AP European Post #9

Why and in what stages did Britain abandon its policy of “splendid isolation” at the turn of the century?  Were these policies wise or would they of been better off with a different course?

This post will close on March 9 at 5:00 PM.

44 thoughts on “AP European Post #9

  1. The primary reason was the building of a powerful German navy. This threatened Britain’s strength as a navy, which was currently the most powerful in the world. Their rivals were France and Austria, but with Germany on the rise, it added pressure. Starting in the 1890s, Germany began to rapidly expand its navy with the intent of seriously rivaling Britain in sea power. Britain— in turn— decided to establish an alliance with Japan in order to keep their navy strong without falling into debt.
    It was an arguably wise decision, because if Britain had remained in isolation, it would have wound technologically behind like Japan or Russia.

    • I agree, Britain’s rivals were quickly gaining power and influence which meant Britain had more to worry about.

      • I agree with your statement Mariana, the British were backed into a corner by the oncoming Germans who were set one becoming a naval power, thus being forced to ally with Japan

    • I agree Britain could not maintain it’s notion of being affected by the quarrels of outside simply because of their supremacy. The Germans were becoming a fast approaching threat that forced them into action.

    • Yes, I think that Germany’s new expansion definitely made Britain nervous. Up until then, the British navy was pretty much unbeatable, and now that Germany, having unified under the leadership of Bismarck, was able to develop the military quickly, Britain had to abandon that policy of splendid isolation as you said in favor of finding new allies.

  2. Britain ended its policy of “splendid isolation” because they noticed the changes occurring around the world and realized they needed more allies. It was a wise decision to rid of the policy because if it continued with its isolation they might’ve ended up falling behind.

    • I agree with you, and I like that you brought up how they noticed the changes and technological advancements occurring worldwide.

    • I agree with what you said about them falling behind. It was definitely a good decision to gain an ally.

    • I agree, they could have fallen behind like the likes of Russia who’s isolated decisions on military lead to their direct failure in the Russo-Japanese War. Britain could have suffered the same fate if not for their alliance system in WW1.

    • It’s true that, as you said, isolation would likely not have worked out well for Great Britain, and not just because they would have fallen behind due to a lack of allies and agreements with foreign nations. Isolation would have prevented them from finding ways to match the newly expanded strength of the German military, and, as we saw in history, Britain recognized this. So, they changed up their foreign policy to make agreements with other countries that would hopefully provide them with security against aggression from strong militaries such as that of Germany.

  3. Britain abandoned its policy of “splendid isolation” due to a newfound rivalry with Germany. Due to Germany’s rise in naval power, Britain had to worry about their own navy. Britain decided to ally with Japan when Germany added to the list if rivalries.

    • I agree that the new found naval power of Germany was a big factor in the eventual decline of British Isolationism in favor of gaining alliances to counter the German Empire like the Japanese or French.

  4. Britain abandoned it’s policy of splendid isolation as they began to realize that no more could Britain handle it’s problems by itself. Britain for much of the 19th century saw herself as not needing military alliances as the problems and rivals of the era could be solved by Britain’s army and navy by itself. This however changed with the creation of the German Empire and the subsequent Franco-Russian Alliance that followed this development as the two felt threatened by the German Empires new power. For the first time since Napoleon, Britain truly felt threatened as the German Navy an Army rivaled that of Britain and the combined fleets of France and Russia outnumbered British fleets in the Far East, a development that threatened the crown jewel of British Empire, the British Raj. This development lead to many politicians calling for alliances and agreements with other nations in order to protect British interests. Lord Salisbury firmly opposed these measures but in 1900, upon his resignation, Landsowne, Salisbury’s predecessor came to power and began to seek new relationships with France and Japan. This was a wise decision as with the outbreak of WW1, this alliance system allowed Britain to come out on top and not only maintain but grow their empire.

    • I agree, with Britain maintaining its power and i find Germany to be more of a threat to the world if they were to dominate within their naval forces. So I agree with the points of Japan allying with Britain to build their navy.

    • I agree with everything you said. If Britain had not formed the alliances they did, they would have fallen behind and victimized themselves. Britain could no longer protect itself; it needed the help of others to fortify themselves against the looming presence of Germany.

  5. One of the main reasons was the building of a powerful German Navy. Britain had the strongest navy, only rivaled by France and Austria. In an attempt to stop Germany from succeeding they allied with Japan to decrease debt while building up their navy.

    • I agree, and I like that you brought up how it— although Germany was the rival that caused them to change— they already had existing rivals

    • Although Germany was steadily catching up, it was very hard for them to build a navy as powerful a Britain’s, which is exactly what they wanted. Germany’s ambition caused them to become a threat to Britain which in turn caused Britain to left their “splendid isolation” policy.

