Kaiser Wilhelm II -||- Wilhelm's Chancellors -||- Admiral von Tirpitz and the Naval Race -||- Alliance with Austria-Hungary -||- Relations with Europe -||- Internal Discontent and new Social Orders -||- Industry and Economy -||- The Schlieffin Plan -||- World War I
~~~~~-To Wilhelm II's Germany-~~~~~
Initially, Germany was the most powerful of the European Empires, thanks to Chancellor Bismarck, who manipulated the entire continent. Then, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Britain were friends of Germany, leaving France isolated in her anger over Alsace-Lorraine. The end of Bismarck’s ‘reign’ as it were, would end this.
Complications over the Balkans would separate Russia and Austria-Hungary,
leaving France an opportunity to ally themselves with Russia.
Officially, the Germans stayed with Austria, although the Kaiser and Tsar
Nicolas II had a warming friendship thanks to Alixandra, Tsarina of Russia, and
the Kaiser’s cousin. Perhaps it
was a greater tragedy that in the end, the two rulers would have to go to war
with each other. After the end of
the Tsar’s family, there are reports that the Kaiser was still being deceived
by the Bolsheviks about the Romanov family whenever he asked ‘are they alright
and well treated?’.
Germany’s relations with Italy involved the Triple Alliance (of
Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) where Italy agreed to support Germany if she
were invaded. Later however, Italy would become one of the Allied Powers.
As for the Ottoman Empire, Germany was allied with Austria, who wanted
the lands that the Ottomans were losing. It
did however, join Germany and Austria-Hungary as a Central Power in World War
One, only to weaken itself more.
Germany’s relation with France is the most obvious.
They were bitter rivals. So
bitter in fact, that the French decided on British friendship, rather than
talking to the Germans. This was
all caused over Alsace-Lorraine and the compensation that France had to pay to
get the German troops off her land. She
had sworn ultimate vengeance on Germany, and always took Germany’s opposing
side. This attitude of hatred would
not end even for some time after World War I.
It was Germany’s relations with Britain that were the most complicated.
First, there were the ties of the Royal Family, and the Kaiser saw his
family a lot. Second, there were
the great economical and trading ties. Britain
was greatly reliant on German industry. This
would have them attempt kinder reparations after the war.
(PUNCH cartoon on the Morroccan Crises and the 'battles' of the different respective countries: Germany, France and Spain)