As indicated with the examples of Italy and Belgium, the international system favored the larger super powers over smaller states within Europe and as Germany steadily grew to the status of great power, the preexisting powers appeared virtually diplomatically undisturbed by the change. Most notably, Great Britain viewed the unification of Germany as the weakening of France as opposed to the rise of Germany, indicating where the naval power placed its diplomatic dependencies.
Overall, Anglo-German relations were peaceful during the expansion of Germany’s empire as the two powers coexisted in Europe, rather than attempt cooperation with one another. The overall dynamic of Anglo-Franco relations was quite interesting at the time despite Britain’s lackluster response to German solidification, as the British depended on France for reinforcements in checking Russian power. It is undoubtable that once Britain saw that the containment of France was unavoidable, they would become “isolated in the Near East” and virtually have no allies to support them in the event of an attack on international holdings or from the growing threat of the United States. British nonchalance of the German Empire appears to be justified when considering the overall position of Germany immediately after the Franco-Prussian War and the lead up to the 1880s. Germany had experienced a recession in its economy following the economic success from 1871-1873, causing Bismarck to not only downplay the weakness of Germany but also remain an aggressive nation-state in the restructured political system. Compounded by their unrelenting efforts to contain France, Germany was in no strategic position to pose a threat to a Great Britain, given their naval power and greater economic resources.
Furthermore, historians of British foreign policy posit that Great Britain could do nothing else but casually accept the new European order, given the historical framework that battles between Germany and France had occurred before and it did not result in the ruination of Europe. Due to their acknowledgement of German growth, Britain gained an understanding for the advantages of liberal diplomacy as it relates to the peaceful transfer and acceptance of power in other nation-states. If Britain could accept the emergence of new powers around the globe as opposed to seeing them as threats, their diplomatic ties would far outnumber their adversaries.
The unification of Germany’s effect on the international system involved more than just diplomatic changes in Europe, but also the hyper colonization of areas in Africa, although Bismarck attempted to remain aloof from the colonial process as it he saw colonies as unnecessary. Germany’s entrance into the colonial realm, although to chagrin of Bismarck, created an international scramble on the behalf of other powers to ensure their holdings and unsecured holdings were protected from the Germans. Colonies were the best way for imperial powers to...