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When announcement was made the other day that the Triple Alliance had been renewed for the fourth time, the question which seemed to agitate the public mind most was whether the terms of the Treaty were or were not the same as those originally subscribed. It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that the Treaty was in no way modified, at least so far as the 1891 and 1896 texts are concerned.1 Nevertheless, the public have remained perplexed and perturbed. Even with the Treaty unaltered, there is a vague suspicion that the circumstances of the Alliance are no longer what they were. Things are happening which did not happen when Prince Bismarck governed Europe, andj although everybody is protesting that everything is for tlie best in the best of all possible worlds. the thinking politician is far from reassured.

As a matter of fact, the question of the actual text of the Treaty is of very little essential importance. It is so with all treaties of offensive or defensive alliance, for no one can ever be certain that their -Obligations will be observed in the contingencies for which they are supposed to provide, or, that if they are not repudiated or evaded, their inter

1 It was ln 1891 that the military protocols were first left out of the Treaty.

pretation will, at the critical moment, assume a given form. The essence of such documents lies in the motives and intentions of the contracting parties. This is all the truer of the Triple Alliance because the text of its treaty has never been officially divulged. The confidence of the public has been won by the conduct of the Allies, by their known psychology and by the fact that their cooperation, whatever its documentary basis, has been attended by a very solid preservation of the peace. Moreover, the Triple Alliance has connoted in the public mind a certain mechanism of European peace which lias not always been confined to its own members. At one time it took the form of a veritable European edition. At another it presented itself as a balance of alliances. Now, to-day there are distinct signs of a change in both the psychology of the Powers and the general mechanism of peace. The Triple Alliance has been renewed, but with very ominous difficulty. The outward semblance of an equilibrium of alliances has been preserved, but with the elimination of the mechanical principle of mutual counteraction. How will this novel experiment work? What are the motives and intentions of its authors^ These are the questions which are more or less consciously occupying the public

mind, and which are reflected in the popular anxiety to know whether the text of the renewed Treaty is precisely the same as its forerunners.

Suggestive material for a solution of these problems may be found by comparing the structure and aims of the Bismarckian system with the changes which, during the last eleven years, have come over the relations of the Powers and the consistent tendency of those changes.

The Rismarckian system, of which the Alliance with Austria was the nucleus and the Triplice the most striking manifestation, consisted of a European coalition to preserve the status quo. Its primary aim so far as its author was concerned was the isolation of France. In this respect it resembled curiously the Metternichian system which followed the settlement of 1815. This point is of importance in any study of the instinctive springs of French policy, because the persistent efforts of European statesmanship to hold France in leading strings during the whole of the last century necessarily aggravated the normal restlessness of the people and gave to French policy an aggressive bias which it has never really renounced. The success of Prince Bismarck was, however, far greater than that of his Austrian predecessor. More subtle than Metternich, he avoided the touchstone of a uniform set of principles and was content with any device and any concession to local interests and prejudices so long as the result was to attach the Powers more or less directly to his Anti-French chariot. Thus in 1884 he effectually prevented a Franco-Russian Alliance and insured himself against an Austro-Russian modus vlvendi in the Balkans, which

'- For the objects of this treaty see Bismarck's "Reflections and Reminiscences." vol. Ii, pp. 271, 277.

• The terms of this understanding were fully dealt with by the present writer in the "Westminster Gazette," May 80, I9C2.

would have weakened the Austrian allegiance to the Triplice, by negotiating the Secret Neutrality Treaty with Russia.1 In 1887 he turned the disaffection of Italy to his own account by inducing Great Britain to come to an understanding with Italy in regard to the status quo in the Mediterranean, thus at once binding Italy more firmly to the Triple Alliance and formally identifying Great Britain with it." Ostensibly to complete the security of the Mediterranean he promoted an agreement between Italy and Spain also for the defence of the status quo, the result of which was to bring Spain into the orbit of the Triple Alliance.' Portugal was already assured by her Alliance with Great Britain. Finally in 1886 the support of Servia and in 1895 that of Roumania were secured by separate military conventions with Austria for the defence of the Balkans." The upshot was that in one way or another the Bismarckian Alliance against France consisted of all the other five Great Powers, together with four of the minor States—a combination which for magnitude has not its parallel in history.

