Where the British and French the sick men of Europe during the 1870-1914 period? (In the growth in the share of global GDP and importance)

Jun 2017
2,814
Connecticut
#11
Ok. Well I don't wish to enter into one of these Balkan disputes that I frequently see on the internet, as I have no dog in that fight . On a "global" scale, the only nations from 1870-1914 worth a mention outside of Europe is the U.S. and Japan. Japan started to come into their own with their victory over Russia in 1905, so they are negligible during your opening question. The U.S. certainly was becoming a world power during this period, but I would not place them as one until after their victory over the Spanish in 1898. Even then, the U.S. exhibited little interest in European matters. Most of their interest was in the hemisphere and somewhat into the Pacific. I am no francophile, but I feel as if this thread is migrating toward "France is bad, A-H is good." I see no way that the A-H would have improved its lot in the years after WWI if that war had not occurred. During the Revolutions of 1848, Austria was forced to give all kinds of concessions to many of the ethnic groups within its empire, the most notable to the Hungarians. In the tri partitioned Poland, A-H had the loosest grip on its people. This was good for the people of Galicia, but I am not sure how good it was for the empire. Really, there was a decline, relatively speaking in Britain, France, Austro-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia during that period in the OP.
The situation in Austria-Hungary is very misrepresented in the general narrative of the time. Truth is the unstable regions of Austria-Hungary had traditionally been Hungary(who had been successfully appeased in 1867 as is referenced below) and Bohemia(who had been this way for centuries due to the religious difference, this even had started the Thirty Years War similar to how Bosnia started WWI, that was not a new issue). Bosnia where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand happened had only been acquired in 1878 and formally annexed in 1908 and was a fringe region of the empire which the empire's future did not dwell on(it was more important in Austria-Hungary's eyes to keep it away from Serbia and the Orthodox Russian bloc than to actually have it cause they needed Bosnia). Most of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was quite stable, the Slovenians mostly voted to stay with Austria after WWI and had been ruled by her for centuries, the Catholic Poles preferred Catholic Austria-Hungary to their historic Russian oppressors(an independent Poland wasn't a conceivable option at this point)finally Croatia and Slovakia had been part of Hungary for almost a millennia and were in no way unstable. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a modern relic of an era where people identified with a ruler rather than a nation and if Franz Josef was as popular an icon as he was(and he wasn't exactly the most pleasant person), then his successors(who turned out pretty ok for aristocratic folks) likely would have as well. Hungary refused to abolish their monarchy despite not being allowed to have a King and had this weird limbo system.

Austria-Hungary had over ten million more people than France did at the start of WWI and that gap would have continued to grow. Austria would never have surpassed the US Germany(especially given her political subordination) or maybe even the UK, but she was on a path to be more powerful and rich than the French at the time.
 
Nov 2017
866
Győr
#12
Where the British and French colonial Empires the sick men of Europe during the 1870-1914 period? (In the growth in the share of global GDP and importance)

Article: How Austerity Destroyed the British Empire




Decline of importance of many European powers was rapid due to the rapid growth of USA. The true winners of this economic period were clearly and definite the USA and German Empire.
Even Austria-Hungary could preserve better its position than France and British Empire. And if this long economic trend would continue (Without WW1) , the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been more important than France in the early 1920s.
The UK was falling from much further up. In a timeline without the world war's, Germany's industrial lead would have continued to grow after catching the UK shortly before the start of the war and Germany would have become the largest economy in Europe but would have continued to be surpassed by the US. France and the rest of the great powers were still a far way off and would remain so. UK's status as the greatest power was finished by the start of the 20th century but her status as a great power was very secure and even in the modern day is a status that hasn't faded(though this is in large part due to outside factors hindering her would be competitors except the US and China). The UK had held it's initial lead due to industrializing first but the UK prior to the industrial revolution had been closer to countries like the Netherlands and Portugal than the great powers and the industrialization of the more populated European mainland was always going to eventually close the gap.

