Blank Checks

The Peril of Letting an Ally Determine Foreign Policy

No competent adult would write a blank check allowing the recipient to fill in the amount. Blank checks in the affairs of nations are another matter. On July 5, 1914, German Kaiser Wilhelm II issued such a check to his ally Austria and gave the world a metaphor that sums up the surrender of one nation to the caprices of another. That blank check was issued to an envoy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who had come to Berlin after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to inform the...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Topics: 

Share

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.