International Relations (2020) - 02 - History 1789-1914

International Relations (2020) - 02 - History 1789-1914

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Patrick Theiner: Hi, I'm Patrick, and welcome back to ICEB, also known as your 13th-favorite Twitch stream. What we're going to do today is we will look at the first part of history, I chopped up the historic part into two lectures. Hopefully, none of them will be overly long. Now, you could of

course be asking why history in the first place, but I will address this in a second. And what this is, this is a little bit of a gallop through 200 years really, of European history. And what I want to show you is why this is important for how the system looks like today and why it's important for understanding the problems of today very much. So, what we'll do today is we will look at the history of the international system. You could be asking why history in the first place, you study political science, why the hell do you have to do all of this? Fair question, I would argue that not only are the units of the system - meaning states - the way that they look like to date has a history, so they haven't always looked the same, but part of how the act today is dependent on their own history. Second, we often see things happening today that are dependent on historic contexts. If you look at the

Middle East today, you don't quite understand why some people are very angry at some other people without looking back at least 100 years in world history. And like I said in the last lecture, we think that the history of the international system often shows patterns and you remember, I told you pattern recognition is theory. And of course, we can only see a pattern if we look at more than just our little slice of time, we have to look back to find a pattern. Two quick illustrations. If you look at the Romanian presidential elections in 2014, you will notice a weird pattern.

You will notice that the northwestern part of Romania all votes one way. That's the blue color. And you will see that the southwestern part of Romania seems to vote another way, which is red, and you don't, you wouldn't quite understand that if you just saw the map of Romania. But as my friend Xavi has pointed out: if you overlaid the today's map of Romania with the historic Austro-Hungarian Empire, you actually notice that, "Hmm, maybe different parts of Romania have different histories. And therefore, people today vote differently." You can illustrate this in a slightly different way. This is a map of the age of the borders of the world. And you don't have to see every single border, but what you can notice is two things.

All the blue colored borders are from the past hundred years. So they were all set in some way in the 20th century. And you see, that's a lot. That's a lot of Europe. That's a lot of Asia, that's almost all of Africa. And if you add to that the red

borders which are the borders that were set between 1800 and 1900, then we can see that in the past 200 years, the world really has taken the shape that we know today. And therefore we have to understand history. Otherwise, we don't understand how the world works today. We will look at the history of the international system in two installments. The first one we do in this video, and we do a 19th century one and a 20th century one, the latter one being probably a little bit shorter than the first one. That's just because I love the 19th century. And I love it

because it's so interesting. The 19th century has also been called the "long 19th century". Now, why is that the case? That is because a lot of historians have pointed out that some of the things that went on in the 19th century actually had their beginning before 1800 and they also had repercussions that were felt longer than the year 1900. So don't think of the 19th

century as just 1800 to 1899, think of it as being a little bit longer because there's a lot of interesting things happening. Eric Hobsbawm, this slightly hobbit-y looking gentleman here, wrote massive historical books. His most famous ones are about the 19th century. And if you remember nothing else from this lecture, remember these three things that he pointed out were big lines of development during the 19th century. And he wrote a massive book on each of these that he titled, "The Age of Revolution". So the first part of the long 19th century was a time of turmoil, Revolution, the nationalism. Then came the "Age

of Capital", so the time of the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of markets. And then the "Age of Empire", where Europe through colonialism very much sought to expand its own borders beyond its own content. So if remember nothing else about the 19th century, remember revolution, capital and empire and that should get you there in most cases. We will look at a couple of episodes and trends from the 19th century that I've picked out not because they're exhaustive, and they also don't cover the whole world, but because I think they are the ones that are the most constitutive for how the current system works. So let's start again with a map. I love maps, you'll see a lot of maps on this course. Let's start with a map in 1812. You will notice that

