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The Shadow of the PastReputation and Military Alliances before the First World War$
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Gregory D. Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450310

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450310.001.0001

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The End of Splendid Isolation

The End of Splendid Isolation

British Pursuit of an Ally, 1901–1905

(p.63) 3 The End of Splendid Isolation
The Shadow of the Past

Gregory D. Miller

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the period from 1900 to 1905, focusing on the British government’s decision to abandon its historical policy of “splendid isolation” and pursue an alliance. It first considers British negotiations with Germany as an attempt to balance against the growing Franco-Russian threat to British naval and colonial interests and to prevent Russian expansion into Asia. The British ultimately rejected the alliance offer from Germany and signed an alliance with Japan instead. This decision was heavily influenced by Germany’s reputation as an unreliable ally. The Anglo-Japanese alliance was then soon tested during the Russo-Japanese War and later renewed on favorable terms as a result of Britain’s “benevolent neutrality.” England and France also signed an agreement during the Russo-Japanese War, largely because of France’s fear that British reliability could drag both states into a war because of their alliance commitments.

Keywords:   splendid isolation, international relations, alliance, Britain, Germany, Japan, Russo-Japanese War, France, reliability

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