Nationalism is a doctrine that states a nation ought to be accorded political recognition and have rights to autonomy, sovereignty, and national character. The limits to nationalism is the rights of the nation that comes next. It should not be incorporated with Chauvinism that acknowledges no limits except those dictated by national interest. British nationalism is hardly a factor as a cause of World War I, but selfish ambition within the British empire is a just cause of the war.


Contents

1. Imperial Century (1815-1914)
i. Pax Britannica
ii. Splendid Isolation

2. The Bothersome Challenger
i. The Industrial Race
ii. German Naval Laws

3. The Entente Cordiale

4. Belgian Neutrality

The Imperial Century (1815-1914)
After the and Napoleon’s defeat, Britain was led into a peaceful period of expansionism, also known as their imperial century. They enjoyed unchallenged sea power. Control of major trade routes only shifted the British into colonization mode.

Pax Britannica
Pax Britanncia (British peace) erupted into a domination of overseas markets.The handed African and Asian colonies to the British empire and diplomatic efforts to maintain the balance of power was assumed through Britain's naval dominance.



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Splendid Isolation
Britain's foreign policy, since they were the most industrially advanced, was not to get caught up in the petty little affairs with continental Europe. They just spanned out and colonized around the world, staking their claims before anyone else could get to them.




Before 1890, chief enemies were France and Russia, due to a clash of colonial claim. French colonial interests often clashed with those of Britain such as India, Burma, Thailand, and Egypt. But it no longer mattered because Napoleon had been defeated and really, the British were just taking his position autonomously.

The Bothersome Challenger
The unification of Germany after the and its industrialization led to the decline of British dominance due to and Admiral von Tirpitz. Germany did not accept British superiority and their industrialization only continued to foster their equally self-important view.
The Industrial Race
The British and German empires went through an arms race, a sort of Cold War scenario to stabilize their own positions as the leaders of Europe. Of course, militarism, imperialism, and nationalism all played major roles in the race to the top.

German Naval Laws
"I had a peculiar passion for the navy. It sprang to no small extent from my English blood. When I was a little boy...I admired the proud British ships. There awoke in me the will to build ships of my own like these some day, and when I was grown up to possess a fine navy as the English."
  • —Kaiser Wilhelm II, My Early Life
It is clear that Germany had the goal of withdrawing British naval authority and depositing it in their hands. The Navy was regarded as the key element of Imperial defense and it meant power. Stripping the British of its navy would extinguish and collapse the empire as a whole. (How did Britain get its power in the first place? By depleting the Spanish Armada. Why would they just sit back and allow Germany to pull something they did way back in 1588?)
Britain had one policy when it came to their Royal Navy; the Two Power Standard. The Royal Navy had to be stronger than the next two naval powers combined. They shifted to meet the German threat and redistributed the navy so the strongest ships were aligned towards Germany.

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The Entente Cordiale
This agreement between France and Britain was due to their common interests and France's isolation due to Germany, signed in 1904. Essentially the German empire created a common enemy for the two countries and their interests in colonial expansion was addressed in the agreement.

Belgian Neutrality
According to international law, Belgian's neutrality was not to be violated. This became a conveniently legal reason to declare war on Germany. German invasion of France would have disrupted the European balance of power and it was almost a given that Germany would successfully pillage France without any foreign aid. If Germany were to win Paris, the British would have to deal with an even stronger German empire.