Causes of World War One


Causes of World War One

    

The underlying causes of World War I were: Militarism – many countries were building up their military and getting ready for war.

Alliances – countries allied with one another for protection and markets.

Imperialism – countries wanted to expand and conquer other countries for land, resources, and markets. Nationalism – strong feeling towards one’s country

Nationalism: The belief that national interests & national unity should be placed ahead of global cooperation & that a nation’s foreign affairs should be guided by its own self interest .

Imperialism: Imperialism caused European nations to compete with one another due to industrialism & the need for raw materials. All of which created an underlying tension in Europe Militarism: (The development of armed forces & their use as a tool

of diplomacy)

Because of nationalism & imperialism European nations began building up their armed forces. Each nation wanted its armed forces to be stronger than those of any potential enemy. By 1890, Germany was the strongest nation in Europe. They set up an army reserve system that drafted young men, trained them & then returned them to civilian life until they were needed.

Alliance System:

Nationalism, Imperialism & Militarism created mutual hostility, jealousy, fear & desires between the nations of Europe, which ultimately led to the signing of treaties between these various nations. These treaties committed them to support one another if they faced attack. There were two major alliances: the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.

World War I

“The nations were caught in a trap. . .there was no looking back.” General Joffre, on the eve of the Battle of the Marne, August, 1914 What do you think General Joffre meant by this statement? Record on Left Side of your notes.

Catch Phrases To Help You Understand Each Country’s Position


Britain and France Europe’s liberal powers “What spoiled children we are” Germany and Italy - The new nations “We demand our place in the sun” Austria and Russia - Dying dynasties “Hard times make for hard lines” Central Europe - The Balkan “tinderbox” “We wanna be free!”









Long Term Causes • Imperialism-

–European competition for colonies –Quest for colonies often almost led to war –Imperialism led to rivalry and mistrust amongst European nations


• In the 1800s, there was a race between the European powers to seize as much of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and in Eastern Europe.

• The largest empire = greatest power and wealth.

• England had the largest empire-”The sun never sets on the British crown.”

Connection of Imperialism to Militarism • The British at home had grown accustomed to British conquests


They were no more than dimly aware of the bloodshed and

violence these conquests required, having never come face to face with the reality of war.

The great increase of British exploits overseas was done by the

increase in elementary education and that most of the population could read newspapers.

A popular press soon grew up which had fanned the nation into

enthusiasm for the colonial conquests.

Millions believed that rather than spreading exploitation or

destroying social organization, the conquests represented the brining of civilization to an uncivilised world.

It created national confidence and a sense of righteousness about

military power.

This is seen in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden.”

“A Song of the White Men”

• • Now, this is the cup the White Men

And the deep on either hand.


We have trod that road-and a wet and windy road-

When they go to right a wrong,

Our chosen star for guide.

And that is the cup of old world’s


Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread

Their highway side by side!

Cruel and strained and strong.We have drunk that cup-and a bitter,

bitter, cup-

And tossed the dregs away.But well for the world when the

White Men drink

To the dawn of the White Man’s day!Now, this is the road that the White

Men treat

When they go to clean a land-Iron underfoot and levin overhead • • • • • • • •

Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold When they build their homes afar ‘Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons And, failing freedom, War.’ We have proved our faith-bear witness to our faith, Dear souls of freemen slain!

Oh, well for the world when the White Men join To prove their faith again!

• • • •

Between 1750 and 1900 Europe came to dominate the world economically, socially and culturally The only major exception was Tokugawa Japan 1800: Britain ruled 20 million people 1900: Britain ruled 400 million people

Creation of the British Empire

How Great Were They Empires?

• Britain ruled 400 million outside its own border by 1914.

• France ruled 50 million.

• Germany ruled 14 million • Italy ruled 14 million

The Empire on which the Sun Never Sets


• Aggressive nationalism was seen in the economic competition and colonial conflicts the encouraged the development of dangerous rivalries among the major European powers.

• They were competing for foreign markets and engaged in tariff wars.

• All the great powers were competing for colonies / territory.

• The most serious rivalry was between the two industrial powers of Britain and Germany.

• The British feared Germany in Africa.

