|Marianne and Britannia shake hands cordially.|
The Third French Republic arises when Napoleon III falls and is held as a prisoner of war by Otto von Bismarck, after losing the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In addition, France lost the territories of Alsace and Lorraine; there was a social uprising in the French capital and the Paris Commune was established.
A 1904 French postcard showing Britannia and Marianne dancing together, symbolizing the newborn cooperation between the two countries.
The Cordial Understanding between France and the United Kingdom was a nonaggression pact that included the understanding of colonial expansion of both powers, mainly in Africa. Although Great Britain had been exerting a “splendid isolation” policy, the British Foreign Office began to grow fear of such a policy in the face of a possible aggressive Germany, mainly towards France that showed desires of revenge because of her defeat at the Franco-Prussian war.
Le Petit Journal - Supplément Illustré Numéro 770 - L'entente Cordiale
The British grew paranoid and considered necessary to protect all their interest abroad, but most important of all, they felt the need to maintain the continental balance of power.
The Treaty was formally titled: the “Declaration between the United Kingdom and France Respecting Egypt and Morocco, Together with the Secret Articles Signed at the Same Time.”
Both states had collided for centuries due to competition, jealousy, and intransigence. The Treaty also established the basis for further covenant that included Russia, and was then called the "Triple Entente" in order to counteract the power of the Triple Alliance formed by Germany, Austria and Italy, which led to the World War I.