Moreover, his discussion of the strengthening of the Franco-Russian alliance
and his discussion of their varying degrees of dependence on each other is ironic given that when asked on 1 August by the German ambassador as to how France would react to a German war with Russia, Viviani responded that "in that case France will consult its own interests," implying that it would not automatically back Russia, and might trade its neutrality for Alsace and Lorraine, and hence achieve what France had wanted since 1871 without a war.
1900-1914 was therefore a testing time: a major programme of rearmament and military modernization would have to be undertaken if the Empire was to rise to the burdens imposed by the Franco-Russian alliance
, and to survive future crises and wars.
Berthelot would also have preferred a Franco-British, as opposed to a Franco-Russian alliance
, but only the latter was available.
The present volume continues the story, concluding with the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894.
Kennan argues that preliminary exchanges between France and Russia during the summer of 1890, as well as Germany's curious inattention to their budding relationship, set the stage for a Franco-Russian alliance.
Schlieffen maintained that the German army was numerically inferior to the French army alone; against a Franco-Russian alliance
this numerical inferiority became alarming.