It is claimed that the new chancellor recognized a personal inability to manage the European system as his predecessor had and so he was counseled by contemporary figures such as Friedrich von Holstein to follow a more logical approach as opposed to Bismarck's complex and even duplicitous strategy. Von Caprivi's decision was also driven by the belief that the Reinsurance Treaty was no longer needed to ensure Russian neutrality in case France attacked Germany and it would even preclude an offensive against France.
Petersburg to engage in a direct understanding with Vienna, without a written accord. This move was prompted by the Russian need for an ally since, during this period, it was experiencing a major famine and a rise in anti-government revolutionary activities. Von Caprivi's strategy appeared to work when, during the outbreak of the Bosnian crisis of , it demanded that Russia step back and demobilize, which it did. Some of the distant origins of World War I can be seen in the results and consequences of the Franco-Prussian War in —71 and the concurrent unification of Germany.
Germany had won decisively and established a powerful Empire , while France fell into chaos and military decline for years. A legacy of animosity grew between France and Germany following the German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine. The annexation caused widespread resentment in France, giving rise to the desire for revenge, known as revanchism. French sentiments were based on a desire to avenge military and territorial losses and the displacement of France as the preeminent continental military power.
During his later years, he tried to placate the French by encouraging their overseas expansion. However, anti-German sentiment remained. France eventually recovered from its defeat, paid its war indemnity, and rebuilt its military strength again. But the French nation was smaller than Germany in terms of population and industry, and thus many French felt insecure next to a more powerful neighbor.
Jules Cambon , the French ambassador to Berlin , worked hard to secure a detente but French leaders decided Berlin was trying to weaken the Triple Entente and was not sincere in seeking peace.
The French consensus was that war was inevitable. After Bismarck's removal in , French efforts to isolate Germany became successful.
With the formation of the Triple Entente , Germany began to feel encircled. Britain abandoned its "splendid isolation " policy in the s after having been isolated during the Boer War. Britain concluded agreements, limited to colonial affairs, with her two major colonial rivals: Some historians see Britain's alignment as principally a reaction to an assertive German foreign policy and the buildup of its navy from that led to the Anglo-German naval arms race. It was "not that antagonism toward Germany caused its isolation, but rather that the new system itself channeled and intensified hostility towards the German Empire".
The Entente, in contrast to the Triple Alliance or the Franco-Russian Alliance , was not an alliance of mutual defence, and Britain therefore felt free to make her own foreign policy decisions in For purposes of ultimate emergencies it may be found to have no substance at all. For the Entente is nothing more than a frame of mind, a view of general policy which is shared by the governments of two countries, but which may be, or become, so vague as to lose all content.
A series of diplomatic incidents between and heightened tensions between the Great Powers and reinforced the existing alignments, beginning with the First Moroccan Crisis. In Austria-Hungary announced its annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina , dual provinces in the Balkan region of Europe formerly under the control of the Ottoman Empire.
Though Bosnia and Herzegovina were still nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary had administered the provinces since the Congress of Berlin in , when the great powers of Europe awarded it the right to occupy the two provinces, with the legal title to remain with Turkey.
Russia's response was to encourage pro-Russian, anti-Austrian sentiment in Serbia and other Balkan provinces, provoking Austrian fears of Slavic expansionism in the region. Imperial rivalries pushed France, Germany and Britain to compete for control of Morocco, leading to a short-lived war scare in In the end, France established a protectorate over Morocco that increased European tensions. The Agadir Crisis resulted from the deployment of a substantial force of French troops into the interior of Morocco in April The main result was deeper suspicion between London and Berlin, and closer military ties between London and Paris.
Increased fear and hostility drew Britain closer to France rather than Germany. British backing of France during the crisis reinforced the Entente between the two countries and with Russia as well , increasing Anglo-German estrangement, deepening the divisions that would erupt in The interventionists sought to use the Triple Entente to contain German expansion. The radicals obtained an agreement for official cabinet approval of all initiatives that might lead to war.
