In the years leading to World War I there are five major powers within Europe - Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France and Britain. The cast list is unchanged since the early 18th century (except that Prussia is now Germany), and the players are well used to the game of diplomacy in which alliances formed for defensive purposes turn into aggressive partnerships as soon as a new war develops (a circumstance considered almost inevitable sooner or later in the atmosphere of national rivalry).
Aims and development of Weltpolitik: The Kaiser’s newfound zeal towards territorial and naval expansion coincided with Britain’s loss of face following its costly and humiliating win in the Boer War, after which it was keen to reassert itself as a great power on the world stage. With his mischievous Kruger Telegram, he virtually solemnised British hostility, when he sent a telegram congratulating Paul Kruger, the Premier of Transvaal in South Africa for his supposed win over the British.
Within 18 months of ascending the throne, William II used it and embarked on "personal government" and a "New Course" of supposedly "popular" policies.
Weltpolitik was an extension of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s “New Course” policy, in foreign policy.The policies of “weltpolitik” replaced the foreign policy of Bismarck’s “realpolitik”
Foreign policy after about 1890, which represented Emperor Wilhelm II's attempt to make Germany into a world power through an aggressive foreign policy on colonies
Definition of WELTPOLITIK
: participation in the discussion and decision of international problems : international politics
...The plan showed military prudence and complemented the stabilizing diplomacy of Bismarck. But Alfred, Graf von Schlieffen, presided over the German military in the era of Kaiser William’s Weltpolitik and adopted a more ambitious and risky course. His plan, conceived in 1891 and completed by 1905, envisioned a massive offensive in the west to knock out the compact French forces in...
..the Ottoman Empire still ruled Macedonia, ringed by Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria. But everything else had changed. For now Austria-Hungary’s only reliable ally was Germany, whose Weltpolitik had led it to join the competition for influence at Constantinople. Russia was looking again at the Balkans for foreign policy advantage and enjoying, for the first time, a measure of...
...intemperate remarks, William felt keenly his realm’s lack of prestige in comparison with the British Empire. William rejected Bismarck’s emphasis on security in Europe in favour of a flamboyant Weltpolitik (world policy) aimed at making Germany’s presence abroad commensurate with her new industrial might. Where Bismarck considered colonies a dangerous luxury given Germany’s geographic...
Weltpolitik (‘world policy’) A term used to describe Germany's aggressive and expansive foreign policy through the acquisition of colonies and the building of a navy from 1884 to 1918, in order to placate the demands from heavy industry for a greater navy and to generate national pride amongst dissatisfied working classes. However, there is little evidence that it was successful, particularly in the latter aim.