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Anglo-German War

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Europe19140412

The Anglo-German War was a conflict between the nations of Germany and Great Britain and their allies. The war lasted for 2 years, beginning on May 6th, 1906, and ending on February 8th, 1908. It was a deadly conflict, with over 5 million casualties; 2 million killed, and 3 million wounded, missing, or captured. The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of London.

Background

The emergence of Germany on the world stage in 1871 delivered a staggering shock to Europe. Germany adopted an imperialistic policy and began a race to attain oversea colonies. Also, German industry was on the rise, due to Germany's ample coal and iron supplies. Great Britain, one of Europe's leading powers, grew concerned over the potential threat of Germany. Under Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany began to increase the size of its navy exponetially. Britain feared the German navy would soon rival its own, for Britain was the naval powerhouse of Europe. German foreign policy grew more aggressive during the late 1890's. After entering late in the imperial race, Germany scrambled to acquire colonies. Several incidents in Africa, particularly due to German influence spreading towards Egypt, brought Britain and Germany to the brink of war. Despite the pressure, both nations opened negotiation and conflict was avoided.

All that would change when Wilhelm II suddenly died in 1899. His successor, Wilhelm III, would be even more aggressive. Wilhelm III felt Britain was in Germany's way and that Germany was to be the master empire. Wilhelm provoked the British through several incidents such as the attacking and raiding of merchant ships as well as expanding German influence near India. The British tried to forgive these actions, but it was becoming harder for appeasement to continue. Then, on May 4th, 1906, Wilhelm announced Germany had full control over the North Sea as well as the English Channel and would now enforce new trade regulations. The British, having had their colonies threatened and now their waters, had no choice but to fight back. On May 6th, 1906, Great Britain declared war on Germany over the threat of losing their waterways. In the picture above, Great Britain is green, Germany is red, and nations that would later side with Britain are in light green. They include Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.

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