• The Austrians feared Serbia / Russia in the Balkans


• Italy & Germany (founded in 1870) Late to industrialize and gain colonies in Africa and Asia • Serbia upset at Austria-Hungary imperialism in Balkan region • Ottomans upset at Russian imperialism in Balkan region

• • The Ottoman Empire one of the world’s most powerful states for 600 years • Founded in 1402, it reached its zenith under

Suleiman the Magnificent Renowned for achievements in literature, arts, science, law

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire Under Suleiman I 1580

© 2001


University of Michigan…/syl

End of the Ottoman Empire

• Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1918 – Russian expansion – Internal reforms did take place –

Carved up by European powers, who took advantage of instabilities Russian Cossacks Attack the Ottoman Turks

Why Do You Need Colonies?

• Though Great Britain was an industrial and military powerhouse, • By 1900 Germany surpassed her growth a • The United States by 1910 had surpassed the industrial output of both Great Britain and Germany and countries raced to secure raw goods and materials

Why Do You Need Colonies?

• Colonies would provide for raw materials such as: cotton, tea, silks, peanut and palm oil (from West Africa) which were used for lubricant in machinery • Colonies also provided ready markets for selling goods

Why Do you Need Colonies?

• Foreign Military Bases • Colonies also serve as refueling stations for cargo vessels.

• Governments can spread their cultural influence abroad

Colonial Rivalries: Asia in 1914

The German Watch in Kiao-Chau Another cartoon from the German periodical Simplicissimus showing a lone German knight standing firm against monster-headed waves. The image portrays the resolve of the Germans to defend their stronghold in China. It was published before the fall of Tsingtao .




The Barbarian Finds His "Place in the Sun" Too Hot for Him . From The Tatler, London A fat German "Barbarian" is shown as retreating from his colonies in China in the face of the heat from the Rising Sun of Japan. Contrast this portrayal of the German as fat and cowardly with the German cartoon depicting a lone and brave German knight defending the German outpost in China against overwhelming odds.


• Virtually all the major powers were engaged in a scramble for empire to bolster their economies • The fiercest competition was between Britain and Germany and between France and Germany

Africa – Carved up by the Europeans

• • Carved up in the 19th Century by European colonies interested in protecting themselves against rivals

1885-6 Berlin Agreement

– –

France: West Africa Britain: Southern and Eastern Africa, Gold Coast and Nigeria

– – –

Germany: Cameroons, South-West and East Africa Portugal: added Angola and Mozambique Belgium: Congo became the possession of the monarch of Belgium

Europeans in Africa

Belgian Congo Slaves March to the Coast

Cecil Rhodes Astride Africa – the Image of British Imperialism

Colonial Disputes

During the late 1800s, relations between Britain and France were strained by a series of disputes over African colonies.

Both nations hoped to control Egypt and Morocco and this caused many bitter arguments.

These were eventually settled in 1904 by the Entente Cordiale.

This “friendly understanding” said that Britain should control Egypt and France should control Morocco.

However, Germany strongly objected to this agreement…

Colonial Disputes (2)

Kaiser Wilhelm II was jealous of the empires of both France and Britain and tried to break up the “friendly understanding” between them.

On two occasions, in 1905 and 1911, German claims over Morocco raised international tension.

Indeed, the “Agadir Incident” of 1911 caused Britain to hint that war might result if Germany continued her claims.

This crisis passed, but these disputes simply made international relations worse.

The bad feeling they created (combined with other factors) made the possibility of war more likely.

The Moroccan Crisis 1905-06 • •

On a visit to Morocco in 1905 the Kaiser (Germany) promised to support Moroccan independence.

This angered the French who wanted to have Morocco as a colony.

Wilhelm was also testing the new alliance between France and Britain (1904).


Germany test Entente Cordial (France & Britain) •

In a conference in 1906 Britain and Russia stood by France and it was agreed that Germany should have no say in Morocco.

This strengthened the Anglo-French alliance and also led to Britain’s agreement with Russia signed in 1907 and the Triple Entente.

The alliance holds firm and leads to the Triple Entente Germany feel threatened by the Entente Powers •

The Kaiser felt the Entente powers were encircling (surrounding) Germany.

The Agadir Crisis 1911 •

Morocco again, this time there had been a rebellion against the Sultan which had been

put down with French help.

This was a chance for France to take Morocco.

Germany responded by sending a gunboat, 3

France claims Morocco

the Panther, to Agadir, a port on the Moroccan coast.