By the interventionists and Radicals had agreed to share responsibility for decisions culminating in the declaration of war, and so the decision was almost unanimous. Significantly for the events of August , the crisis led British foreign secretary Edward Grey and France to make a secret naval agreement by which the Royal Navy would protect the northern coast of France from German attack, while France concentrated her fleet in the western Mediterranean and agreed to protect British interests there.
France was thus able to guard her communications with her North African colonies, and Britain to concentrate more force in home waters to oppose the German High Seas Fleet. The cabinet was not informed of this agreement until August Meanwhile, the episode strengthened the hand of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz , who was calling for a greatly increased navy and obtained it in Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet province , of which the most notable sub-provinces sanjaks were Fezzan , Cyrenaica , and Tripoli itself.
These territories together formed what became known as Italian Libya. The main significance for the First World War was that this war made it clear that no Great Power appeared to wish to support the Ottoman Empire any longer and this paved the way for the Balkan Wars.
The system of geographical balances that had enabled local conflicts to be contained was swept away. The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in and Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war; one of the four, Bulgaria, was defeated in the second war.
The Ottoman Empire lost nearly all of its holdings in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, was weakened as a much-enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples.
It also led to a strengthening of Serbia and a weakening of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, who might otherwise have kept Serbia under control, thus disrupting the balance of power in Europe in favor of Russia.
Russia initially agreed to avoid territorial changes, but later in supported Serbia's demand for an Albanian port. The London Conference of —13 agreed to create an independent Albania ; however both Serbia and Montenegro refused to comply. After an Austrian, and then an international, naval demonstration in early and Russia's withdrawal of support, Serbia backed down.
Montenegro was not as compliant and on May 2, the Austrian council of ministers met and decided to give Montenegro a last chance to comply and, if it would not, then to resort to military action.
However, seeing the Austrian military preparations, the Montenegrins requested the ultimatum be delayed and complied.
The Serbian government, having failed to get Albania, now demanded that the other spoils of the First Balkan War be reapportioned, and Russia failed to pressure Serbia to back down. Serbia and Greece allied against Bulgaria, which responded with a preemptive strike against their forces, beginning the Second Balkan War.
The attitude of the German government to Austrian requests of support against Serbia was initially both divided and inconsistent.
After the German Imperial War Council of 8 December , it was clear that Germany was not ready to support Austria-Hungary in a war against Serbia and her likely allies. In addition, German diplomacy before, during, and after the Second Balkan War was pro-Greek and pro-Romanian and in opposition to Austria-Hungary's increasingly pro-Bulgarian views.
The result was tremendous damage to Austro-German relations. Austrian foreign minister Leopold von Berchtold remarked to German ambassador Heinrich von Tschirschky in July that "Austria-Hungary might as well belong 'to the other grouping' for all the good Berlin had been". In September , it was learned that Serbia was moving into Albania and Russia was doing nothing to restrain it, while the Serbian government would not guarantee to respect Albania's territorial integrity and suggested there would be some frontier modifications.
In October , the council of ministers decided to send Serbia a warning followed by an ultimatum: Serbia responded to the warning with defiance and the Ultimatum was dispatched on October 17 and received the following day. It demanded that Serbia evacuate Albanian territory within eight days. Serbia complied, and the Kaiser made a congratulatory visit to Vienna to try to fix some of the damage done earlier in the year.
By this time, Russia had mostly recovered from its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War , and the calculations of Germany and Austria were driven by a fear that Russia would eventually become too strong to be challenged. Their conclusion was that any war with Russia had to occur within the next few years in order to have any chance of success.
The original Franco-Russian alliance was formed to protect both France and Russia from a German attack. In the event of such an attack both states would mobilize in tandem, placing Germany under the threat of a two-front war. However, there were limits placed on the alliance so that it was essentially defensive in character. Throughout the s and the s the French and the Russians made clear the limits of the alliance did not extend to provocations caused by the others' adventurous foreign policy.
For example, Russia warned France that the alliance would not operate if the French provoked the Germans in North Africa. Equally, the French insisted to the Russians that they should not use the alliance to provoke Austria-Hungary or Germany in the Balkans, and that France did not recognise in the Balkans a vital strategic interest for France or for Russia.
