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

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Robert Foard        12H        History

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. Frictions between the groups had brought Europe to the verge of war several times after 1900, and were indirectly influential in generating a world war out of the Balkan conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. Although the alliance systems were intended to provide mutual defence, they encouraged war equally well by providing military support.

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In my opinion the most important alliance in the lead up to WW1 was the Austria-Hungary and Germany alliance. Germany gave full support to A-H in case of war in July. In my opinion this encouraged A-H to become a lot more aggressive, after this alliance was formed, they knew that they could do anything with the support of Germany behind them; this led to their aggression in the Balkans.

A very important alliance was between Russia and Serbia, in this alliance Russia promised Serbia that they would defend it from attack and retaliate against the country who ...

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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.