The Kaiser hoped to force the French into

Germany send a gunboat •

giving Germany a share of Morocco.

Meantime, Britain was alarmed that Germany was setting up a naval base in Agadir that might threaten Britain’s naval supremacy.

Britain alarmed by German action See the results of this crisis next

The Agadir Crisis 1911 •

Germany’s action at Agadir confirmed Britain’s worst fears: Germany was aiming to dominate


Britain responded by supporting France over Morocco.

They also signed a naval agreement whereby Britain would defend the Northern coast of France if attacked by sea.

France took over Morocco as a Protectorate (they governed it but it did not become part of the republic).

Germany was given land in the French Congo as compensation but the land was mostly swamp and jungle.

Agadir was a victory for the Entente but the Kaiser was determined not to lose again.


Anglo-French ties strengthened Germany’s anger grows

Egypt's Future: "John Bull, the last of the Pharaohs, will be embalmed in Egypt."

- Lustige Blaetter


• This cartoon is commenting on how Britain obtained Egypt and how it will be the last colony obtained if Germany, Austria Hungary, and the Ottomans have a say.

German Foreign Policy According to the British

When Britain first, at heaven’s command, Arose from out the azure main, Arose, arose, arose from out the azure main.

This was the charter, the charter of the land, And guardian angels sang the strain.

Rule Britannia!

Britannia rule the waves.

Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

The nations not so blest as thee, Must in their turn to tyrants fall, Must in their turn, must in their turn, To tyrants fall, While thou shall flourish, Shall flourish great and free, The dread and envy of them all.


Still more majestic shalt thou rise, More dreadful from each foreign stroke.

More dreadful, more dreadful From each foreign stroke.

As the loud blast that tears the skies, Serves but to root thy native oak.


British Anthem that reflects Militarism, Imperialism, and Nationalism

Still more majestic shalt thou rise, More dreadful from each foreign stroke.

More dreadful, more dreadful From each foreign stroke.

As the loud blast that tears the skies, Serves but to root thy native oak.


Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame, All their attempts to bend thee down, All their attempts, all their attempts To bend thee down, Will but arouse thy generous flame.

But work their woe and thy renown.


To thee belongs the rural reign, Thy cities shall with commerce shine, Thy cities shall, thy cities shall With commerce shine.

All thine shall be the subject main, And every shore it circles thine.



The muses still, with freedom found, Shall to thy happy coast repair, Shall to thy happy coast, Thy happy coasts repair, Best isle of beauty, With matchless beauty crowned, And manly hearts to guard the fair. Chorus.

Won’t they be edified!”

World War I introduced the world to killing and destruction on a scale never seen before. During the battle of the Somme, 19,000 men died on the first day alone. By the end of the campaign the British had gained only 125 miles of territory at a terrible cost: casualties on both sides exceeded one million. For many, the senseless slaughter represented the worst expression of European imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. A 1914 cartoon published in the

Chicago Daily News

uses racial chauvinism to condemn the European war for undermining the moral supremacy of "Western Civilization."

On the Left Side of your notes, working with your partner:

• Come up with a strong political cartoon caption for this British cartoon on Germany’s Imperialism policies.

• Explain.


Long Term Causes • Nationalism-

–Deep Devotion to One’s Nation –Competition and Rivalry developed between European nations for territory and markets • Example France and Germany Alsace-Lorraine

Nationalism-Definition • Nationalism/Patriotism: Complete love and devotion towards one country • Belief your country is number one • Nationalism/Assassination: For those who are ruled by others, their nationalistic goal is to gain independence.


• The French Revolution had spread nationalism throughout most of Europe – The idea that people with the same ethnic origins, language, and political ideals had the right to form sovereign states through the process of self-determination • Nationalist aspirations of subject minorities threatened to tear apart the multinational empires of the Ottomans, Hapsburgs, and Russians – Such a development would affect the regional balance of power


—devotion to interests, culture of one’s nation • Nationalism leads to competition, antagonism between nations • Many fear Germany’s growing power in Europe • Various ethnic groups resent domination, want independence • Russia sees self as protector of all Slavic peoples


Nationalism and Mistrust

• Germany and Italy were new nations in 1870; Great Britain feared Germany’s new power • France lost the Franco-Prussian (Germany) War and wanted their land back • France also wanted Germany to stay out of her affairs in North Africa (Morocco)



