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Bismarck's policies success

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"Bismarck pursued a successful foreign policy between 1871 and 1890 but was often defeated on domestic issues". To what extent do you agree with this statement? Jude Batayneh Once Germany was unified, Bismarck mainly wanted to prevent any challenges against the new European order and to unite the new German state, which faced much domestic opposition and great suspicion from the rest of Europe, rather than seek further territory or fight more wars. As Chancellor from 1871 - 1890, Bismarck provided continuity and stability on one hand, and reflected his own restless and suspicious nature through his predominance on the other. Part of Bismarck's foreign policy in which he was successful in achieving was the weakening and isolation of France. The former objective was attained by the peace settlement imposed on France by the Treaty of Frankfurt, which included a large war indemnity. The five main powers in Europe were Great Britain, Russia, France, Austria- Hungary and Germany. Bismarck wanted to form an alliance with at least two of them in order to isolate France. The isolation of France was more difficult yet also attained. First of all, Britain would not present Bismarck with any problems as it was more concerned with her empire than with the rest of Europe. ...read more.


There seemed to be an anti- British alliance between them because Britain was very powerful. Following the crisis in Africa (especially in Congo) a congress was called in Berlin in 1885 to settle these various disputes. The territories that the Germans obtained were German- Southwest Africa and Togo. This was actually settled before the congress because the terms had to be agreed on by Britain. A large indication on how successful Bismarck's foreign policies were would be the fact that once Bismarck resigned, Germany's foreign relations immediately began to fall apart. Bismarck successfully guarded Germany. In 1890, Bismarck wanted to renew the Re-Insurance Treaty; Russia was also keen on doing so. The Kaiser was against renewing the Re-Insurance Treaty because he believed he could rely on his own personal relations (him and the Tsar were cousins). Bismarck offered his resignation (after he got frustrated) and the Kaiser accepted it, but prevented him from publishing his reasons for dismissal. In 1891 there was an informal agreement between the Russians the French and French ministers visited Russia and in 1893 they formed a complete military alliance. A dangerous move against Germany. A success in one of Bismarck's domestic policies would be the expansion and development of Germany's economy. ...read more.


In 1886 the state provided accident and sickness insurance for 16 million agricultural workers. In 1889 the state provided old age pensions for people over 70. Even so, in the long term, support for the socialists and for the Social Democratic Party continued to grow. The problem for Bismarck is that "the workers wanted power, not lollipops". In conclusion, it seems that Bismarck was more successful with his foreign policies than his domestic ones during the period between 1871 and 1890. It seemed that his goal in achieving the weakening of France and isolating it was well achieved in his time. Even when it seems that his plans are failing, he finds a way around that; for example the re-insurance treaty. However, a lot of his domestic policies had drawbacks. He would either lose the support of one party, or simply not achieve his goals. Many would argue that if one was to look at things in the long term, Bismarck was in fact not successful in his foreign policies but was rather more effective and lasting with his domestic policies. That might be true for the alliances collapsed once he left office and he managed to increase Germany's economy for a long time. However, that was all in the period following 1890 in which Bismarck had nothing to do with. So as far as he is concerned, his foreign policies had more successes then his domestic policies. ...read more.

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