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Military Diplomacy in the Dual Alliance : German Military Attaché Reporting from Vienna, 1879-1914

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The book also reveals a new perspective of Bismarck’s diplomacy beginning shortly after he engineered the Dual Alliance between the two countries in 1879. It demonstrates that as early as 1882 Bismarck became aware that the Austrian army was far weaker than assumed when he concluded the alliance. It was primarily his concern about Austria’s weakness that spurred Bismarck’s energetic diplomacy, seeking alliances and understandings with other countries in the region, and which became the main consideration that guided his foreign policy from then on. For if Austria suffered a defeat, Germany would find itself alone between two dangerous powers: France and Russia. The consequences of his policies resulted in peace down to his departure in 1890. His successors, for a variety of reasons addressed in the book, were not as careful, ignored Austria’s weaknesses despite the warnings of the military attachés, and permitted Austria to become involved in a war. The result was tragically foreseeable.

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