Talk:Splendid isolation

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Hmm -[edit]

I'm not sure I'd agree 100% with 1815-1902 as expounding this policy. Where, for instance, does the Crimea War fit in? Or the proactive policies of Canning, Palmerston and Disraeli?

Normally when I see the term it refers to the late 19th century, indicating a resistance to all attempts at alliances and pacts that were taking place on the continent. Timrollpickering 00:28, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Isn't a bit inaccurate to refer to a time when Britain took control of enormous sections of Africa and South Asia and extended its global commercial empire as a period of "isolation?" Fishal 07:35, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

It's a Eurocentric viewpoint but still a common phrase. No alliances or binding committments to the continent (well none that people talked about until the First World War). Timrollpickering 10:55, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think the phrase is generally used in view of Britain's relations with Europe in particular, rather than the rest of the world. -- Joolz 19:37, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. It is a eurocentric viewpoint but that's life. It doesn't matter whether or not you agree it actually was 'splendid isolation' the fact is that's what that period's foreign policy is known as.--MaverickMan 19:43, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I've updated the article a bit, generally splendid isolation is considered to be the last half or quarter of the 19th c, but is really only associated with the foreign policy of the conservative governments. Joolz is right that it is mainly used in the sense of isolation from Europe rather than the rest of the word, although it went hand in hand with, & can be considered to be a different aspect of the same policy, a greater emphasis on the Empire & overseas possessions rather than a reliance on the Europeans. It could be said that it was isolation from all major powers, rather than just Europe, as there were no alliances with Russia or (new) commitments to the Ottoman empire or with the USA (not really a world power till Spanish American War though). AllanHainey 15:41, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Author Robert K. Messie, in Dreadnought w3ould agree with Allan Hainey. He indicates strongly that, amidst its colonial expansion, especially in Africa, Britain was sufficiently self-reliant (in a foreign policy sense) that it did not need to ally with other world powers. Messie has the period of SI starting earlier; everything post-Napoleon, but this could be because of Messie's concentration on naval forces and Britain's naval hegemony. Messie notes that in the years prior to 1902, Joseph Chamberlain (Colonial Secretary under Salisbury) sought an alliance with Germany, which would've terminated SI, but Germany stalled for a better position and whole thing dissolved.added by

Which Canadian journalist? How does this differ from US-style isolationism and avoidance of entangling alliances? Bastie 03:31, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

"Therefore I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston - Speech to the House of Commons, Hansard, 1 March 1848. --J.StuartClarke (talk) 14:30, 4 March 2008 (UTC)


The origins of the term is the words "the great Mother Empire stands splendidly isolated in Europe". To me that means that the UK is isolated from other powers, or on its own, in European politics. That is entirely different from being isolated and aloof from Europe - indeed contrary to it. (talk) 05:45, 13 April 2014 (UTC)