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Toward a European War. Towards a European war. The alliance system. The major powers were the European nations of Austria, Hungary , Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. They had spent years preparing for war, though some had hoped it would occur later than it did.

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Towards a european war

Toward a European War

Towards a European war

The alliance system
The alliance system

  • The major powers were the European nations of Austria, Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia.

  • They had spent years preparing for war, though some had hoped it would occur later than it did.

  • By 1907, they had formed themselves into rival and armed power blocs:

  • Triple Entente = Britain, Russia and France

  • Triple Alliance =Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy

A map showing the major powers of the early twentieth century and the rival alliances they had formed by 1907. Italy declared itself neutral when war broke out in 1914. In April 1915, in the secret Treaty of London, Italy committed itself to go to war in support of the Triple Entente.

Tensions among the great powers
Tensions among the great powers

Nations formed the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente in response to growing rivalries within Europe. Rivalries existed in the areas of:

  • trading opportunities

  • competition for the control of territory and resources in Africa that would give nations access to raw materials that weren’t available in Europe

  • the development of weapons and ships

  • the size and strength of armies and navies and the arms race

  • individual power and status.

R ivalries among the great powers
Rivalries among the great powers

One nation’s attempts to protect its interests led others to fear its power:

  • Germany argued that its navy was essential to protect its trade.

  • Britain feared Germany’s navy and the possibility that it would cut Britain off from the rest of its empire.

  • France feared Germany’s army and sought revenge for Germany, taking the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine from France in 1871.

  • Russia and Austria- Hungary competed with each other to extend their power in the Balkans.

  • Tensions among major powers led them to prepare strategies if war broke out. Germany developed the Schlieffen Plan and France developed the war plan.

Advance of troops: S Schlieffen plan

Advance of troops: P Plan 17

Area lost to Germany

in 1871

Schlieffen Plan

Based on the idea that Germany would eventually fight France and Russia but should avoid fighting both at once.

France would expect Germany to invade from the east, so would not be prepared for invasion in the north

Germany would defeat France in 6 weeks it would then supposedly take for Russian troops to mobilise. Then Germany would attack Russia

A map showing the main features of Germany’s Schlieffen Plan and France’s Plan 17

Plan 17:

French troops would quickly recapture Alsace and Lorraine

Troops would then move into German territory

Activities (ALL to be done in your book)

  • Write a heading ‘Toward a European war’. Write a sub heading the ‘alliance system’ Cut out and paste the map given. Use two different colours, to colour the countries in the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance. Also write out underneath which countries belong to which side, as shown in Slide two.

  • Under the sub heading ‘ Tensions and rivalries among the great powers’ and using Slides four and five, mind map (in two separate mind maps) these concepts.

  • Using slide six outline The Schlieffen Plan and Plan 17 under the same headings.