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

To what extent was the alliance system responsible for the outbreak of World War One in 1914?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent was the alliance system responsible for the outbreak of World War One in 1914? In the events after the end of WW1 much of the blame for the outbreak of the war fell on Germany and their aggression. However with hindsight we see that things were a lot more complex. The idea that many historians except nowadays that the alliance systems caused WW1, but none of them can agree to what extent they caused the war. Before the war began countries started to make bonds and promises between each other, this triggered a lot of factors that sparked the war. In 1914, when the First World War broke out, Europe was divided into two military alliance systems: the Triple Alliance including Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, and the Triple Entente that included Britain, France and Russia. The intent of the alliance system was primarily to provide mutual defence in order to maintain the power balance in Europe, but the nations eventually came to rely on it for aggressive purposes. ...read more.


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. Thus, the Alliance System was very much responsible for the First World War. The Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary was formed in 1978. The agreement states, that if either of the countries is attacked by Russia, the other will come to its aid with all forces, and if attacked by another country, it will at least stay neutral. This is very significant for the outbreak of the First World War as Austria-Hungary sought Germany's agreement for its declaration of war on Serbia, and further Germanys support in case Russia would attack Austria-Hungary as result of the war with Serbia. Germany promised its support to Austria-Hungary (known as the 'blank cheque') and as a result of Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia and Russia mobilized. ...read more.


Since Germany did not want to risk a two-front war, it immediately implemented the Schlieffen Plan and declared war on both, Russia and France. 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 ineffective like the Triple Entente, others like the Dual Alliances were more effective. Furthermore the alliances certainly gave Austria-Hungary and Germany, as well as Russia, confidence to threaten and finally go to war. The Alliance System also created 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, I can conclude that the Alliance System was one of the major causes of the First World War. ?? ?? ?? ?? Robert Foard 12H History ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

There are some good points in this answer but overall it lacks depth and range of factors. It is always important in History to offer a balanced analysis - to consider all possible reasons for an event and then weigh up their relative importance before reaching a conclusion.

Marked by teacher Natalie Stanley 30/03/2013

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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. To What Extent Were Hitlers Policies the Cause of World War II?

    So this policy had changed from one of German unification to one of aggressive German expansion, and although an ultimate success for Hitler and his government, these actions confirmed the west's suspicions of Hitler's motives and increased distrust for him among them.

  2. Why were the central powers defeated in the First World War

    And a final cause for failure was the sending of two army corps to Alsace and Lorraine, another two army corps to the channel ports, and two more to East Prussia, all sent by Von Moltke who is in charge of the Schlieffen plan.

  1. To what extent was Stalin's rise to power due to his opponents' mistakes?

    The Russian population fully supported Lenin and if they had known about these statements, there would have been violent protests against Stalin. However, the testament was never published. The reason for this was that the testament also criticized the other Party members and they didn't want the public to know about this as it would also decrease their chances (Simpson).

  2. To what extent can Napoleon be considered the "Son of the Revolution"?

    his own conclusions and due to events such as the September Massacres would not allow what he saw as chaos to rule France. His coronation, taking the crown from the Pope and placing it on his own head, was not only a message of how powerful he was but also

  1. Compare and contrast the causes of the First World War and the Second World ...

    Imperialist rivalries, such as that between France and Germany after the Franco-Prussian war, aroused nationalist feelings. Historian Gordon Craig describes the situation in Europe as having "increased the opportunities for friction between the major powers and inflamed the resentments of minor ones."

  2. To what extent was Germany responsible for WWI?

    If Russia drove Austria out of Serbia and established itself in the Balkans, Germany?s security would be undermined. Furthermore, if France gave support and retook Alsace-Lorraine, this would make it worse. Germany risked war against France and Russia to support Austria in hope that action against Serbian terrorism would not

  1. Evaluate the factors that enabled Mussolini to rise to power.

    as they reflect the hierarchic order of the army and therefore offered a new opportunity for these soldiers to win the war against communism in their own country after the ?mutilated victory? of 1919. This futile situation As the war was also the first collective nation experience, it strengthened the belief in nationalistic values after the ?betrayal? of Versailles.

  2. What were the most significant factors in the ending of the apartheid system and ...

    These sanctions would stop trade with South Africa, particularly in necessary supplies such as oil. Unfortunately, not all of the countries that were trading most with South Africa wanted this to happen. South Africa was also facing anti-apartheid governments in other nations.

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