Aggressive Nationalism

Nationalism: Desire for Self Rule

• Nationalists in Arabic-speaking lands sought independence from the Ottoman Empire • Nationalists in Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland called for separation from the Russian Empire


• Ultra-nationalism - extreme pride • Serbia’s reaction to Austria Hungarian imperialism = wanted independence • PANSLAVISM = Russia feels nationalist connection to Serbia (They are both Slavic ethnicity) • French want Alsace-Lorraine back from Germany


• Desire of the Slavic people to free themselves from the rule of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires • This was like the Irish against England.

• Serbian nationalists became militant and demanded unification with the small Kingdom of Serbia • Russians promoted Pan-Slavism in the Balkans by encouraging fellow Slavic-speaking peoples in their quest to throw off Austro-Hungarian rule

Nationalism: Second Form-- Led to the Assassination

• This was an age when all nations wanted to assert their power and independence.

• In Europe Slavs, aided by Serbia and Russia, wanted to be free of Austrian rule.

Serbia’s national flag

Nationalism: Austria-Hungary

• • •

Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes all had nationalist aspirations, especially the Serbs The Serbs were strongly supported by the Russians as part of the pan-Slavic movement The Austria Hungarians were strongly supported by the Germans

The Balkan Peninsula AKA The Powder Keg of Europe

Nationalism-Austrian-Hungarian Empire

• Serbs wanted to free Bosnia and annex it to Serbia to form a Greater Serbia.

• Slavic Connection

Pan-Slavism: The Balkans, 1914 The “Powder Keg” of Europe

Serbian Nationalism

• Austria-Hungary & Russia were competing over the Balkan region in southeastern Europe that had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire. • This developed into an intense rivalry.

• This Muslim rule had been resented by the Slavic, Christian people of the Balkans. • But also did not want to be ruled by Austria Hungary or Russia. • The Balkan ethnicities wanted to be independent. Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, & Albania all became free.

Issue of Bosnia-Herzegovina

• 1908: A-H annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina to its empire. • Bosnia was a mix of Slavic Muslims, Serbs, & Croats. • The Serb ethnic group wanted to be part of greater Serbia and not A-H.

• Growing resentment and liberation groups developed after this.---Black Hand (Some say they were terrorist groups.)

A 1908 Political cartoon from the French Parisian

Petit Journal

shows Franz Josef grabbing Bosnia -Herzogovina and an independent Bulgaria being torn away from Turkey. Turkey looks on dismayed.


Petit Journal

The Bosnian Crisis, 1908


• In 1908, Austria fully


Bosnia (i.e. it became part of the Austrian Empire). • Serbia - which had been hoping to get part of Bosnia (so it could have a port on the Adriatic Sea) protested.

• Serbia called up its army demanded a strip of land across Bosnia to the Adriatic Sea. • Serbia was supported by Russia, which proposed a conference.

• Austria Hungary, Turkey and Germany said that a Conference wasn't necessary.

• There was an international crisis.

The Bosnian Crisis, 1908


• There was an international crisis Germany threatened war. • Russia and Serbia were forced to back down and humiliated.

• Serbia was forced to agree publicly to Austria's annexation. • The Kaiser boasted that he had stood by Austria 'in shining armour'.

The Bosnian Crisis, 1908


• There was more trouble in the Balkans (Balkans War) in 1912-13. • Serbia was furious (Bosnia included many Serbs).

• This led to the assassination at Sarajevo, 1914. • Russia vowed not to back down again – which led to Nicholas's decision to mobilise in 1914. • Kaiser Wilhelm was proud he had helped Austria - so after Sarajevo he gave Austria a 'blank cheque‘ … which helped cause the slide to war in 1914.

Many Europeans saw the potential danger in the explosive situation between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. The British ambassador to Vienna, Austria, anticipated war in 1913 due to this hostility.

• “Serbia will some day set Europe by the ears, and bring about a universal war on the Continent…I cannot tell you how exasperated people are getting here at the continual worry which that little country causes to Austria under encouragement from Russia…It will be lucky if Europe succeeds in avoiding war as a result of the present crisis.” • Is the ambassador neutral in his comments, or does he favor one country over another? How can you tell?

