England continued to maintain friendly relations with Germany even after following the policy of ‘Splendid Isolation’. Bismarck also followed the policy of appeasement towards England.
Therefore, as lone as Bismarck remained the Chancellor of Germany, the relations between England and Germany remained cordial. This friendship was tested at the following occasions:
1. In 1890 England exchanged the island of Zanzibar for Heligoland with Germany.
2. In 1890 both the countries, Germany and England settled their disputes in Congress of Berlin.
3. In 1893 both the countries peacefully settled their disputes in Western Africa.
The relations between England and Germany were quite cordial in the beginning of the reign of William II. He generally used to go to England every year and had a great regard for Queen Victoria of England.
In 1890 the Prince of Wales also visited Berlin. William II also went to England to condole the death of Queen Victoria. In fact, by this time England was inclined towards Germany as his relations with Russia and France were not cordial.
Germany had no sympathy for England. In 1896 William II sent a telegram of congratulations to President Kruger of Transvaal on the victory of the Boers against the British.
At this the people of Britain felt much offended with Kaiser. Queen Victoria also criticised and condemned him for his unfriendly attitude towards England. Lord Salisbury said:
“The attack was foolish but the telegram was all the more foolish.”
In 1899 Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Minister of England proposed the formation of Triple Alliance between England, Germany and U. S. A., but the proposal was rejected by Von Bulow, the Chancellor of Germany.
He did not want that Germany should give an opportunity to England for expansion in Asia and Africa. He clearly declared that he would oppose England in the ensuing war.
Therefore, England was compelled to say goodbye to her policy of ‘Splendid Isolation’. England concluded a treaty with Japan in 1902 and with France in 1904.
A treaty between France and Russia was already concluded in 1893. It had minimised the enmity to a great extent. At one occasion the Russian ambassador in Paris said:
“The friends of our friends are also our friends.”
His forecast proved true and a treaty was concluded between England and Russia in 1907. Thus, Entente Cordiale including France, Russia and England was formed against the Triple Alliance of Austria, Germany and Italy. William II was not worried about the friendship with England.
Once, rejecting the friendly overtures of England, he said, “The way to Berlin lies through Vienna.” It meant that England ought, first to conclude a treaty with Austria, only then there could be any possibility of friendship with Germany.
But England did not want to establish cordial relations with Austria because their interests were totally opposed to each other on the issue of the Eastern Question.