Europe in the 1890s What you will learn: The meaning of “Alliance” Explain why major powers in Europe formed alliances What was the Triple Alliance? What was the Triple Entente? The Great Powers of Europe Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Italy were considered to be the six Great Powers of Europe in the 1890s However each of these countries had different aims and insecurities due to historical, economic and geographical factors Many historians argue that even though the First World War started in 1914 the seeds of the conflict had been sown from the 1890s 1888: Kaiser Wilhelm II takes over Leading European powers all had colonies in Africa. Colonies very important economically and were also a display of national strength. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck enjoyed good relations with most European leaders. Germany was not seen as a threat. Bismarck 1890: Bismarck was forced out by Wilhelm II “A place in the sun” Willhelm II admired the British Empire and wanted colonies in Africa. Germany joined the race for colonies only after other powers had obtained them. Kaiser hinted he was willing to take them by force. Bismarck had believed that Germany ought to stop other countries from ever forming alliances against her. France, Britain and Russia were all enemies in 1890 so such an alliance seemed impossible. German fear of “encirclement” Rivalries France and Britain Rivals over colonies Britain and Russia Britain was concerned that Russia wanted to take over India France and Russia Opposing systems of government Britain and Germany 1899 Boer War: Germany backed Boers, tried to form alliance of other Great Powers against Britain France and Germany France humiliated by Germany in 1871 and lost Alsace-Lorraine The Alliance System “The Alliance System” “Alliance”: usually means a country will help another if they are involved in a war. But it doesn’t always mean this! In the late 1800s and early 1900s several alliances were formed. This meant that if one country went to war several others could then be drawn in or promised to stay neutral. 1879: Germany and AustriaHungary agreed to support each other if Russia attacked 1882: Italy joined in when it fell out with France over who controlled Tunisia (North Africa) Defensive alliance The Triple Alliance (1882) Dual Alliance (1894): France & Russia signed due to fear of Germany The Entente Cordiale (1904): Britain and France = friendly understanding Loose understanding The Triple Entente (1907) What did this all mean?