In the last 18 to 24 months before the outbreak of the war, this changed. At the end of and particularly during the Balkan wars themselves in —13, the French view changed. France now accepted the importance of the Balkans to Russia. Moreover, France clearly stated that if, as a result of a conflict in the Balkans, war were to break out between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, France would stand by Russia.
Thus the Franco-Russian alliance changed in character, and by a consequence of that Serbia became a security salient for Russia and France. As they bought into the future scenario of a war of Balkan inception, regardless of who started such a war, the alliance would respond nonetheless. It would view this conflict as a casus foederis: Christopher Clark described this change as "a very important development in the pre-war system which made the events of possible".
This was a crisis caused by the appointment of a German officer, Liman von Sanders to command the Turkish First Army Corps guarding Constantinople, and the subsequent Russian objections. Liman's appointment brought a storm of protest from Russia, who suspected German designs on the Ottoman capital.
A compromise arrangement was subsequently agreed whereby Liman was appointed to the rather less senior and less influential position of Inspector General in January As a result of the crisis, Russia's weakness in military power prevailed. The Russians could not rely upon their financial means as a tool for foreign policy. Historians caution that, taken together, the preceding crisis should not be seen as an argument that a European war was inevitable in Significantly, the Anglo-German Naval Race was over by In April , Britain and Germany signed an agreement over the African territories of the Portuguese empire which was expected to collapse imminently.
Moreover, the Russians were threatening British interests in Persia and India to the extent that in , there were signs that the British were cooling in their relations with Russia and that an understanding with Germany might be useful. The British were "deeply annoyed by St Petersburg's failure to observe the terms of the agreement struck in and began to feel an arrangement of some kind with Germany might serve as a useful corrective. The assassination is significant because it was perceived by Austria-Hungary as an existential challenge to her and in her view provided a casus belli with Serbia.
The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph was aged 84, so the assassination of his heir, so soon before he was likely to hand over the crown, was seen as a direct challenge to Austrian polity. Many ministers in Austria, especially Berchtold, argue this act must be avenged.
The assassination triggered the July Crisis , which turned a local conflict into a European, and then a worldwide, war. It quickly emerged that three leading members of the assassination squad had spent long periods of time in Belgrade, had only recently crossed the border from Serbia, and were carrying weapons and bombs of Serbian manufacture. They were secretly sponsored by the Black Hand, whose objectives included the liberation of all Bosnian Slavs from Austrian rule, and masterminded by the Head of Serbian Military intelligence, Apis.
Austria feared that if she displayed weakness, their neighbours to the South and East would be emboldened, whereas war with Serbia would put to an end the problems the dual monarchy had experienced with Serbia. There was also a feeling that the moral effects of military action would breathe new life into the exhausted structures of the Habsburg monarchy, restoring it to the vigour and virility of an imagined past, and that Serbia must be dealt with before it became too powerful to defeat militarily.
His removal not only provided the casus belli but removed one of the most prominent doves from policymaking. Since taking on Serbia involved the risk of war with Russia, Vienna sought the views of Berlin.
The Germans provided their unconditional support for war with Serbia, the so-called "Blank Cheque. The Austrians hoped that the ultimatum would be rejected in order to provide the pretext for war with a neighbour they considered to be impossibly turbulent.
Convinced Serbian nationalism and Russian Balkan ambitions were disintegrating the Empire, Austria-Hungary hoped for a limited war against Serbia and that strong German support would force Russia to keep out of the war and weaken its Balkan prestige. At this stage in the crisis the possibility of determined Russian support for Serbia, and its attendant risks, was never properly weighed up.
The Austrians remained fixated on Serbia but did not decide on their precise objectives other than war. Nevertheless, having decided upon war with German support, Austria was slow to act publicly, and did not deliver the ultimatum until July 23, some three weeks after the assassinations on 28 June.
