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The Great War Begins. Chapter 14 section 1. Alliances Draw Lines. In 1882, German leader Otto Von Bismarck signed treaties with other powers. These powers were Austria-Hungary and Italy and they formed the Triple Alliance .

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The great war begins

The Great War Begins

Chapter 14 section 1

Alliances draw lines
Alliances Draw Lines

In 1882, German leader Otto Von Bismarck signed treaties with other powers. These powers were Austria-Hungary and Italy and they formed the Triple Alliance.

When war did break out in 1914, Germany and Austria-Hungary stayed allied and became known as the Central Powers.

In 1904, France and Britain signed an entente, a nonbinding agreement to follow common policies.

When war broke out, Britain signed a similar agreement with Russia. The three became known as the Allies.

These alliances became known as entangling alliances, due to the complex web that they created as countries began to go to war.

Competition problems
Competition = problems

Overseas rivalries also divided up European nations. This European imperialism nearly brought Germany and France to the brink of war over the African nation Morocco.

  • This tension made BR and FR strengthen their ties against Germany.

    With war tensions on the rise, the great powers began to build up their armies and navies.

  • The fiercest competition was the naval rivalry between BR and Germany.

  • With overseas colonies, both countries increased naval spending.

    The rise of militarism, or the glorification of the military, helped to feed into the arms race.

    Militarism painted false hope for young men, who saw war as a noble and great cause- not the misery that would soon follow.


Aggressive nationalism, or having extreme pride in one’s country, also caused tension. Nationalism was strong in both Germany and France, but France was still bitter about their 1871 defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.

  • Especially France’s loss of the border provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.

    In Eastern Europe, Russia sponsored form of nationalism called Pan-Slavism.

  • As the largest Slavic country, Russia felt it was their duty to lead and defend all Slavs since they shared a common nationality.

  • By 1914, it stood ready to support Serbia, a proud young nation that dreamed of creating a South Slav state.

The powder keg ignites
The Powder Keg Ignites

The crisis began when Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary announced he would visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

  • Bosnia, home of many Serbs and Slavs, was also under the Austrian Empire. The visit upset many Serbian Nationalists.

    Serbian terrorists, the Black Hand, vowed to take action.

    June 28, 1914- While riding through Sarajevo in an open car, Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophia were shot by terrorists Gavrilo Princip and killed.

    The news shocked Austria and Germany. Germany gave Austria a “blank check,” or a promise of unconstitutional support no matter what the cost.

And how the dominoes fall
And how the dominoes fall

Austria sent Serbia a sweeping ultimatum, or final set of demands.

  • Serbia did not agree to all of Austria’s demand, leading to Austria declaring war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.

    The war between the two nations was said to have been a “summer war”, however, the planned alliances were soon drawn into battle.

    After Austria’s declaration of war, Serbia turned to Big Brother Russia. Tsar Nicolas II telegraphed Kaiser Wilhelm II and asked to stop demands. When this plea failed, Russia began to mobilize, or prepare its military forces for war.

    August 1, Germany responded by declaring war on Russia.

    Russia turned to its ally France. French nationalists saw the opportunity to revenge the Franco-Prussian War.

    When Germany told France to stay out, France refused, Germany declared war.

And keep falling
…and keep falling

By early August, the lines were being drawn, yet Great Britain remained uncommitted.

Italy stayed neutral for the time being. Neutrality is a policy of supporting neither side of the war.

With Britain undecided, Germany made the decision for them. On August 3, Germany invaded neutral Belgium which had signed a treaty Britain. Britain was furious, declared war on Germany on August 4.