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

Trace and explain the relations between Germany and Russia during 1871-1914

Extracts from this document...


During the period 1871-1914, the relations between Germany and Russia changed from friendly to hostile, and the downfall of Bismarck marked the turning point to the relations. When Bismarck was still diplomatically active in Europe (1871-1890), Russia was on friendly terms with Germany although Russia had already a bit disappointed with Germany. It was because Bismarck strived to maintain friendly relations with all the powers. However, after the rise of Kaiser William II (1890-1914), the situation was dramatically changed due to his unskillful and aggressive diplomatic skills. In fact, there were no direct conflicts fought between Germany and Russia. The major factor causing their relations to be intensified was the third party- Austria. Germany was always on the Austrian side, and Austria was hostile to Russia mainly because of the Eastern Question, so Germany would help Austria to fight against Russia. In this way, the relations between Germany and Russia were worsened. In 1873, Germany was active to make friends with Russia and they were in alliance together. It was because Bismarck feared that the revenge of France and any attack from the country after unification of Germany in 1870. There was also the Bismarck's nightmare which France would co-operate with Russia and then Germany would face a two-front war. Therefore, Bismarck's main concern in foreign affairs was to isolate France until she might not be able to have revenge against Germany. With the object in view, Bismarck created the Dreikaiserbund in 1873. ...read more.


The result was the Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 and it was signed without the knowledge of Austria. At this stage (1871-1890), under Bismarck's diplomatic skill and favorable circumstances, Germany was merely able to maintain the friendship with Russia. However, after the downfall of Bismarck, the relations between Germany and Russia gradually turned into hostility without any repair due to the blunders of the Kaiser William II. The first blunder made by William II was the abandonment of Russian link. He was much influenced by Holstein, who was anti-Russian, German foreign policy now aimed at friendship with Austria and because William disliked the complexity of Bismarck's alliances a more open style of diplomacy was attempted. In 1890, Germany was surprisingly rejected the Russia's proposal of the renewal of the Reinsurance Treaty for six years. There was the estrangement of Russia from Germany. They were not on the friendly terms at all. The Kaiser's policy then, aroused the suspicion and fear of both France and Russia. This led to a Franco-Russian rapprochement and brought the signing of a military convention (The Franco-Russian Alliance). From then on, the relationship between Russia and Germany started to become hostile, finally leading to a direct war. Another conflict between the two was concerning nationalism. Nationalism in the 19th century had reached its climax. The primary movements were Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism. The Pan-German Movement aimed at uniting all the Germans of Central Europe under one great German state. ...read more.


After the Sarajevo Assassination broke out in 1914, Germany was truly at war with Russia. During this event, Russia openly declared that she would not tolerate the destruction of Serbia as it was an independent state in the Balkans and Serbia had the right to have her territorial integrity. It also implied that Russia would help defend Serbia if Austria started a war on Serbia. Germany backed up Austria by issuing a "blank cheque" to Austria due to their close relations while Russia helped Serbia also for the same reason. Serbia was the only state in the Balkans which was willing to be subservient to Russian influence, and the Russian government could not afford the loss or destruction of the Russo-Serbian friendship. On 30th July, Russia declared the general mobilization. By then, Germany had no choice but to follow the Schlieffen Plan of 1905 to declare war on Russia on 1st August, 1914. The First World War broke out. To conclude, with the presence of Bismarck (1871-1890), though there were a few conflicts between Germany and Russia, they could immediately be settled by Bismarck, and maintained their friendship. But since William II refused to renew the Reinsurance Treaty in 1890, the Russo-German relation was turned into an irremediable situation. Russia allied with Britain and France and got rid of the fear of being isolated. Worse still, the relations between Serbia and Austria became more and more hostile over the Eastern Question. This obliquely worsened the Russo-German relation because Serbia was backed by Russia while Austria was supported by Germany. Consequently, Germany and Russia fought against each other in the First World War in 1914. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Stalins Russia, 1924-53 revision guide

    This explains Stalin's success in getting the support of Party Conferences. 2. The Secretariat prepared the agenda of the meeting and supplied documentation. It also transmitted the decisions to the lower parts of the Party. Potentially this gave Stalin considerable power as agendas and documentation could be used to

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

    This treaty excluded Russia. This new treaty and a new development in the Balkans put the Dreikaiserbundnis under strain. So Bismarck signed another secret treaty, this time with Russia, in which he agreed to support their claims in Bulgaria, whereby, in the event of war against a third power, they would take on a benevolent state of neutrality.

  1. To what extent was Bismarck in control of the direction Germany's Foreign Policy took ...

    The decision of the powers was that the eastern question was to be decided at a 'Congress of Berlin', with the German chancellor acting as "honest broker". Under the Congress, and Bismarck's advising the newly created Bulgaria was split into three parts: Bulgaria, Rumelia and Macedonia.

  2. Hitlers Germany

    great mass in such a way that from the living emotion of his hearers the apt word which he needs will be suggested to him and in its turn this will go straight to the hearts of his hearers. One of his most bitter critics, Otto Strasser, wrote: Hitler responds

  1. History Research Project. The influence of Major Vernon Kell in the effectiveness of the ...

    (Jeffery, 2010, p.4) To accurately answer the question of how Major Kell influenced the expansion of the Security Services, the reasons behind the establishment of the organisation will need to be analysed. Another key area will be the reasons for the growth of imperial Germany within this period and also the key events and figures that influenced German espionage.

  2. Show how Bismarck negotiated the Triple Alliance in 1882. What were the purpose ...

    The big Bulgaria was broken up and the major threat of Russian domination of the Balkans was temporarily shelved. At the same time it was not only in the interests of Austria that this was done - Germany herself was anxious to keep Russia out of the Balkans in order to extend her own influences over Turkey.

  1. "Kaiser Wilhelm II used to the full his authority as Kaiser of the German ...

    However, Blackbourne and Eley, whilst supporting the idea of Wilhelm's role as p**n to be pressured and used by others, believed that it was the working classes and their main political party, the SPD, which posed the major threat to his ability to rule, which is reflected in his consistent battle to overcome their influence in the Reichstag.

  2. "In the period 1871-1890 Bismarck was better at crushing his opponents than at producing ...

    Each of these policies would lead Germany ever closer to becoming one united country. His policy on finance meant that not only could the individual states such as Bavaria and Prussia sort their own finances but they could also be ruled centrally from Berlin, edging the states financially closer to unification.

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