Historical Identifications (WW I)

rivalry cartoon

IDENTIFY and analyze the historical significance of the following in relation to European diplomacy and causes of WW I:

  1. German nationalism
  2. Weltpolitik
  3. encirclement
  4. “Sick man of Europe”
  5. jingoism
  6. imperialism
  7. vacuum of power
  8. diplomacy
  9. changing balance of power
  10. Eastern Question
  11. social darwinism

German Nationalism – played a role in the run up to WWI, starting with the unification of Germany in 1871. Since their unification, Germany had a strong togetherness in wanting to preserve their nation above all others as one nation of Germany peoples. Therefore, Germany followed the lead of other European powers and pushed for industrialsation, and colonisation so as to have equal, if not higher prestige than the other European Powers. Germany’s nationalism spurred them on to build an entire naval fleet to match that of the British, and became the most superior power on the continent. Germany now earned the respect to maintain peace within Europe (even after Bismark was fired from office) due to the intimidation of their power. The equality of power within Europe made each power cautious of the others, meanwhile, tensions continued to rise. This was also the case for the other super powers of the day, until a simple assassination turned became the trigger for WWI.

Jingoism – is a type of aggressive nationalism that originated in Britain during the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War. British governmental policy was directed towards restraining Russia, and the phrase appeared in the popular song: ‘We don’t want to fight, yet by jingo, if we do…’ The term then became more widespread and significant because it was used the situation in Europe where extreme nationalism and alliances lead to WWI.

Imperialism / global colonial rivalry – began in 1880, and continued up to 1914 in Africa and Asia. The powers of Europe: UK, France, Germany, Italy, King Leopold II of Belgium took over 90% of African territory. Bismark encouraged imperialism to distract from the increasing tensions on the European continent. This provided the most competitive nations such as Britain and France with materials to fuel industrialisation and trade. Germany later also wanted a piece of the pie for the same reasons, which caused even more clashes and provocation which was already close to breaking point. Tensions rose, and nationalism fed each countries ego, pushing each to the edge to the extent that imperialism was one of the causes of WWI.

Vacuum of Power –was caused when the ‘Young Turks’ overthrew the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire which resulted in a clamouring from the European powers, especially Russia and Austria-Hungary, to claim parts of the Balkans as their own whilst Turkey was undergoing internal issues of its own.

Balance of power – ‘A trios in a Europe of five powers’ was the major aspect of the German Bismarkian system in the 1870s. Its design was Germany’s alliance with Russia and Austria Hungary, leaving France and UK isolated so as to prevent war, and also any balancing alliances since the UK and France were not on best terms. Bismark’s concept was to maintain peace and security among Europe, however once Bismark was dismissed, his ideas remained in the wrong hands and were the basis of the triple alliance, and triple entente which created such balances opponents in WWI that the war was prolonged resulting in devastating results.

Diplomacy – or rather the failure of it is one of the causes of WWI. Bismark maintained effective diplomacy amongst the powers of Europe, and played a significant role in managing the Balkan states from the remainder of the Ottoman Empire. Once Bismark fell from power in 1890, the diplomatic interactions that he was responsible for fell with him. The countries of Europe adopted an ‘every man for himself’ attitude. This breakdown of communication, negotiations, and diplomacy lead to misunderstandings blown out of proportion, and essentially contributed to the commencement of WWI.

  1. global colonial rivalry

    1. The global colonial rivalry was the period of immense annexations and expansions of the European Empires in Africa and Asia from 1870’s till 1914. In Africa, the “Scramble for Africa” was the name given to the large annexations that took place between the French and British colonies. In Asia, the “Great Game“ between Russia, Japan, Germany, France and Britain was under way. This new kind of imperialism was the battle for wealth, growth, power and survival. Sometimes, peaceful conferences like the West Africa Conference of Berlin in 1884-85, settled European colonial issues. But sometimes, the diplomacy did not help, like the Anglo-French differences in North Africa, where almost a war broke loose. Saying that the colonial rivalry directly caused the outbreak of the First World War would be wrong, but it certainly did play a role in the future events.

  2. the Alliance system

    1. The Alliances between the European Great Powers started off with Bismarck’s Dual Alliance in 1879 and Triple Alliance in 1882, which were merely peacetime alliances. The first military alliance formed in 1894, when Russia agreed to help France in case of war. This last alliance was strengthened with France’s help to industrialize Russia. The only power without an alliance was Britain, since the Triple Alliance included Germany,Austria-Hungary and Italy. In 1904, the Anglo-French alliance was formed, which also helped to solve their imperial disagreements in Africa and Asia. In 1907, the Triple Entente was formed between Russia, Britain and France. The alliances of three were now the main rivalries in Europe and if one nation would go to war against another Great power, so would the other four.

  3. Ottoman Empire

    1. The Ottoman Empire was one of the oldest and largest Empires in Europe. At its peak, during the 16th and 17th century, it reached over three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia. Since the end of the 19th century, Ottoman Empire was declining, as nationalism was spreading among the small nations within the big Ottoman. The Balkan crisis had a major effect on the decreasing Empire, as the small nations like Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece wanted independence. This created fuzz among the Great Powers, as they saw this decline as a possible time to gain some territory. The Russians would have gained access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Habsburgs more land in the South. The decreasing Ottoman Empire made the other European nations hungry for more land and created tensions between themselves, which would culminate in the WWI.

  4. Eastern Question

  5. Austria-Hungary and Balkan nationalism

  6. arms race

    1. The arms race was the immense building of naval force in Germany and Britain, as they both tried to be the first naval power country in the world. After 1890, when Bismarck was fired and Wilhelm the II of Germany started the Weltpolitik in Germany, they also started to increase their naval force. Britain saw this as a threat to their Royal Navy and launched the production of the Dreadnoughts. Germany correspondingly stepped up their naval production, including the Dreadnoughts. This race of ‘who has more’ warships and naval force ignited more tensions between Germany and Britain.

  7. Dreadnoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s