Europe looks a little weird in 1812, because lots of things are shaded in purple and blues on the continent. And there's this weird red line around really most of Europe. And what the red line really is, is that's Napoleon. The- Napoleon had come out of the French Revolution of 1789. Obviously, France had been a republic for 10 years or so. But that's really as long as it lasted before Napoleon came in and he took the title of Emperor so Napoleon became emperor of France after the revolution. And

he launched a series of wars, also known as the Napoleonic wars that went roughly- that began roughly in 1803 and more or less continuously went on, in the, into the 1810s. Napoleon was very good at his job meaning he overran basically the whole continent and you see everything that is shaded or surrounded by red here, those are either territories directly held by France or just vassal states that Napoleon had beaten. And you see, this is really most of Europe, with the notable exception of the UK, of course, that was still resisting. Napoleon, like some later people made a very amateur mistake, he decided that he wasn't done on the continent and that he had one goal left and that was to invade Russia, and beat Russia too. The problem was just he did that very poorly timed in the winter, with the result that lots of his army just froze to death. And he was- he had to go on a humiliating retreat back. And on his way back from Russia, he was then finally decisively beaten by the combined forces of all those states he had previously subjugated. I mean, it is a bit like waiting until

the guy is down and then you kick him again. But I mean, you also get it because they were under Francis rule for 10 years, and they wanted the independence to of course. So Napoleon is beaten at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, also called the Battle of the Nations. You can see Leipzig on the map roughly here, if you watch my cursor so this is in Eastern Germany.

And the combined powers of Europe decided, "Okay, this guy's up to no good we can just but we also don't want to execute him." So they sent him into exile. Exile - surely has to be very far away. I mean, you want to be safe from the guy. But the their bright idea was we send him to Elba which is down here in the Mediterranean. Turns out it wasn't such Good idea because all that Napoleon did on Elba was just walk up and down the shore for like, you know, like a couple of months and and then finally decided he's had enough of this exile, and he returned to France. He went through the south of France to Paris in 100 days, he took his army back. And he basically launched another series of wars. And he was he- so they had to

beat him again, after they had just beaten him two years before and he was finally decisively beaten at the Battle of Waterloo, which is in today's Belgium up here in 1815. Battle of Waterloo also has one of my favorite bits of historic conversation. In the Battle of Waterloo, obviously, Napoleon fought against the British but also against the Prussians and the Brits had the Earl of Uxbridge on the battlefield, the Earl of Uxbridge was hit by a cannonball, his leg was torn off and the Earl of Uxbridge turned to the Duke of Wellington said, "By God, Sir, I've lost my leg", to which the Duke of Ellington with typical British empathy said, "By God, sir, so you have." So that's a little bit my little anecdote from the Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon was beaten. And then they send him

off Finally, all the way off into the Atlantic from which he shouldn't return, in his lifetime, on to the island of St. Helena. So between this 1812 and this 1815, Europe changed quite a bit because this is Napoleon's Europe. And this is Europe after Napoleon was beaten. Now, between those two things - between 1812 and 1815 - one very important thing happened, and that was the Congress of Vienna. So what was the Congress of

Vienna? The Congress of Vienna was all the victorious powers, the victorious powers over Napoleon getting together and thinking about what the hell do we do now? You can imagine that that was a dramatic change for Europe. So they got together and they decided to negotiate and hash out how Europe should look in the future post-Napoleon. They had three main goals. First, they had to think about how to restructure all the territories that Napoleon had taken over. So what do we do

with those? What countries do we make? Second, they were pretty clear that they had to do so to supervise and constrain France because France had been the aggressive state, so they had to be kept under control. And then thirdly, this Congress was a deeply conservative institution. So they wanted very much to safeguard the monarchy as a form of government. They wanted none of this, like republican bullshit that France had tried out a little bit earlier, or the US before that. They wanted none of that they wanted to restore order as it was before, you know, a little bit of MAGA, for the times, really. So this Congress of Vienna established a model of how to deal with states that had gone to war, and the model was very much "Okay, we have to redistribute what they've conquered. They have to

make some reparations, and we have to supervise them really." And all of this happened through the medium of conference diplomacy. I love the Congress of Vienna because it's such a colorful episode of history. And it's really worth checking out

if you want to go on a little Wikipedia tangent, read a little bit about the Congress of Vienna. So the Congress of Vienna, from November 1814, to June 1815. So it's a long thing - that didn't just get together for a weekend obviously, the were at it for months at a time, as the name implies, they met in Vienna, so they met at the expense of the Austrian emperor who had to support all these people. And these were hundreds of people, hundreds of diplomats and statesmen of their time gathered. And if you look really closely at the dates, you actually will notice that they were negotiating about how to deal with the aftermath of Napoleon, while Napoleon had escaped Elba, gone back to France and it declared war on them again. So we've kind of the negotiating things while they will also at the same time still fighting Napoleon to keep them down.

