The Causes of World War I (PowerPoint download) by ert554898

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									The Causes of World War I
    The Unification of Germany
• Bismarck’s Wars
   – The Danish War (1864)
   – The Austrian War (1866)
   – The Franco Prussian
 What was accomplished was
 the creation of the strongest
 power in continental Europe.

 Other than that, the terms of
 the Franco-Prussian War were
 quite punitive, leaving France
 demoted from their position of
 strongest European power and
 humiliated by the war and the
After securing the creation of
the most powerful nation in
Continental Europe, Bismarck
switched tactics from
conqueror to diplomat.
Germany had no need and
little ability to expand without
absorbing other ethnic groups.
Bismarck tried to create a
balance of power in Europe
that left Germany protected.
Enter the new Alliance System
  The Three Emperors’ League
• Three Emperors' League, informal alliance
  among Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia,
  announced officially in 1872 on the occasion of
  the meeting of emperors Francis Joseph,
  William I, and Alexander II. The chief architects
  of the alliance were Julius Andrássy, Otto von
  Bismarck, and Prince Gorchakov. The aims of
  the league were to preserve the social order of
  the conservative powers of Europe and to keep
  the peace between Austria-Hungary and Russia.
          The League breaks down
  • The League was destroyed as a result of events in the Balkans. The
    Balkans was of no interest to Bismarck. (He remarked that the area
    was not “the healthy bones of single Pomeranian musketeer.”)
    However he was worried about Austrian-Russian rivalry in the
  • In the Balkans there was a series of revolts against the Ottoman
    Empire among the Sultan’s Christian subjects between 1875 and
    1876. In 1877 after attempts to impose reforms on the Turkish
    Empire failed, the Russo-Turkish war broke out. Russia was
    acting in her role as the traditional protector of the Sultan’s
    Orthodox and Slav subjects.
  • Before the war, Russia had promised Austria that she would not
    create a big Bulgaria if she won. After fierce resistance the Turks
    surrendered and signed the Treaty of San Stefano in March. The
    treaty proposed the creation of a big Bulgaria. This would be
    dominated by Russia.

                                       The Triple Alliance

        • It was against this background that the Dual Alliance was signed with
          Austria in 1879. This secret defensive alliance became as Carr pointed
          out “the very corner stone of German foreign policy”.
        • Bismarck saw two benefits of this alliance:
        • It would secure Germany’s southern frontier in the event of a war with
        • It would frighten Russia into seeking a closer relationship with Germany.
        • This alliance was enlarged into the Triple Alliance when Italy joined in
          1882. Although Bismarck did not think much of Italy’s military or political
          power, it deprived France of a potential ally.
                The Reinsurance Treaty
  • Bismarck then negotiated “his final diplomatic
  • A “Reinsurance Treaty” was signed between Russia and
    Germany. It was a defensive alliance: Germany
    promised to stay neutral if Russia was attacked by
    Austria Russia would stay neutral if France attacked
    Germany. (1887)
  • This secret treaty reduced the possibility of a Franco-
    Russian alliance. In 1888 in order to prevent was
    between Austria and Russia he published the terms of
    the Dual Alliance. Austria would fight on her own if she
    attacked Russia while Russia would have to face
    Germany if she attacked Austria.
                  William II
• William II assumed the
  throne of Germany in 1888
• He began a period of
  “personal rule” in 1890
• He dismissed Bismarck
• He allowed the
  Reinsurance treaty to lapse
• He felt the political
  differences of Russia and
  France would keep them
  from becoming allies
                  The Triple Entente
 • (1907) Association between Britain,
   France, and Russia. It developed from the
   Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, the
   Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904,
   and the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907.
   Formed to settle mutual colonial disputes,
   the alignment became the nucleus of the
   Allied Powers in World War I.
                  Splendid Isolation
• During this period, Britain's primary goal in foreign policy
  was, to maintain the balance of power in Europe and to
  intervene should that balance be upset. Its secondary
  goal was to protect its overseas interest in the colonies
  and dominions, as free trade was what kept the Empire
  alive. The sea routes to the colonies, especially those
  linking Britain to India (the Suez Canal), were vital.
• The policy of Splendid Isolation was characterized by a
  reluctance to enter into permanent European alliances or
  commitments with the other Great Powers
                   Risk Fleet Theory
• To accomplish German global ambitions, Grand Admiral
  Alfred von Tirpitz formulated the Risk Fleet theory of
  constructing a fleet of sixty capital ships, equivalent to
  two-thirds the size of the Royal Navy, to challenge the
  latter's Two-Power Standard. The Royal Navy, in order
  to maintain its naval superiority based on its Two-Power
  Standard, would need to build ninety vessels. However,
  due to British imperial commitments, her fleet would be
  dispersed throughout her far-flung empire. In contrast,
  the Imperial German Navy would be concentrated in the
  North Sea. It not only enjoyed local superiority, but could
  also threaten the British Isles directly.
        End of Splendid Isolation
• The difficulties in winning the Boer War and the enjoyment other
  European nations got from her difficulties persuaded some British
  diplomats that it was time to end Splendid Isolation
• The rise of the threat of the German navy backfired on Germany and
  Britain felt that it needed to turn away from its traditional ally and
  turn to it’s traditional rival (France) The naval race and the enormous
  costs of the new Dreadnought class battleships made clinging to
  naval dominance via the two-power standard obsolete
Origins of World War I
Two Armed Camps
World War I
The Summer of 1914: Road to War
• June 28, 1914
• While in Sarajevo, touring
  the controversial Austrian
  province of Bosnia, the
  heir to the Austro-
  Hungarian throne,
  Francis Ferdinand, was
  assassinated by a
  member of the Black
  Hand, a Serbian
  nationalist terrorist group.

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