Entente Cordiale and Anglo-Russian Entente



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Causes of Great Britain’s involvement in World War I

Alliances that divided Europe into competing camps

Britain allies with France in the informal Entente Cordiale and Anglo-Russian Entente (See France below)

Nationalistic feelings

British nationalism is focused on maintaining/expanding the British Empire. A common expression was that the Empire was what put the “Great” in Great Britain, and that without it, she would be at best a second class country.

Diplomatic failures

Britain fails to make its alliance with France public. Result: Germany does not take Britain into account when it draws up war plans, because it calculates that Britain will remain neutral.

Imperialism

Britain is not interested in expanding the Empire, but in keeping what it already has. Anyone that even remotely threatens the Empire (i.e. Germany) becomes dangerous.

Competition over colonies



See above.

Militarism

The country least influenced by militarism. GB will do whatever it takes to protect the Empire, but relies on diplomacy instead of fighting. The Navy and Army are subordinate to civilian leadership and do not set national policy.

Causes of France’s involvement in World War I

Alliances that divided Europe into competing camps

France seeks to isolate Germany. Forms alliance with first Russia and then Great Britain.

Primary Documents: Franco-Russian Military Convention, 18 August 1892
Updated - Sunday, 11 November, 2001

Not published until 1918, the Franco-Russian Military Convention of 18 august 1892 drew France and Russia closer together, and together with Britain, ultimately formed the Triple Entente.

The Franco-Russian Military Convention was signed two years after the German-Russian Reinsurance Treaty had been allowed by Russia to lapse.  Increasingly Russia's future alliance lay with France and Britain, in opposition to Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy (who ultimately formed the Central Powers).

In short, should France or Russia be attacked by one of the Triple Alliance signatories - or even should a Triple Alliance power mobilize against either, the other power would provide military assistance.



First World War.com - Primary Documents - Franco-Russian Military Convention, 18 August 1892

Primary Documents: Entente Cordiale, 8 April 1904
Updated - Sunday, 4 November, 2001

The Entente Cordiale, an agreement between Britain and France, resolved a number of longstanding colonial disputes, and established a diplomatic understanding between the two countries, which however stopped short of binding either to any military undertaking in support of the other.



First World War.com - Primary Documents - Entente Cordiale, 8 April 1904

Primary Documents: Anglo-Russian Entente, 1907
Updated - Sunday, 4 November, 2001

With the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907, following the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904, the so-called Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia was established.

The Triple Entente stood in opposition to the Triple Alliance (otherwise referred to as the Central Powers) of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.

First World War.com - Primary Documents - Anglo-Russian Entente, 1907

Nationalistic feelings

Germany seen as the great enemy of France and the French people.

Diplomatic failures

France fails to make its alliance with Great Britain public. (See Great Britain). France’s efforts to surround Germany with enemies worsen relations with Germany. France’s alliance with Russia makes France a partner (whether she wants it or not) in any conflict that Russia gets involved with.

Imperialism

France, like Britain, is more interested in holding on to the empire it already has, rather than trying to enlarge it. Germany is increasingly seen as a threat to France’s overseas empire.

Competition over colonies

See above

Militarism

French army is seen as the main defender of France, however it does not make French national policy, but, as in Great Britain, follows the orders of the civilian government.

Causes Russia ‘s involvement in World War I

Alliances that divided Europe into competing camps

Russia turns to France for financial support in rebuilding its military after the defeat in the Russo Japanese War of 1905. France also becomes the greatest investor in the Russian economy. Russia is also interested in gaining an ally against what it sees as Austro-Hungarian meddling in the Balkans. (For Russia’s alliances, see France)

Nationalistic feelings

The Russian government plays on Russian nationalism to take the public’s mind off of Russia’s social and economic problems. Russia promotes the concept of “Pan-Slavism,” which is supposed to be a union of all Slavic peoples and nations under the leadership of Russia. This causes her to make unwise commitments to support Serbia, without requiring that Serbia consult Russia before taking moves that might involve her in conflicts.

Diplomatic failures

Russia fails to control its diplomatic client, Serbia, and fails to achieve a stable working relationship with Austria-Hungary in the Balkans.

Imperialism

Very important to Russian pride. The Czarist government can claim that, while it is economically backwards, its expansionism in Asia is what makes Russia a great power. This is why her loss to Japan in 1905 over the northern Chinese province of Manchuria is so crippling to the government. The government is shown to be both weak and corrupt, and the people can’t forgive the weakness and humiliation.

Competition over colonies

Russia also becomes involved in the Balkans as the self-declared protector of the Balkan Slavic peoples, and to gain eventual control over the strategic water route from the Black Sea-thru the Bosporus-thru the Dardanelles-to the Mediterranean. Unlike Manchuria, Russia is not looking to colonize the area, but to control it. It wants to turn the Balkans into an area that’s obedient to Russia’s plans. Russia’s policies bring her into conflict with both Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
Militarism

Russia has the largest army in Europe, and the Russian nobility is important in the army and navy, and therefore in the government. The greatest danger is that Russia can’t afford to be seen as backing down to any other country militarily, after its defeat in the Russo Japanese War.


Causes of Germany’s involvement in World War I

Alliances that divided Europe into competing camps

1890, Kaiser Wilhelm II doesn’t renew the “Reassurance Treaty” that Bismarck negotiated with Russia. (Bismarck was furious with the Kaiser and let it be known publicly that he thought Wilhelm was insane. He might have been right.) Bismarck had seen the Treaty as assuring peace by making war with Russia impossibility.

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/reinsurancetreaty.htm

Primary Documents: Triple Alliance, 20 May 1882
Negotiated and signed in May 1881, the Triple Alliance brought Italy into the alliance previously agreed between Germany and Austria-Hungary (in 1879) as a counterweight to France and Russia. The Triple Alliance involves Germany in the disputes and conflicts of Austria-Hungary with its Slavic neighbors without gaining anything of equal value in return..

First World War.com - Primary Documents - Triple Alliance, 20 May 1882
Nationalistic feelings

A major consideration in German foreign policy. Nationalism was at the bottom of its paranoia that the rest of the world was not giving it the respect that it deserved. It also made it very difficult for any German government to compromise in disputes with other nations for fear of appearing weak and working against national interests.


Diplomatic failures

Germany under Wilhelm I:

1. Alienated a friend, Great Britain, by going ahead with an ill advised plan (the Kaiser’s) to make the German navy the greatest in the world.

2. Over reliance on Austria-Hungary, to the determinant of good relations with Russia.

3. Failure to keep Austria-Hungary in check, and fatally assuring that Germany would stand by her whatever she decided to do to punish Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand: what is known as the , “Blank Check.”

Imperialism

Bismarck thought it was a waste of money (it was: Germans colonies lost money) and would involve Germany in colonial competitions that weren’t in her interests. Wilhelm I, however, declared that Germany wanted “a place in the sun,” meaning that as the number one industrial power in Europe, Germany should have a suitable number of colonies to go with it. Since all possible third world countries had been already colonized, this meant that someone was going to have to surrender theirs to Germany.

Competition over colonies



See above.

Militarism



Germany was the most militaristic society in Europe: German values : military values. This was especially evident in German diplomacy where threats and bullying became the hallmark of German negotiating techniques.
Kaiser Wilhelm confused the issue of civilian vs. military control of the government. In all other western European countries, there was a tradition of the military following the directions of their civilian superiors. In Germany, the military never admitted that any civilian (with the obvious exception of Bismarck) could be their superior or give them orders. This confusion of command allowed the military to effectively take over the German government in the last few weeks before war was declared, which ensured that the war was now unavoidable.


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