When you hear the Congress of Vienna you might be thinking about, you know, some kind of Parliamentary Assembly, you know, where lots of people sitting in a room and they make laws and stuff. That wasn't how it was though. This picture might be a little more representative: it was very much you have to think of like a gentlemen's club, you know, like dark oak on the walls and like lots of heavy cigar smoke, and lots of people in apparently very tight pants that were negotiating this. But really, and it was just a fantastic episode - there were spies behind potted plants, there were diplomats going on hunts, there were winter sleigh rides, like Lugwig van Beethoven composes in the background in Vienna - like super interesting period of time. The main protagonists of

the victorious powers were these five really. So you had first for Austria you had Prince Metternich. He's a super interesting character. He was from the Rhineland. So he was actually German, but he worked for the Austrians. He was a gambler. He had been the lover of Napoleon sister. He was like the classic dandy and lightweight, but he was, oh yeah, he was always in debt and always in love and all that good stuff like sort of very, very 19th century, you know, people swooning kind of Jane Austen kind of things. But he was also

a fantastically skilled diplomat. They called him the "coachman of Europe" because he made sure that there was always in Vienna, the right people in the right coaches, meaning horse drawn carriages, arriving at the right time in the right place to negotiate with a lot of others. So he kind of used this lightweight facade to facilitate negotiations. So that was Austria. Then you had Britain with Viscount Castlereagh. Who was the polar opposite he was shy, he had bouts of melancholy. He was always dressed in somber colors. His contemporaries said

that he had a "face of eternal boredom". That stings a little. I mean, if you look at this picture, yeah, I mean, doesn't look like he's having the time of his life really. And he was the main voice for the balance of power. We will talk about what that is in a coming lecture. You had then Russia who had a genuine celebrity because the Tsar himself had arrived in Vienna, Tsar Alexander I and he was loud, blustery, pompous, impulsive. He had a stormy marriage with some German Princess, he always challenged people to duels like pretty crazy, pretty crazy dude. Then you had for Prussia, Prince

Hardenberg, who was old as night - like he was literally so old that in negotiations, he had this, you know, this ear trumpet because he could never quite hear what people are talking about. So he sat basically at the table with his ear trumpet going "What? What's happening?" Would so much so that pressure had given him vilhelm von Humboldt, the guy that later founded the university in Berlin, because Humboldt had normal hearing and really was doing most of the most of the And then for France, you had Talleyrand, who is just a negotiating. fascinating character. And now you might ask, hold on a second, they've just beaten France. So why is France sitting at the table when post France Europe is being negotiated? And the reason for that is very much the person of Talleyrand. He was such a good diplomat, that he was able through his sheer force of will and charisma to basically claim a seat at the table for France at the Congress of Vienna. He was also a survivor of all the

regimes he'd been a royalist under the kings and then he was a republican during the revolution, and then he was a royalist again when Napoleon came along. And, I mean, Napoleon, by the way, hated the guy and once famously called Talleyrand "shit in silk stockings". But he was undoubtedly one of the most gifted diplomats of his time. So this is a very interesting kind of lineup already. And you can read more about it some other protagonists. If you go on that little Wikipedia tangent. Why is that Congress so important,

though? And why am I telling you about this in such great detail? So first off, obviously, I think this is a fascinating time in history. But second, because the Congress is really kind of the first time that all the powers of Europe come together in the form this institution for collective decision making. So no longer does every state just do whatever they feel is right, they get together and try to decide in consensus, or at least in negotiations about how to go forward. And two big principles came out of this institution of collective decision making. The one was the principle of solidarity. So all the nations that were there sort of acknowledged that the most important task that they all had was they wanted to restore the continent and stabilize the continent. So a fundamentally

