Britain turning back on Germany (1904)
Germany:Germany’s intentions were purely aimed for the preservation of peace and the unification of the German states. Germany did not need more land nor did it want more land, but was given it after the successful attack and loss from the French anyway. This conflict, driven by the French was only a mere chaos, which produced more positive outcomes than negative, so there was no reason to blame Germany; Southern states of Germany were united with the Northen parts, creating the great nation of Germany. It also had a positive effect on France, as it created a more liberal and people-driven government.
1871: Unification of German states by Bismarck
France & UK: This is already the beginning of Germany’s push for war. By unifying the German states, Bismark is clearly building himself up a larger nation. Being newly unified, this would also give the new Germany a sense of togetherness, and a will to conquer to form closer bonds and test their strength.
Germany: Germany’s unification has nothing to do with building up a larger nation nor the need for conquest. Every country wants to belong together and this is what Bismarck has done. He has done a good thing by uniting the separate states, that wanted to belong together. And as Bismarck said, Germany has no intentions of more conquest, as it has met its target. The unification was the only thing we wanted, and this is something you will not take away from us!
1870-71 – Franco-Prussian war Germany wins takes Alsace Lorraine from France
France: This war was a move by Germany to demonstrate the power of their new found unity. They threatened France, initially upsetting the peace before they even have time to consider being friends. This was also a warning to the rest of Europe as Germany flexed its muscles, to give a taster of their possible power.
Germany: The war was a clear sign of something you British and French do not understand – diplomacy. This war was needed to create unity within France, and the German states. It has nothing to do with Germany’s power (although.. now that you mentioned it..) and strength. Diplomacy was the real player behind this ‘war’ and the outcome benefitted everyone … besides the soldiers.
1873 – Dreikaiserbund (3 emperors league) Russia, Germany, Austria- Hungary
France & UK: Forming an alliance with Germany, and our one other possible ally? This was obviously a hostile move to us French and Brits. We are the smallest of the Great Powers, and are now isolated by this alliance of three. Germany is obviously making military alliances which can support it in case of war.
Germany: Germany formed this alliances with the countries for merely economical and social objectives. To increase the export and import between neighboring coutries cannot harm anyone, can it? And talking about war, was it not Britain who’s coal and iron production rose in the last decade, and by mere assumption, I would guess it has nothing to do with building up a powerful naval force? Germany’s alliance is meant to increase the trade and bond with other nations, unlike British who sit on their island and build an army and the French who try to sneak behind Germany’s back.
1875 – ‘War in Sight’ crisis (Germany feeds France false information to create unity within the country to maintain the republican government, as France was turning back towards a royalist government, which would then give it something in common with Russia so they could make an alliance).
France: Germany once again attacks the French, this time out of fear the French will turn back to a royalist government, thus bridging the greatest gap between France and Russia, making them more prone to an alliance. Germany would only fear alliances if Germany feared isolation and this would only be a problem in war, so Germany must have been foreseeing war, and only concerned with alliances if Germany intended to fight in that war. So we can see that even as far back as 1875, Germany was intending to fight, and cause war within peaceful Europe.
Germany: The “War in Sight” crisis was a genius plan, which succeeded in making the French think that Germany would attack them. This had two positive outcomes for Germany: France stopped the rearmament programme and united under one government type. After the Franco-Prussian War, France was starting to rearm itself with quite a speed, showing a very oppressive move on its side, like it was getting ready for war. This was no good for the European states, so Germany and its diplomatic genius Bismarck had to come up with another plan how to stop the cruel French from attacking everyone.
1884 – Germany agrees to protect Namibia (becomes German colony) Togo, Cameroon
1885 – Germany takes Tanzania, New Guinea
1889: Germany takes Samoa
France & UK: So Bismark initially makes it known to the power of Europe competing for colonisation (i.e. us and Italy), that Germany has too many internal issues to worry about, let alone parts of other continents. But then, only four years after the start of imperialism, who is getting involved with Namibia? After Bismark is fired, Germany’s will to colonise increases so that Germany has influence in Namibia, Togo, Cameroon, Tanzania, New Guinea and Samoa. This is clearly pushing for competition amongst the other power of Europe such as ourselves, creating even more tension. By changing their minds, this makes us mistrust, and be suspicious of them, as we now have to constantly think what they’re next move might be. By getting in on our game, there is now even more competition for Africa, and resources that pushes the imperialist countries towards war.