  6. Britain abondoned their “splendid isolation” policy at the turn of the century due to other nations beginning to advance more and more. Countries like Germany were able to threaten others from by slowly catching up, soon enough if Britain didn’t do anything they would have become more powerful. This feared Britain. They ended their policy and decided to form a group of allies in order to relieve the pressure building. This was a very wise decision, if Britain didn’t end their policy they would have fallen behind and Germany during this time could have used this to their advantage.

    • I agree that Britain’s fear of not being the most powerful nation did have an impact of them coming out of isolation

    • I agree, other countries like germany feared Britain because Britain had been the superpower for so long and ahead of everyone else. But the other countries were catching up and if Britain had stayed isolated then they could have been overrun possibly by Germany.

  7. Britain had many reasons for coming out of isolation, one being because of Germany beginning to develop a powerful navy. Another reason would be that Britain realized peace was only temporary and they needed to make alliances because they wouldn’t be able to fight on their own

    • I agree, Germany’s naval growth definitely influenced the motivation for Britain to abandon rhe policy.

    • I would also say that the rising power of Germany was a powerful contributor to Britain’s abondonment of their isolationist policies.

  8. The primary causes were the building of a more powerful Germany. It was a sequential turn of events that led to them abandoning their “splendid isolation,” and it was gradual. I do not believe they would have been better off with a different course, as they were left with next to no choice by the end of it all.

    • You brought up a good point- it wasn’t an overnight change. Britain was forced to leave its splendid isolation and it was a gradual change that they had no choice but to do.

  9. Britain abandoned being isolated and depending solely on themselves because they realized that they couldn’t. In the world they needed allies to depend on and help them out because being alone would just be detrimental to themselves. Germany was catching up to them with their powerful navy and soon there was a possibility that Britain wouldn’t be ahead of everyone else. Making this decision was very wise and beneficial because it helped to sustain themselves and helped them not to be in a bad position being isolated.

  10. Great Britain abandoned its period of isolation due to the rise of rival nations. Germany primarily threatened Britain due to its rapid growth into a world power. It was a wise decision on Britain’s part because if they did not get out of isolation, they would’ve have been overtaken.

    • I agree that it was wise of them to abandon isolationism. If they had not, Germany would’ve had a much easier time navigating around alliances in WW1.

  11. Great Britain was in “Splendid Isolation” until the turn of the century. The main reason was the rise of Germany. Germany was becoming a great European power too quickly for comfort, being high on manufacturing and creating a big navy. These politics were wise, as they were created as a result of sacredness of Germany having a more powerful navy that them. It was also wise because it brought Britain into the Alliance system and allowed them not to be taken over.

    • I didn’t even think about the whole Germany aspect of things, that would obviously make Britain want to expand.

  12. The policy of splendid isolation generally refers to Great Britain’s foreign policy in this time period. Under the leadership of Lord Salisbury, Great Britain actively avoided any foreign entanglements or alliances. However, Germany’s rapid development under Otto von Bismarck forced Great Britain to reconsider this policy. Most threatening to Great Britain was the rapidly-growing German navy. This now posed a danger to the British Navy, which for the longest time was unbeatable in battle. Thus, Great Britain was forced to look into potential alliances with foreign nations as a security protection against a potential naval threat. This caused Great Britain’s policy of splendid isolation to end, especially considering Britain was also occupying new territories and colonies around the world in this age of imperialism. Therefore, Britain’s actions contributed to the development of the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance, which would form the basis for which nations would fight who in World War I.

  13. Britain abandoned this philosophy due to the increased opportunity in imperialistic actions. The decisions made would definitely be smart in my opinion because it led to Britain becoming the greatest empire on earth. They definitely would not be better off had they not done this.

    • That is true about their potential as an empire. If Britain did not take the risk, they would not have been so dominant in the long run.

  14. Britain remained in splendid isolation until the turn of the century. Basically , they were threatened by the imminent possibility of a German navy that would surpass theirs. This pushed them to start making allies, like the Japanese in 1902 to defend British interests in the Far East. They also made agreements with France and Russia in 1904 and 1907. This was the basis of the Triple Entente. I believe these policies were wise because if they had not done this then they would fallen behind. The formation of the Triple Entente made Bismarck’s fear of a two-front war with France and Russia into a reality. If not for this alliance, Germany could have used Britain’s weakness to their advantage.

  15. Great Britain decided to abandon their policy of splendid isolation because of the growing power of Germany and its allies. Germany was building up a navy that could stand against Britain’s and an industry that was out-producing theirs. The Germans were also getting new alliances with countries that could pose a threatened to the British Isles.

    • I didn’t consider the massive boost to
      steel production that Germany had but you are correct that would also be a major contributor to the British decision to get involved.

  16. England remained completely indifferent two continental affairs until Kaiser Wilhelm decided that he wanted the biggest and best Navy in Europe. England saw that as a direct infringement on their ability to dominate trade with the world so they began involvement with Continental Affairs in order to prevent Germany from surpassing them. From the British standpoint it was a wise decision to start planning for war because it’s the only way they would have been able to remain the most dominant sea power of the world and control global trade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *