But his position had become untenable, partly owing to an ill-considered telegram which he addressed to the tsar on his return; partly in consequence of the attitude of Prince Bismarck, who, in conjunction with the Russian and Austrian governments, forbade him to punish the leaders of the military conspiracy.
In 1890 Prince Bismarck received the title of duke of Lauenburg.
But on 9th November the European situation was suddenly modified by the formation of the Gambetta cabinet, and, in view of the policy of revenge with which Gambetta was supposed to be identified, it became imperative for Bismarck to assure himself that Italy would not be enticed into a Francophil attitude by any concession Gambetta might offer.
In the long and important debate upon foreign policy in the Italian Chamber of Deputies (6th to 9th December) the fear was repeatedly expressed lest Bismarck should seek to purchase the support of German Catholics by raising the Roman question.
Kalnky desired that both the terms of the treaty and the fact of its conclusion should remain secret, but Bismarck and Mancini hastened to hint at its existence, the former in the Reichstag on the 12th of June 1882, and the latter in the Italian semi-official press.
These very considerations naturally combined to recommend the fact to constitutionalists, who saw in it, besides the territorial guarantee, the elimination of the danger of foreign interference in the relations between Italy and the Vatican, such as Bismarck had recently threatened and such as France was believed ready to propose.
France remained cold, while Bismarck and Kalnky, distrustful of the Radicalism of Depretis and Mancini, assumed towards their ally an.
The 21st of March 1884, and ratified during the meeting of the three emperors at Skierniewice in September of that year, by which Bismarck, in return for honest brokerage in the Balkans, is understood to have obtained from Austria and Russia a promise of benevolent neutrality in case Germany should be forced to make war upon a fourth powerFrance.
The probability of the conclusion of a new Franco-Italian treaty was small, both on account of the protectionist spirit of France and of French resentment at the renewal of the triple alliance, but even such slight probability vanished after a visit paid to Bismarck by Crispi (October 1887) within three months of his appointment to the premiership. Crispi entertained no a priori animosity towards France, but was strongly convinced that Italy must emancipate herself from the position of political dependence on her powerful neighbor which had vitiated the foreign policy of the Left.
Meanwhile the enthusiastic reception accorded to the young German emperor on the occasion of his visit to Rome in October 1888, and the cordiality shown towards King Humbert and Crispi at Berlin in May 1889, increased the tension of FrancoItalian relations; nor was it until after the fall of Prince Bismarck in March 1890 that Crispi adopted towards the Republic a more friendly attitude by sending an Italian squadron to salute President Carnot at Toulon.
In return for Russia's service in preventing the aid of Austria from being given to France, Gorchakov looked to Bismarck for diplomatic support in the Eastern Question, and he received an instalment of the expected support when he successfully denounced the Black Sea clauses of the treaty of Paris.
In 1875 Bismarck was suspected of a design of again attacking France, and Gorchakov gave him to understand, in a way which was not meant to be offensive, but which roused the German chancellor's indignation, that Russia would oppose any such scheme.
On that occasion Bismarck helped Gorchakov to ward off the threatened intervention of France and England, and he thereby founded the cordial relations which subsisted between the cabinets of Berlin and St Petersburg down to 1878, and which contributed powerfully to the creation of the German empire by defending the Prussian cabinet against the jealousy and enmity of Austria and France.
In return for these services Bismarck helped Russia to recover a portion of what she had lost by the Crimean War, for it was thanks to his connivance and diplomatic support that she was able in 1871 to denounce with impunity the clauses of the treaty of Paris which limited Russian armament in the Black Sea.
He suspected Bismarck of harbouring hostile designs against Russia, and he came to recognize that the permanent weakening of France was not in accordance with Russian political interests.
In May of this year he had an important interview with Bismarck, who wished to secure his support for the reform of the confederation, and after the war was over at once accepted the position of a Prussian subject, and took his seat in the diet of the North German Confederation and in the Prussian parliament.
It was chiefly owing to him that the building up of the internal institutions of the empire was carried on without the open breach between Bismarck and the parliament, which was often imminent.
Many amendments suggested by him were introduced in the debates on the constitution; in 1870 he undertook a mission to South Germany to strengthen the national party there, and was consulted by Bismarck while at Versailles.
In 1877 he was offered the post of vice-chancellor with a seat in the Prus s ian ministry, but refused it because Bismarck or the king would not agree to his conditions.
In 1883 he resigned his seat in parliament owing to the reactionary measures of the government, which made it impossible for him to continue his former co-operation with Bismarck, but returned in 1887 to support the coalition of national parties.
The famous declaration read by Gramont in the Chamber on the 6th of July, the "threat with the hand on the sword-hilt," as Bismarck called it, was the joint work of the whole cabinet; the original draft presented by Gramont was judged to be too "elliptical" in its conclusion and not sufficiently vigorous; the reference to a revival of the empire of Charles V.
When the preliminaries of peace came to be discussed at Versailles in February 1871, the cession of Alsace, together with what is called German Lorraine, was one of the earliest conditions laid down by Bismarck and accepted by Thiers.
Bismarck admitted the aversion of the population to Prussian rule, but said that everything would be done to conciliate the people.
He was especially exposed to the attacks of Bismarck, who attempted personally to discredit him and to separate him from the rest of the party.
The change of policy in 1879 led to a great alteration in his position: he was reconciled to Bismarck, and even sometimes attended receptions at his house.
The King of Prussia and Bismarck issue decrees and an army enters Bohemia.
The Austro-Prussian war appears to us undoubtedly the result of the crafty conduct of Bismarck, and so on.