Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The British-German naval rivalry as a contributing factor to the start of World War One

IntroductionOne the main arguments that bring in been presented in establish to actualise the reasons for the beginning of orb state of contend One revolves around the exploitation of forces capabilities in the European continent in the flow rate leading up to the start of the conflagration. Among the immediate causes cited for the beginning of hostilities was the nautical rivalry that unfolded amongst the unite region and Germany, posticularly in the 1960-1914 period (Churchill, 1923 119). Upon the establishment of the German ground in 1871, Britain was in possession of the biggest nautical forces in the world (Kelly, 2011 20). In tramp to entrench the position of Germany in the European governmental pronounce, emperor merelyterfly Wilhelm II launched a strategy that was centred around extending the projection of situation of the German lavishly Seas Fleet (Clark, 2012 116). This polity was seconded by the German regal oceanic routine which, under the ste s truggledship of Admiral Alfred Von Tirpitz, became an influential force in expanding the rudes marimagazine fleet to 2/3 of the size of the kingly Navy (Von Tirpitz, 1920 134).This essay argues that the British-German oceanic rivalry contributed the advent of the First public contend repayable to the fact that it compelled capital of the join body politic to precede the conflagration in order to follow the balance of power in the European governmental order and to preserve its commercial interests in the wider world. These became seriously endanger by the elaboration of German ocean capabilities. The first part of the essay outlines the diachronic and geopolitical circumstances involved in the British-German ocean rivalry. Particular guardianship is given to the way of life in which the united solid ground reacted to the decision of the German conglomerate to extend its ocean power to the wider world as tumesce as the geopolitical implications involved in the decision to resist the expansion of Germanys ocean capabilities. The second part of the essay examines the way in which those considerations were brought to bear in the decision to introduce orb war One.The British-German naval rivalry during the period leading up to the First military man contendThe jut for the expansion of German naval capabilities responded to the geopolitical situation that was taking drift in Southern Africa in the background of the Boer War (Weir, 1992 81). When British forces invaded Transvaal at the end of the nineteenth degree centigrade, plans were lay in place in order to place a blockade on Germany, catering for the chance that the imperial beard forces whitethorn try to intervene in the conflict (Kelly, 2002 1048). This move would have electromotive forcely resulted in s of all timee dislocations to the German economy, which depended on foreign black materials and markets for its continued expansion (Kelly, 2011 29). The extension of Germa n naval capabilities was thitherfore accommodate towards securing the conditions for the countrys long term economic growth (Grey, 1925 17). From a technical standpoint, the launch of HMS dreadnought in 1906 exacerbated the intensity of the German-British naval race. The Dreadnought became the first battleship that operated a synchronised main battery (Churchill, 1923 188 Weir, 1992 39). In addition, it also possessed the highest speed of any different vessel fit out for military service due to the fact that it ran on steam engines (Wilson, 1985 55 Lambert, 2002 22). It is worth mentioning that the naval hegemony possessed by the United land became a more costly exercise with the break of Germany and early(a) revisionist states in the previous(a) nineteenth century (Neilson, 1995 99 Kelly, 2011 46). This state of personal matters had prompted the United Kingdom to adopt the Two-Power standard, which grantd that the British naval forces had to be at least(prenominal) as po werful as the conterminous two strongest navies (France and Russia) (Clark, 2012 122 Steinberg, 1985 59).In the period leading up to the advent of the First valet War there was a great deal of popular support in both(prenominal) countries for a continuation of the indemnity of naval expansion. It is worth mentioning that in go against of the race for expanded naval capabilities, British ocean power had been staidly curtailed by the eve of the First World War. (Von Tirpitz, 1920 136) There are a number of observations that can be made in order to pardon this occurrence (Kelly, 2002 1055). To begin with, Britain was under severe financial constraints due its ever decreasing share of word avocation and political unrest at home, marked by the demands for social justice exerted by the trade mating movement and the Labour Party (Weir, 1992 33 Kelly, 2011 190). In addition, the expansion of the American Navy as well as the efforts of the German Naval Office to extend the countr ys sea power contributed to the diminished depicted object of the Royal Navy to project its capabilities in the wider world. In spite of these developments, it is uninjured to argue that the United Kingdom had the greatest naval power upon unveiling World War One (Grey, 1925 23). Furthermore, the country ensured the continuation of its relative favourable position in the sea by entering into an alliance with Russia and France, geared towards counterbalancing the emerge central bloc effected by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy (Wilson, 1985 59).The Entente Cordiale, signed among Britain and France in 1904, came about(predicate) as a result of the willingness of the German Empire to enlarge their commercial reach to the wider world, particularly in Africa where both nations had certain colonial interests (Von Tirpitz, 1920 130 Clark, 2012 124). The establishment and preservation of a German colonial system was to be carried out with the expansion of the nations naval cap abilities (Lambert, 2002 25). The British Foreign Office was aware of the grand geopolitical designs of the German Empire. Some of its most prominent members distinguished a unambiguous revisionist stance on the part of Germany, which they likened to the hegemonic crusade of Frances Napoleon a century earlier (Grey, 1925 44). The preservation of naval superiority and the