• Compare the ways in which the actual events that started WWI mirror the ambassador’s concerns.

Assassination of the Archduke

• June 28, 1914: The A-H Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife were on an fourteenth wedding anniversary tour of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

• This day was also the anniversary of the Serb’s greatest historical defeat by the Ottoman Empire that put them under Muslim rule for 500 years • So the parade was like rubbing salt into their old wounds and stirred up nationalism.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand & His Family

What happened on 28 June 1914?

On a bright summer’s day, 28 June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, heirs to one of the wealthiest empires in Europe got into their car and drove through the elegant streets of Sarajevo in Bosnia. The couple were extremely happy that day – it was their wedding anniversary.

The Sarajevo Crisis, 1914


• Franz Ferdinand was heir to the throne of Austria Hungary. • 28 June: Seven young Bosnian Serbs - linked to the Black Hand - lined up to assassinate him as he drove along the Appel Quay in Sarajevo. • Nedeljko Cabrinovic threw a bomb.

• He missed and was arrested.

• The Archduke decided to return home immediately via a different route. • No one told the driver, so he turned into Franz Josef Street, then stopped the car ... in front of Gavrilo Princip, who shot Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

Map showing the Archduke’s journey through Sarajevo

Assassination Continued

• A secret Serbian nationalistic society, the Black Hand, planned the assassination of the Archduke.

• Seven young Serbs were hired to carry out the plot.

• Of the seven, only Gavrilo Princip was successful and hit the Archduke in the neck and the Archduchess in the stomach.


• Assassination of Archduke by Serbian terrorist group-the Black Hand

The Assassin:

Gavrilo Princip

Gavrilo Princip

The killer was a 19 year-old member of the

BLACK HAND. A secret society committed to ridding Bosnia of Austrian rule & unite all Serbs including those living in Bosnia under one government

Princip's act gave Austria-Hungary the excuse that it had sought for opening hostilities against Serbia and thus precipitated World War I. Today's bridge in Sarajevo, nearby the place where the actual assassination took place, is named after this hero.

The Assassination: Sarajevo

Both died within minutes from their wounds. Two bullets were about to lead to the deaths of a further 20 million men!

Archduke’s bloodstained jacket Gavrilo Princip, Serbian terrorist

The Sarajevo Crisis, 1914


• The assassination caused horror, but not at first an international crisis (the Kaiser went on holiday). • Austria provoked the international crisis by sending Serbia an ultimatum on 23 July 1914...

Effects of the Assassination

• July 23, 1914: A-H issued an ultimatum to Serbia to be accepted within 48 hours. The A-H government was very confident, because Germany had given it a “blank check” of full military and political support for any actions.

• Demand One: Suppression of all anti-Austrian activity in Serbia • Demand Two: Dismissal of all Serbian officials the A-H objected to.

• Demand Three: Right for A-H officials to investigate the complicity of the Serbian government in the assassination.

Austrian Perspective on


Demands must be put to Serbia that would be wholly impossible for them to accept …”

Effects of Assassination

• Serbia only accepted two of the three demands. Because it was not willing to accept all three, because it would result in them giving up their sovereignty.

• A-H declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.

• Russia then mobilized its forces to the German and A-H borders.

• Germany declared war on Russia on August 1 and on France on August 3.

• Germany then invaded Belgium on August 3, 1914. So Britain then declared war on Germany and A-H.

Why did Britain get involved?

• Britain had


with France and Russia.

• Only “friendly agreements” but French and Russians given impression Britain would fight.

• The Schlieffen Plan

Sir Edward Grey British Foreign Secretary … “There’s some devilry going on in Berlin ”

Britain’s Reaction

• 1838- UK had signed a


to protect Belgium.

• Britain also scared of Germany controlling

Channel ports


• Did not want


to defeat France and

dominate Europe

. Britain next?

• UK issued


to Germany to withdraw troops from Belgium. War declared August 4 1914

"N'Oublions Jamais"

"N'Oublions Jamais"

This 1915 French poster with its passionate headline- Never Forget !--dramatizes Germany's brutal invasion of

Belgium in 1914.

Neutral Belgium is personified as a traumatized mother, assaulted and ravished by savage outlaws.

