely allies as Bismarck was afraid that France would encircle Germany with a hostile alliance. But one of Bismarck's key aims to keep the strength of the German empire strong was to keep France isolated. ...read more.


In March 1878, the Russo Turkish war ended with the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano. The Treaty Of San Stefano caused tension as large Russian client states were created in Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Romania which gave Russia great power in the Balkan states. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and many other European countries had many concerns about what Russia would do with the influence in the Balkans as Austro-Hungry had foreign policy aims in the Balkans itself. The power gained by Russia in the San Stefano caused an upset in the balance of power in Europe. Bismarck wanted to keep the balance of power in Europe and decided to take charge and call a congress in Berlin. This congress revised the Treaty of San Stefano and granted freedom for Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and Bulgaria. This congress took away power from Russia and neutralised the balance of power in Europe. Another foreign policy aim of Bismarck was colonial ambition as most powers wanted their place in the sun. Bismarck was officially against German colonisation as he believed and voiced that Germany was satiated with the unification and that protecting what he had created was key. However, Germany still gained several colonies under Bismarck's leadership. In 1878, the German African society was set up as Bismarck encouraged other powers to gain colonies. ...read more.


The threat of the navy was a big worry for Great Britain as the country is surrounded by water, making the access to British land more accessible. An Alliance was formed between Great Britain and France for security, despite the natural tension between the two powers of colonies in Africa. This alliance was a threat towards Bismarck as France was no longer isolated. In 1907 the Triple Entaint was formed as Russia formed the Alliance. All 3 powers joined together for the security from Germanys growing empire. I conclude that Bismarck had many foreign policy aims, but some historians believe that the isolation of France may have been the biggest as Bismarck keeping France isolated was key to his success of creating a strong empire. Also, the isolation of France meant that France would remain weak and even if she did want to take revenge, would not be capable of defeating Germany. However, other foreign policy aims are seen as just as important as the isolation of France, such as ensuring there was a balance of power in Europe. Bismarck needed to maintain the balance of power otherwise tension would form and Alliance's would be made which may result in Bismarck becoming en-circled and loosing economic and political strength. Also Bismarck's aim of keeping strong relations with Austria and Russia was also key as without the support of the other powers, the German empire would be left again with the threat of encirclement. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Assess the effectiveness of Napoleon III's foreign policy. How did his foreign policy affect ...

    According to Norman Rich, "The situation in Italy offered him a dramatic opportunity to place himself at the head of the European nationalist movement." This shows us that he wanted to increase the prestige of France. However, he has miscalculated the situation.

  2. To what extent was Bismarck responsible for German unification?

    all of the German states with such actions as the creation of the Zollverein, the unification of currencies across all of the German states. However, it was not until Bismarck came to power in Germany that any real sense of German nationality came to being, as indeed the Revolution of

  1. To what extent was Gladstone's religion the driving force behind his attempt to 'sabotage' ...

    Gladstone consistently cast himself as a moral crusader in his policies, particularly regarding Ireland and in his opposition and criticisms of 'Beaconsfieldism'. Following the brutal massacre of 15,000 Bulgarians, Jenkins' argument that the moral Gladstone was 'spontaneously seized with a passionate sympathy for the sufferings of the Balkan Christian communities'8 seems plausible.

  2. Assess the success of Bismarck's foreign policy with reference to: a) Keeping France isolated ...

    War seemed likely between two. In this situation one of these two countries would possibly look towards Germany as a potential ally, so, therefore, Bismarck would have the job of choosing between them. Whichever of the two was rejected by Bismarck would then look for an ally elsewhere.


    This, in itself shows his lack of control, as his legislations had to suit whichever was the strongest party at the time, implying that they were in more control over Germany than he was. Bismarck's 'Great Change' in domestic policy in 1878-79 required Bismarck to change his alliance, from National

  2. To What Extent was the Idea of 'Lebensraum' the Main War Aim of Hitler's ...

    it was this that would be Hitler's main reason for going to war, as it was his personal view after all. But it is more likely that Hitler saw the destruction of Jewish Bolshevism simply as a bonus to going through with the Lebensraum policy, as the racial destruction was already part of the scheme.

  1. Hitlers Germany

    The primary preoccupation of most Germans was with the most elementary problems of food, shelter, and work. There came the days of a wildly flourishing black market, of a tobacco-starved population that threw official currency to the winds and improvised a wildly fluctuating cigarette economy, in which goods and services

  2. To what extent were economic considerations the main motive for Portuguese exploration and empire ...

    the newly conquered colonises of Africa, Portuguese explores captured them and sent them back to Portugal as slaves to work on the land. Also slaves became very valuable and could be sold for a very good price. Also Portugal was a small county and needed more land to farm and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work