Europe in the 1890s

Europe in the
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.
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
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
France and Germany
France humiliated by Germany in
1871 and lost Alsace-Lorraine
The Alliance
“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)
Dual Alliance (1894):
France & Russia signed
due to fear of Germany
The Entente Cordiale
(1904): Britain and
France = friendly
What did this all mean?