The international relations of East Asia from a historical perspective

Authored by: Andrea Benvenuti

Security and Conflict in East Asia

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781857437171
eBook ISBN: 9781315850344
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315850344-2

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Abstract

During the second half of the 19th century a new and assertive power emerged in the heart of Europe – Germany. Some 30 independent states were brought together under the King of Prussia, Wilhelm I, who was proclaimed the Emperor of Germany. The unification of Germany in 1871 was a watershed in the international relations of the time: the redrawing of the map of Europe brought about a major structural change in what was then a quintessentially Euro-centric international system. Significantly, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli rated the emergence of a united Germany as ‘a greater political event than the French Revolution’ (Disraeli cited in Steinberg 2011: 312). He was right. Over the next 70 years, accommodating Germany within the existing international structure would turn out to be a major diplomatic headache. Unsurprisingly, Europe went to war twice to contain German power.

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