Britain's Foreign Policy In The 19th Century

908 Words4 Pages
During the last decade of the 19th century, not much changed in Britain’s foreign policy. At the beginning of the 1890s the country was still enjoying its splendid isolation but as the decade progressed on, the isolation policy began to fall apart because there were finally some rivalling naval powers and Britain was forced to get involved in continental policies as well as colonial. The real turning point was the arrival of the 20th century after which the British foreign policy went through multiple changes, most of which in the form of alliances that nobody saw coming. During the change of century, Britain was busy with the South African war. Although Britain had a much bigger army as her advantage, she was struggling to win the war against the Boers and as her last desperate try to end it on her terms, she had the villages destroyed and the inhabitants sent to concentration camps. Although she managed to win the war, even Britain could sense that the end did not, in fact, justify the means. This did not affect the morale of the British too well.…show more content…
She perceived the Franco-Russian alliance as a threat and should have – as a logical next step – sought an alliance with likeminded powers such as Germany. Germany had in fact made several attempts to form an alliance with Britain but never succeeded. According to Henry Kissinger, “Britain would make only two types of agreements: limited military agreements to deal with definable, clearly specified dangers; or entente-type arrangements to cooperate diplomatically on those issues in which interests with another country ran parallel.” Germany had been using the wrong approach to this matter. She requested a full military alliance which Britain felt would have been too great of a commitment and would not have allowed her to decide freely when and to what extent she would get involved. This was partly the reason why Britain, against all odds found herself signing Ententes with France and Russia, the very powers that she had been feeling threatened by. The Entente cordiale, signed in 1904, allowed Britain and France to come to an agreement about Egypt, a matter that had had the two powers on the brink of war in 1898 but was now settled with France recognizing British control over it. In return, Britain let France have the control over Morocco, and both countries agreed to have their own spheres of influence in Siam. In spite of being provoked by Germany in the form of the two Moroccan crises of
Open Document