Why the German Chancellor Bismarck feared war with Russia

History 16/02/20 Why the German Chancellor Bismarck feared war with Russia

In 1871 the map of Europe has a strong state – the German Empire, in the process of its formation, successfully ottolknuvshis of the territory of neighboring powers. There was a threat of war with Germany and with Russia, but the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck at her and decided not to.

a Good friend

Bismarck’s Acquaintance with Russia began in January, 1859, when he was sent as Prussian Ambassador to St. Petersburg. What other diplomats could be perceived as an increase, for Bismarck meant almost link. His beliefs were contrary to the foreign policy of Prussia, and therefore, the disgraced diplomat hastened to send away from Berlin, since he had all the qualities to successfully cope with the role of a messenger.

In Russia, Bismarck had less than three years, however, the Russian mission had largely determined the political priorities for the future Chancellor. At the very beginning of its work in St. Petersburg, Bismarck took up learning the Russian language, first worked independently and then with the student-lawyer Vladimir Alexeyev.

Once Bismarck was a witness of the conversation of the Russian Emperor Alexander II and Minister of foreign Affairs Alexander Gorchakov. The king accidentally caught nevezuchiy opinion of the Prussian Ambassador and said, “do You understand Russian?” Bismarck replied in the affirmative.

He had four months of training to learn to catch the main idea of the conversation and bearable to speak in quite complicated for foreigners language. Interestingly, even after becoming head of the Prussian government, Bismarck wrote his resolution on Russian, sometimes inserting mysterious for Germans the word “impossible” or “caution”.

While in St. Petersburg, Bismarck had always tried to be aware of the political and social life of the state, read Russian literature and periodicals, including the “DVOrascoe nest” by Ivan Turgenev and banned in Russia “the Bell” Herzen. He was close with Gorchakov, and was the only foreign Ambassador who was closely associated with the Royal family. It gave him a great opportunity to learn more about Russia, and the future undeniable advantages in the diplomatic career.

In Russia, the Bismarck was always treated with respect, and when he was a diplomat, and when he became Chancellor. The German pay Russian the same coin, trying to build its international policies so that it had minimal negative consequences for Russia.

We don’t need war

Germany became an Empire, outsmart the military and diplomatic fields in Denmark, Austria and France, but Bismarck knew that his country still does not have the ability to dominate Europe. The idea of uniting all Germans in one state was never implemented, seriously opposed the Habsburg Empire. Feared the “iron Chancellor” and revenge on the part of France.

Given the centrality of Germany in Europe and, as a result, a real threat of engaging in a war on two fronts, Bismarck developed a rule followed throughout his political career: “a Strong Germany committed to live in peace and peaceful development”.

Reacting to the arguments of some German politicians about a possible confrontation with Russia (disputed issues between the two powers is enough), the Chancellor pointed to the negative experiences of the Polish nation. The vitality of Russian is much, much higher assured Bismarck. It is strongly recommended that the German militarists to look at Russia as a source of constant threat – a road to nowhere.

the Only reasonable solution for the “iron Chancellor” was a rapprochement with Russia. This has been the focus of his diplomatic efforts. 13 Mar 1871 Germany, along with representatives of leading European powers signed the London Convention which annulled the prisoner a year earlier, the Treaty of Paris, which forbade Russia to have the Black sea, howlingnny fleet.

In 1872 on the initiative of Bismarck organized a meeting of the three emperors – the German, Russian and Austrian. Discussed details of joint counteraction against the revolutionary danger. Bismarck made it clear that in addition to external threats, there was also a domestic, which has overshadowed the differences between the European monarchies.

Bismarck knew what he was talking about. At the turn of 1860-1870-ies in Germany gained momentum radical socialism that aimed to overthrow the Supreme power. The new repressive legislation adopted by the Bismarck, the socialists responded with two attempts on the Emperor and one for the Chancellor.

Latent confrontation

as strengthen the position of the United German state began to disperse his political way with Russia. Bismarck was increasingly allowed to address his Russian counterpart Gorchakov uncomplimentary remarks. The Congress of Berlin and did put relations between the two countries to the brink of conflict.

on 13 July 1878 in Berlin, the representatives of the great powers signed a Treaty to establish new borders in Europe. Unsatisfied of the San Stefano peace, podveshen the results of the Russo-Turkish war, England, Austria and Turkey with the mediation of Germany forced Russia to make concessions.

a Significant part of the reconquered territories, according to the treatise, was divided between Turkey and Austria, in particular, the southern region of Bulgaria as Autonomous provinces were ceded to the Turkish Sultan, and Austria-Hungary received the agreement on the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Russia also refused to Bayazet and Alashkert valley.

against the background of painful concessions to Russia increased anti-German sentiment deteriorated sharply and economic relations between the two countries. Prussian Junkers opposed the supply of Russian grain, and the Russian capitalists opposed the import of German industrial goods. Both countries inflated customs duties.

In the future “iron Chancellor” let accommodation in GEermanii Russian loans, which needed the tsarist government in the transition to a gold ruble. No matter how well Bismarck did not belong to Russia, it is absolutely not needed a good neighbor.

on 7 October 1879, Germany has concluded with Austria-Hungary “Mutual agreement”, thus pushing Russia to the Alliance with France. Many historians call it a fatal mistake of Bismarck, destroyed the close relationship with the Russian government. Since then, between Russia and Germany began the intense competition that has not ended and after the accession to the Russian throne, Alexander III.

Bismarck continued to exert pressure on Russia. In particular, he supported objectionable to the Russian Emperor the candidature of Prince Ferdinand of Coburg, who claimed the Bulgarian throne. Meanwhile, the General staffs of both empires began to develop plans for the impending war.

In Russia or foot

dragging out the confrontation between Russia and Germany threatened to bring both sides to a standstill. The prospect of a war wasn’t attracted to anyone. “A preventive war against Russia – suicide for fear of death,” so vividly expressed Bismarck. In addition, the Chancellor was confused to build the system of alliances.

By June of 1887 in diplomatic circles of Berlin and St. Petersburg had a plan a secret agreement between the two countries, which eventually was signed by Chancellor Bismarck and the Russian Ambassador Pavel Shuvalov. According to the “contract of reinsurance” Russia and Germany pledged to remain neutral in case of war, any of the parties to the agreement with a third party, except in cases of a German attack on France or Russia on Austria-Hungary.

the agreement includes a specific Protocol according to which Germany had to lend Russia diplomatic support, Russian if the Emperor deems it necessary to seize the Straits in order to “save the key to his Empire”. In response, the Russian government has given complete freedom of action of Germany against France.

If Germany tosome time refused to armed disputes with Russia, Austria-Hungary was still thinking on this thought. In the spring of 1888, Bismarck said that the officers of the Austrian General staff outlining the beginning of the war in the autumn of the same year. An attack on the Minister for foreign Affairs of Austria-Hungary count Kalnoky – “Russia will be destroyed by the” Bismarck remarked that it is unlikely. Even the most successful outcome of the war, according to the Chancellor, will never lead to the disintegration of the Russian state.

In the memoir that he wrote Bismarck in his last years, much attention is paid to it in Russia. The Chancellor warned his contemporaries and descendants from hasty steps: “do Not expect that once taking advantage of Russia’s weakness, you will receive dividends forever. Do not rely on a signed Jesuit agreement, supposedly you justifying. They are not worth the paper it is written on. Therefore, with the Russian stands or play fair or not play”.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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