Germany: The French nor the British should not be attacking Germany in this matter at all. If I may ask, who were the ones who started the great years of immense imperialism? Yes, Britain and France. And who were the most competitive countries in the time of colonization of Africa? Yes, Britain and France. Does this not point out to be a sign for increasing empires, leading into expansion of territories and finally outbrake of war? Germany thinks that was the case, and to prevent this, we had to step in for matters of preservation of peace. By expanding our territories in the African continent, we let the other powers know that we too have arms and are ready to expand as we wish. Not only France and Britain should have the privilege to conquer lands and receive resources. France, who had most of the land in Africa by 1914 was definately using those resources from the colonies to expand its military and navy, ‘just in case a war brakes up’. A map to illustrate my point..
1897 – Weltpolitik – ‘world policy’
UK: Alright, colonisation – ok, that’s one thing, but the reason behind it is quite another! Germany decided it needed more raw materials for its industrial expansion, and needed more land to get those resources – still ok. But using a ‘vast colonial empire’ as an excuse to use their industries to produce a huge navy fleet is really pushing it. Are they asking us for war? Fair enough, they’re trying to match our British fleet, but they’ve never minded our fleet before, this new move is obviously preparation for war, Germany is preparing for battle against us, otherwise they wouldn’t compete with us. Naturally, we Brits had to keep out prestige. A country as small as ours needs to have something bigger than everyone else, and considering we’re an island, we think it’s only fair we have this one thing.
Germany: Germany, having a quite a large costal line should be able to have some ships as well. By expanding our territories in Africa, (unlike everybody else, right!?) Germany was able to do this. And due to British Naval Fleet expansion, Germany saw this as a sign for militarization. And the second Germany had some ships built, and i repeat, for the sake of costal and trade ship protection, Britain launched a great war ship – the HMS Dreadnought. This was a clear sign of aggression from the British side.
1897 – Krüger Telegram – Wilhelm II sends telegram to Boers congratulating on their independence.
UK: To push us Brits even further, and to really create a hostile atmosphere between us, those Germans decided to attack our one other asset – our empire. Freshly defeated by the Boers, the Germans go ahead and congratulate them on their independence! This was completely uncalled for, pure provocation, and clearly trying to push us. With such antagonistic motives and methods, surely they want us to be against them; surely they are pushing us to strike first. This is nearly the final straw, and Germany is really asking for it, and if its war they want, it’s war they’ll get. To no ones surprise, only two years later during the Boer war, Germany actually supports the Dutch against us until 1902. War at this fragile time could lead an entire European war.
Germany: The Krüger Telegram was just a joke, but obviously.. the serious Brits do not understand jokes. For them, it was a clear sign of agression and provocation (just like everything else), which they think, lead into the war. And this characteristic, which does not have any sense of humour in it really upset our government. We thought that everybody would get a laugh out of it, and everybody did.. everybody besides the solemn Brits. Frustration ignites the anger, and to push the limits of the Brits, we decided to aid the Dutch, because at least they got the joke.
1904/5 – Schlieffen plan – plan to invade France, Russia via Belgium followed by an all-out assault on Russia.
France & UK: Germany has now satisfactorily pushed Britain to the brink of war, and so now moves back to France, actually planning an attack strategy! Considering us French hadn’t done anything to provoke them, the Germans take it upon themselves to organise an offence? Not only France, but they also drag poor neutral Belgium into the equation, Germany sees fit to attack France via Belgium, defeat the French, then move on to defeat Russia, the largest country in the world. Belgium and Britain already have ties, and so once again, Germany is pushing away at the Brits, even trying to undermine their friendships, that’s just not cricket! Trying to conquer Russia (who used to be an ally, another example of Germany’s unpredictability, mind changing and untrustworthiness) shows Germany is trying to gain the largest territory in the world, therefore conquer and rule the world. If this is not causing concern for the rest of Europe, putting us on our guard and eventually leading to war, then what is?
1908 – “Bosnian crisis”
France & UK – Having satisfactorily humiliated us, Germany proceeds to humiliate our ally Russia, just because he’s mift we’ve got Russia now. So Germany jumps in to support its ally Austria-Hungary in denying Russian access to the Dardanelles, which it had already been promised by Austria-Hungary. This shows their treachery, and creates even greater tension and frustration between Russia and Austria-Hungary.
Germany: First of all, only with the help of Treaty of Berlin, the crisis was ended. This shows that Germany had great interest in the preservation of peace and unity within the European countries. Austria-Hungary’s annexation of Bosnia was not consulted with Germany, and thus it created much fuzz, even among the Germans. Germany had to stand with its close ally Austria-Hungary, because otherwise the crisis would not have come to an end. It was a diplomatically righteous thing to do!
(Gert Reimets and Hannah Fyfe)