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Explain why events in the Balkans contributed to the growth of international tension in the years 1908 - 1914.

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Introduction

Explain why events in the Balkans contributed to the growth of international tension in the years 1908 - 1914. It is difficult to comprehend how such a small area of the world, of Europe, could cause such tensions, and even, it could be argued, be responsible for the outbreak of World War One. Ruled by the Ottoman Empire, the collection of different races and religions which was collectively known as the Balkans began to rise up against their oppressive rulers due to increased tensions growing (aside from the usual between rulers and ruled) concerning ethnic rivalry. These risings got the attention of other major European countries, especially Russia and Austria - Hungary, who already had a history there. Russia supported the emancipation of the Balkans, being made up of similar ethnic people and a Pan - Slavist Movement vowing to unite all Slavs, many of whom lived in the Balkans. Yet Austria- Hungary did not wish to encourage the collapse of the Ottoman Empire as she feared her own empire, made up of smaller countries like the Ottoman Empire, would be influenced by these uprisings and would start to pursue their own bid for freedom, perhaps resulting in the collapse of their empire as well. ...read more.

Middle

Russia's relations with Austria - Hungary and Germany declined after the Bosnian crisis showed Germany favouring Austria over her, and the opposing views over the Balkans caused increased tension as well. This cemented the alliances further and increasing the possibility of war. Dissatisfaction with Bosnia's situation increased, and plots to free the Bosnian Serbs emerged. Added to this Serbia began to build up relations with Russia, giving Russia the possibility of a warm water port and the confidence to take on Austria - Hungary, ultimately increasing the tension as this caused an upsurge in Balkan Nationalism, especially in Serbia, sponsored by Russia, threatening the stability of the Austro - Hungarian empire and relations with Serbia. Yet despite France and Great Britain's best attempts to maintain peace and stability, the two alliances hardened seemingly making their different alliances concrete. But Britain and France did not have much time to meddle in the problems of others; they had problems of their own, outside of the Balkans. This shows although the Balkans were a major cause of tension in Europe, Wilhelm II was having a pretty good go of stirring up some of his own, by pursuing his Weltpolitik. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also due to the aforementioned Anglo - German rivalry, Great Britain were only too happy to declare war on Germany. Referring back to my introduction, it is hard to see how such small countries can cause such conflict. Yet having looked through the events of those six years it is obvious that although the Balkans were involved in most of the events which caused decline of relations, often they were not the direct cause of this tension(In the Naval Race and Moroccan Crisis they were not involved at all.) Perhaps the fact that they are so small is the exact reason why they caused such trauma. They were under - estimated. It seems that as the Balkans hadn't really been countries in their own right for such a long time, they were too forward in their pursuit for freedom when the opportunity came around. This caused a rapid change in power balance, almost too rapid, throwing the rest of Europe into uncertainty and fear, resulting in a turn of events which split Europe as they all tried to do what they thought was best for Europe, which tended to be very different things, depending on the country. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charlotte McKenna ...read more.

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