Aims Of Bismarck’s Foreign Policy

Aims Of Bismarck’s Foreign Policy

Preservation of European Peace:

Bismarck believed that after her unification and transformation into an empire, Germany was a satiated power and that her best interests lay in supporting the status quo. He was particularly concerned that the rivalry between Austria and Russia in the Near East should not result in a war in which Germany would have to make a choice as to which power to support. Much of his efforts were devoted to solving the Eastern Question.

Concentration on European Issues:

Bismarck believed that Germany‘s main interests lay in Europe, not in the Balkans, the Near East or Africa. He did not want a colonial empire and remarked: ―My map of Africa lies in Europe.‖ However, he was forced under popular pressure to seek colonial expansion.

Isolation of France:

The Franco-Prussian War left bitter memories in France. It seemed probable that at an appropriate future date France would embark upon a war of revenge. Bismarck regarded this as the chief danger, which the German Empire had to face. However, Bismarck was convinced that by herself France would not be able to attack the German Empire with success. Hence, she might seek allies to wage a ‗war of revenge‘ on Germany and attempt to recover Alsace and Lorraine. Therefore, Bismarck was determined to prevent France from obtaining allies and isolate her and ensure the safety of the German Empire.

Prevention of anti-German Coalition:

Since France was unlikely to start a war, except with the support of an ally, Bismarck made it his policy to keep on good terms with Austria, Russia and England. This consideration led to the policy of forming alliances, important being the League of Three Emperors (Dreikaiserbund) and the Dual Alliance.

Diversion of other powers to non-European Activities:

Bismarck felt that the best way to prevent other powers from taking an active interest in interfering in European affairs at Germany‘s expense was to divert them to clashes with each other in areas where German interests were not involved. For example, he encouraged France in her ambitions in Africa, particularly in Tunis, so that she might forget the Rhine. Bismarck also encouraged England in Egypt and Italy in North Africa.