Russian-German Relations and the Resignation of Otto von Bismarck

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA

The resignation of the first chancellor of the German Empire, Prince Otto von Bismarck, has been studied by German historians for a long time and from various points of view, but at the same time, due to the diversity of causes and controversial consequences, it is still a debatable problem. The relevance of the history of bilateral Russian-German relations remains unchanged, and even becomes significant at the present stage of European history. No one has specifically dealt with the issue of Russian-German relations and negotiations, as well as the identification of particularly acute issues that occupied both sides in the midst of the chancellor crisis in the winter-spring of 1890, and this article is intended to fill this gap. The main sources of the work were the reports, letters and telegrams of the Russian ambassador Count P. A. Shuvalov to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire N. K. Girs, stored in a special folder in the Secret Archive of the Minister of the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire (AVPRI). An analysis of these documents, some of which are being introduced into scientific circulation for the first time, shows: Russia's main task was to achieve an extension of the Reinsurance Treaty, which would expired in the summer of 1890. The treaty ensured the stability of bilateral relations, which was one of the cornerstones of the security system in Central Europe and the Balkans. The more specific issue of the “Bulgarian loan” and the provocative activity of Austria-Hungary in Bulgaria, which Russia was extremely concerned about, was also connected with the Balkan region. The non-renewal of the Reinsurance Treaty, which was a result of Bismarck's resignation, marked the beginning of the rapprochement between Russia and France and, consequently, the folding of the Entente, which meant that the main Bismarck's fear — the “nightmare of coalitions” — came true and the further narrowing of mutually beneficial contacts between Russia and Germany, which single-handedly were the guarantee of peace in Europe.

KeywordsGermany, Russia, foreign policy, international treaties, Reinsurance Treaty, Bulgarian crisis of 1885—1886, Bismarck Otto von, Shuvalov P. A., Girs N. K., diplomatic reports, diplomats
Publication date07.11.2022
Number of characters41756
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