STAGE FOR WWI SET BY:
I) Rising NATIONALISM (deep devotion to country).
Can unify a nation,
but also cause power struggles between nations.
So it was with:
Austria-Hungary, Germany, Britain, Russia, Italy, France
A. REASONS for NATIONALISTIC RIVALRIES:
Competition for Industrial Domination of materials, markets, esp.
between Britain (leader of Industrial Revolution) and Germany, with its
fastest-growing economy on Continent.
2) Disputes over TERRITORY
France—wanted Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany. Lost it in
Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
Austria-Hungary vs. Russia over control of the Balkans (where ethnic
groups like Serbs, Romanians wanted independence)
II. IMPERIALISM also set stage.
A. Colony race in Asia, Africa (France, Germany both want Morocco, e.g.)
III. MILITARISM (glorifying military power, keeping a standing army). Made
people feel patriotic, but also made situation volatile. Arms race resulted. All
nations had big armies except Britain. Generals ready to mobilize (move troops
IV: RIVAL ALLIANCES: Treaty system meant to keep peace instead leads to war.
1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy. Initiated
by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to isolate France. In 1887, Russia
joins. But unstable alliance due to rivalries for Balkans.
KAISER WILHELM II SHIFTS THE ALLIANCE.
1890--He forces Bismarck to resign. Proud, impulsive, and stubborn,
he wants to assert power. Says “I and the army were born for one another.”
He lets treaty with Russia expire. Russia forms alliance with France.
Now Germany could face war on both its eastern and western fronts.
He challenges Britain. Builds navy to compete with Britain’s.
Britain responds by increasing navy, forming TRIPLE ENTENTE (alliance)
in 1907 with France and Russia.
So, in 1907, two sides: TRIPLE ENTENTE (Britain, France, Russia) vs.
TRIPLE ALLIANCE (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy).
II. The spark that sets off crisis:
“POWDER KEG” of the Balkans.