Splendid Isolation

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Splendid Isolation


the term used to describe the general course of English foreign policy in the second half of the 19th century, exhibited in a refusal to conclude long-term international alliances. Great Britain’s insular position, vast colonial territories, the strongest military fleet in the world, and, most important, its industrial and financial supremacy over other powers allowed it to maintain freedom of action in the international arena. Making use of the conflicts among European states, Great Britain tried to broaden and strengthen its international influence. The policy of splendid isolation did not interfere with the conclusion of temporary agreements which aided the realization of Great Britain’s expansionist goals.

With the onset of the age of imperialism and the rapid economic development and strengthening of the military might of other powers, Great Britain’s position became more vulnerable, as was especially clear in the course of the Boer War of 1899–1902. The abrupt sharpening of relations with Germany and other European powers threatened Great Britain with forced isolation. In 1902, England concluded a long-term alliance with Japan, directed against Russia, and, in 1904, an agreement with France, which marked the end of the policy of splendid isolation.


Temperley, H., and L. Penson [eds.]. Foundation of British Foreign Policy .... Cambridge, 1938.
References in periodicals archive ?
At the end of the second of his three look-back documentaries, the man in the fetching parka said: "I think it was in the 1980s that we at last understood that the days of splendid isolation, of holding out against the tides of change, were over.
The 69-year-old plays - although he doesn't seem to be acting - an aged rock star living in splendid isolation with his much younger and sexually voracious wife (Grange Hill's Kacey Clarke).
For the United Kingdom, 67 million out of a world population of 7 billion, to break off and head into splendid isolation doesn't seem to me to be in our interests.
We may think we can ignore conflicts in distant countries, but the idea that we can live in splendid isolation is an illusion.
That left Grate Fella, who had hit a high of 38 on the exchanges despite leading, in splendid isolation.
Project leader Prof Vincent Gaffney, of the University of Birmingham, said: "Stonehenge sits there in splendid isolation but the area around it is teeming with unseen archeology.
Your party may think it represents splendid isolation - it isn't.
Wales needs its own team in the cricket world cup", September 21) As a proud Welshman who greatly values our contemporary partnership and common heritage with the English (and the other nations of Britain), it was a bit dispiriting to read in yesterday's paper the essay by Plaid politicians calling for Wales to secede from the England and Wales Cricket Team and compete instead in the splendid isolation craved by our narrow-minded, nationalist compatriots.
LESS than a mile from the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border lies a gastropub sited in splendid isolation on a hill top.
It's now down to Big Eck, who said all the right things despite being "Alex no mates" at his first Press conference, held in splendid isolation as his new employers opted for a nuclear shelter.
Some deep-sky objects are loners--they dominate a region of sky and reside in splendid isolation.
People have tended to think that as Stonehenge reached its peak it was the paramount monument, existing in splendid isolation.