Flashcards in British Foreign Policy 1815-1914 Deck (33)
What is first important to understand regarding British geography?
Britain is a collection of islands off the coast off Europe
Great vulnerability, vulnerable to invasion - Napoleonic wars, Germany before WW1
What did Britain have to avoid regarding the continent of Europe?
The threatening European powers grouping together, or a threatening power occupying Holland or Belgium as it could act as a springboard to invade Britain
What was important to trade and the growth of trade in the c18?
The port of Antwerp - allowed for unfettered worldwide trade
What kind of power was Britain in this period?
A maritime power - its main strength was its Navy.
Didn't have a strong standing army
What acted as the lifeblood and arteries of the British Empire?
Its ports and trade routes
How was foreign policy used?
To preserve foreign colonial interests such as India, New Zealand and South Africa etc
What area fell under the informal Empire?
The Middle East for example
What was needed for Britain to maintain its worldwide interests and why was this?
It didn't have the power to overcome every challenge it faced trying to maintain its control as the pre-eminent power it was during this time. Had to rely on bluffs to maintain its prestige
How are foreign and domestic policy linked?
Foreign policy costs a lot of money - taxpayers, popularity of the govt and parties etc
How did the Government and Primeminister contribute to foreign policy?
They felt like they should intervene in determining it - especially the PM
How did the Foreign Secretary influence foreign policy?
On aday to day basis - dealt with relations between Britain and foreign countries
What constraints were there in formulating foreign policy?
Parliament - HoC - voted a sum of money each year for the govt to use in foreign policy - Parliament would try and reduce foreign policy budget each year
The Monarch - constitutionally - see and alter each and every diplomatic exchange sent from the Foreign office.
Monarch of the day could dig his or her heels in - impediment of some policies
What dictated how much the Foreign Office could do with foreign policy?
The Treasury - as they held the money needed
How did intelligence gathering change?
There were intelligence gatherers, both covert and overt.
In the late c19 and early c20 intelligence formalised in a way we would recognise today. With the MI5 in 1909 and MI6 at the end of WW1
What carried on almost constantly from 1793 and what did it result in?
Was at war with France. Therefore needed coalitions with other powers to ensure victory - exposed weaknesses
What did the conflict with France result in economically?
Britain had to subsidise other countries for the war which meant they essentially bankrolled the entire thing.
Britain suffered massively in its trade, in part due to the blockade system by Napoleon - resulted in national debt
What fears did the war with France bring up?
The war with France required higher taxes, and there was a fear of civil unrest and maybe even a revolution as seen in France
Who did Britain look to for allies? And what was the thinking behind it?
The conservative powers such as Russia, Austria, Prussia etc - Russia only beginning to emerge as a potential rival - tried to get them onside.
To isolate and contain France.
And with an independent and larger Holland, independent Germany states, Switzerland and the restoration of Italian states - it was hoped that France would be surrounded with nations sympathetic to Britain
What was the 1815 Settlement?
It was partly driven by commercial interest, but also strategic and wasn’t a pure British initiative
An Alliance of Conservative powers, anti-revolution powers - Russia, Prussia, Austria and Britain - ending Bonapartist dynasty in France
Try to resuscitate France as well - a friendly France
How did relations with France change?
Eventually - France and GB came together and supported Belgian revolution
Relations with France improved - allies in Crimean war - still mutual suspicion, rumbled through c19 into early c20
Partly diminished due to concerns about Russia increasing
What were the aims of mid c19 foreign policy?
Access to markets, free trade, open door to pursuit of profit
What was the ethos and method behind mid c19 foreign policy?
Commerce the ‘pioneer of civilisation’ - gun boat diplomacy and annexations a last resort to attain commercial/strategic goals, where there is no possible policy to hand that would work, as it was obviously expensive and would get you into trouble
Who were the practitioners of mid c19 foreign policy?
An imperially minded ruling elite, v wealthy - underpinned by other wealthy people who knew each other, shared common ideas of being the top power
What undermined Britain's position in the early c20?
Its rivals - rapidly industrialising nations - US, Japan, Germany etc - who had their own imperial interests
Why did Britain become allied with Japan in 1902?
Partly because Russia was extending its interest towards China (the Great Game.) Fear they were getting the upper hand and this alliance would allow the British Navy to patrol these areas.
Fear that Japan and Russia would ally
Russia and France allied, a powerful adversary - needed an alliance with Japan despite any racial stereotpyes
What happened in April 1904?
The Entente Cordiale
What was the thinking behind the Entente Cordiale?
If relations between Britain and France improved, relations between Britain and Russia might also improve - which would be beneficial in the Middle East
Relations with Germany worsened and Britain had to decide either to ally with Germany or with France and Russia
Main focus was to improve relations with France
What was the main provision of the Entente Cordiale?
Britain recognised the French ascendancy in Morocco, and France recognised British ascendancy in Egypt
What wasn't the Entente Cordiale?
An alliance - it was just a friendly agreement