Thursday, 7 July 2011

Causes of WWI


A number of alliances had been signed by countries between the years 1879 and 1914. These were important because they meant that some countries had no option but to declare war if one of their allies. declared war first.

1879 - The Dual Alliance
Germany and Austria-Hungary made an alliance to protect themselves from Russia

1881 - Austro-Serbian Alliance
Austria-Hungary made an alliance with Serbia to stop Russia gaining control of Serbia

1882 - The Triple Alliance
Germany and Austria- Hungary made an alliance with Italy to stop Italy from taking sides with Russia

1914 - Triple Entente (no separate peace)
Britain, Russia and France agreed not to sign for peace separately.

1894 - Franco-Russian Alliance
Russia formed an alliance with France to protect herself against Germany and Austria-Hungary

1907 - Triple Entente
This was made between Russia, France and Britain to counter the increasing threat from Germany.

1907 - Anglo-Russian Entente
This was an agreement between Britain and Russia

1904 - Entente Cordiale
This was an agreement, but not a formal alliance, between France and Britain.


Imperialism is when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to their rule. By 1900 the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. With the rise of industrialism countries needed new markets. The amount of lands 'owned' by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who had entered the scramble to acquire colonies late and only had small areas of Africa.


Nationalism means being a strong supporter of the rights and interests of one's country. The Congress of Vienna, held after Napoleon's exile to Elba, aimed to sort out problems in Europe. Delegates from Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia (the winning allies) decided upon a new Europe that left both Germany and Italy as divided states. Strong nationalist elements led to the re-unification of Italy in 1861 and Germany in 1871. The settlement at the end of the Franco-Prussian war left France angry at the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and keen to regain their lost territory. Large areas of both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were home to differing nationalist groups, all of whom wanted freedom from the states in which they lived.


Moroccan Crisis

In 1904 Morocco had been given to France by Britain, but the Moroccans wanted their independence. In 1905, Germany announced her support for Moroccan independence. War was narrowly avoided by a conference which allowed France to retain possession of Morocco. However, in 1911, the Germans were again protesting against French possession of Morocco. Britain supported France and Germany was persuaded to back down for part of French Congo.

Bosnian Crisis

In 1908, Austria-Hungary took over the former Turkish province of Bosnia. This angered Serbians who felt the province should be theirs. Serbia threatened Austria-Hungary with war, Russia, allied to Serbia, mobilised its forces. Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary mobilised its forces and prepared to threaten Russia. War was avoided when Russia backed down. There was, however, war in the Balkans between 1911 and 1912 when the Balkan states drove Turkey out of the area. The states then fought each other over which area should belong to which state. Austria-Hungary then intervened and forced Serbia to give up some of its acquisitions. Tension between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was high.

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