The Central Asian Paradigm in Anglo-Russian relations, 1885 – 1895

Jolly, Adam (2022) The Central Asian Paradigm in Anglo-Russian relations, 1885 – 1895. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The driving factors behind British foreign policy have attracted much scholarly attention, causing a good deal of disagreement. A fundamental dispute concerns which rival state shaped British foreign policy the most significantly. Although both Berlin and Paris influenced London, this work will prove that it was St. Petersburg which was of the primary importance. Through this work, two significant factors concerning the importance of Anglo-Russian relations, during the period 1885 – 1895, will be made evident. Firstly, this piece demonstrates the significance of Central Asia to British foreign policy. The British Empire was a world empire with interests that stretched far beyond Europe. Her greatest asset, the Indian Raj, was the focus of British policy during the late nineteenth century. The imperial government in London wanted, and needed, to maintain its Indian Empire. This extra-European aspect was more consequential than any European factor in driving British foreign policy during this period. Due to the importance of the Raj, Anglo-Russian relations were pivotal to British foreign policy. To defend this ‘jewel in the crown’, Britain formed a buffer defence system involving Afghanistan and Persia; the period 1885 – 1895 was spent protecting these buffer states through a variety of methods. However, while this work will prove the importance of Central Asia, it will also demonstrate how the security of India dictated Britain’s broader decision making in Europe. For instance, in 1885 the Penjdeh Crisis on the Russo-Afghan border was followed in quick succession by a European crisis over Eastern Roumelia. This cannot simply be coincidence. The link between Central Asia and Europe, and therefore the role played between Britain's wider imperial power and her European interests, will form the crux of this work. It will also be shown that it was Anglo- Russian and not Anglo-German relations which were pivotal to Britain’s foreign policy. The current historiography shows too much emphasis upon the role of Germany, which is a result of the period being viewed through the lens of the First World War. To counter this trend, Adam Jolly this piece will join and improve the smaller but growing body of work which is re-evaluating the respective roles of Russia and Germany within British foreign policy. Focusing upon the foreign policies of Salisbury and Rosebery, this work will concentrate on a decade of great importance to British foreign policy, and illustrate how Britain’s foreign policy-makers navigated a world that was rapidly changing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2022 11:23
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 11:23


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