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Geschiedenis german foreign and colonial policy

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  • 1. HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 5 Foreign and Colonial Policy
  • 2.
    • “ there is not a
    • diplomatic tradition
    • which has not been
    • swept away . . .
    • The balance of power
    • has been entirely
    • destroyed.”
    • Benjamin Disraeli
  • 3. The International Consequences of German Unification
    • Answered the ‘German Question’ that had been a feature of European politics for a generation.
    • Created a strong military and economic power at the heart of Europe.
    • Demonstrated the weakness of Austria and, to a lesser extent, France.
    • Expelled Austria from Germany once and for all, forcing her to look south and east for foreign policy successes.
    • Encouraged nationalist movements elsewhere – especially in the Balkans.
  • 4.  
  • 5. The Bismarckian System
    • After 1871 Germany needed peace and stability in order to consolidate the gains of the Wars of Unification.
    • Bismarck thus needed to persuade Europe that Germany was a “satiated power”.
    • The key to German security was keeping France isolated.
    • There were 5 Great Powers so Germany always needed to be part of a bloc of 3.
    • The nightmare scenario of encirclement and a war on two fronts needed to be avoided at all costs.
  • 6. The Dreikaiserbund (1873)
    • An informal agreement between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary.
    • The terms were vague and included no concrete military alliances.
    • Identified republicanism and socialism as common threats.
    • Committed all three powers to consult with one another in matters of common interest, and to joint action if another power should disturb the peace of Europe.
  • 7. The Near Eastern Crisis, 1877-78
    • 1875: Christian peasants in Bosnia & Bulgaria rebel against Ottoman rule.
    • 1876: Serbia and Montenegro declare war on Turkey.
    • Thousands of Russian volunteers joined the Serbian army
    • Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria led to an international outcry and turned British public opinion against intervention to support the Ottoman Empire.
    • 1877: Austria agrees to remain neutral in the event of Russian intervention in return for being allowed to occupy Bosnia-Herzegovina.
    • 1877-78: Russo-Turkish War.
    • 3 March 1878: Turks forced to sign the Treaty of San Stefano.
    Punch cartoon showing Britain warning Russia not to release the ‘Dogs of War’
  • 8.  
  • 9. The Congress of Berlin (1878)
    • The fact that such a high-profile conference was held in Berlin was an indication of Germany’s power and prestige.
    • Negotiations were stormy and only Bismarck’s energetic and skilful diplomacy kept them from breaking down completely.
    • The resultant Treaty of Berlin (1878) created a smaller Bulgarian state under Russian protection, allowed Austria-Hungary to occupy Bosnia-Herzegovina and gave Cyprus to Britain.
    • The Congress succeeded in averting a major European war, but led to a deterioration in Russo-German relations.
    • Russia felt that she had suffered a humiliating diplomatic setback and that Bismarck was to blame.
  • 10. The territorial settlement in the Balkans, 1878 Source: Farmer & Stiles, The Unification of Germany 1815-1919
  • 11. The Making of the Alliance System
    • The Dual Alliance (1879)
      • Signed between Germany and Austria-Hungary.
      • Each agreed to come to the others aid in the event of war with Russia or to remain neutral in a war with any other power.
      • The treaty was to last for 5 years, but in the event remained valid until 1918.
    • The Three Emperor’s Agreement (1881)
      • Germany, Austria-Hungary & Russia agreed to remain neutral in the event of any of them being involved in a war with another power.
      • The Balkans divided into spheres of influence.
    • The Triple Alliance (1882)
      • Between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
      • Germany & Austria agreed to intervene if Italy were attacked by France.
      • Italy agreed to support Germany if she were attacked by France.
    • The Reinsurance Treaty (1887)
      • Germany and Russia agreed to remain neutral in the event of either one of them being involved in a war with a third power.
  • 12. Bismarck’s Colonial Policy
    • Bismarck was generally ambivalent about colonial expansion, considering an overseas empire to be an expensive indulgence.
    • But public pressure for a colonial empire led to the acquisition of a number of territories in Africa.
    • The Berlin Conference of 1884-5 laid down the rules for European expansion in Africa and granted colonies to Germany.
    • However, Bismarck’s flirtation with colonialism was short-lived – by 1887 he was resisting pressure to acquire more colonies on the grounds that to do so would needlessly antagonise Britain.