Thus Austria lost the reflex sympathies attendant to the Sarajevo murders and gave the further impression to the Entente powers that Austria was merely using the assassinations as a pretext for aggression. In response to a request for support, Vienna was told the Kaiser's position was that, if Austria-Hungary "recognised the necessity of taking military measures against Serbia he would deplore our not taking advantage of the present moment which is so favourable to us A Serbian defeat would also be a defeat for Russia and reduce her influence in the Balkans.
The benefits were clear but there were risks, namely that Russia would intervene and this would lead to a continental war. However, this was thought even more unlikely since the Russians had not yet finished their French-funded rearmament programme scheduled for completion in On the other hand, the military thought that if Russia did intervene then St Petersburg clearly desired war and now would be a better time to fight, when Germany had a guaranteed ally in Austria-Hungary, Russia was not ready and Europe was sympathetic to them.
On balance, at this point in the crisis, the Germans anticipated that their support would mean the war would be a localised affair between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Petersburg for a long-scheduled state visit on 20 July and departed on 23 July. The French and the Russians agreed their alliance extended to supporting Serbia against Austria, confirming the already established policy behind the Balkan inception scenario.
As Christopher Clark notes "Poincare had come to preach the gospel of firmness and his words had fallen on ready ears. Firmness in this context meant an intransigent opposition to any Austrian measure against Serbia.
At no point do the sources suggest that Poincare or his Russian interlocutors gave any thought whatsoever to what measures Austria-Hungary might legitimately be entitled to take in the aftermath of the assassinations". On 21 July, the Russian Foreign Minister warned the German ambassador to Russia that "Russia would not be able to tolerate Austria-Hungary's using threatening language to Serbia or taking military measures.
He thought London saw a German "bluff" and was responding with a "counterbluff. Meanwhile, Berlin was downplaying its actual strong support for Vienna so as to not appear the aggressor, for that would alienate German socialists.
On 23 July, Austria-Hungary, following their own enquiry into the assassinations, sends an ultimatum to Serbia, containing their demands, giving forty-eight hours to comply.
On 24—25 July the Russian Council of Ministers met, and in response to the crisis and despite the fact that she had no alliance with Serbia, agreed to a secret partial mobilisation of over one million men of the Russian Army and the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. It is worth stressing, since this is a cause of some confusion in general narratives of the war, that this was done prior to the Serbian rejection of the ultimatum, the Austrian declaration of war on 28 July or any military measures taken by Germany.
As a diplomatic move this had limited value since the Russians did not make this mobilisation public until 28 July. In addition Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov believed that war was inevitable and refused to acknowledge that Austria-Hungary had a right to counter measures in the face of Serbian irredentism.
On the contrary, Sazonov had aligned himself with the irredentism, and expected the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Crucially, the French had provided their clear support for their Russian allies for a robust response in their recent state visit just days before.
The policy was intended to be a mobilisation against Austria-Hungary only. However, due to Russian incompetence, the Russians realised by 29 July that partial mobilisation was not militarily possible, and as it would interfere with general mobilisation, only full mobilisation could prevent the entire operation being botched.
The Russians therefore moved to full mobilisation on 30 July. Christopher Clark stated "It would be difficult to overstate the historical importance of the meetings of 24 and 25 July"  and "In taking these steps, [Russian Foreign Minister] Sazonov and his colleagues escalated the crisis and greatly increased the likelihood of a general European war. For one thing, Russian pre-mobilization altered the political chemistry in Serbia, making it unthinkable that the Belgrade government, which had originally given serious consideration to accepting the ultimatum, would back down in the face of Austrian pressure.
It heightened the domestic pressure on the Russian administration Most importantly of all, these measures drastically raised the pressure on Germany, which had so far abstained from military preparations and was still counting on the localisation of the Austro-Serbian conflict. Serbia initially considered accepting all the terms of the Austrian ultimatum before news from Russia of pre mobilisation measures stiffened their resolve. On July 29, , the Tsar ordered full mobilization, then changed his mind after receiving a telegram from Kaiser Wilhelm.
