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How far did Bismarckachieve his foreign policy aims in 1870-1878?

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Introduction

How far did Bismarck achieve his foreign policy aims in 1870-1878? Europe in 1870 was made up of six great powers which included Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. All of these countries faced great political instability as well as rapid industrialisation however despite this, Germany presented the greatest threat to European power due to their strong army and lack of internal problems. Bismarck's character would also have increased their powerful image because of his dedication to his position within the German government, as well as his arrogance which probably worked in his favour to gain authority. As prime minister, Bismarck aimed to maintain European peace, isolate France in order to protect their empire, ensure that Germany were always in the majority grouping between the great powers, avoid a war on two fronts and finally prevent having to make a choice between Austria-Hungary and Russia. One of Germany's most important foreign aims was to avoid a war on two fronts and in the Dreikaiserbund in 1873; this was achieved to an extent. Also known as the Three Emperor's Alliance, Germany allied with Austria-Hungary and Russia in order to fight against socialism, and by doing this he not only avoided a war on two fronts by having an alliance agreement, but he also reduced the risk of a war between Austria-Hungary and Russia over the Balkans. ...read more.

Middle

which promoted public anxiety with regards to France's rapid recovery from the Franco-Prussian war and their rearmament. Although this encouraged dislike and suspicion towards France because of their continuous threat of war; Bismarck's plan to totally isolate this country was not achieved because following the German article being published, France secured promises of help from Britain and Russia who were two of the most influential Great Powers against Germany. However one aim which Bismarck did not achieve at all was his policy of maintaining European peace which would have secured the Empire and its commercial prosperity. At the congress of Berlin in 1878, many of the individual Balkan states such as Bulgaria, Tunisia and Bosnia were divided up and given to other European countries who had more stability. At the time, this presented Germany as the negotiator for European affairs because they temporarily solved the Balkan problem and convinced the Ottoman Empire that they needed to reform, which prevented it from collapsing. However these were all short-term solutions and eventually the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and European peace declined. Bismarck also failed to achieve his foreign policy of maintaining European peace during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore there was not a secure alliance between them and as Germany showed following the congress of Berlin when they developed an alliance just with Russia, it could easily fall apart if there was hostility between the countries. Also, after the War in Sight Crisis, Britain and Russia said that they would help France by supporting them against Germany; although this wasn't officially an alliance, Germany found themselves in a three to two minority which went against Bismarck's aims for Germany and was a threat to their success as a Great Power. Overall, it could be argued that Bismarck only fully achieved one of his foreign policy aims between 1870 and 1878 of avoiding a war on two fronts. As for isolating France, not choosing between Austria-Hungary and Russia and ensuring that Germany remained in a three to two majority alliance, although Bismarck began to achieve this particularly in the Dreikaiserbund and the Franco-Prussian war, they were only short-term solutions and consequently the aims were contradicted very soon after being achieved by either Germany itself or any of the other European Great Powers. And Bismarck's attempt to maintain European peace was not achieved at all due to the continuous disputes over the Balkans and during the Franco-Prussian war; therefore it can be concluded that Bismarck's foreign policy aims were only achieved temporarily. ...read more.

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