New Paths to Old Objectives: The Foreign Policy of the 1880s
In the Kissingen Dictate of June 1877 Herbert von Bismarck had listed as one of the key goals of future German foreign policy the ‘separation of Britain from a France hostile to us because of Egypt and the Mediterranean’. Bismarck had taken immediate advantage of the French action to offer Italy the prospect of the support of the Reich. In his last years in office, after the latest Balkan crisis had been overcome and his old system of alliances built up again, Bismarck did indeed give very serious consideration to this kind of change of course, however much he was inwardly opposed to it. The other possibility – dependence on Britain – Bismarck did get as far as exploring in practice. Bismarck did take up ideas in many respects, and at times he translated them into political tactics in what seemed a thoroughly modern manner.