The Franco-Russian Alliance, 1890-1894

By William Leonard Langer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE RENEWAL OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE

THE recognition of the French Republic by the Papacy was a well-deserved tribute paid to the work done by Freycinet and his colleagues. By January, 1891 the position of France was quite different from what it had been a year before. The reorganization of the army and the navy was practically complete, the Boulangist crisis had definitely come to a close, and the authority of the government was firmly established. The senatorial elections of January, 1891 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the governmental group and could be taken as added proof of the stability of the existing regime. In matters of foreign policy no startling success had been scored, but France had once more resumed her legitimate place in Europe. The surprising activity of the French foreign office in the later months of 1890 had shown only too clearly that the Cinderella days were over and that henceforth France could not be ignored or intimidated. Speaking of the equipment of the army with the new Lebel rifles and the wholesale manufacture of melanite shells in the last months of 1890 Freycinet says in his memoirs:

"From that time on we awaited with relative serenity the complications which we thought were threatening us."1

And in his campaign speech of December, 1890 he made his thought even more clear. France, he asserted, was immovably attached to a pacific policy, but she now had a military establishment which would enable her to brave aggression of any sort. So striking and rapid had been the evolution of the Republic that it could not escape the notice of even the most hostile observers. Especially the manoeuvres of the autumn had attracted widespread attention and much comment. Even the

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1
Freycinet p. 414. Cf. also Greindl January 7, 1891: "La France gagne confiance en elle-même" ( Köhler p. 88).

-137-

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