Why Germans ignored Britain's "No Single Power on Europe" foreign policy constantly ?

Apr 2014
411
Istanbul Turkey
Why Germans ignored Britain's "No Single Power on Europe" foreign policy constantly ?

During 1914 when Germans declared war on Russia and France then invaded neutral Belgium why did they assume Britain would stay neutral since Germans themselves were playing role of Louis XIV and Napoleon , as a single dominant militaristic power defying economy , soverignity and national security of UK by invading Europe and especially threatening Britain by invading Flemish /Northern France coast. And look at history should have told German soldiers and statesmen that Britain always regarded North Sea and Channel Coast vital , wary that a hostile power there. Itwould be unacceptable for them. Or was it arrogance that Germans dismissed even if Britain entered war against Central Powers there would be little Brits could do to stop might of German Army rolling over Belgium and France since Britain had such a puny army ? (four divisions) Kaiser Wilhelm once joked : "Dreadnaughts have no wheels !"

Similar miscalculation was made by Hitler and Nazis in 1939 also. Despite his wishes for peace with Britain didn't they see that a militaristic agressive state breaking up Central European states by force and invasion would be seen as a "A Singe Militaristic Power" threat by British goverment ?
 
Apr 2017
1,678
U.S.A.
It was more along the lines the Germans figured they could defeat France before Britain could deploy a large force. For ww2, Hitler figured Britain would move towards peace if France was defeated. Both assumptions proved wrong.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,728
Dispargum
Someone once asked Wilhelm II, Bismarck, von Moltke, or someone like that what they would do if the British Army landed on the German coast and started marching on Berlin. They replied that they would send a Prussian policeman to go arrest the British Army. The Germans were only impressed by the number of bayonets an army had and since the peacetime British Army was small compared to the other great powers, the Germans just never gave the British much thought.

Like Visigoth Panzer said, if the Schliefen Plan had worked, Britain's ability to eventually mobilize a large army would not have mattered.
 
Jun 2017
2,988
Connecticut
Germany would have gotten away with it if not for increasing the size of navy. This is what threatened the UK. The UK a few decades before WWI saw their biggest threats as France(in Africa) and Russia(in the East) and would have gravitated towards an alliance or entente with Germany. The way UK saw it, the Germans building up a navy to equal the Brits was the equivalent of the UK building an army to equal the Germans but the Germans wanted to be able to police and control their own territory and trade routes(Kaiser really just wanted to have big ships). Reason a continental power was so threatening was that it was a threat to naval supremacy and could muster a Trafalgar sized enemy fleet.
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Lots of fanciful theories thus far .Now let's look at the facts.
As Professor D.H. Aldcroft explained in his epic and meticulously reearched article 'THE ENTREPRENEUR AND THE BRITISH ECONOMY 1870-1914' between those two dates all over the world and in Europe Germany's superior education system meant that Germany was kicking Britain out her traditional world markets while expanding her Army and Navy and was no longer willing to play second fiddle to Britain internationally.
In 1913 in the University of Munich alone, there were more science and industrial chemistry undergraduates than Britain possessed in the whole UK .
The German educational school system was so superior to the Brituish one that -as Profesor Armytage showed in in his 1969 study-in 1914 10,000 GERMAN CLERKS WERE EMPLOYED IN THE FINANCIAL City of London because of their superior basic education provided by German elementary schools.
In the 1880's German market researchers found that while Britain at first enjoyed a monopoly of selling needles to the Brazilians the Brazilians hated the British habit (still practised in the 1950's in the UK) of wrapping British needles in matt black paper which had connotations of death for the Brazilians.
The Germans took over the Brazilian needle market from the UK by selling needles in gaudy, bright, coloured packets.
Again, German chemical industrial superiority was such that as Professor Armytyge revealed, the Briitsh soldiers who went into battle in 1914 wore uniforms whose khaki dyes came from Germany.
Two attempts by arch British Imperialist Joseph Chamberlain to negotiate an Anglo-Saxon British/American/and German military allliance in 1899 and 1900 to rule the world told the KAISER AND HIS Minsters Bethman -Hollweg and Von BULOW that Germany's buirgeoning competitve edge over Britain was disturbing the British govt -they rejected Chamberlain's offer because thy increasingly saw that their ever growing superiorty over the UK in world markets meant that they didn't need any agreements with the UK to succeed.
That's why the Kaiser and his Generals were idiots in 1914. They could have established German world dominance by the gradual process that was already taking place between 1870-14 as desiderated by D.H. Aldcroft in his eic researched article which I have identified above.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,899
Stockport Cheshire UK
because USA may have told the Germans it would?
The USA was not an ally of Britain in 1914 and they had no influence over Britain especially when it came to European affairs, so the USA was in no position to tell Germany what Britain would, or would not, do.
 
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martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,790
Spain
The USA was not an ally of Britain in 1914 and they had no influence over Britain especially when it came to European affairs, so the USA was in no position to tell Germany what Britain would, or would not, do.
Exactly. In fact, USA prefered Germany in 1914 (before the famous "rape of Belgium" cleverly used by the British propaganda.

Belgium was not the cause of British intervention. It was the "excuse" used to convince pacifist and people.

And not, Britain is not a constant never "tolerated" a power in Low Countries.. Both Spain (1504-1714) as Austria (1714-1797) ruled the Low Countries. and Britain accepted. (or it had to accept).
In 1914, Great Britain was in the war because of the fear caused by the German industrial, commercial and naval rivalry. In 1914, Germany was the second industrial power on Earth (only USA over it), the second naval (behind Britain) and the second economic power (behind USA).
 
Aug 2016
960
moscow, russia.
The USA was not an ally of Britain in 1914 and they had no influence over Britain especially when it came to European affairs, so the USA was in no position to tell Germany what Britain would, or would not, do.
are you sure the US wasn't behind the entire WWI affair?
 
Sep 2013
449
France
are you sure the US wasn't behind the entire WWI affair?
I don't know for the UK, whose army was very small by 1914, and whose only interest seemed to be that no major power emerges anew in Europe, but France was preparing herself mentally and military for at least twenty years to get Alsace-Lorraine back. No need of US involvment.