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.
Delcasse, the foreign minister, advocated a strong Franco-Russian alliance
; the ambassadors Cambon were less enthusiastic.
The present volume continues the story, concluding with the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894.
Kennan writes that in the story of the negotiation of the 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.
In October 1899 Schlieffen modified this plan for a situation in which Germany was at war with the Franco-Russian alliance, but in which Russia was not attacking in strength, which he called Plan I.