Reinsurance Treaty

Reinsurance Treaty
   A hastily formulated secret treaty between Germany and Russia. By 1886, it was obvious the Russians would no longer agree to renew their participation in the Three Emperors’ Alliance, set to expire in 1887. To compensate for this, Otto von Bismarck masterminded a series of agreements in 1887 designed to keep Russia and France in check. One of those agreements was the Reinsurance Treaty, negotiated secretly with Russia and effective for three years from June 18, 1887. It stated that one country would remain neutral if the other became involved in a war. The only exceptions were if Germany started a war with France, or if Russia started a war with Austria-Hungary. In early 1890, the new German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi, on the advice of the Foreign Office, refused to renew a treaty which appeared to run counter to Germany’s obligations to Austria-Hungary and the Triple Alliance. This left Russia free to pursue other options, specifically an alliance with France.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>; <>.
    Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988;
    Langer, William L. European Alliance and Alignments 1871–1890. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962;
    Taylor, A.J.P. The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1914. Oxford: Clarendon, 1954.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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