• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How the Alliance System Led to WWI

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Luciana Machado IB History 25.08.03 How the Alliance System Led to WWI The alliance system was started by Bismarck, the German Chancellor from 1871 to 1890. After the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck held that Germany was a "satisfied state" which should give up ideas of further conquest. Thus Bismarck organized a system of alliances designed to maintain Germany's control on the European continent. France was determined to challenge the supremacy of Germany because France had been defeated by Germany in 1871 and had been forced to give up two provinces (Alsace-Lorraine) to Germany. Bismarck tried to befriend Austria, Russia, Italy and Britain in order to isolate France. Unable to maintain friendly relations with both Austria and Russia, Bismarck chose Austria to be his ally because firstly, Germany preferred a weaker partner which could be more easily controlled, secondly Austria had "cultural" ties with Germany; thirdly such an alliance would enable Germany to exercise influence in the Balkans, and ...read more.

Middle

Bismarck's alliances were harmless and kept Europe at peace. His follower, Kaiser Wilhelm was ambitious, but ended up being an hopeless ruler. He rejected the idea that Germany was a "fulfilled state", and wanted to make Germany not only a European power but a world power. To follow his ambitions, he often adopted threats and other unpopular methods. Meanwhile, Britain was awaking to the coming out of Germany as a great European power and also a great colonial power. Wilhelm proved far more ambitious in establishing "a place in the sun" for Germany. With the effective dismissal of Bismarck the new Kaiser was determined to establish Germany as a great colonial power. After Germany and Austria-Hungary concluded their agreement (as allies), Italy was brought in the situation with the signing of the Triple Alliance. Under the terms of this treaty, Germany and Austria-Hungary promised to assist Italy if she were attacked by France, and vice versa: Italy was bound to aid Germany or Austria-Hungary if France declared war against either. ...read more.

Conclusion

Following this, Austria Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia with demands such as to hold back all Pan-Slavic movements and also to allow officers from Austria-Hungary to enter Serbia and investigate the Sarajevo murders. Austria Hungary actually wanted Serbia to deny the ultimatum and thus begin a war, so it decided that Serbia's reply was unsatisfactory. Each country had its allies and according to the military doomsday machine, it didn't matter who attacked, but instead, who mobilized first. The alliances were made in secret and so produced much distrust and suspicion among the European powers. Because of this suspicion, it prevented the diplomats to come up with an appropriate solution to many of the crises preceding the war. Also, since the European powers had made mobilization agreements, any small disputes concerning one power might lead to a war involving all powers, thus generating a World War. Maybe if these powers hadn't had an Alliance System, then war would have been more restricted to some places only, not even proceeding to WWII. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. War led to totalitarianism, and totalitarianism in turn led to war. Comment on the ...

    Therefore, by the end of the war, there was a structure of inter-allied war debts with the Western allies indebted to the USA. In order to pay back loans, most states begun to print more paper money and this hastened the inflation which had already begun during the war.

  2. Compare the origins of WWI & WWII

    Nationalism was even stronger than the family ties among monarchs. Despite Franz Ferdinand was a member of the Czar's family, and thus Czar could have understood the assassination the same way the William II saw it, the 'Nicky-Willy' letters did not have the peace-bringing effect they were expected to give.

  1. How far can Germany be held responsible for WWI?

    and the government realized only too late that the conflict could not remain localized. Ritter goes on to explain that the German government relied too much on military planners and in doing so devised plans, which made it almost impossible to escape the escalation of issues resulting in war.

  2. In order for it to succeed, must a strategic alliance be an alliance between ...

    The Japanese auto industry example illustrates that an unequal distribution of power does not mean a strategic alliance cannot be mutually beneficial. A large company with large capital, highly developed technology and large market share may form a vertical alliance with a small, lower tier supplier to source a particular

  1. World War 1 - The role of the Alliance System

    willing to take actions in the Balkans if it had the backing of Germany. This meant that because there were agreements between countries, they were almost forced into agreeing to back an offensive by their ally. As the agreements were made privately, this made other countries even more suspicious, and heightened the tension between them.

  2. What Role Did The Alliance System Play In Causing The First World War?

    As a result, Britain and France overlooked all major imperialistic conflict between them and formed the Entente Cordiale in 1904. Russia formed an Entente with Britain in 1907 after they had reached an understanding with Britain's ally Japan and William II had further alienated Russia by supporting Austrian ambitions in the Balkans.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work