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From Peace to Disaster - Explosion of the Powderkeg

  • Creation of the Dual Alliance

    Creation of the Dual Alliance
    Otto von Bismarck used war to unite Germany between 1864 and 1871, making Germany a “satisfied power." His goal was then to maintain European peace by isolating France. He said, "As long as it is without allies, France poses no danger to us." In 1879, he formed the Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary. This was part of the Alliance System, which made Europeans support their allies, and divided Europe into two rival camps. (Pictured - Otto von Bismarck)
  • Period: to

    Progression to WWI Timespan

  • Creation of the Triple Alliance

    Creation of the Triple Alliance
    In 1882, three years after the creation of the Dual Alliance, Italy joined Germany and Austria-Hungary, creating the Triple Alliance. This took away yet another of France's potential allies. This event is important because it merely was one more knot in the tangle Alliance System that was meant to maintain European peace, but actually caused WWI to be even more widespread than it would have been otherwise, due to the responsibilites of each ally. (Pictured - Map of the Triple Alliance)
  • Rise of Kaiser Wilhelm II

    Rise of Kaiser Wilhelm II
    In 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm II rose to power and made Bismarck resign. His main goal was to show the world his army's strength. He let his Russian treaty lapse and tried to make Germany's navy equal to Britain's with a ship-building program, both of which led to alliances and ententes between other countries, isolating Germany and stripping away its allies. Wilhelm was the reason for these alliances that added to the Alliance System, one of the 4 main causes of WWI. (Pictured - Kaiser Wilhelm II)
  • Alliance of France and Russia

    Alliance of France and Russia
    In both 1892 and 1894, Russia formed alliances with France. Wilhelm had allowed Germany's treaty with Russia lapse. In response, Russia formed a defensive military alliance with France. This kind of alliance was Bismarck's ultimate fear because a battle with either Russia or France would make Germany an enemy of both. Thus, Germany would have to fight a two-fronted war. This was the basis for the Triple Entente, which was major in the Alliance System. (Pictured - Map of France and Russia)
  • Conflicts Over Morocco

    Conflicts Over Morocco
    In 1905 and again in 1911, Germany and France nearly fought over who would control Morocco, in Northern Africa. Most of Europe supported France, so Germany backed down. This event is important since it shows how imperialism, or the process of a stronger country expanding by taking over weaker countries, resulted in great competition and conflict between European countries. (Pictured - Morocco)
  • Creation of the Triple Entente

    Creation of the Triple Entente
    In 1907, Britain made an entente (alliance) with France and Russia. This agreement, the Triple Entente, did not force Britain to fight alongside France and Russia, but it did confirm that they would probably never fight as enemies. As a result, two rival groups existed in Europe. One side was the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy) and the other was the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France, Russia). Therefore, one dispute was able to cause WWI. (Pictured - Map of Rival Powers)
  • Austria Annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Austria Annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina
    In 1908, Austria annexed two Balkan regions, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which both had large Slavic populations. Serbian leaders wanted to rule these areas, thus growing angry. Tension between Serbia and Austria increased when both countries promised to do whatever it took to gain control the two provinces. This hate and tension caused the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to Austro-Hungarian throne), the main cause of WWI. (Pictured - Austrian Flag)
  • Rise of Militarism

    Rise of Militarism
    Militarism is keeping large armies and glorifying militaries. It was caused by nationalism, or deep devotion to one's country. By 1914, each Great Power, except Britain, had a standing army. Generals made mobilization plans based on experts' advice. The armies made people feel patriotic and scared. Peace activist Frédéric Passy said it would require little to cause a war to "blow…Europe sky-high." WWI could not have been as destructive without widespread militarism. (Pictured - Frédéric Passy)
  • Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

    Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
    Archduke Franz Ferdinand rose during the bitter tension between the Serbs and Austrians over Bosnian and Herzegovinian control. On June 28, 1914, he and his wife visited Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo. They were shot riding through the city streets in a car. Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old Serbian and Black Hand member, was the assassin. The Black Hand was a group trying to rid Bosnia of Austrian rule. This was the direct cause of WWI by initiating war declarations. (Pictured - Archduke and wife)
  • Austria Declares War on Serbia

    Austria Declares War on Serbia
    Austria used the Archduke's death to punish Serbia, presenting them with an ultimatum. Serbia agreed to most of it and suggested settling the rest in an international conference, to avoid war, but Austria refused. On July 28, Austria declared war and Russia (Serbia's ally) mobilized its troops. Foreign leaders belatedly noticed and urged them to negotiate. This inciting incident, the first day of WWI, collapsed Europe's fragile peace into fiery conflict. (Pictured - Austrian & Serbian Flags)
  • Germany Declares War on Russia and France

    Germany Declares War on Russia and France
    Serbia's ally, Russia, moved its army to the Austrian border and the German border, anticipating Russia's German support, but Germany viewed Russia’s mobilization as a declaration of war. On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, and before France could react on behalf of its ally, Russia, Germany declared war on France two days later. This shows the loyalty of allies, power of common enemies, and the awful effects of the Alliance System. (Pictured - Russian, German, and French Flags)
  • Britain Declares War on Germany

    Britain Declares War on Germany
    Soon after Germany declared war on both Russia and France, Great Britain declared war on Germany. As a result, the majority of Europe was now fighting in the first World War, demonstrating that alliances are not always beneficial in the long term. (Pictured - Flags of Germany and Great Britain)