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Title: Neutrality and submarine warfare: Germany and Spain during the first world war
Authors: Ponce Marrero, Francisco Javier 
UNESCO Clasification: 55 Historia
Keywords: Germany
Submarine warfare
Issue Date: 2015
Journal: War & Society 
Abstract: The Spanish government maintained official neutrality during the Great War because deviating from neutrality would supposedly endanger the nation’s already limited political and social stability and even threaten the survival of the monarchic regime. In August 1914 there were no direct Spanish interests in the conflict and no benefit to be obtained from any intervention by Spain, which was very weak in military terms and in the international arena. Nevertheless, Spain’s geographic location and its commercial dependence on the Entente made it especially vulnerable to the pressures of France and Great Britain, both of which attempted to take advantage of the services that Spain could offer in the economic war; Spain’s importance increased with the prolongation of the fight. Germany, in contrast, could not hope for more from Spain than its strict neutrality because of its highly important political and economic ties with the Entente and its defencelessness before England and France, from which Germany could not protect it. Because Germany could not wait for Spain’s participation next to her, the primary target of German diplomacy had to be to resist the influence of the Entente and maintain Spanish neutrality while preventing Spain from inclining towards favouring the Allies. To achieve this objective, Berlin fed, with vague promises, the idea that a Spanish collaboration would be rewarded with the annexation of some territories. On this basis, we can begin to study German–Spanish relations during the Great War, which came to be determined by incidents that were caused by the submarine war. The dependence on the Entente also helps to explain the last evolution of the relations between Germany and Spain, which could follow no other policy than that imposed by the final development of the war: taking up a position near the winners and distancing from, and nearly rupturing ties with, Germany. Using both Spanish and German documentation allows us to reach different conclusions that aim to contribute substantially to understanding the relationship between Spain and Germany during the Great War.
ISSN: 0729-2473
DOI: 10.1080/07292473.2015.1128657
Source: War and Society [ISSN 0729-2473], v. 34 (4), p. 287-300, (Octubre 2015)
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