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BISMARCKS ALLIANCE SYSTEM WAS A

TRIBUTE TO HIS INGENUITY BUT LACKED


BOTH UTILITY AND COHESION.

WOULD YOU AGREE?


OTTO VON BISMARCK
BORN:1 APRIL 1815

DIED:30 JULY 1898 (AGED 83)

POLITICAL PARTY: INDEPENDENT

PRUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER 1862

GERMAN CHANCELLOR 1871 -


1890
Kaiser Wilhelm I being crowned German
Emperor in January 1871
THREATS TO THE GERMAN EMPIRE

In this period of history, countries worldwide were


frustrated from Germanys past actions and now the
new Kaiser had some threats to tackle.

Other Major Issues:

FRANCE: Revenge for annexation of Alsace Lorraine

AUSTRIA: Ditto above- Part of northern Austria annexed

Germany was now scared of an alliance between these two


powers against The German Empire.

WHY?
WHAT WERE BISMARCKS
FOREIGN POLICY AIMS:

To focus on internal consolidation What methods did Bismarck


Stabilise Europe and prevent war employ to achieve these
Ensure other powers do not form an aims?
alliance against Germany
His major method for achieving this
period of sustained peace was by
forming alliances, which prevented
war and ensured that Germany was
always secure in an alliance of three
countries against two.
LEAGUE OF THREE EMPERORS - 1873
Germany-Russia-Austria Weaknesses
Goal: Russia and Austria both had ambitions in the
Preserve the status quo Balkan
Prevent any revolutionary activity Bismarck tried to resolve this problem, at the
Exclude France from any alliances with Congress of Berlin (1878)
superpowers Lost Russia's trust
Maintained Austria as main ally
DUAL ALLIANCE - 1879

Military alliance with Austria against Russia

Weaknesses:
It put stress on Germanys relationship with
Russia, which could drive Russia towards Fran
SECOND THREE EMPERORS LEAGUE - 1881

Reassured the Three Emperors


League Strength: Weakness:

Did not offer any solution for the


France was isolated again and a two
potential war over the Balkans
front war was not likely
Did not last long
TRIPLE ALLIANCE - 1882

Italy joined the Dual Alliance


Strength:
Keeping France isolated

Weakness:
No long term friendship, as Italy was Austrias
greatest enemy and was more likely to side with
France
REINSURANCE TREATY - 1887

Secret treaty between Germany and Russia, promising to stay neutral if they
were attacked by a third power, except if that was France for Germany or
Austria-Hungary for Russia
It reassured Russia that it was not in danger of a German-Austrian war and
reassured Germany that it was not in danger of a Franco-Russian alliance.
This still had no solution for the Balkan problem.
BISMARCKS STRATEGY

USE OF REALPOLITIK
ACCORDING TO KISSINGER, BISMARCK CONSIDERED
PRUSSIAS CO-OPERATION AS A SELLERS MARKET. NO
IDEOLOGY JUST EXPLOIT ALL THE POSSIBLE OPTIONS
MAIN OBJECTIVE: MAKE GERMANY SAFE

In a combination of five players it is always


desirable to be on the side of three Bismarck
STRENGHTS OF BISMARCKS ALLIANCE SYSTEM

Policy of rapid revolution in the international status quo followed by renew co-
operation

Foreign Policy based on flexibility, calculation of power and national interest

Thanks to the contradictory alliances always the closest possible to his partners

give no other power ( except France) any cause to join an alliance against
Germany
HOWEVER THERE WAS A LACK OF UTILITY

Not have been sustained for a long term?

He prevented the Franco-Russian alliance but


just temporarly

The European peace depended on Germany-


a mistake made by Germany could ruin the
whole system
LACKED COHESION FOR BISMARCKS SUCCESSORS?

System not stable because of the problems not solved


between Balkans

Bismarcks alliances began to contradict one another

Need to create secret treaties in a growing public opinion


society

According to AJP Taylor, he kept a balance of tension alive in


Europe despite his will of peace
CONCLUSION

BISMARCKS GOALS:

To be allied with one of the great powers

Protect Germany by avoiding war on both fronts

To avoide a Franco-Russian alliance


ALLIANCES SYSTEM:
EFFICIENT BUT NOT THAT MUCH

Ingenious: Bismarcks alliance systems lasted 15 years with peace and he


isolated France by being allied with at least one Great Power

Cohesion: Lack of cohesion because there were a lot of tensions and they
changed alliances 5 times in only 15 years

Utility: Bismarck prevented tensions but not for a long term His alliances
showed utility for Germany and its protection but they didnt fix the problems
between Balkans
AN UNMISSABLE GREATNESS

Bismarck left a nation without political


education totally bereft that a great man
would provide their politics for them.
MAX WEBER 1918
Is it better having one powerful statesman instead of shared
power ?

To what extent the Bismarck alliance system cause WWI ?