Partial mobilization was ordered instead. The next day, the Tsar's foreign minister, Sergey Sazonov once more persuaded Nicholas of the need for general mobilization, and the order was issued that day, July This was the first of the general mobilisations. It came at the moment when the German government had not yet even declared the State of Impending War" . Thus, in response to Russian mobilisation, [ citation needed ] Germany ordered the state of Imminent Danger of War SIDW on 31 July, and when the Russian government refused to rescind its mobilisation order, Germany mobilised and declared war on Russia on 1 August.
Given the Franco-Russian alliance, countermeasures by France were, correctly, assumed to be inevitable and Germany therefore declared war on France on 3 August Following the German invasion of neutral Belgium, Britain issued an ultimatum to Germany on 2 August that she must withdraw or face war. The Germans did not comply and Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August Britain's reasons for declaring war were complex.
The ostensible reason given was that Britain was required to safeguard Belgium's neutrality under the Treaty of London The German invasion of Belgium was, therefore, the casus belli and, importantly, legitimized and galvanized popular support for the war. If an alliance partner was attacked, the other partner was bound to defend it. Various nations were vying for resource-rich African and Asian countries imperialism and this was also the time when each of these nations was building up its military might, none more so than Germany and Russia.
The immediate or short term cause that led to the war was the assassination in June of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungry and his wife Sophie by a Serbian nationalist in protest of Austria-Hungry having control of Sarajevo, a region Serbia was interested in. This led Austria-Hungry to declare war on Serbia, which prompted Russia to come to the aid of Serbia due to their mutual defense alliance.
Germany declared war on Russia due to its alliance with Austria-Hungry. And the war finally started and spread to the other nations, culminating in World War I. Expert Answers mrkirschner Certified Educator. In a quest for these scarce resources, industrial powers sought Begin typing the name of a book or author: The German, Von Schlieffen also drew up a plan of action that involved attacking France through Belgium if Russia made an attack on Germany.
The map below shows how the plan was to work. An alliance is an agreement made between two or more countries to give each other help if it is needed. When an alliance is signed, those countries become known as Allies. A number of alliances had been signed by countries between the years and These were important because they meant that some countries had no option but to declare war if one of their allies declared war first.
Imperialism is when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to their rule. By , the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. With the rise of industrialism, countries needed new markets. The amount of lands 'owned' by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who had entered the scramble to acquire colonies late and only had small areas of Africa.
Nationalism means being a strong supporter of the rights and interests of one's country. Delegates from Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia the winning allies decided upon a new Europe that left both Germany and Italy as divided states.
Strong nationalist elements led to the re-unification of Italy in and Germany in The settlement at the end of the Franco-Prussian war left France angry at the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and keen to regain their lost territory. Large areas of both Austria-Hungary and Serbia were home to differing nationalist groups, all of whom wanted freedom from the states in which they lived. Basically the eurpoean countries were building up their arms and were suspiscious of each other because they were afraid that if their neighbor had more weapons than they did then they would have the upper hand.
Long Term Cause: Nationalism Nationalism in the early s causes competition among Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and France. The competition caused rivalry for .
Long term causes of world war 1. The long term, underlying causes of World War I were nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and the defensive treaty alliances of both sides. Militarism is another name for the arms race. Great Britain and Germany were distrustful of one another and attempted to keep their military might as powerful as possible.
Long-Term Causes * Imperialism. Empire-building had long been an aim of many of the European nations. Britain, France, Spain and Portugal had all exploited the weaknesses of local tribes in the centuries beforehand to spread their empires across t. The primary long term causes that led to the war are the formation of mutual military defense alliances among different nations, imperialism, nationalism, and the rise of military might. Several nations entered into mutual defense alliances with each other, such as Russia-Serbia, Germany and Austria-Hungry, etc.
Long and Short Term Causes of WWI There were several long-term events that led to the outbreak of World War One. The most prominent factors include: nationalism, militarism, imperialism, the Balkan and Morocco crises, and the alliance system. Ironically, these things were either started in response to, or upheld because of, one of the other factors. The four main long term causes of ww1 were militarism, the alliance system, imperialism,and nationalism. The main short term cause is the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Austria- hungary throne).