Bismarck had managed to unify Germany after years of war, but he now had to keep the peace in Europe. How did he manage this and how successful were his foreign policies? By examining and evaluating the five main events between 1871-90; Dreikaiserbund, The Congress of Berlin, The Dual Alliance, The Triple Alliance and Mediterranean agreements and The Reinsurance Treaty, we will be able to see how successful he really was and where it went wrong
After the unification of Germany, there were five great powers; Austria, Britain, France, Germany and Russia. To keep the peace in Europe, Bismarck had to please two of the greater powers, Austria and Russia. This was because if Bismarck favoured one power over the other, they might align with France in a war against Germany. He also needed to isolate France as he had created an enemy for several generations after the Franco-Prussian war.
Bismarck’s Aims in Europe
Bismarck’s politics were, to a certain extent, successful, but he made errors. As he won the independence of Germany through war a lot of the countries in Europe were insecure about where they had Germany and were starting to build up their military to prepare for possible conflicts. They also started to create alliances between each other so that they would not stand alone in an even o a war. For Bismarck to keep the peace in Europe he had two main concerns, the Balkans (newly disintegrated ottoman empire) where there could become a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Russia, and the isolation of France so that they could not create an alliance with another country and find revenge for their loss in the Franco-Prussian war. Both of these could possibly spark into a conflict, or war, which would involve Germany without doubt.
The Isolation of France
The isolation of France was the most important part of Bismarck’s Plan towards keeping the peace in Europe. This was because of the outcome of the Franco-Prussian war and France seeking revenge for their loss, and the possibilities of France allying itself with either Russia or Austria-Hungary, which were both great powers, to help them in their revenge. The Dreikaiserbund was the Three Emperors League and was the alliance between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. This alliance was crucial in the plan of isolating France as it satisfied Both Russia and Austria-Hungary.
The Dreikaiserbund, also known as the Three Emperors League, was an important part of Bismarck’s plan, initially. But as the Bund only held for six years and disintegrated because of Russia and Austria-Hungary’s constant conflicts in the Balkans.