A Great Russia: Russia and the Triple Entente, 1905 to 1914

A Great Russia: Russia and the Triple Entente, 1905 to 1914

A Great Russia: Russia and the Triple Entente, 1905 to 1914

A Great Russia: Russia and the Triple Entente, 1905 to 1914

Synopsis

The Triple Entente of Great Britain, Russia, and France was the foreign policy prong of the Russian imperial government's reaction to the disastrous events of 1905, including the revolution and the near defeat in the Russo-Japanese War. This alignment with the two western, liberal powers was almost universally perceived within official Russian governing circles as a necessary, if ideologically distasteful, diplomatic relationship to offset the growing German threat on the continent. Maintaining the entente would help Russia retain its great power status. For the first time, Tomaszewski tells the official Russian side of the story, long inaccessible due to restrictions imposed by the relevant Russian archives during the Soviet era. In doing so, she sheds new light on the international scene as the crisis of World War One approached.

Excerpt

In August 1914, less than a decade after the fiasco of the Russo-Japanese War and the ensuing revolutionary turmoil that threatened to topple the autocracy, tsarist Russia, together with two liberal constitutional states, France and Great Britain, went to war against the German and Austro-Hungarian empires. The epic conflict of the Great War, the first total war in history, destroyed the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, and the Habsburg empires and thereby the imperial order that had dominated east-central Europe for centuries. The Triple Entente of liberal Great Britain, republican France, and autocratic Russia, was an unusual diplomatic partnership, not only in light of recent Russo-German-Austrian cooperation in the form of the Dreikaiserbund, formed in 1873 under the auspices of Otto von Bismarck, but also given the lack of common European interests and competing Anglo-Russian and Anglo-French imperial claims. This book is an examination of the attitudes of the Russian government and bureaucracy toward France and Great Britain from 1905 to the outbreak of war in 1914. Many of the contradictions and tensions in late imperial Russian society, as it approached the abyss of World War I, are brought into focus; so also is the complex interplay between foreign and domestic policy. The book helps fill a gap in the study of imperial Russia by focusing on Nicholas II’s embattled government and its attempts to survive, rather than the more frequently discussed revolutionary movements, opposition parties, and the press.

Much has been written about the origins of World War I and the alliance system, but comparatively little research has been done on the Russian per-

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