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What were the pre war Alliances known as?

The Triple Alliance - Germany, Austria-Hungary & Italy
The Triple Entente - Russia, France & Great Britain.


How / why was the Triple Alliance formed?

Austria– Hungary was concerned about Russia which supported Serbia in the Balkans. Austria feared Russia was stirring up nationalism within the Empire, so she wanted to put a stop to it and thought an Alliance with Germany would help.


How / why did France want to be part of the Triple Entente ?

France - had lost a war with Germany in 1871 [The Franco-Prussian war] and lost land [Alsace-Lorraine]. It wanted revenge but knew there was little chance France would be able to defeat Germany on its own so she made an alliance with Russia in 1894 and with Britain in 1902. Germany was also growing militarily and France was worried for her security and feared a future attack.


How / why did Russia want to be part of the Triple Entente ?

Russia - was economically weak and was on good term with Serbia [they were both Slavic nations] who had a long rivalry with Austria-Hungary over interests in the Balkans. Russia was also worried about the growing economic and military presence of Germany. She signed an agreement with France in 1894 & then with Britain in 1907.


How / why did Russia want to be part of the Triple Entente ?

Britain— was growing concerned about the size of Germany's navy and her desire to enlarge her Empire. This might be a threat to Britain’s world economic dominance. Germany had assisted the Boers in South Africa against the British. So Britain made an entente [understanding] with France in 1902.


How / why did Germany want to be part of the Triple Alliance?

Germany was in fear of being encircled by hostile powers so Germany formed an alliance with Austria-Hungary in 1879 [Dual Alliance] & then with Italy [1882] as a way of protecting herself.


How / why did Itlay want to be part of the Triple Alliance?

Italy - Was militarily and economically weak, so it felt it needed allies for security.


What was the ARMS RACE?

An arms race is when two nations (or groups of nations) compete to develop the best military technology or the largest armed forces.

The ‘race’ is driven by fear that the other country will establish military superiority, and therefore become dominant.


What was the 'nature' of the ARMS RACE before 1914?

In the 19th century countries began amassing [building ] bigger armies. Both Germany & France introduced conscription. [Military spending in France increased by 100% & in Germany by 150% between 1890s & 1913]

A key source of tension and rivalry was the NAVAL race -between Britain and Germany. Britain believed they were entitled to a large navy to defend their empire. When Germany decided to start building a bigger navy to protect its growing trade, Britain saw this as a threat and began the construction of the Dreadnought. The Dreadnought worried the Germans and fuelled the developing arms race between Germany and Britain.


Why was the Balkans an unstable part of South Eastern Europe?

The area had traditionally been controlled by the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

However by the start of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire had weakened and different ethnic groups in the Balkans, such as the Serbs, saw thier chance for independence

Austria -Hungary had taken control of Bosnia (angering the Russians and the Serbs)

Serbia had won lands in wars of 192-13, whcih worried Austria-Hungary.



The definition of militarism is a belief that a strong military force should be maintained and used aggressively to defend or promote national interests



The definition of imperialism is the practice of a larger country or government growing stronger by taking over poorer or weaker countries that have important resources.

There was a 'scramble for Africa' between most European countries towards the end of the 19th century.



Nationalism is defined as being devoted to your country, or the feeling that nations should act independently instead of working together.


What was the sequence of events after the Assassination of the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand?

Consequences: After his assassination, ‘war clouds’ gathered. The Germans encouraged Austria-Hungary to act firmly -which has been described as Germany giving A-H a ‘blank-cheque’.

On 23rd July A-H blamed Serbia and provided them a list of unreasonable demands. [Issue of an ultimatum]

On 25th July Serbia rejected them & Russia announced its backing of Serbia.

On 28th July A-H declared war on Serbia and shelled its capital, Belgrade.

30th July, Russia mobilised its troops.

3rd August Germany implements the Schlieffen Plan and invades France via Belgium.

4th August, Brtain declares war on Germany for invading Belgium.


The Schlieffen Plan

Germany had been preparing for war long before 1914. In fact, Germany had started drawing up a plan for war - the Schlieffen Plan - in 1897. It took nine years to finalise, but it was based on the theory that Germany would be at war with France and Russia at the same time.

It was based on the belief that, if the country went to war, Germany would be faced with a war on two fronts with France and Russia.

The plan assumed that France was weak and could be beaten quickly, and that Russia was much stronger, but would take longer to mobilise its army.