establishment of political alliances with like-minded nations were conducive to abandoning the policy of neutrality in European personal business and to engage in an act of balancing against Germany (Clark, 2012 144). The panic of a German revisionist drive was outlined by Eyre Crowe, an send official at the Western section of the British Foreign office, in his famous memorandum of 1907. Crowe emphasised the charter to maintain naval conquest in order to preserve the granting immunity of the seas and international commerce,In proportion as England champions the principle of the largest measure of popular f reedom of commerce, she undoubtedly strengthens her hold on the interested friendship of other nations, at least to the extent of making them feel less disturbed of naval supremacy in the hands of a free trade England than they would in the face of a predominant protectionist Power (Crowe, 1907).The British diplomatic establishment was aware of the dangers of a revisionist Germany for world peace. At the same time, there was an expressed preoccupation with the possibility that the extension of German naval resources may result in a diminution of British sea power (McDermott in Kennedy (ed.), 1979 81). This is what transpires from a statement made to the House of Commons in 1911 by Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary,Germany is rightly proud of her strength. She is building a big fleet. Surely it is natural and obvious that the growth of that fleet mustiness raise apprehensions, or at least make other nations actually sensitive to apprehensions, lest the Power which is bec oming strong should have aggressive designs towards themselves. I do not believe in these aggressive designs. I do not wish to have it interpreted in that sense, but I think it must be realised that other nations will be apprehensive and sensitive, and on the lookout for any indications of aggression. All we or the other neighbours of Germany desire is to live with her on equal terms (Grey, 1911).The geopolitical implications of the rise of Germany were tied to the establishment of a naval network capable of sustaining the growing commercial influence of the nation in the wider world. However, it should be mentioned that in 1912 the German Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, approached the British governing in order to put an end to the naval race mingled with the two countries (Kennedy, 1983 120). The Chancellors approach office have been motivated by the need to overmaster the increasing isolation of Germany in the European political order. The British authorities res ponded by direct Richard Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, to negotiate the terms of the detente with Imperial Germany (Grey, 1925 33). However, this mission failed due to the German proposal to accept the naval dominance of the United Kingdom in return for Londons neutral stance in the case of a general conflagration and the assurance that the Berlin would not be branded as the aggressor (McDermott in Kennedy (ed.), 1979 86).The visit of Lord Haldane to Berlin revealed round of the geopolitical concerns regarding the revisionist stance adopted by Germany (Kennedy, 1980 60). Winston Churchill, who had been a member of the across-the-board Cabinet, argued that whilst for Germany the maintenance of naval capabilities was a luxury, for Britain it a was a necessary (Churchill, 1923 144). Here we see an attempt by a prominent British politician to downplay the importance of the construction of naval resources on the part of Germany (Kennedy, 1980 67). This was done in order to reinforce the notion that British naval superiority was a feature of the European and international political order that was not to be gainsayd (Kelly, 2011 173). As we will see in the next section, the geopolitical considerations pertaining to the possibility of German supremacy in the continent naturalized a significant factor in the British decision to enter into the First World War (Epkenhans, 2008 122). The impact of the British-German naval rivalry in Londons decision to enter into the First World WarIn regards to the outbreak of hostilities, it should be argued that the arms race that took place between the United Kingdom and the Germany drove both nations to enter into the war (McDermott in Kennedy (ed.), 1979 99). Additionally, the inimical interests of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires in the Balkans made their participation in the war inevitable. France embarked upon the pursuit of war as a consequence of the invasion by the German forces and its alliance commit ments to Russia (Kennedy, 1989 91). It could be posited that one of the most salient aspects of World War One is constituted by the British participation in the war in order to balance the revisionist drive of the German Empire. From this perspective, the British intro into the war may be regarded as an attempt to maintain an equilibrium of forces in the European political order. This balance of power was tilting towards Germany in a decisive manner, since the country adopted the decision to build up its naval resources that severely threatened British supremacy at sea (Clark, 2012 132).There is an established consensus on a segment of the scholarship that is centred on the idea that the United Kingdom had become increasingly wary about the intention of the German imperial government to increase its naval capabilities (Massie, 1991 20). The Reichsflotte Doctrine, propounded by Admiral Tirpitz, revolved around the notion that Germany was impelled to prop up its naval resources in or der to be able to inflict misemploy to the Royal Navy in case of a war (Kelly, 2002 1037). However, it should be mentioned that in 1912 the German Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, approached the British authorities in order to put an end to the naval race between the two countries (Kennedy, 1983 120). The Chancellors approach might have been motivated by the need to overcome the increasing isolation of Germany in the European political order. The British authorities responded by sending Richard Haldane, the Secretary of State for War, to negotiate the terms of the detente with Imperial Germany (Grey, 1925 33). This would force the United Kingdom to enter into an alliance with Germany. However, it may be stated that the position of the United Kingdom was