very conservative project. They didn't want any of that revolutionary stuff going on. And they wanted to help each And out of this Congress of Vienna, and this, this other work against these revolutionary forces. And the second principle was consultation. So meaning, "hey, maybe if a war is brewing, maybe your first choice isn't to actually fight that war, but it might be to first consult with each other." I know, it's like a fascinating concept. Let's hope

that doesn't catch on over the next 200 years or so. But that had also not been really done before in that similar way. collective decision making came something that was later called the so called the Concert of Europe, also known as the Pentarchy, which- and the concept of Europe is very much sort of the preeminent powers of Europe working together to stabilize the continent. And that was actually fairly successful. I mean, by some counts, you know, this was this, there followed 40 or so years of stable relations and no major power wars really, on the continent. And that was something that really hadn't happened in the, in the hundreds of years before that. So clearly, the Congress must have

done something right. So we're in 1815 now if we're making a time jump, though, to 99 years later, we arrive in Sarajevo and of course, you all know what this newspaper article refers to. It is something that happens in 1914. What happens here is that we are in Sarajevo and let let me just set the scene here. We are in Sarajevo, Sarajevo is waiting for the arrival of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Franz Ferdinand is the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now, as Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo, he does not

know that there is a bunch of Bosnian Serb nationalists that are trying to assassinate him. So Franz Ferdinand rolls into town with his car, with his parade of cars. And there is not only one assassin waiting for him though there's actually six assassins waiting for him. He rolls past the first assassin, and the first assassin kind of just gets a little panicky and can't do anything. It rolls past the second assassin, the second

assassin gets a little panicky and also can do anything. It rolls past the third assassin on his route in Sarajevo, and the third assassin finally decides "Okay, I guess I got to do at least something". He throws a bomb, but the bomb hits the wrong car. The bomb explodes but doesn't hit Franz Ferdinand and the would-be assassin then decides to kill himself. So he takes a cyanide pill and jumps into the river. But the cyanide

doesn't work because it just makes him throw up and he jumps into the river but the river is only 13 centimeters deep. So not even that works well. So it's a whole comedy of errors. Franz Ferdinand, actually, after this assassination attempt still goes to the city hall and holds a speech from which he has to wipe off the blood from the earlier explosion. He's obviously a

little rattled, and is only on the back of that motorcade, that it takes a wrong turn. And it just so happens that well, these cars didn't get a really have great reverse. So the cars took the wrong turn, and then they had to turn around and all of this turning around - you know, kind of the 16-point point turn that you see like an old man doing in the village center - all this happens right in front of a guy called Gavrilo Princip who really can't quite believe his luck because he also had hesitated earlier. But now, there was Franz Ferdinand right

in front of him, and he takes heart, jumps up on the sideboard of the car, shoots and kills both Franz Ferdinand and his wife. So that is that sort of comedy of errors that should have never happened that eventually leads us, of course, into a war. And you could be forgiven for thinking "Hang on have I not just explained how that was all so nice and stable and the Congress of Vienna had done such a good job"? So how did we end up here, 100 years later then, with a World War breaking out? Especially if you remember how closely Europe was linked: this is always a photo that I find utterly fascinating because in 1910, there was no fewer than nine kings here. Wait, am I

counting right? Yes, I'm counting right. Nine kings here. That just four years before the First World War broke out, were on good enough speaking terms that you all were in a room and took photos. And you might even see that there is a couple of slight familial similarities. So for example, the German emperor was of course, closely related to the British- to the British king that you see here in the bottom row. So how did we get here then if if not only did we have the concept of Europe and the Congress, but also Europe, maybe even being linked in terms of their royal houses. We all know what is commonly said how we got into the First World War, and that was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in June of 1914, eventually this assassination would lead to, you know, states issuing escalating demands for reparations and things to be done and ultimatums to be issued. But none of this

