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

I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these five powers leading up to this war taking into consideration the different factors such as economy, military and political.

Extracts from this document...


At the beginning of the 20th century the five main powers in Europe were Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and Austria-Hungary. On 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Within six weeks most of Europe was at war. Leading up to this war the five main powers were all at different levels. In this essay I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these five powers leading up to this war taking into consideration the different factors such as economy, military and political. Germany had improved vastly from the 1850s and was, by the early 20th century, the second most powerful country in Europe behind Britain, if not the most powerful. One factor that influenced this dramatic change was their improvement in industry. They had the second largest coal production to that of Great Britain but their annual steel production exceeded that of Britain by more than 10 million tonnes so this was a great strength. ...read more.


One of Britain's biggest strengths was also her empire. She had the largest empire ever- over 20% of the worlds land surface, and formed the Triple Entente with Russia and France, gaining stability in Europe. One of Russia's main weaknesses was its political structure. Its ruler- Tsar Nicholas the second had many faults in his character to say the least suggesting that Russia in reality was not a strong state. Germany was similar in this respect because its policy was hectic due to the Kaiser's personality flaws and the absence of collective responsibility and decision-making in government. France also had problems with its Third Republic. It was unstable and was frequently changing governments resulting in a lack of continuity to military and naval dealings. It was only in 1911 when the army was reorganised. Britain had the biggest navy of the 5 powers with the most battleships, cruisers and submarines. ...read more.


Russia and Germany were different however, both their armies were strong but they both had weak rulers who had personality flaws and this proved to be critical when it came to decision making and would cost them. A difference between these two countries however was that Germany had a strong industry and Russia had a weak industry which in the long term would cost dearly because they could not provide the materials needed to fight in a modern war. Although Austria-Hungary was improving it was still the weakest out the five. I think one of the main weaknesses is its enemies. It could not possibly fight all its enemies and would even struggle with the help of Germany. Another important weakness was that there were many ethnic groups within the country resulting in tension. These 5 countries might have shared weaknesses and strengths but overall they were all on different levels. ...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. This was the general formula of Bismarck's foreign policies meaning "When there are five ...

    Nevertheless in order to their geographical positions and their common Beliefs and policies, they joint together in the Dreikeiserbund in 1873. This alliance wasn't to last long time and in 1875 Russia went to war with Turkey due to the South Slav populations general revolt against Turkey in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  2. The airline industry

    Since then, the airline industry hit an all time record low in air traffic and is still not fully recovered. People are afraid to fly, more than that, they fear flying with the companies that were flown into the World Trade Center, such as American Airlines or United Airlines.

  1. Questions on World War One.

    had successfully put Germany into a position of solidarity and stability with the rapid growth of economy. Though this result did not directly contribute to the debacle of 1914, its consequence was an indirect contribution to it. Bismarck's internal achievements turned Germany into a great world power as well as an aggressive one.

  2. To what extent did nationalism within the Austria-Hungarian Empire contribute to the outbreak of ...

    Practically all the Powers were potential members of alliance - between France and Russia, and between France and Great Britain. The prospect of either haunted him. Why then did Bismarck ally Germany with Austria? There were three main reasons. Firstly, an Austrian alliance gave Germany a powerful word in the control of the Danube.

  1. Why has Prussia replaced Austria as the leading Germanic power by 1870?

    With only 61% of its revenue to spend, it is no wonder why Austria did not industrialise or modernise; it could not have, even if it had tried to. In 1815, Prussia looked weak, but it had a brilliant stroke of luck.

  2. Analyse the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Versailles Settlement.

    Perhaps these were not the ideal chaps to be handling the transmutation of war into peace. Henig states that Wilson's lack of communication with the Allies in the German armistice 'did not augur well with the peace process'. She goes onto represent the poor trait of Wilson's in his failure

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