IMPERIALISTIC RACE BETWEEN EUROPEAN POWERS
After 1880 there was a mad scramble for African colonies by the European powers. This was a major reason of friction.
EUROPE DIVIDED INTO OPPOSING ALLIANCES.
The Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria Hungary, Italy
The Triple Entente: Britain, France, Russia.
OTHER CAUSES OF FRICTION
- Naval rivalry between Germany and Britain. Control of the seas. Since 1908, Britain started making the Dreadnought warships. Germany too started making them but could not match Britain
- France was still bugged with Germany for grabbing Alsace-Lorraine after the Franco-German War of 1871.
- The Germans thought that Britain, France and Russia were trying to encircle it. This fear was not without reason.In 1894 France and Russia signed an alliance. in 1904, Britain and France signed the Entente Cordiale. In 1907, Britain and France signed an agreement.
- The Russians were uncomfortable with the Austrian ambitions in the Balkans. Russia felt the Balkans with its Slavic population fell in its area of influence.
- Serbian nationalism. Serbia dreamt of uniting all parts with Serbian and Croatian populace. The problem was some of the areas were controlled by the Austrian-Hungarian (Hapsburg) empire.
WHAT WAS A DREADNOUGHT?
The dreadnought was the predominant type of 20th-century battleship. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's Dreadnought had such an impact when launched in 1906 that battleships built after her were referred to as 'dreadnoughts', and earlier battleships became known as pre-dreadnoughts. Her design had two revolutionary features: an 'all-big-gun' armament scheme and steam turbine propulsion. The arrival of the dreadnoughts renewed the naval arms race, principally between the United Kingdom and Germany but reflected worldwide, as the new class of warships became a crucial symbol of national power.
SOME IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS THAT LED TO WW1
The Agadir Crisis 1911: The French troops occupied Fez the capital of Morocco ostensibly to put down a rebellion against the Sultan. Germany was alarmed. It seemed France would annex Morocco. It sent a battleship, Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir. But Britain staunchly supported the French. All Germany got was a few strips of territory in French Congo.
The First Balkan War 1912: Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria attacked and captured most of Turkish territories in the Balkans. Britain afraid that the conflict could spread involved Germany and called a peace conference in London where the Turkish territories were distributed amongst the Balkan states. But Serbia was unhappy. It had wanted Albania but Austria which wanted to keep Serbia subdued insisted it be an independent state.
The Second Balkan war 1913: Bulgaria has desired Macedonia most of which was given to Serbia. So it attacked Serbia and tried to snatch Macedonia from it. But Greece, Romania and Turkey helped Serbia and the Bulgarians were defeated. At the treaty of Bucharest (1913) Bulgaria lost most of the gains from the First Balkan war. Austria wanted to intervene and help Bulgaria to crush Serbia but was restrained by Britain and Germany.
- Serbia emerged stronger and wished to grab areas under Austrian control with Serbian populations
- Austria hated Serbia's rise and wanted to crush it at the first excuse it got
- Germany started thinking that Britain to maintain peace would act independently of France and Russia. A recipe for disaster.
WW1: A Photo Essay
Battle Of Somme
Battle Of Verdun
American soldiers in WW1
WW1: Use of Body Armor And Poison Gas
WW1 Images: British Soldiers: Part 1
WW1 Images: British Soldiers: Part 2
Dramatic (and rather grim) pictures from WW1
Rare German WW1 pictures: Part 1
Rare German WW1 pictures: Part 2
Rare German WW1 pictures: Part 3
Neutral Netherlands during the Great War