    Punch cartoon depicting Bismarck as the “irrepressible Tourist” (1885)
  • 13. German Acquisitions in Africa 1884-85 Source: Farmer & Stiles, The Unification of Germany 1815-1919
  • 14. Wilhelm II Imperial Chancellors Leo von Caprivi 1890-1894 Chlodwig zu Hohenloe -Schillingfurst 1894-1900 Bernhard von B ülow 1900-1909 Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg 1909-1917 Minister for the Navy: Alfred von Tirpitz Philipp zu Eulenburg
  • 15. Pressure Groups
    • Deutscher Kolonialverein (German Colonial Association):
      • Founded 1882.
      • Campaigned for the establishment of German colonies.
      • Membership had reached 9,000 by 1884.
      • Merged with the Society for German Colonization in 1887 to form the Deutsche Koloialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society).
    • Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German League):
      • Founded in 1891 by Alfred Hugenberg & Karl Peters.
      • Radical right-wing nationalist organization which supported Weltpolitik and saw itself as an unofficial watchdog, critic and advisor to successive governments.
      • Had 8,601 members in 1896, rising to over 20,000 in 1900.
    • Deutscher Flottenverein (German Navy League):
      • Founded in 1898 with just over 14,000 members.
      • Campaigned for an enlarged German fleet and supported Weltpolitik .
      • Had strong links with big business and Conservative politicians.
      • Had over 330,000 members in 1914.
  • 16. The ‘New Course’, 1890-94
    • No a coherent policy.
    • Reflected the Kaiser’s anti-Russian and pro-British sympathies.
    • 1890: Germany allows the Reinsurance Treaty to lapse
      • Russia no longer considered Germany’s natural ally.
      • Considered incompatible with Germany’s other commitments.
    • Overtures to Britain
      • Close dynastic relationship.
      • 1890: Anglo-German Convention.
    • Result: pushes Russia into the arms of France.
  • 17.
    • “ We definitely do not feel the need to
    • have a finger in every pie. But we
    • believe that it is inadvisable, from
    • the outset, to exclude Germany from
    • competition with other nations in
    • lands with a rich and promising
    • future. . . . We see it as our foremost
    • task to foster and cultivate the
    • interests of our shipping, our trade
    • and our industry, particularly in the
    • East.”
    • Bernhard von B ülow (1897)
  • 18. Weltpolitik
    • A more aggressive and assertive foreign policy after 1897.
    • A clear rejection of Bismarck’s ‘continental policy’ in favour of the ‘World Policy’ ( Weltpolitik ).
    • The emphasis on the expansion of Germany’s overseas empire – intended to demonstrate her power and prestige to the other Great Powers.
    • 1897: Seizure of the Chinese port of Kiao-Chow & Shantung province claimed as a German ‘sphere of influence’.
    • 1898: Purchase of Pacific islands (the Carolines, Marshalls and Marianas) from Spain.
    • 1899: Acquisition of the Samoan Islands.
    • 1900: Germany leads multi-national intervention force after the Boxer Rebellion.
  • 19. The German Empire and colonial possessions at their greatest extent in 1914.
  • 20.
    • “ Give no quarter! Take no
    • prisoners! Anybody who
    • falls into your hands must
    • be destroyed. Just as a
    • thousand years ago Attila’s
    • Huns made a reputation for
    • ruthless violence that still
    • resounds through the ages,
    • so let the name of Germans . . .
    • acquire a similar reputation that
    • will last for a thousand years.”
    • Wilhelm II (1900)
  • 21. The Debate over Weltpolitik
    • Fritz Fischer et. al. -> Three main aims of Weltpolitik : to create a large German Navy demonstrating her claim to be a world power, a Central African Empire ( Mittelafrika ) and a Central European customs union ( Mitteleuropa ). All part of a master plan to achieve World Power ( Weltmacht ).
    • Wehler, Berghahn, Geiss -> Weltpolitik motivated by domestic concerns and a substitute for unwanted social change (‘Social Imperialism’).
    • David Kaiser -> Weltpolitik was ‘a patriotic umbrella, not a magic wand’ – rather than being designed to outflank the Socialists, it was a means to unite the Conservatives, National Liberals and the Centre Party behind the government. Appearances more important than realities.
  • 22. Flottenpolitik
    • A world empire required a strong navy to defend it.
    • In the 1890s Germany had only the world’s 7 th biggest navy, but its share of world trade was almost as large as Britain’s.
    • 1898: Alfred von Tirpitz appointed State Secretary for the Navy.
  • 23.
    • “ Up to now, our policies have completely overlooked the political significance of naval power. Yet if we want to go out into the world and increase our economic strength at sea, we will only construct a hollow edifice if we do not obtain a degree of naval strength. If we go out into the world, we will find either existing interests or interests that will be claimed in the future. These make conflicts of interest inevitable. . . . Naval power is the only politically versatile type of power there is. This is why we will always end up getting shortchanged politically, even if there is no war.”
