British fortunes declined during the period of imperialism from 1897- 1907. The Boer war between 1899 and 1902 turned longer and costlier than the Britain had anticipated. Despite its victory in this war, various events during the war served to change the other nation’s perception about Britain (Mulligan, 2010). The war, initiated Anglophobia due to the nature with which it was fought. The series of military loses during the Black Week demonstrated to other nations that Britain was not indomitable. Germany’s support for the Boers outraged the British, who perceived that Germany was challenging the Britain’s role as a world empire.
The war caused that Britain reconsidered the idea that it did not require to rely on other countries. The war demonstrated Britain’s vulnerability to its Continental rivals, and hence, the need to change its foreign policies and eliminate the isolation concept. Britain embarked on reforms that intended to enhance its ability to deal with issues of imperialism, including the war. It undertook a sequence of international agreements that created the regional balance and helped to mitigate the outcomes of global responsibility. In 1902, Britain and Japan formed an alliance that eliminated threats to Britain in the Pacific (Murray, 2008). Britain’s entente with Russia ensured the security of Indians from attacks on its northwestern frontier.
Were it not for alliances, the Austria-Hungary and Serbia war would not have erupted into the First World War. However, various alliances formed by countries between 1897 and 1914, led to numerous countries, including Britain’s involvement in the war. An attack on one country meant that the allies had to intervene in a bid to observe the agreements (Mansbach & Taylor, 2008). This triggered a chain of events that forced most nations into the war. The alliances created the immense military power, which caused the members nations to miscalculate, abandon caution, and adopt aggressive attitudes in dealing with international matters. Since Russia was Serbia’s ally and got involved to offer support, Germany mobilized in response to these attempts and declared the war on Russia. The French also responded to counter Germany’s attempts. Since Britain and all the great powers of Europe had pledged to respect the neutrality, and if necessary, defend Belgium in the Treaty of London, German’s action to attack the French through Belgium and its invasion, forced Britain to declare a war on Germany (Mulligan, 2010).
The feud between Britain and Germany had begun earlier with the Moroccan crisis. The Britain handed over its rule over Morocco to France, as the means of fostering the Entente alliance. With the Moroccan demanding for their independence, Germany intervened in their support, almost igniting a war between the two rivals. Britain did not want to severe in any way its relationship with France or Russia, as it considerably relied on them for the system of global security that it had constructed (Murray, 2008). Germany’s actions were to some extent fueled by the changing relationship between Britain and France who had a long history of hostility. It perceived this as an attempt by Britain to woo more allies. In this regard, Germany wanted to test the developing relationship between the two nations and dent the Entente alliance. Although, the Morocco crisis was solved by the Britain’s intervention and averted a pending war, it increased the tension between the triple Entente and Triple Alliance (Mansbach & Taylor, 2008). Germany realized that any action against France meant attracting the opposition from great powers of Europe, and especially Britain.
Germany’s display of its naval might heightened the hostility with Britain, considering that Germany was the main Britain’s naval rival. The British perceived Germany’s action as an attempt to establish a navy base on Moroccan cost and a threat to the Entente powers. Thus, the Agadir crisis witnesses Britain’s further involvement in the stalemate between Germany and France, and increased tension between the two rivals (Mulligan, 2010). The Germans were demanding compensation by France for the capture of Morocco. Britain’s intervention helped to solve the stalemate diplomatically.
Britain’s failure to support Serbia in the Bosnia crisis, after learning that Germany would be involved in support of its ally, Austria-Hungary, fueled Serbia’s hostility a factor that might have contributed to the Archduke Franz assassination. British and French actions angered Russia, as it expected their support in the Serbia issue. The British took side during the two Balkan wars. During the first war, together with Germany, they prevented Serbia from taking over Albania. The Germans perceived Britain’s cooperation as a sign and weakness. The First and the second Balkan wars, influenced by the Britain and Germany, served to strengthen Serbia and fuel Austria-Hungary’s resentments towards Serbia’s ambitions (Murray, 2008).
The Anglo-French agreement, which bestowed the defense of France’s northern cost to the Royal Navy, had to ensure that its maritime power remained unthreatened, especially by Germany. Germany had established a powerful army that served as the greatest threat to England and the balance of power between nations. Furthermore, this way, maritime trade between the Entente powers and the rest of the world was sustained. The alliance forced Britain to commit itself in terms of finances and arsenal. Britain perceived Germany’s growth, and new policies as a threat and together with France and Russia agreed to put an end to their traditional enmity, and formed an alliance to preserve the balance of power threatened by Germany. This resulted in diplomatic conflicts with the Entente Powers, convinced that the development of the German world policy would ruin them, while Germany, on the other hand, was determined to achieve economic and national security (Mansbach & Taylor, 2008).