Orgueil impérial

On imagine que les USA, avec leur prétention à "l'exceptionnalisme", ne se prêtent pas aux analogies historiques. Néanmoins, la comparaison avec le sort d'empires précédents est de plus en plus fréquente.

Récemment, j'ai été frappé par une analogie tirée de l'histoire de l'Allemagne : la conduite désastreuse des affaires par les dirigeants allemands durant la Première Guerre mondiale, avec le Kaiser Guillaume II à la tête du pays. Il est monté sur le trône en 1888 à l'âge de 29 ans, succédant à son père, un homme aux idées libérales qui n'avait régné que pendant 88 jours avant de succomber à un cancer de la gorge. Son grand-père, Guillaume I, avait présidé aux victoires militaires de la Prusse, ce qui a permis à Bismarck de créer le Reich unifié en 1871. En l'espace de deux ans, Guillaume II s'est débarrassé de Bismarck.

Guillaume II est devenu le dirigeant d'un pays à l'apogée de la grandeur européenne. Dans les années 1890, l'Allemagne était le premier pays du continent. Mais le pouvoir génère l'opposition, et du fait de leur inquiétude liée à cette montée en puissance, les pays voisins de l'Allemagne ont commencé à former une alliance défensive.

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