Otto von Bismarck and the Bismarckian system

Otto von Bismarck and the Bismarckian system

Diplomacy It has existed for millennia. In the Greek civilization, for example, agreements were reached to conquer new cities or wage wars. During the following centuries, the different techniques, objectives and ways of establishing diplomatic ties were gradually developed and improved. All this evolution culminated in the appearance of Otto von Bismarck and his diplomatic network that would become known as bismarckian system.

Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) was a multidisciplinary German politician who in 1862 became Prime Minister of Prussia and, little by little, took control of Europe. Bismarck's first goal was German unification. To do this he waged three wars: the War of the Duchies in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

Thus, in 1871, William I of Prussia was crowned Emperor of the Second Reich. European hegemony, which had been held by the army of Napoleon iii and France, passed into the hands of the prepared Prussian army and Bismarck.

At present, Otto von Bismarck he is considered one of the main masters of international relations. He began his career as an ambassador to Prussia. While in that position, he established general lines that would end up being the pillars of his ideology on European foreign policy. Bismarck said that politics was "an art of the possible." According to him, the foreign policy of a country should be perfectly calculated, without receiving personal influences from its leaders, but it was also necessary to remain vigilant and "have the opportunities that arise".

These statements were made before the Confederation of the Rhine in 1852 and in Saint Petersburg in 1858. The Prussian politician wanted to distance himself and create a new European political model that would completely isolate France.

He saw the Austrian Empire as the main rival, since Klemens von Metternich it had created a system of balance that placed Austria as the political center of the continent. But the Austrian model was beginning to fail since it was justified around absolutism, a vision rejected by many European countries at that time.

Due to this, when the German unification ended in 1871, it began to generate a network of networks of alliances and pacts throughout Europe. The first was the Entente of the Three Emperors In that same year. It was an alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia to preserve the peace in case it was threatened.

This pact would be succeeded by Duplex Alliance, which was secretly signed on October 7, 1879 by Germany and Austria, in order to defend themselves from a possible Russian attack. They would be joined by Italy in 1882, forming the Triple Alliance. Furthermore, in 1881 the New Entente was ratified. The same participants in the Entente of the Three Emperors, but who came to solve the problems between Russia and Austria with respect to the Balkans and the other territories of Eastern Europe.

Apart from these great pacts, there were also minor treaties such as the Mediterranean Pact or the Reinsurance Treaty, which strengthened the leadership position of the German reich and, at the same time, they accomplished the objective of isolating France. The Mediterranean Pact it was secretly signed by Great Britain and Germany on February 12, 1887 to maintain the status quo in the Mediterranean area, where the British had a lot of power. Austria also joined this treaty on March 24 and Spain on May 4.

We also find the Reinsurance Treaty devised, also secretly, by Germany and Russia. It recognized the control and rights of the Tsar over Bulgaria and supported his policy on the Straits. But there was one against: this union went against the alliance that Germany had with Austria and against the Mediterranean Pact.

However, as it is a secret pact, Otto von Bismarck he was able to delicately control the various threads to avoid conflicts. He used his influence to prevent the rest of the powers from knowing which countries were allied with each other. All this further increased European dependence on the German Reich, while exponentially increasing the tension between all the nations of the old continent.

While is true that Bismarck managed to create this network of alliances and establish a European balance, so is the fact that it was one of the causes of World War I.

Most of the pacts and alliances were secret, so the bismarckian system it completely depended on its creator. With his resignation in 1890 due to the lack of support from William II, the ties it had created across the continent began to break down and conflicts arose between most of the countries that had signed these pacts. So much so that in 1914 the Great War broke out, due to the different continental alliances.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

Video: How Otto von Bismarck Reshaped Europe. Tooky History