During this time frame, Germany, under the rule of King William I and Otto Van Bismarck, Prime Minister, unified as one to fight France. Because it is unwise to jump to war without any allies, Germany made Alliances with neighboring nations. Germany's alliance was known as the Triple Alliance and it consisted of Italy and Austria–Hungary. However, after WWI started, Italy left the Triple Alliance and came to the side of the Triple Entente, which consisted of Britain, France, and Russia.
Bismarck used Alliances to secure Germany's safety in Europe. At one point Germany was allied to England, Austria, and Russia under the reinsurance treaty. This did not last, obviously.