France was a sick man because demographically she was losing people and her situation could be likened to Russia and Japan in the modern era, France throughout most of European history had been the most populous nation(in the 1700s this even included Russia) but she had also been mainly agricultural compared to the UK, Germany having only a few industrial regions(coincidentally the ones devastated by WWI). Even Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had large industrial bases to couple with their large agrarian economy's. This was made worse by the fact that by the start of WWI France had suffered so badly a sustained demographic loss that the only nation on said chart she had a larger population than was Italy(and by WWII even Italy had surpassed the French) and this isn't counting the fact France was about to lose close to 5% of her population many of which were young men who didn't have a chance to reproduce/or reproduced considerably less than they otherwise would have. France did have a large colonial empire but her hold over it was tenuous and unlike the UK who during colonization usually ended up ceding to political pressure and might have been able to retain much of her empire if the will to fight for it had been there, the decolonization of France's empire was done by force against her will to keep it.

This issue was why France pushed for such a strict Versailles peace because victors or not France's demographic troubles weren't going to go away and the ability of Germany to gain revenge was almost inherent if not excessively kept down. A decentralized Europe with a bunch of small countries was a Europe where France could continue to exert power, whereas the Europe of 1914 was one where she couldn't and this was the main French motive behind supporting Wilson's pro self determination agenda, as it offered a potential solution to many of France's problems(including replacing Russia as an ally). France had only won the first world war by over the course of several decades recruiting almost all the great powers to her side, France had no confidence in her ability to fight another great power (except maybe the Italians) by her lonesome which she was likely to be in the context of 1919. If not for the two world wars incurring massive demographic calamities and destruction on the other great powers, France was on pace to become the smallest of the great powers and eventually not a great power at all, it was only the literal destruction of the rest of the continent(combined with immigration from her lost colonies) that resulted in France retaining it's status as one of the most important nations in Europe today and even this is codified by her role on the UNSC and partly a product of being a nuclear state.

Yes, Austria-Hungary surpassed France in the total production and export in a very important sector in the first decade of the 20th century: the machinery industry, and it became the world's third largest producer in electronics. However, after all neighbouring countries entered the war, it was unable to speed up its industrial production, because the A-H Empire's industry was very strongly dependent on the import of raw materials. So the A-H industrial output shrinked drastically during the war.
 
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Jan 2015
3,253
Front Lines of the Pig War
#14
The UK was falling from much further up. In a timeline without the world war's, Germany's industrial lead would have continued to grow after catching the UK shortly before the start of the war .
Germany did not catch the British Empire, as it's GDP exceeded that of Germany before both world wars.
Germany never had an industrial lead
 
Jun 2017
2,814
Connecticut
#15
Germany did not catch the British Empire, as it's GDP exceeded that of Germany before both world wars.
Germany never had an industrial lead
Don't have it now but I had handouts from college saying otherwise and that Germany surpassed the UK right before WWII(charts and all). It's possible they are referring to mainland UK and not the British Empire though. I don't have charts but I will say if search function makes it easy that I was called out on this data on one of my first posts on this forum and found the sheets that I had on me and cited them, so if you wanna find them it would be found on one of my very first posts if that makes it easier to find. If you think it's a UK or British Empire difference well then that's another story probably shouldn't go through the trouble then(the charts do chart various ways of measuring economic growth throughout late 19th and early 20th century for all the great powers so it would relevant to this discussion if one finds it, I think I might typed out most of it on to a forum post too, if I vaguely recall).
 