Now there can be no question that while this huge combination lasted peace was absolutely assured. But if, to this extent, it effected its purpose, it did nothing to allay the passions by. which the dangers to peace were animated. On the contrary, its very magnitude and completeness aggravated those passions. It added to the French consciousness of spoliation a deeply mortifying sense of isolation and subservience. The consequence was that the Revanche idea became gradually relegated to the background of practical politics, and in its place there arose a

4 See "Tribuna," June 6, 1902.

•• Details of these agreements are given in ••Petersburger Zeitung" 2-16 February, 1902 (Servia), and "Neue Freie Presse," August.22, 1895 (Roumania).

fixed determination to reconquer the national freedom of action. In short, to smash the Bismarckian system now became a point of honor with all French statesmen, and this has been the mainspring of all the changes which have since taken place in the European situation.

The first opportunity came in 1891. In the spring of the previous year the great Chancellor had retired from office, and his successor had found considerable difficulty in sustaining the complicated system of foreign policy to which he had succeeded. He was especially revolted by the disingenuousness of the secret Neutrality Treaty with Russia, and as it was on the eve of expiring he resolved not to renew it. The idea that this step would be followed by a Franco-Russian alliance does not seem to have been seriously entertained in Berlin. The Neue Kurs was full of amiable delusions, and among them were a firm reliance on the anti-Republican prejudices of the Tsar, and a naive belief that French hostility could be killed by kindness. All the Kaiser's friendly overtures, however, only resulted in exhibiting, in a clearer and more sinister light, the irreconcilability of the French. Towards the end of June the renewal of the Triple Alliance-for the second time was announced. A month later the French fleet under Admiral Gervais appeared at Cronstadt, and the conclusion of a Franco-Russian alliance was made manifest to the world.

It is curiously illustrative of the optimism which still prevailed in Berlin that when Count Caprivi was interrogated about the demonstration at Cronstadt, he said that nothing essential had been changed in Europe, "only the balance of power was re-established." He went on to explain that inasmuch

* Speech on November 27,1901. See Schulthess'a "Enropaischer Geschichtskalender" 0901) pp. 146-168.

as this balance deprived the French of the grievance of isolation, the stability of the European situation had really acquired a fresh guarantee." So far as the re-establishment of the balance of power was concerned, the Chancellor was right; but one has only to read the French newspapers of the time to see that French public opinion had not the remotest idea of resting satisfied with its reconquered sense of freedom. The accumulated bitternesses of twenty-one years of humiliating constraint were not to be cured in a day, and behind them rankled not only the old wound on the Eastern frontier, but a new one in the Mediterranean, where France was confronted by an overwhelming naval coalition. The Russian. Alliance was consequently regarded not as an end but as a means, and the next step was to attempt to upset the new balance to the advantage of France.

In which direction was her diplomacy to operate? Which of the allies of Germany should be the object of her disintegrating attentions? Thirteen years before, in the reactionary Presidency of Marshal Mac Mahon, her choice would have been clear. At that time it would have been •possible for her to have concluded an alliance with Austria on a clerical basis, and had the Marshal remained in power there can be little question but that such a combination would have been one of the results of his policy.7 Since, then, however, the Seize Mai had made the Republic irrevocably anti-clerical. Moreover, the tension of Austro-Russlan relations in the Balkans was as serious as ever, and it was largely on that account that Russia had agreed to the alliance with France. Obviously, then, Austria was not to be thought of. There remained Italy. Here the prospects were far more favorable. Growing mind, and which are reflected in the popular anxiety to know whether the text of the renewed Treaty is precisely the same as its forerunners.

'Chaudordy: "La France en 1889," pp. 19S, 206.

Suggestive material for a solution of these problems may be found by comparing the structure and aims of the Bismarckian system with the changes which, during the last eleven years, have come over the relations of the Powers and the consistent tendency of those changes.

The Bismarckian system, of which the Alliance with Austria was the nucleus and the Triplice the most striking manifestation, consisted of a European coalition to preserve the status quo. Its primary aim so far as its author was concerned was the isolation of France. In this respect it resembled curiously the Metternlchian system which followed the settlement of 1815. This point is of importance in any study of the instinctive springs of French policy, because the persistent efforts of European statesmanship to hold France in leading strings during the whole of the last century necessarily aggravated the normal restlessness of the people and gave to French policy an aggressive bias which it has never really renounced. The success of Prince Bismarck was, however, far greater than that of his Austrian predecessor. More subtle than Metternlch, he avoided the touchstone of a uniform set of principles and was content with any device and any concession to local interests and prejudices so long as the result was to attach the Powers more or less directly to his Anti-French chariot. Thus in 1884 he effectually prevented a Franco-Russian Alliance and insured himself against an Austro-Russian modus vivendi in the Balkans, which

