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Question of the Day:. Name a multi-ethnic Great Power in Europe in the early 1900’s. Why were these nations less stable than European Great Powers with a more singular ethnic population? ?. Pre-WWI multi-ethnic empires: 1. Austria-Hungary 2. Russia 3. Ottoman Empire ALL had varying

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Question of the Day:

  • Name a multi-ethnic Great Power in Europe in the early 1900’s. Why were these nations less stable than European Great Powers with a more singular ethnic population??
Pre-WWI multi-ethnic empires:

1. Austria-Hungary

2. Russia

3. Ottoman Empire

ALL had varying

degrees of nationalist

problems from ethnic

minorities in their


2) Balkan region was contested by:

Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire (which was in decline).

This region was destabilized by intense nationalism among its various ethnic groups:

Serbs, Bosnians, Greeks, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Croats, Slovenes, Albanians, Bulgarians, Romanians

Most common language group: SLAVIC (Russia, too)

3) ***Factors contributing to WWI***:
  • 1. NATIONALISM / JINGOISM  intense competition among Euro nations. Includes territorial disputes; feelings of vengeance from prior conflicts (i.e. Franco-Prussian War); ethnic groups fighting for independence (esp. in the Balkans).
  • 2. INDUSTRIALISM  competition for raw materials & markets.
  • 3. IMPERIALISM more intense overseas competition, and fewer places to conquer… industrial nations will begin to target each other.
  • 4. MILITARISM  glorifying armed strength; includes:
  • - European ARMS RACE: a build-up of weapons & armies
  • - WAR PLANNING: detailed military offensive strategies with precise speed & timing of mobilization; developed by career generals with delusions of “quick victories” and fame.
  • 5. ALLIANCES  pulls multiple nations into regional conflicts.
  • 6. POOR LEADERSHIP Unaccountable & incompetent autocracy (Kaiser, Czar)
4) After uniting Germany in 1871 with a decisive victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck changes German foreign policy from one of militaristic expansion (“blood and iron”) to one of peaceful maintenance of German security and stability...
  • 5) ... Bismarck did this by forming alliances with Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Russia, in the hopes of isolating a vengeful France, which he saw as the only threat to peace for Germany.
6) (cont.): Kaiser Wilhelm II was too “proud and stubborn”, and sought to assert singular power in Germany, rather than share it with anyone.
7) Kaiser Wilhelm II begins to undermine European stability… a.k.a. Billy has issues!
  • - Insecure & jingoistic:
  • wanted to show that
  • Germany was the most
  • powerful Euro nation,
  • investing a great deal in
  • the German army and
  • military displays.
7) Kaiser Wilhelm II’s destabilization of Europe (cont):
  • - Lets the German treaty with Russia expire; Russia then allies with Germany’s rival, France. Germany now faces Bismarck’s dreaded prospect of rivals on both its Eastern and Western borders… and the dangerous potential of a TWO-FRONT WAR.
  • - Increasing militarism and arms build-up:
  • Germany makes major
  • investments in its navy,
  • to rival Britain, pushing
  • Britain into a closer
  • relationship with France.
8) Pre-war alliances:
  • Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy
  • Triple Entente: France, Russia, Great Britain
  • Rival alliances increase the prospect of war:
  • A dispute between any two nations from either side could draw all other nations into the conflict, creating a larger military crisis.
  • 9) The Balkans = the “powder keg” of Europe:
  • Balkan populations had a long history of “nationalist uprisings and ethnic clashes”, combined with interference from the Ottomans, Austrians, and Russians.
  • TWO Balkan Wars had already been fought from 1912-1913!
10) Balkans:

Dominant ethnic (linguistic) group: SLAVIC (Slavs).

SERBIA saw itself as the nationalist leader of all Balkan Slavs (though not all agreed on this).

11) RUSSIAN attitude toward Serbian nationalism:


1. Common Slavic identity

2. Would increase Russian influence in the Balkans, while simultaneously undermining the power of their rival, Austria-Hungary.

3. Would help Russia gain access to warm-water Mediterranean ports.

12) AUSTRIAN attitude toward Serbian nationalism:
  • Feared a spillover effect of Slavic nationalism inside Austria-Hungary’s borders, potentially inciting rebellion and destabilizing the Empire.
  • 13) Tensions between Austria-Hungary & Serbia intensify (1908): Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia & Herzegovina
13) (cont.): Bosnia & Herzegovina had a large ethnic Serb population; Serbia had intended to expand its borders to take control of this region, creating “one Slavic land” (YUGOSLAVIA). Serbia worked to undermine Austro-Hungarian control of Bosnia & Herzegovina, causing more tension between itself and Austria-Hungary.
question of the day
Question of the Day
  • Would you consider the Black Hand a terrorist organization? Explain.
14) In June of 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, with his wife, Sophie, visited the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. While on their state visit to this newly annexed part of the Austro-HungarianEmpire, they were assassinated by GavriloPrincip, an ethnic Serbiannationalist and member of the radical group, The Black Hand, which was dedicated to ousting Austrian rule in favor of Serbian rule in Bosnia.
15) Ultimatum:
  • A non-negotiable list of demands that if not accepted, results in serious consequences.
  • a.k.a., “Do this or else!”
  • 16) Austria-Hungary delivers an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23rd, 1914:
  • Austria-Hungary held Serbia as responsible for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, since the assassin was Serbian, and the Black Hand was provided material support by Serbia, in the form of financing and weapons.
17) Serbian response to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum:
  • Serbia accepted most of the demands, but wanted some mediation by an international conference.
  • (Actually accepted 9 of 10 demands)
  • Austria-Hungary rejected Serbia’s hesitation in accepting ALL terms of the ultimatum, and declared war on Serbia five days after delivering the ultimatum (likely the intention all along).
  • *NOT IN TEXT: Austria-Hungary did not deliver the ultimatum, nor declare war on Serbia, until it had confirmed guarantees of German support, knowing that their actions might bring Russia into the conflict, in support of Serbia.

18) Russia gets involved, the crisis escalates:

  • Upon Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, Russia begins to mobilize its troops on the border with Austria-Hungary… the dominos begin to fall!