‘A DIPLOMATIC REVOLUTION’?
During the first seven years of the twentieth century, Britain entered into three significant engagements with foreign powers: an alliance with Japan in 1902 and ententes, or understandings, with France in 1904 and Russia in 1907. The first two of these developments were associated with the replacement of Lord Salisbury by Lord Lansdowne as Foreign Secretary in November 1900. Lansdowne retained this office under the premiership of Salisbury’s nephew and successor, Arthur Balfour, from 1902-5. Following the resignation of the Balfour government in December 1905, a Liberal administration led by Sir Henry CampbellBannerman came to power. The new Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, was to serve for exactly eleven years, becoming the longest-serving holder of that office in the twentieth century.