Reinsurance Treaty

Reinsurance Treaty

The Reinsurance Treaty (June 18 1887) was an attempt by Bismarck to continue to ally with Russia after the League of the Three Emperors broke down.

Bismarck felt that this was essential to continue the diplomatic isolation of France so ensuring German security.

The secret treaty was split in two parts:
#Germany and Russia both agreed to observe neutrality should the other be involved in a war with the third. Neutrality would not apply should Germany attack France or Russia attack Austria-Hungary.
#In the most secret completion protocol Germany declared herself neutral in the event of a Russian intervention in the Bosporus and the Dardanelles.

As part of Bismarck's system of "periphere diversion" the treaty was highly dependent on his personal reputation. After the dismissal of Bismarck, the German office of foreign affairs felt unable to obtain success in keeping this policy.

In 1890 Russia wanted a renewal but Germany refused persistently. Kaiser Wilhelm II believed his own personal relationship with the Russian Tsar would be sufficient to ensure further genial diplomatic ties and felt that maintaining a close bond with Russia would act to the detriment of his aims to attract Britain into the German sphere (Anglo-Russian relations were strained at this point due to the gaining influence of Russia in the Balkans and their aims to open up the Straits of the Dardanelles which would threaten British colonial interests in the Middle East). However, having become alarmed at its growing isolation, Russia entered into an alliance with France in 1892 thus bringing to an end the isolation of France.

In 1896 the treaty was exposed by a German newspaper, the "Hamburger Nachrichten", which caused an outcry in Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The failure of this treaty is seen as one of the factors contributing to World War I, due to Germany's increasing sense of diplomatic isolation.

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