Name: Yitong Tian
What was the significance of the naval race between Great Britain and Germany?
The HMS Dreadnought built in 1906.
Armament, as an important component of national strength, is one of the most significant means of international political struggles. During the First World War, the competition of armament contributed to the international tension before the war even started. For example, one of the major contradictions between Germany and the Great Britain was the Anglo-German naval race, a race of naval armament competed for colonies and global status. As one of the most significant event before WWI, the competition revealed nationalism thoughts, led to the deterioration to relationships, and contributed to an increase of international tension. Comment by Daniel Melia: Nice start, Tina.
The naval race revealed German nationalism. In the 1880s to 1890s, Germany was in a period of deepening isolation. Commitment from Britain remained elusive, and the Franco-Russian Alliance narrowed the space of movement on the continent. Yet instead of seeking a rapprochement, the German policy makers turned to self-reliance. The most consequential decision was building a large, powerful navy. The German naval construction was intended to support what was known in the 1900s as “Weltpolitik”, denoted “a foreign policy focused on extending Germany’s influence as a global power and thereby aligning it with the other big players on the world scene”(Clark 150). This term illustrated that Germany was eager to prove itself as one of the Great Powers. As a result, Alfred von Tirpitz, a German Grand Admiral, advocated the “Risk Fleet Strategy”, whereby Germany would “pursue an aggressive foreign policy and using the emerging high speed fleet to bargain with Britain in order to gain an acception of expanding Germany's overseas empire”(“Alfred Von Tirpitz”). According to this plan, the main purpose of Germany is to bargain with the Britain for its commitment as one of the Great Powers. However, instead of negotiating peacefully, the Germans chose to challenge the British, who seemed to be the dominator of all Great Powers, which would best show the power of Germany. Overall, the naval race revealed German nationalism through the will of being proven and committed. Comment by Daniel Melia: Be careful, Tina. These aren't your words. Comment by Daniel Melia: Were economic interests driving this?
The naval race also revealed British nationalism. As the earliest and one of the most successful industrialized power, Britain had earned enough money to build and support a modernized, fine navy. During the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the Great Britain had one of the best, largest navy, the Royal navy, in the world. Naturally, the British was less cared and alarmed by the Germany ship building. In fact, the British naval strategy was “never focused solely on Germany, but on the need to remain dominant in a world of great na...