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German Foreign Policy - To what extent was the German Foreign Policy responsible for Britain's retreat from splendid isolation? Discuss with reference to the period ending in 1907.

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Introduction

German Foreign Policy To what extent was the German Foreign Policy responsible for Britain's retreat from splendid isolation? Discuss with reference to the period ending in 1907. German foreign policy in the Wilhelmine Era (1890-1914) turned away from Bismarck's cautious diplomacy of the 1871-90 period. It was also marked by a shrill aggressiveness. Abrupt, clumsy diplomacy was backed by increased weaponry production, most notably the creation of a large fleet of battleships capable of challenging the British navy. This new eagerness to fight alarmed the rest of Europe, and by about 1907 German policy makers had succeeded in creating Bismarck's nightmare: a Germany "encircled" by an alliance of hostile neighbours- in this case Russia, France, and Britain--in an alliance known as the 'Triple Entente'. This, among other reasons, affected the status of Britain in foreign affairs making them emerge from their 'splendid isolation' policy and becoming more of an active power in Europe. I will consider the factors which brought Britain out of splendid isolation and to what extent was Germany to blame for it. The first brick to fall out of Bismarck's carefully crafted structure was Germany's Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. The German Emperor, William (Wilhelm II) ...read more.

Middle

Two crises over Morocco, in 1905 and 1911 was a plan by the Germans in order to show Britain that France was the wrong country to ally with however, this solitarily drove France and Britain closer together and made for a tense international atmosphere. These actions by the Germans, for naval expansion, were immediately looked up by Britain. They now were afraid that their two power standard navy could be challenged. Britain had an excellent navy however it had a very poor army and on the contrary, German had an excellent army however a poor navy. The objectives set out by the Navy Bill would allow Germany to have a formidable navy and combined with the great army would be a super power in Europe as no country would be able to match its military supremacy. Whatever the motivation for Weltpolitik, it was inevitable that the Kaiser's plans to transform the international status of his Empire would impact heavily on the other Powers. This was particularly true for Britain. Britain had the world's largest empire which, by 1914, covered a quarter of the world's land surface area and contained a third of its population. Britain was the world's major industrial country and led the world in coal and textile production. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1902, Britain signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, its first military alliance since the Crimean War. Both parties recognised the special interests of each other in China and Japan's interests in Korea. Each side declared that it would stay neutral if either side was involved in a war with another power, and agreed to enter a war if either side became involved in a war with more that one power. Japan signed the alliance because it feared Russian influence in Korea and north China. Britain wanted to use the Japanese fleet to protect British interests in the Far East so that the Royal Navy could be re-deployed to the North Sea to meet the German naval threat. Britain stayed neutral in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 and Japan joined Britain in the First World War against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907 was a colonial agreement over spheres of influence in Persia, now known as Iran. Even after the agreement, Anglo-Russian relations remained tense because of Afghanistan and the Straits. The change in the German foreign policy was partially responsible for the withdrawal of the British splendid isolation policy however, it was not the only cause. Other factors, such as Boer War, South African War, and other countries, such as France, Russia, Japan, also were liable for the departure from the British policy. ...read more.

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