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To what extent can it be argued that World War I was caused by the Alliance System?

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To what extent can it be argued that World War I was caused by the Alliance System? The Alliance System was branched across Europe and involved nearly all Powers. There was the Dual Alliance of 1879 between Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Triple Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary and Italy of 1882, the Franco-Russian alliance of 1891-4, the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain of 1904 and the Triple Entente between France, Britain and Russia of 1907. From those alliances one can clearly see that Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy were on the one site, and Britain, France and Russia on the other site. Even though the Triple Alliance broke, and the Triple Entente just settled colonial disputes, especially the Dual alliance as well as the Franco-Russian alliance played a major role for the outbreak of the First World War. ...read more.


Because, if Germany would not have promised support, Austria-Hungary would not have been able to declare war on Serbia, as it would not have risked a war with Serbia and Russia. This is clearly evidence for the responsibility of the Alliance System for causing the First World War. A second, very important alliance was the Franco-Russian alliance, which was to remain effective as long as the Triple Alliance was renewed. Thus, the alliance between France and Russia was more or less due to the alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. In the Franco-Russian alliance France and Russia agreed to provide troops in case of an attack of Germany, Italy or Austria-Hungary. Further, it stated that, if one or more members of the Triple alliance mobilized, then both, France and Russia, also should mobilize. ...read more.


Furthermore the Schlieffen Plan violated Belgium's neutrality, as France was to be taken over through Belgium. Therefore Britain got involved, as it had guaranteed the sanctity of Belgium's borders. In conclusion, even though some alliances were weak and broke like the Triple Entente, others like the Dual Alliances sustained. Furthermore the alliances certainly gave Austria-Hungary and Germany as well as Russia confidence to threat and finally go to war. The Alliance System also caused military plans like the German Schlieffen Plan, which was developed after the Franco-Russian alliance was signed. The Alliance System was certainly not the only cause of the First World War; there were many others, which altogether led to the outbreak. However, when one sums up all the events, which were due to the Alliance System, one can conclude that the Alliance System was one of the major causes for the First World War. - 1 - ...read more.

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