Trade, Politics, Perspectives, and the Question of a British Commercial Policy Towards the German States 1848-1866

Davis, John Richard (1993) Trade, Politics, Perspectives, and the Question of a British Commercial Policy Towards the German States 1848-1866. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Because the field of Anglo-German relations remains a function of domestic history rather than a subject of investigation in its own right, and because the mid-century is of particular interest to German historians rather than British, British foreign relations with the German states are predominantly approached using parameters set by German historians. This study attempts to take much more account of the British perspective. To this end, it discusses the place of the German states in the wider field of British commercial policy, how information is received and processed on the German states, and the way in which policy is formulated. It shows that British commercial policy as applied to the German states had little to do specifically with the states, but was rather the application of a commercial policy which was to be generally applied. It also aims to prove that there was little political motivation behind British commercial policy. One of the conclusions is indeed just how low the profile of the German states was in British policy-making. At the same time, an account is given of the ramifications of British commercial policy in the environment of the German states. It is shown that the 1850s represent a crucial period there where the utmost tension is felt between the old and the new; the ancien regime and industrialised Europe, and the political status quo of particularism and a new order. In this atmosphere of tension and polarisation British commercial policy - as indeed British foreign policy in general - took on political proportions never intended in London. For the creation of this sense of perspective, a wide variety of archival sources has been used, placing British sources next to German ones - the latter from a relevant cross section of the German states. A good deal has been taken from the British press and that of the German states, as well as from memoirs and secondary sources from both German and British History. The thesis is indeed a call for the matter of perspective to be taken into account, both by German and by British historians: It is a call for the matter of imbalance in Anglo-German relations to be remembered in any interpretation. for an approach in Anglo-German relations which bears more relevance to the period and perceptions of British policy makers than to the preconceptions of German History to be considered, and for the impact of the tensions between old and new on the way British policy in the German states was received to be kept in mind.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Nicholas Hope
Keywords: European history, International relations
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-75977
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 17:09
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 17:09

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