After the Napoleon's near conquest of the entire world, Europe's power players felt it was necessary to instill a balance-of-power diplomacy. These countries could not afford another Napoleonic crisis to threaten their rule. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the British representative, Castlereagh, developed the policy of "splendid isolation." British diplomats followed proudly followed this policy in the years following the Congress, trying to maintain the balance of power in Europe. Without this British policy, Europe probably would not have experienced a one hundred year long period of non-violence and peace.
Castlereagh thought that the continental powers were not to be trusted. He felt that if any one country in Europe gained too much power, the balance of power would be disturbed. Thus, Britain withdrew from the Quadruple Alliance formed at Vienna, consisting of Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. British diplomats enforced this policy throughout the rest of the 19th century.
Their goal was to avoid having another Napoleon Bonaparte rise up, so they acted as the patrollers of Europe. Not a single country could gain more control than acceptable without the British intervening.
The British worked to limit the expansionism of other European countries. For example, Russian powers in Afghanistan and Persia were blocked. After the treaty was made for the Russo-Turkish war of 1877, the British prime minister, Disraeli, regarded it as too favorable for Russia. He led the other European countries in demanding revisions that would be more favorable for the Ottoman Turks.
Otto Von Bismarck united Germany and initiated the alliance system. It seemed as if his intentions were good. He just wanted to prevent another uprising of French power. However, Germany formed the Triple Alliance in 1882 with Italy and Austria. Germany rose in power, both industrially and politically. Other alliances across...