1 For the objects of this treaty see Bismarck's "Reflections and Reminiscences." vol. iI, pp. 271, 277.

'The terms of this understanding were fully dealt with by the present writer ln the "Westminster Gazette," May 30, l9C2.

would have weakened the Austrian allegiance to the Triplice, by negotiating the Secret Neutrality Treaty with Russia.' In 1887 he turned the disaffection of Italy to his own account by inducing Great Britain to come to an understanding with Italy in regard to the stains quo in the Mediterranean, thus at once binding Italy more firmly to the Triple Alliance and formally identifying Great Britain with it." Ostensibly to complete the security of the Mediterranean he promoted an agreement between Italy and Spain also for the defence of the status quo, the result of which was to bring Spain into the orbit of the Triple Alliance.4 Portugal was already assured by her Alliance with Great Britain. Finally in 1886 the support of Servia and in 1895 that of Roumanla were secured by separate military conventions with Austria for the defence of the Balkans.' The upshot was that in one way or another the Bismarckiau Alliance against France consisted of all the other five Great Powers, together with four of the minor States—a combination which for magnitude has not its parallel in history.

Now there can be no question that while this huge combination lasted peace waa absolutely assured. But if, to this extent, it effected its purpose, it did nothing to allay the passions by. which the dangers to peace were animated. On the contrary, its very magnitude and completeness aggravated those passions. It added to the French consciousness of spoliation a deeply mortifying sense of isolation and subservience. The consequence was that the Revanche idea became gradually relegated to the background of practical politics, and in its place there arose a

4 See "Tribuna," June 6, 1902.

c Details of these agreements are given in ••Petersburger Zeitung" 2-15 February, 1902 (Servia), and "Neue Frele Presse," August.22, 1895 (Roumania).

fixed determination to reconquer the national freedom of action. In short, to smash the Bismarckian system now became a point of honor with all French statesmen, and this has been the mainspring of all the changes which have since taken place in the European situation.

The first opportunity came in 1891. In the spring of the previous year the great Chancellor had retired from office, and his successor had found considerable difficulty in sustaining the complicated system of foreign policy to which he had succeeded. He was especially revolted by the disingenuousness of the secret Neutrality Treaty with Russia, and as it was on the eve of expiring he resolved not to renew it. The idea that this step would be followed by a Franco-Russian alliance does not seem to have been seriously entertained in Berlin. The Neue Kurs was full of amiable delusions, and among them were a firm reliance on the anti-Republican prejudices of the Tsar, and a naive belief that French hostility could be killed by kindness. All the Kaiser's friendly overtures, however, only resulted in exhibiting, in a clearer and more sinister light, the irreconcilability of the French. Towards the end of June the renewal of the Triple Alliance for the second time was announced. A month later the French fleet under Admiral Gervais appeared at Cronstadt, and the conclusion of a Franco-Russian alliance was made manifest to the world.

It is curiously illustrative of the op

timism which still prevailed in Berlin that when Count Caprivi was interrogated about the demonstration at Cronstadt, he said that nothing essential had been changed in Europe, "only the balance of power was re-established." He went on to explain that inasmuch

• Speech on November 27,1901. See Schulthess's "Earopalscher Geschichtskalender" (l901) pp. 146-i58.

as this balance deprived the French of the grievance of isolation, the stability of the European situation had really acquired a fresh guarantee.0 So far as the re-establishment of the balance of power was concerned, the Chancellor was right; but one has only to read the French newspapers of the time to see that French public opinion had not the remotest idea of resting satisfied with its reconquered sense of freedom. The accumulated bitternesses of twenty-one years of humiliating constraint were not to be cured in a day, and behind them rankled not only the old wound on the Eastern frontier, but a new one in the Mediterranean, where France was confronted by an overwhelming naval coalition. The Russian. Alliance was consequently regarded not as an end but as a means, and the next step was to attempt to upset the new balance to the advantage of France.

Ill which direction was her diplomacy to operate? Which of the allies of Germany should be the object of her disintegrating attentions? Thirteen years before, in the reactionary Presidency of Marshal Mac Mahon, her choice would have been clear. At that time it would have been. possible for her to have concluded an alliance with Austria on a clerical basis, and had the Marshal remained in power there can be little question but that such a combination would have been one of the results of his policy.1 Since, then, however, the Seize Mai had made the Republic irrevocably anti-clerical. Moreover, the tension of Austro-Russian relations in the Balkans was as serious as ever, and it was largely on that account that Russia had agreed to the alliance with France. Obviously, then, Austria was not to be thought of. There remained Italy. Here the prospects were far more favorable. Growing

7 Ohaudordy: "La France en 1889," pp. 19S, 206.

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