Annotated Bibliography- Thomas Ord

For my dissertation topic, I am planning to research about Otto von Bismarck’s foreign policy between 1871 and 1890. I will base the dissertation around his desire for peace during the period and view if this made him successful according to historians.

Secondary Sources

  1. Abrams, Lynn. Bismarck and the German Empire. London: Routledge, 1995.

I found this article while searching through the University of Stirling library. This article, published in 1995, records Bismarck acting as an ‘honest broker’ within Europe as he consistently pursues treaties to consolidate Germany’s gains while maintaining peace. The author of the book argues that the treaties Bismarck implemented were not long term but to avoid crisis. Moreover, when Bismarck took his leave of office, this left Germany with a system ill-suited to the new configuration of power within Europe. This relates to my chosen topic as it shows that Bismarck’s peaceful foreign policy only acted as crisis management and delayed an inevitable war.

  1. Eyck, Erich. Bismarck and the German Empire. Allen & Unwin, 1968.

Eyck argues that the alliances that Bismarck enacted were strenuous. Bismarck’s domestic policy became intertwined with his foreign policy which resulted in the emergence of the First World War. Bismarck made the mistake of placing his German nation first. This meant he could never form any lasting alliances with others. After his forced resignation, Eyck argues that the peace he had attempted to retain diminished as it proved too much for his successor. Thus, his argument somewhat connects to Abrams.

  1. Stone, James. “Bismarck and the Great Game: Germany and Anglo-Russian Rivalry in Central Asia, 1871-1890.” Central European History48, no. 2 (2015): 151-75.

This journal article discusses one of Bismarck’s accomplishments as German chancellor throughout the period. It showed how he managed to maintain peace in Europe while preserving Germany’s dominance. This article is key in showing Bismarck’s success as he managed to tie down Russia’s troops in Asia which kept them far away from Central Europe. This article is important to my dissertation as it examines Bismarck’s successful foreign policy in which he was able to maintain peace without Germany directly intervening within the Anglo-Russian rivalry.

Primary Sources

  1. “The Nightmare of Coalitions”: Bismarck on the Other Great Powers (1879/1898).

This extract is taken from Bismarck’s memoirs. It contributes to my topic due to the fact it gives the reader an opportunity to read Bismarck’s thoughts at the time of establishing alliances. It shows that unlike the beliefs of some historians, Bismarck always planned for the future by forging diplomatic agreements which would provide peace for Germany.

  1. Dual Alliance with Austria (October 7, 1879).

This primary source demonstrates the effectiveness of Bismarck’s foreign policy. The treaty was made to consolidate the peace in Europe instead of being aggressive towards Russia. This was important as it showed Bismarck’s intelligence in gaining Austria support. Although it was a peaceful alliance, it meant that he had military backing if Russia chose to attack. This is important as it shows his success in handling foreign affairs. However, it also shows that decisions have consequences as it contributed to the First World War.




One thought on “Annotated Bibliography- Thomas Ord”

  1. Hi Tom – this all sounds good. Another very important book, which I think’s available electronically is Lothar Gall’s ‘Bismarck: the White Revolutionary’ (it’s quite a few volumes). Also the more recent publication: Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck – a Life (2012). As I mentioned you’ll have to be quite careful with Bismarck’s memoirs, just in terms of taking his interpretation of his role and motivations with a pinch of salt. Like all documents of this type it’s in part an exercise in self-justification and aggrandizement. It will be good to broaden your primary sources towards perceptions of Bismarck more widely.

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