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Shipton,_Frederick_David_Ronald.pdf (6.56 MB)

British diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary and British attitudes to the monarchy in the years 1885-1918

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posted on 2023-06-08, 11:49 authored by Frederick David Ronald Shipton
The present thesis is an investigation into the relations between Great Britain and the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria-Hungary) in these years and how, in the words of Lord Rosebery in 1887 'the natural ally of Great Britain' became the enemy power of 1914 that had to be destroyed. Indeed, great emphasis is placed upon the key role that Britain played in the Monarchy's destruction. (one is reminded, en passant, of the poet William Cowper's admonition of 'love to hatred turned.') The first chapter will examine the general views held of the Monarchy by British travellers and commentators in the 19th and early 20th centuries, while Chapter II will focus on the views of the two greatest commentators on the Monarchy in the English-speaking world- theSlavonic scholar, Robert Seton-Watson and The Times Vienna correspondent, Henry Wickham Steed. Chapter III will deal with a general survey of Anglo-Austrian relations from the 1880's to the crisis years of 1908-9, involving the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which the subsequent chapter (IV) will examine in detail. Chapter V will look at the following years leading up to the First Worls War with particular reference to the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. Chapter VI (parts 1 and 2) will examine the July crisis and the actual outbreak of war and the attitude of people, press and parliament vis-à-vis the Monarchy when the two countries came to blows the following month in August, while the final Chapter VII will stress the important part that Britain subsequently played in Austria-Hungary's overthrow. In particular great significance will be attached to Sir Edward Grey's failure in the years preceding the First World War to act as an 'honest broker' between the two great rival alliance systems of France and Russia and Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy, and the willingness to accommodate Russia at Austria's expense. This led, it will be argued, to Germany effectively waging, initially, 'a preventve war' before her only real ally either disintegrated internally or was overthrown from without, hopelessly encircled as she was. (The very scenario that Grey claimed he feared the most actually happened largely through his failure to help Austria- the weakest link in the European alliance chain. The fact that the Foregn Office Memorandum of 1916 could argue 'that the Austro-Hungarian Empire must come to an end if the causes of war in the future are to be effectively removed' was, it is argued, merely putting a gloss on an anti-Austrian British Realpolitik formulated in the years before the war broke out, even if not openly acknowledged as such.


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