chapter  11
20 Pages

The Reich and Europe

ByLothar Gall

Immediately after 1871 and the conclusion of the Treaty of Frankfurt Bismarck gave the word that Prussia, as enlarged to form the German Reich, was definitely ‘sated’. All ideas and desires to the contrary, for example among population groups of German extraction in eastern-central Europe, he henceforth rejected unequivocally and sometimes quite fiercely. Probably the most dramatic expression of those misgivings had been voiced in a speech in the British House of Commons only a few days after the Franco-German armistice. Bismarck therefore concentrated his foreign policy efforts from an early stage on allaying Vienna’s fears regarding possible national aspirations on the part of the new Reich and on drawing the Austrian Empire closer to Prusso-Germany. Bismarck’s famous speech in the Imperial Diet on 19 February 1878 made this very clear to a German public that was in many ways luxuriating in a sense of its own power.