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Alliances: A Definition…. Alliance – A close association of nations for the achievement of common objectives, or a group of countries united for the purpose of joint military protection

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alliances a definition
Alliances: A Definition…
  • Alliance – A close association of nations for the achievement of common objectives, or a group of countries united for the purpose of joint military protection
  • The formation of an alliance – coupled with their own military preparedness – was a means to ensure a country’s security in the years leading up to WWI
  • Colonial rivalries led each country to seek friends – aka defensive alliances – for their own protection…
fundamental causes ii the alliances
Fundamental Causes II: The Alliances

Entangling Alliances

  • The Triple Ententeconsisted of France, Russia and Britain.




  • War would automatically pit most of these nations against each other.




  • The Triple Alliancewas comprised of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
the alliances
The Alliances…

Triple Entente

Allied Forces

Triple Alliance

Central Powers

Bulgaria & Serbia = Neutral

fundamental causes iii the first shot
Fundamental Causes III: The first shot..
  • June 28th 1914
  • Crown Prince of Austria- Hungary Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the militant group Black Hand.
    • Ferdinand was the heir to the Austrian thrown
    • Black hand: secret military society aimed at uniting Slav peoples (Nationalism…)

Crest of the Black Hand

the assassination on film
The Assassination on film…

countdown towards war
Countdown towards war…
  • Assassination of Ferdinand June 28 1914.
  • Austria-Hungary (A/H) consulted with her ally Germany on “how to deal with this.” Germany granted them the famous BLANK CHEQUE (Support A/H in whatever they did, even if that = War). Germany felt Britain would remain neutral…
  • A/H prepared for war with Serbia  German support.
  • The ULTIMATUM: A/H told Serbia to hand over their terrorists (Black Hand) or else face war…aka JULY ULTIMATUM.
  • Serbia agreed somewhat  they requested the clarity of some points - A/H saw this as a rejection; furthered their excuse to go to war.
the countdown continued
The Countdown continued…
  • July 28, 1914 A/H declares war on Serbia.
  • Russia (Triple Entente (TE)) saw this as German action against Balkans (area of Russian interest) –Russia gave Serbia their own BLANK CHEQUE  mobilize army against A/H.
  • Germany demands that Russia demobilizes demobilize or else… Germany gave support towards Austria, allowing it to mobilize its army, declaring war on Russia
  • France (TE) declares war on Germany, as it was in alliance with Russia.
  • Germany declares war on France  felt threatened by Russians & French, asked for mobilization to stop, both refused.
  • The SCHLIEFFEN plan was put forth by Germany:
    • attack France through neutral Belgium, designed to prevent a two front war (France to the West & Russia to East).
and finally
And finally…
  • German plan continued..
    • go @ France first for 6 weeks, then on to Russia (thought Russia would take 6 weeks to get ready).
    • The 6 week timeline was the brainchild of ALFRED VON SCHLIEFFEN (man with the plan), he also thought that Britain would stay neutral, allowing for the use of Belgium.
    • But… this was WRONG, as Britain was a champion of Belgium neutrality so…
  • August 4th, 1914 Britain Declares war on Germany.

And the Great War officially had begun…

lets review the motives
Lets Review the Motives…
  • Germany:
    • Germany believed that it could win a war now, not later
  • Austria-Hungary:
    • Concerned with the survival of its multi-ethnic state, wanted to solve Pan-Slav problem:
      • Problem: A/H was in control of Slav people who lived in A/H, the Slav’s wanted to unite with other Slavs in Russia
  • Russia:
    • Mostly economic, all weather port…
  • France:
    • Believed in loyalty within the Alliance system, saw this as their only way to remain a world power
  • Britain:
    • Believed in the independence of sovereign states (no foreign ruler)
      • Also believed in curbing the increasing strength of Germany