really worked until then, at the beginning of August, Germany declared war, together with Austro-Hungary on other nations. And we all have heard, of course, that it was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand that led to the First World War, but it's important because we're not historians. We're political scientists. So for us, these kind of things are the outcome of bigger processes. It is rarely that this- so this can be considered the trigger. But it wasn't the cause. And what I

mean by that I will explain in a second, but just think about it for a minute. It can't really be the cause because we aren't really arguing that whenever an Austrian Archduke gets murdered, then we would expect a world war to break out. That's probably other things going on at the same time, that make war much more likely in specific circumstances. So what then had happened, what had happened in those 99 years, basically, so that I can confidently say that it wasn't just the assassination of Franz Ferdinand? Well, I would point out that it was three big things that happened in the 19th century, that were really important in bringing about this state of tension. The first was a rising nationalism. So you had sort of a fundamental change of how people identified with their states that had begun all the way back in the French Revolution and maybe even before that, because before then, really see people identified very much with smaller territories, you know, with their immediate surroundings with their town or with their county or with their, with their dukedom or whatever, whoever the local ruler basically was. They didn't really identify with what

we would consider a nation like the nation of France, or the nation of Britain. And it was tied up in this in these liberal ideas of freedom, of citizens' rights, of self determination, and so on. And all of these found really fertile ground in the number of regions, regions in the world. But there was always a tension between these, this rise of liberal ideas, you know, that whole thing that had brought the French Revolution about and the conservatism that was trying to work against that, for example, in the shape of the Congress of Vienna. You also had the industrial revolution going on where you had this rapid acceleration of technological change. It changed just about

everything about how societies even fundamentally worked. And this created a lot of opportunities for maybe states that hadn't been so powerful before, to now suddenly become powerful, because they were very good at exploiting this trend. And then lastly, you had colonialism, which accelerated accelerated really rapidly towards the end of the 19th century, and was really the result of Europe being too tightly constrained, there was too much going on in Europe, so that all the tensions tried to find other outlets and they found those outlets by colonizing and conquering nations outside of Europe. So nationalism, just one quick illustration. If you look at Latin America here in 1800, you still see that basically all of Latin America is still colonized, still has colonial overlords - be the British (very few of them) be they Dutch, French, Portuguese or Spanish. Now if you look just 30 years later, you will see that every almost every single country in Latin America and South America has become independent. So you

see how fast this was. So for example, Simon Bolivar played a major role here in in liberating a large part of Latin America from its colonial overlords. So you had this very rapid rise of independent nations where they had previously been none. One

quick example on the extremely fundamental and transformative change that the Industrial Revolution brought. If we just pick one thing about the Industrial Revolution - let's pick railroads here. And if you look at how much changed there's this one innovation brought along, it's mind blowing. So

obviously, railroads made it much more easy to transport goods around that's kind of you know, a basic thing really, you can be much more efficient than transporting grain and coal and all that good stuff. That also means that it made the expansion of states much easier because you could transport things over further distances. It also had very individual-level effects. Your diet would have been much better after the introduction of trains than before because you could transport things from further away like you weren't stuck with buying whatever your local market offered. No, you could buy things then that morning had come in on the train. You could have national newspapers because newspapers could be delivered at speed to faraway places. You suddenly could practice sports. You didn't have sports leagues before because obviously when, you know, Edinburgh wanted to play, say Oxford for some reason. Then you couldn't just have done that in the

pre-railroad times because no football team wants to sit on a coach for seven days. Go down there, play one game and then go back up for seven days. Even things like timekeeping suddenly got standardized, because obviously when the train left London, you need to know when would it arrive in other places. So suddenly, all those places along the railway lines had to have linked, synced timekeeping. And then, of course, one of the things that had a real deep impact on how wars were waged, was that you could transport troops much faster. At that time

