Unit Two Revision Cards

Unit Two
Revision Cards
Germany Revision
Alliance System
The architect of the alliance system was
At its heart was the isolation of France which
sought revenge (revanche) for the loss of
The main pillars of this policy was the
Dreikaiserbund which was an alliance
between Austria-Hungary, Russia ad
Germany. Also the Triple Alliance between
Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany.
Anglo-German rivalry
The Kaiser’s attitude towards Britain was
mixed as he was the grandson of Queen
Victoria, so he loved and loathed Britain.
Flottenpolitik antagonised relations, the
German support of the Boers in the Boer War
wasn’t helpful and Germany were
continuingly trying to lure Britain into the Triple
But over the coming years Britain began to
end her “splendid isolation” alliances with
Japan, France and Russia left Germany with
only Austria-Hungary.
First Moroccan Crisis
Germany had a number of economic interests in
Tangier in Morocco.
The Germans demanded an international
conference to discuss the future of Morocco,
hoping a wedge between Britain and France,
unfortunately the opposite happened.
They also attempted to prise the Russians away
from the French, this failed because the Russian
foreign office did not want to damage their close
relationship with the French.
The episode had been a humiliation for the
Germans, the fear of encirclement was becoming
a reality.
Second Moroccan Crisis
February 1909, the French and German governments signed an
agreement to respect each other’s interests in Morocco. But
there was a need for military intervention by the French after
disturbances in the town of Fez in April 1911.
Germany complained that this went against the agreement
and backed their protest by sending the German gunboat
Panther to moor off the coast of Morocco.
Again, Germany attempted to prise the entente apart and
again failed . In July 1911, the Chancellor of the Exchequer
David Lloyd George warned Germany against further
The Second Moroccan Crisis ended with Germany gaining
some land in the Congo but having to accept that the French
controlled Morocco.
The Balkans/Bosnia/First
Balkans War
The Balkans:
The Balkans provided the spark for outbreak of war in 1914. Germany was not a centre
player but was her only close ally.
As the Ottoman Empire declined and the Habsburg Empire increased it gave the
opportunity for nationalities such as the Serbs to assert their national identity. Serbs were
Slavs which meant they were protected by Russia.
A turning point came when Count Aehrenthal was appointed Austria-Hungary’s Foreign
Minister in 1906. His view was that the best way to deal with the Serbs was to annex the
regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina which the Austria-Hungarian government did in
October 1908.
The Russian Foreign Minister attempted to make a deal with the Austrians, but the deal
fell through and the Serbs and Russians were furious.
Austria-Hungary forced Russia and Serbia to recognise the annexation of Bosnia
Herzegovina by threatening them with war. This was with the full support of Bülow’s
government, who promised to mobilise the German forces. Basically Russia had been
damaged and Germany had become involved.
The First Balkans War 1912:
The Balkan League was formed including Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro
and in October 1912 they launched their first attack on the Ottomans. The Austrians
were horrified especially when the Serbs invaded Albania.
Kaiser called a meeting with his military advisors and was prepared to accept that
diplomacy might win through and it did through the Treaty of London in 1913.
The 1912 War Council
The Kaiser organised a meeting which included his
top military advisors, Molkte, Tirpitz and Admiral
Georg von Müller where the following points were
Kaiser insisted that Austria-Hungary should be supported
in her actions against Serbia.
If Russia chose to fight back, Austria would be supported
by Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania, which would
leave Germany free to deal with France on land and
Britain at sea.
Molkte believed that a war against Russia was inevitable
and the sooner the better.
Tirpitz suggested that the navy needed another 12-18
months to prepare the fleet.
July Crisis
On the 28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot by Gavril Princip of the Black
Hand Gang, a Serbian terrorist organisation. Germany were happy to offer their
unconditional support to Austria in the form of the “Blank Cheque”.
23rd July – Austria issued Serbia with an ultimatum.
25th July – Russia came out in favour of Serbia.
26th July – The British Foreign Secretary proposed a conference to deal with the Austro-Serb
issue but Austria refused to attend .
28th July – Austria declared war on Serbia.
29th July – Bethmann-Hollweg failed to persuade the British into neutrality . Wilhelm
contacted his cousin Nicholas II, with the result that the Tsar downgraded his order to only
partial mobilisation.
30th July – Tsar changed his mind and ordered a general mobilisation despite warnings from
31st July – Events were now set by the Schlieffen Plan. Germany refused to request to
respect Belgium’s neutrality.
1st August – France and Germany mobilise their troops for war, Germany declare war on
2nd August – German armies invade Luxembourg and demand that Belgium give them
access. Britain gave France their assurance of support.
3rd August – Germany invade Belgium and declare war on France.
4th August – Britain declare war on Germany in protection of Belgium’s neutrality.
6th August – Austria declare war on Russia.
The Fischer Controversy
Fischer launched a historiographical revolution when he argues that:
Germany had gone to war to achieve European and worldwide domination,
a bid for world power.
Germany had hoped the “Blank Cheque” would lead to war.
The roots of German expansionism were to be found in the social, political
and economic tensions which troubled Germany before 1914.
Fischer’s evidence:
Fischer bases the majority of his evidence upon a diary written by BethmannHollweg’s private secretary Kurt Riezler. There were documents which
outlined plans for peace negotiations.
For Fischer, these plans had the support of the wider political nation. Plans for
annexation that were being written down in September 1914 did not come
from nowhere, they must have been already considered in July 1914.
Fischer placed Bethmann-Hollweg at the centre for the drive for war and
argues that the foreign and domestic policy can be seen as means of
maintaining domestic dominance.
Fischer challenged
While the diaries have proved useful, there
are some suggestions that by some historians
that they were tampered with.
Another challenge is the fact there was very
little evidence to suggest that the outbreak of
the war constituted a grasp for world power.
A group of historians including Klaus
Hilderbrand and Andreas Hillgruber conclude
that the reasons for going to war were
defensive rather than aggressive.
Primat der Innenpolitik
 Foreign
policy that was dictated by
events outside Germany was called
Primat der Aussenpolitik but Fischer turned
this idea on its head and argued that it
was internal pressures, Primat der
 For example, the disruptive impact of
industrialisation caused tensions in
Germany’s social and economic