The force known as nationalism caused competition between countries. This force helped create the Europe's Great Powers; Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and France. The nationalism created rivalries between the countries. The main competition was for material and economic wealth, a characteristic that Great Britain was long known for in Europe. Other European countries wished to challenged Great Britain's industrial dominance. Disputes between territory grew as well, for example, France's loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Then there were countries within the Balkans sought Independence with their deep nationalism, such as the Serbs, Bulgarians, and other social groups.
Bismarck Forges Early Pacts
1864 - 1871
Otto von Bismarck, Prussia's chancellor, used war to ally with Germany, but then declared war on them. Bismarck saw France to be a threat to achieve peace, thinking that France still had grudges for the Franco-Prussian War. He also created the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, with Italy joining the alliance, then called the Triple Alliance. Germany's allies, however, were rival for the Balkans.
Shifting Alliances Threatens Peace
1890 - 1907
Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany's ruler, forced Bismarck to resign. The Kaiser wanted all the power to himself, and didn't want to share it with anyone. He wanted to show how great Germany had become. Later, he let the treaty between Germany and Russia collapse, Provoking Russia to make a military alliance with France, making Germany the enemy of both countries. Also, Wilhelm II resented Great Britain's empire and navy, so he made large shipbuilding programs and made Germany's own small colonial empire. Britain responded with expanding it's fleet, and formed an alliance with France and Russia, called the Triple Entente. The Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance.
Europe's Powder Keg
1900 - 1914
The Ottoman Empire including the Balkan region were in deep decline. Balkan groups were trying to free themselves from Ottoman rule, while some had already broke free from their Turkish rulers. This formed new countries, like Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Nationalism was the powerful force that gave the new countries independence. Serbia wanted to take in Slavs; Russia supported Serbia's nationalism, while Austria-Hungary feared rebellion.
Alliance System Collapses
Europe is now divided, into the Triple Entente, Great Britain, France and Russia. As well as the Triple Alliance, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia caused the rest of the countries in Europe to make their pacts to support each other complicated.
A Shot Rings Throughout Europe
Austrian heir Francis Ferdinand and his wife visit Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia. They were riding the streets of Sarajevo when they were assassinated, by Gavrilo Princip, member of the terrorist group the Black Hand. Princip was Serbian, so Austria put the blame on Serbia. Kaiser gave Austria the ability to do what it wanted with Serbia. After, Austria sent Serbia harsh demands to which if they were not met, consequences were guaranteed. This act and ultimatum alarmed European leaders, making the stability on the verge of failing.
Fighting Rages Beyond Europe
The Allies tried to devise a way to do their strategy by attacking Dardanelles, a region in the Ottoman Empire. It was a way to reach and hopefully secure the capital, as well as defeat the Turks, and supply Russia. The strategy was called the Gallipoli campaign, and British Australian, New Zealand, and French troops constantly attacked on the Gallipoli Peninsula, but ten months into the campaign, the Allies gave up after turning the peninsula into another stalemate. Even so, the Allies were still determined to take over the Ottoman Empire The British helped Arabian nationalist rise against the Turks. In the Eastern part of Asia, the Japanese held posts in China to attack Germany and capture their island colonies.
Governments Wage Total War
1915 - 1918
Soon after the start of WWI, Europe devoted all its resources to the war. In Britain, Germany, Austria, and France, the government power was dedicated to winning the war. The governments also regulated what the factories did and how much they produced.
Russia's War Effort Weakens
Russia's effort in the war was failing. the country has yet to industrialize, so vital war material such as food, ammunition, clothes, gun, and blankets. Also, it was difficult for Russia's allies to send supplies to their ports, since Germany blocked Russia's ports. But their was one advantage; Russia's population. Despite their losses of soldiers, they were able to rebuild their ranks because of their population.
War Affect the Home Front
In the three years the Europe had been war, the deaths were more than all the wars in the previous times. The war killed many people and the conflict affected everyone. The war had affected the military institutions, the political, economic, and social institutions.