It always amazes me the weird and wonderful events our ancestors felt worthy of commemorating in souvenir form. As well as the usual things such as Royal births, marriages and public occasions like the Great Exhibition they also produced souvenirs for political and military events. The wealth of WW1 related china being good examples we have looked at before. Tonight we are adding another, slightly different piece of commemorative china to that story. Rather than commemorating the outbreak of war, this little transfer decorated pot celebrates the diplomatic alliance between the three great allied powers of Europe; France, Russia and Great Britain:This is a cheap white vase, standing about 3” high, the transfer decoration on the front consists of three shields; on bearing the French flag, one the Union Flag and one the two headed Imperial Russian eagle. A scroll beneath reads ‘The Triple Entente’:The Triple Entente was a complicated series of treaties in the run up to the Great War for mutual assistance in case of German aggression, simply the treaties were as follows:
Franco Russian Alliance, 1894 (France & Russia)
Entente Cordiale, 1904 (France and Great Britain)
Anglo Russian Convention 1907 (Great Britain and Russia)
The alliance was not necessarily a military one, but did provide a ‘moral obligation’ for each country to support the other in time of war. The system of alliances created a house of cards that only needed a trigger point to pull Europe apart. This was to come in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Serbia. Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia; Serbia turned to its ally Russia for support. The French than had to support Russia, this in turn brought Germany in to uphold their treaty obligations with Austro-Hungary. Germany enacted their Schlieffen Plan and invaded France, however this violated Belgian neutrality that Britain had agreed to uphold in the London Treaty of 1839 and so brought Britain and the Empire into the conflict…Yes it’s complicated and I have missed a lot out but I hope this gets over the bare bones of the outbreak of the Great War!