Jan 2015
3,253
Front Lines of the Pig War
#16
Don't have it now but I had handouts from college saying otherwise
Depending on how well written & sourced your handouts are, they might or might not be useful. ;)

Germany surpassed the UK right before WWII(charts and all). It's possible they are referring to mainland UK and not the British Empire though.
They almost certainly refer to the UK only, without the Empire.
Here's a reference to 1938 GDPs (1990 dollar totals)

Gross Domestic Product 1938

Germany 351.4
UK (British Isles) 284.2
British Colonies 284.5
British Dominions 114.6
Even in 1940 with Austria, Czech lands, part of Poland, Denmark, Norway, etc the Greater German Reich does not match the 683 billion of the total British Empire, although significantly exceeds the UK alone.
From 1812 to 1945 there was no major conflict involving Britain that did not also involve the Empire


I don't have charts but I will say if search function makes it easy that I was called out on this data on one of my first posts on this forum and found the sheets that I had on me and cited them, so if you wanna find them it would be found on one of my very first posts if that makes it easier to find. If you think it's a UK or British Empire difference well then that's another story probably shouldn't go through the trouble then(the charts do chart various ways of measuring economic growth throughout late 19th and early 20th century for all the great powers so it would relevant to this discussion if one finds it, I think I might typed out most of it on to a forum post too, if I vaguely recall).
If you find it you could certainly post it.
 
Nov 2010
1,269
Bordeaux
#17
No, we spak about global share of power. The topic is about global scale. And in this sence the biggest factor is the huge and rapid growth of the United states in that era. The importance of German growth is just a marginal effect on Global game, where the huge US economy played enormus part. France was more multi-ethnic n the beginning of the disputed era than Kingdom of Hungary. French started an oppressive political and legal campaign against minorities. (French were only the mothertongue of the minority in France in 1870)
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I don't see how the "multi-ethnic" aspect applies to France, especially compared to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Do you mean in France itself or within its Empire?
Because these two political entities couldn't have been more different.
A-H was a political ticking timebomb long before 1914, which was not the case for France.
Could you also specify which French "oppressed minorities" you are referring to?
 
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Likes: Rodger
Nov 2017
866
Győr
#18
I don't see how the "multi-ethnic" aspect applies to France, especially compared to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Do you mean in France itself or within its Empire?
Because these two political entities couldn't have been more different.
A-H was a political ticking timebomb long before 1914, which was not the case for France.
Could you also specify which French "oppressed minorities" you are referring to?
You already know it, that I spoke about "France proper" in Europe. You can not change the fact that French as mothertongue did not reach the 25% in France proper during the era of great revolution, and even in the mid 19th century the ratio of people with French mothertongue did not reach the 50%. We can not speak about "Habsburg Empire", because officially never existed such entity (the name "Habsburg Empire" is just the invention of historians, like the so-called "Angevin Empire")
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
#19
I suggest that yu all obtain and read DH ALDCRFT'S ARTICLE 'THE ENTRPRENEUR AND THE BRITISH ECONOMY' IN THE BRITISH ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW .
MOST UNIS HAVE A FULL SET F THESE MAGAZNES.
ALDCROFT SHOWS HOW GERMANY WAS KICKING BRITAIN OUT OF TRADITIONAL MARKETS BETWEEN 1870-19I4.
ONE EXAMPLE CITED BY ALDCRODT WAS THE B RAZILIAN NEEDELE MARKET.
GERMAN MARKET RESEARCHERS DISCOVERED THAT THE TRADITIONAL BRITISH PRACTICE OF WRAPPING DARNING NEEDLES N BLACK PAPER WAS HIGHLY UNPOPULAR IN BRAZIL BECAUSE OF BLACK'S VOODOO CONNOTATIONS SO THEY WRAPPED GERMAN NEEDLES ON COOURED PAPER AND CAPTURED THE WHOLE MARKET FROM BRITAIN.
 
Nov 2010
1,269
Bordeaux
#20
You already know it, that I spoke about "France proper" in Europe. You can not change the fact that French as mothertongue did not reach the 25% in France proper during the era of great revolution, and even in the mid 19th century the ratio of people with French mothertongue did not reach the 50%. We can not speak about "Habsburg Empire", because officially never existed such entity (the name "Habsburg Empire" is just the invention of historians, like the so-called "Angevin Empire")
My great-grand mother spoke little French so yes, I know.

And?

Your point isn"t quite clear enough I'm afraid...