Britain and the Last Tsar: British Policy and Russia, 1894-1917

By Keith Neilson | Go to book overview

9
Forging the Anglo-Russian Convention

THE Treaty of Portsmouth was signed on 5 September 1905. On 31 August 1907, the British and Russians inked the Anglo-Russian Convention. This two-year period was tumultuous. Until the late summer of 1906, Russia was convulsed with internal disorder, a fact that affected both Russia's foreign policy and Britain's policy towards the Tsarist state.1 Concerned that Russia's unstable domestic situation made negotiations with her uncertain, British diplomacy made haste slowly. Not until the end of May 1906 and Nicolson's arrival as ambassador did any significant moves towards an Anglo-Russian understanding take place, and even these were tentative. Only in September did the serious negotiations begin that led to the Convention a year later.

The Anglo-Russian Convention was the culmination of continuous British attempts to come to a diplomatic understanding with Russia.2 Why were the negotiations of 1906-7 successful, where earlier efforts were not? The reasons were Russian. The shock of defeat in the Russo-Japanese War led to a complete reassessment of Russian foreign policy, a move personified by the appointment of Izvolskii as foreign minister in May 1906. Given Russia's weaknesses--domestic, financial, and military--a policy of recueillement was necessary. Russia mended her diplomatic fences comprehensively. In addition to negotiating the Anglo-Russian Convention, Russia restored good relations with Japan and tightened her relationship with France, all the while attempting to come to an understanding with Germany over the Baltic and with Austria-Hungary in the Balkans.3

____________________
1
J. Bushnell, Mutiny Amid Repression: Russian Soldiers in the Revolution of 1905-6 ( Bloomington, IN, 1985), R. T. Manning, The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government ( Princeton, 1982); L. Engelstein, Moscow, 1905: Working-Class Organization and Political Conflict ( Stanford, CA, 1982). On Russian foreign policy, A. V. Ignatev, Vneshniaia politika Rossii v 1905-7 gg. ( Moscow, 1986); B. J. Williams, "The Revolution of 1905 and Russian Foreign Policy", in C. Abramsky, Essays in Honour of E. H. Carr ( London, 1974), 101-25.
2
R. P. Churchill, The Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 (repr. edn.; Freeport, NY, 1972); B. J. Williams , "Great Britain and Russia, 1905 to the 1907 Convention", in F. H. Hinsley (ed.), British Foreign Policy under Sir Edward Grey ( Cambridge, 1977), 133-47; and A. F. Ostaltseva, Anglo-russkoe soglashenie 1907 goda (Saratov, 1977).
3
V. A. Marinov, Rossiia i Iaponiia pered pervoi mirovoi voinoi (1905-14 gody) ( Moscow, 1974), 23- 51; J. Long, "Franco-Russian Relations during the Russo-Japanese War", SEER 52 ( 1974), 213-33; J. P.Sontag

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Britain and the Last Tsar: British Policy and Russia, 1894-1917
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Maps viii
  • List of Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • PART I SETTING THE STAGE 1
  • 2- The Élite's Russia 51
  • 3- The Public's Russia 84
  • 4- The Bear and the Whale: Russia in British Defence Planning 110
  • Part II- RIVALRY 1894-1905 145
  • 5- Problems Old and New: China And Armenia, 1894-1896 147
  • 6- Concessions, Conflict, and Conciliation: China, 1895-1899 178
  • 7- Anglo-Russian Relations, 1899-1903: China and Central Asia 205
  • 8- The Russo-Japanese War 238
  • Part III- RECONCILIATION? 1906-1917 265
  • 9- Forging the Anglo-Russian Convention 267
  • 10- Alliance Firmed, 1907-1910 289
  • II- Alliance Under Fire, 1911-1914 317
  • 12- Alliance in Action, 1914-1917 341
  • Conclusion 367
  • Bibliography 373
  • Index 401
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