    • Alfred von Tirpitz (1896)
  • 24. Flottenpolitik
    • A world empire required a strong navy to defend it.
    • In the 1890s Germany had only the world’s 7 th biggest navy, but its share of world trade was almost as large as Britain’s.
    • 1898: Alfred von Tirpitz appointed State Secretary for the Navy.
    • 1898: First Navy Law – provided funds for the construction of 16 new battleships.
    • 1900: Second Navy law – allowed for the construction of 3 ships a year for the next 6 years.
    • 1906: Britain launches HMS Dreadnought , a revolution in naval technology which was thought to have made all existing battleships obsolete.
    • 1908-1912: Naval building stepped up, leading to a dangerous and expensive arms race with Britain.
  • 25. The Anglo-German Relationship Wellington and Bl ücher greet each other after the Battle of Waterloo
  • 26. The Anglo-German Relationship Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861) Victoria, German Empress, Queen Consort of Prussia and Princess Royal (1840-1901)
  • 27. The Anglo-German Relationship Crown Prince Friedrich and the future Wilhelm II in highland dress at Balmoral
  • 28. The Diplomatic Revolution, 1900-1907
    • 1902: Anglo-Japanese Alliance
      • Marked an end to Britain’s isolation.
      • Led to negotiations with France, as Britain feared that growing Russo-Japanese tensions would drag the UK and France into war.
    • 1904: Entente Cordiale
      • Not an alliance as such.
      • France agreed to give Britain a free-hand in Egypt in return for acceptance of her domination of Morocco.
      • Opened the way for future co-operation.
    • 1907: Anglo-Russian Convention
      • Persia, Tibet and Afghanistan divided into spheres of influence.
      • Further aligned Britain with France and Russia against Germany and the Triple Alliance.
    Cartoon depicting Britain walking off with the ‘trollop’ France, while Germany pretends not to care.
  • 29.  
  • 30. The Moroccan Crisis (1905-06)
    • 1904-05: Russo-Japanese War.
    • 1905: Revolution in Russia
      • Russia temporarily weakened and distracted from European politics.
    • 1905: Moroccan Crisis
      • January: The Kaiser guarantees Moroccan independence.
      • Germany insists that her commercial interests must be protected.
      • Refuses to negotiate with France and insists on an international conference to settle Morocco’s fate.
    • 1906: Alge çiras Conference
      • Britain, Russia and Italy all support France.
      • A humiliating diplomatic defeat for Germany.
      • Strengthens rather than breaks up the Anglo-French entente .
    • Negotiations between the Kaiser and the Tsar for a defensive alliance (July 1905) come to nothing after France objects to the scheme.
  • 31. The Annexation Crisis (1908-09)
    • October 1908: Austria-Hungary moves to formally annex Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Serbia, backed by Russia, demands compensation.
    • Britain and France make it clear that they will not support Russia over the issue.
    • Germany supports Austria and threatens to intervene in the event of war.
    • Diplomatically isolated, Russia is forced to back down and recognize the annexation in March 1909.
  • 32. The Agadir Crisis (1911)
    • July 1911: Germany sends to gunboat Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir in an attempt to force territorial concessions from the French.
    • Alarmed by these bullying tactics Britain threatens to intervene.
    • Austria makes it clear that she will not fight over Morocco and Germany is forced to back down.
    • An example of Weltpolitik at its worst.
  • 33. The Balkan Wars (1912-13)
    • First Balkan War (1912): Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro wrest control of Macedonia from Turkey.
    • Second Balkan War (1913): Bulgaria attacks Serbia and is decisively defeated by the Greeks and Serbs.
    • Anglo-German co-operation secures a settlement in the Balkans at the London Conference.
    • Germany initially restrains Austria,
    • But after 1913 she agrees to back her ally in any future confrontation with Serbia (and by extension Russia).
  • 34. Rearmament
    • All the Great Powers entered into an arms race after 1900.
    • There was a desire for some kind of military advantage over the most likely opponent in a future war.
    • Germany was particularly concerned that Russia’s military reforms (due to be completed in 1917) would make her unbeatable.
    Source: Farmer & Stiles, The Unification of Germany 1815-1919
  • 35. Conclusion
    • German Unification upset the balance of power.
    • Despite Bismarck’s best efforts, Weltpolitik convinced the other Great Powers that Germany was dangerous to the peace and stability of Europe.
    • But Germany’s foreign policy based on the principle of the search for security.
    • By 1914 Germany felt surrounded by hostile powers, was slowly being bankrupted by the arms race, and under pressure from social change at home.
    • War was thus seen by some as the ideal way out of Germany’s problems.