Discuss the important aspects of Bismarck’s foreign policy. (10 marks)
- Write briefly about Bismarck in the introduction
- List out important aspects of his foreign policy like Military alliances, national interest, pragmatism etc.
- Conclude appropriately
Bismarck was not only a great statesman, he was also a great diplomat. By using his diplomatic skills, Bismarck maintained German dominance in Europe till the time he remained German chancellor. Bismarck’s foreign policy had left a lasting influence on European history.
Important aspects of Bismarck’s foreign policy:
- Guided by German national Interest:Bismarck tried to protect and promote his national interest both in immediate sense and long term. He wanted to ensure continuation of German dominance in European politics.
- Opportunistic in nature:He did not follow any particular ideology. He did whatever German national interest required in a particular situation. To this end, he created various alliances like League of three Emperors, Dual alliance, Triple alliance etc.
- Militaristic outlook:Military alliance forms the crux of Bismarck’s foreign policy. Every dimension of foreign policy revolved around military strength. He developed a system of peace time military alliance. He not only raised a large number of soldiers but also imparted them training in the use of new weapons.
- Approach of Blood & Iron:There was no sentiment involved in his aggressive foreign policy. Bismarck often used his diplomatic skill not to win an ally but to isolate his target to attack.
- Pragmatic in nature:Bismarck understood the dynamics of European politics very well. He was aware of convergence and divergence among major European powers. He manipulated political issues such as the Schleswig-Holstein Question and the Hohenzollern candidature to antagonize other countries and cause wars if necessary to attain his goals. Such policies are characteristic of Bismarck, demonstrating a pragmatic view of the real political world.
- Secretive in nature:His foreign policy was secretive in nature because alliances created by him were never announced publicly. It gradually came into public domain much later. The secret defensive alliance became the very corner stone of Bismarck foreign policy.
Thus Bismarck’s foreign policy was characterized by well defined aims and objectives. Bismarck knew what he was trying to achieve through his foreign policy and because of this, he could implement his design effectively. Through his foreign policy, he maintained German dominance in Europe for more than two decades. No power could challenge German prestige till the time Bismarck was in the office of German chancellor.
Subjects : History – World