- this is always an anecdote that I like telling - it became really, really important that your spies would find out how long the railway stations were in other countries. So you would have spies walk around other say Russia, and they would make they would take the trains all around and they would make a note of how long the railway station was. Because what that told you is if you had a regular station that was very, very long, then that was a station where Russia planned to later put troops on two trains to be shipped to the front. Of course, Russia could do the same to you if you were Germany or France. So that

actually led to this really interesting situation where not only were troop movements faster, but also much more predictable, but also more predictable by others. And that led to a big change in how wars were planned. And then lastly, I want to talk briefly about that colonialism as it's one big trend in the 19th century. So maybe most

famously, colonialism found its found an outlet in what was called the scramble for Africa. So what has happened really was that Europe was just not quite big enough for all the powers of Europe, they needed an outlet, they wanted to go somewhere else they wanted to expand, but they couldn't expand in Europe, so they had to literally go abroad to expand. And this was a really rapid process, at least in Africa, and also in other places. If you look at a map of Africa in 1870, you will see

that just about 10% of the landmass of Africa were claimed by some colonial overlord. And only 20 years later, so in two decades, that's about as long as you're alive, 90% of Africa had been claimed by colonial powers. So very rapid. The motives have been long looked at, obviously, the most obvious one is an economic one, because it was a depression in Europe, and they wanted to, you know, get resources from abroad and maybe sell their their products abroad too. But let's remember that many, many colonies didn't actually generate any profits for their colonizers. There was, of course, the idea of a

"civilizing mission". So you know, white Westerners going into other countries telling them how to do things, ideally also christianizing them that was behind this. But really at the core, I always think that the main reasoning here was just prestige. It was something that you had to do if you wanted to be a big, strong nation, you had to have an empire basically. And

there was different colonizers with different geographical strategies. Again, if you look at the, at a map of Africa in 1880 versus 1913, you can see that, for example, the French followed the strategy of moving from West Africa to East Africa. So they wanted to have like, you know, like a band of colonies, while the British went from North to South. And then there was a couple of other powers that were trying to get, you know, grab whatever they could basically among them Germany here and great, or Belgium, which had the, which had the Congo. And I could just recommend if you haven't read that already, you have a fantastic book by Adam Hochschild, called "King Leopold's Ghost" that really just shows the incredible brutality of exploitation. That's European nations stooped to, to exploit this African continent. fantastic book will make you very depressed, sadly.

But it's a very important book. So that was the scramble for Africa. If we look at Asia for a second, that too, of course, saw its share of colonization. But we had two main powers that had very different outcomes in this time. You had to China on the

one hand, and Japan on the other hand. They both at first when encountering most of the, you know, energetic, shall we say, Western attempts at getting into their territories. They both tried to have a policy of isolationism, they didn't really want foreigners in their lands. But the difference between China and Japan was that China stuck- very much stuck to this strategy. The parents didn't want foreign powers in while Japan gradually abandoned this isolationism and open itself up to, towards the, towards the outside. You see here on the right, for example, a picture of the Iwakura mission, which was a diplomatic and economic mission that the Japanese sent to the US. And what you can see there, for example is that is a bunch

of Japanese people in Western dress. So they very much felt that they wanted some contact with the outside, they wanted to fit into this new world and realize the maximum benefits for them. Now both of these nations signed very unequal treaties with the European powers that were vastly superior in military strength to them, but because they had these different strategies on how to interact with the world, the fact that both signed unequal treaties with colonizers didn't end up- didn't result in the same- didn't result in this in the same end result. That was a bad sentence. But anyway, what we

see here is China of course, was subjugated very much humiliated, a 1000-year old empire that was really very much taken over and subjugated by European powers. And you had a Japan on the other side, that was rising itself as a new colonial power. I've already said, rising as a power, just in the past sentence. So we had a couple of nations, of course, that were pushing against the ceiling of the established powers, chief of them and chief among them were the United States, Germany and Japan. And they all had gone through periods of national

unification they had gone through rapid processes of industrialization, and technological innovation, and that means that they could credibly challenge the established states - that was especially Britain at the time. So this tension, at first kind of took the shape of a naval arms race. I've already talked about the colonial competition. But the naval arms race. You see the caricature here on the right