one of the defiance, preferring the option of entering into the First World War in order to delay the possibility that Germany may achieve geopolitical supremacy in the European continent and a broader projection of powe r into the wider world (Epkenhans, 2008 101).During the decade that preceded the advent of World War One, the United Kingdom made considerable preparations in order to cater for the eventual(prenominal)ity of hostilities against Germany (Kennedy, 1980 109). In addition to the signing of diplomatic treaties with France and Russia, the United Kingdom also entered into an alliance with Japan, in order to devote their caution to the emerging geopolitical scenario in the European theatre (Modelski and Thompson, 1988 19). The acceleration of the naval race that took place during the 1908-12 period left an indelible impression on the mindset of British foreign policy makers (Clark, 2012 141). The shift from a naval to an army doctrine by Germany in 1812 did not assuage tensions between the two countries, as it became another instrument to exert potential supremacy over the British allies France and Russia (Massie, 1991 50). Some alternative explanations to Britains compliance into World War One gyrate around the idea that London did not just hear to contain the naval prowess of Germany but to attain a situation in which the other antagonists would see their sea power diminished (Kennedy, 1989 133). For example, the Russian Empire, which had experienced significant economic growth in the last two decades before the war, could have potentially threatened British interests in India (Kennedy, 1980 11).The British Raj could not have been defended by its midget armed forces in case of an overland Russian invasion. This prompted London to seek an alliance with Russia, which was duly effectuated in 1907 (Steinberg, 1973 201 Kennedy, 1983 50). From this perspective, confecting a German naval threat would be conducive to reassuring France and Russia that only the Royal Navy could provide an equilibrium of forces in the seas (Massie, 1991 56). Therefore, the British-German rivalry also has to be assessed in the background of British diminution of power due to the rise of revisionist powers such as Japan and Germany (Kelly, 2002 1036). In addition, the rise of the United States as the largest economy in the world also played into the geopolitical considerations of British foreign policy makers on the eve of World War One (Modelski and Thompson, 1988 21).The antagonism regarding the naval race between the United Kingdom and Germany has to be appraised in the context of the actual erosion of British power (McDermott in Kennedy (ed.), 1979 93). Consequently, British policy revolved around the principle of avoiding the rise of a naval competitor that could threaten its imperial possessions, rather than a revisionist power that could attain supremacy in the continent (Epkenhans, 2008 55). It could be stated that the strategy that led to British entry into World War One was centred around the maintenance of naval supremacy through the introduction of ships that would be able to rise to the challenge of an attack against any of Britains imperial possession s (Kennedy, 1989 139). It was known at the time that Germany did not pose an immediate threat to British Empire. However, the United Kingdom was compelled to enter into World War One in order to prevent a situation in which a victorious Germany would be in a position to reconfigure the geopolitical map through the accumulation of naval forces with France and Russia (Steinberg, 1973 199 Neilson, 1995 55). German supremacy in the European continent would have at last resulted in naval dominance by an entente between Germany and the vanquished powers (Kennedy, 1983 88). The British-German naval rivalry was a significant factor in Britains entry into World War One due to the potential ramifications of a German supremacy in the continent, rather than as a response to its potential supremacy over the European continent (Kelly, 2002 1034). ConclusionBy way of conclusion, it should be noted that the naval rivalry between the United Kingdom and Germany exerted a significant amount of inf luence in the decision to enter into the First World War. Prompted by Berlins accumulation of naval resources, the United Kingdom attempted to preserve its relative superiority in the sea by forging an alliance with Russia and France (Clark, 2012 155 Steinberg, 1985 59). This was geared towards counterpoising the looming threat constituted by the associative framework between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The Entente Cordiale originated from the need to knock off the German Empires to commercial and military reach into the wider world, oddly in regions where both France and the United Kingdom had substantial colonial interests (Churchill, 1923 213).The British political establishment was well aware of the geopolitical constructs of the German Empire, which was compared to the hegemonic drive instigated by Napoleon in the early part of the nineteenth century (Steinberg, 1973 196 Kennedy, 1989 129). It may be argued that the motivations that led to British entry into the First World War were centred around the need to preserve naval supremacy through the retrofitting of the Royal Navys capabilities in order to fend off the challenge of an attack against any of Britains imperial possessions (Epkenhans, 2008 81). For all the reasons to be cited above, it could be concluded that the United Kingdom entered into the First World War in order to avoid a situation in which German supremacy in the European continent would result in an eventual naval alliance between Germany and its former enemies (Neilson, 1995 61). Consequently, the British-German naval rivalry was an consequential factor in Londons decision to enter into World War One, as the potential geopolitical implications of a German victory would have involved an eventual threat to British possessions overseas. These were to be defended at all costs. Even at the expense of entering into a war that diminished the standing of the United Kingdom in world affairs and which did not manage to sort out the po sition of Germany in the European political spectrum.BibliographyChurchill, W. (1923) The World Crisis, 1911-1914, T London Thornton Butterworth LimitedClark, C. 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