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What were the main characteristic features of the first Bismarckian Alliance system 1879-1883 During the 1870s in the aftermath of the creation of the German Empire the main issues to vex the Great Powers were Austro-Russian rivalry in the Balkans and German fear that such a rivalry might develop into a general conflict which could provide an outlet for French revanchism against Germany The Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78 demonstrated that Austria and Russia could restrain their rivalry in the interests of the general peace the disputes following the Treaty of San Stefano leading up to the 1878 Congress of Berlin demonstrated that such restraint was limited The issue of the Balkans was to remain an area of concern for the European States up to and beyond the First World War even though there was to be no further significant conflict involving the Great Powers between 1879 and 1914 Having lost Italy and Germany the Balkan region was the only remaining external sphere of influence for the Dual Monarchy and Slavic Russia was dependent on the Bosporus Straits for her grain exports Bismarck still feared the consequences of a great power conflict in the Balkans and hence aimed to build an alliance structure that provided more security than the loose and vague agreements of the early 1870s Bismarcks first such structure just as his second in the later 1880s was built around a number of characteristics and it set the foundation for international relations in this period One of the most striking characteristics about the system and the way it was constructed is that many of the decisions were dependant on Bismarcks insecurity and fear of a number of threats to Germany many of which had little basis in fact or what basis they had was provoked by the Chancellors own actions In 1879 for instance faced with the imminent resignation of Andrassy from the Austrian foreign office Bismarck illogically expected
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