refers to this naval arms race where suddenly every state seemingly in Europe, whether it made sense or not tried to build the biggest possible navy that they could. But you also had a number of deeper and older tensions on the continent, both between some states that had numerous times been at war already, and between some states that were new rising powers. And you see that one of the things - this is a caricature from the end of the 19th century - one of the regions where that where those tensions were most likely, even at the time, to break out into war was the Balkans. And you can see here on the right, all the slightly scared looking European powers sitting on the boiling on the boiling kettle of the "Balkan Troubles". So this was really a region that was really rife to break out into a war. Now one thing before we move on to this is that I want to quickly talk about those 20 years when Germany had firmly established itself as the power that was ordering the continent, and we sometimes call this period between 1870 and 1890 the "Bismarckian system", you see here on the right Otto von Bismarck, a Prussian noble that was Chancellor of Germany. And

one of his specialties was he was very, very good despite his very cool military attire, you know, with the hat and all that. He was very, very good in negotiating treaties and alliances. And what he managed to do was he managed to, to put Germany into a web of treaties that would safeguarded against his one main fear because oftentimes Bismarck would wake up at five in the morning drenched Didn't sweat because he was worried about a war on two fronts. Like he would get out of his bed "oh god - war, war on two fronts, that can't happen!". So he was worried that Germany would have to fight Russia and France at the same time - old enemies of, of Prussia and Germany. And the way that he wanted to prevent this is that

he he spun this web of treaties that were all designed to isolate France. That was his main goal. He made a reinsurance treaty with Russia, he formed the so called "Three Emperors' League" with Russia and Austria, the Triple Alliance and so on. And his whole goal was to isolate France and therefore take that risk of a war on two fronts away. But sometime in 1890, a new German Emperor comes to the throne - his name is Wilhelm II and he doesn't have time for all this treaty bullshit. He is young and brash and likes to hunt and he doesn't really like this diplomats because they're all just stuffed shirts. He wants, like proper stuff to happen. And he managed to- manages to persuade Bismarck to step down. And in roughly 20

years manages to completely isolate Germany on the continent, where before France was the isolated power, by 1914 it was very much Germany that had becomes the isolated power. So that whole story brings us back now to the outbreak of that first World War, which I've tried to show you is very much I would argue the result of these big structural forces moving in the system. And there was tons of tension in the system. So much so that even 5, 10, 15, 20 years earlier, people had already been kind of expecting a big war to break out. And it was really the Archduke- the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was really only the first thing that was the spark in the powder keg. Now when Germany declared war and the First World War broke out, there was a couple of interesting things that happened. At first there was great enthusiasm for this - one

of the people enthusiastic for the outbreak of the First World War was actually Adolf Hitler, who you see here in a historic picture in Munich, listening to the declaration of war of Germany. And the mood was very much an upbeat one. Everyone would- thought like, you know what, "this is going to be a little bit of a, like a, like a summer thunderstorm, you know, it's going to be quick and it's going to be over it's going to relieve the tension and we can all go home." You see here very happy German soldiers that have written on their wagon "Trip to Paris", "See you on the boulevard" and "I'm going into battle, my saber tip is itching". But this, of course didn't last very long. Because even months

into the war, we figured out that what the reality of the war looked like was actually not something quick and decisive. That was the first time that chemical warfare was used. Machine guns were used. Aerial warfare happened for the very first time. For the very first time also, the war came to a

complete halt, and we had the trench warfare, that we all now associate with the First World War. We had the first tank battles and even the first submarine attacks during this. So this absolutely catastrophic cataclysmic- cataclysmic collapse of the system that the Congress of Vienna and the Concert of Europe had tried- had tried to create: that is what the First World War really constitutes. It is the collapse

of those hundred years of Europe trying to find a stable way on how to organize its affairs. And if like me you are kind of interested in the First World War there is an absolutely fantastic YouTube channel that for four whole years, did weekly updates in real time 100 years after they happened. So it started in 2014. And that talked about all kinds of different

aspects of the war, the political backgrounds, how it affected the people, and so on. So that's my recommendation for this video. So that brings us to the end. We went all the way from 1789 to 1914. And I will see you in the next one. Thank you for your attention.

2021-02-07 00:23

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