The "rape of Belgium" featured prominently, and effectively, in anti-German propaganda. (Mary Evans

Picture Library)

Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

German Atrocities in Belgium

The Sarajevo Crisis, 1914 RESULTS:

• The Crisis caused a sequence of events which resulted in the First World War.

1 7 13 19 25 2 8 14

JUNE 1914

3 9 15 4 10 16 5 11 17 20 26 21 27 22


23 29 6 12 18 24 30 1 7 13 19 25 31 14 20 26 2 8

JULY 1914

3 9 4 10 5 11 15 21 27 16 22


17 23 29 6 12 18 24 30


7 13 19 25 31


2 8






11 14 20 26 15 21 27 16 22 28 17 23 29 6 12 18 24 30

Sarajevo Austria Declares War on Serbia Russia get ready to help Serbia Germany Declares War on Russia Germany Declares War on France Germany invade Belgium Schlieffen Plan Schlieffen Plan Britain Declares War on Germany London Treaty Austria Declares War on Russia EUROPE IS AT WAR 28 June 28 July 29 July 1 August 3 August 3 August 4 August 6 August

Austria Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia set off a chain reaction within the alliance system. The countries of Europe followed through on their numerous & complex pledges to support one another. As a result, nearly all the nations of Europe soon were drawn into the war.

Triple Alliance/Central Powers Triple Entente/Allies Austria-Hungary

Declares War

Serbia Germany

As a result of Russia mobilization to the Russian-German border, Germany declares war on Russia on Aug. 1 st .

Russia (Serbia’s ally) moves its army toward the Russian- Austrian border. Russia also mobilized along the German border Russia looked to France for help. 2 days later (Aug 3) not waiting for France to react, Germany declares war on France

Russia France

Great Britain Britain who is linked to France, declares war on Germany & Austria-Hungary on Aug 4 th after Germany invades Belgium (a neutral country) to get to France .

Why go to War?

On the Left Side of your notes, explain why each country would go to war: •Serbia •Russia •France •England •Italy •Ottoman Empire •Austria-Hungary •Germany Use resources from the Powerpoint Lecture, the Supplemental Reading, and Textbook

The Great Powers of Europe Russia •

This was the largest of the six main powers.

However, despite its size it was very backward, the people were poor and industry was slow to develop.

Main Points Largest power •

Russia had a long rivalry with Austria-Hungary and supported the Slavic peoples including the Serbs living in the area.

Backward industry Poor •

Russia was also concerned like France about Germany.

They feared that The Kaiser aimed to build a large Empire in Central Europe.

Russia had lost a war to Japan in 1904 and began to build up a large army in case of any future conflicts

Supported Serbia Fear over Germany strong army needed

The Great Powers of Europe France •

The French could not forgive the Germans for taking Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 and were

looking for an opportunity to take revenge.

They were building up their industry and were looking to build alliances with other European countries since the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

Main Points Franco-Prussian War Alsace-Lorraine Wanted revenge Empire threatened •

France also had a large overseas Empire and felt threatened by the ambitions of the Kaiser (Germany).

They needed a strong army.

Sought alliances strong army needed

The Great Powers of Europe Britain •

In the 19 th Century, Britain had developed a huge overseas Empire and tried to keep itself out of

European politics known as ‘splendid isolation’.

Britain had a strong navy and needed to maintain it

to protect the Empire across the world.

France and Russia had previously been Britain’s

biggest rivals.

However, by the start of the 20 th Century Britain felt threatened by Germany’s growing power and open desire for an Empire.

Russia had lost a war against Japan in 1904 and agreements had been reached with France over territory in North Africa.

They were no longer such concerns.

Main Points Overseas Empire ‘Splendid Isolation’ Strong Navy needed Germany threatens New enemy

Click here to see a map of Britain’s overseas Empire in 1914

The Great Powers of Europe Italy •

Like Germany, Italy had been formed by a collection of smaller states.

Like other European powers, Italy wanted to build an overseas Empire and looked to alliances with Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Main Points Wanted an Empire Friend of Germany •

However, Italy and Austria-Hungary were in dispute over land on the border between them.

This led to a conflict of interests.

Italy had developed into a strong industrial and military power.

Relations with Austria Disputes with Austria Strong industry Strong military

The Great Powers of Europe Germany •

In 1871, the Prussian state defeated France in the

Franco-Prussian War.

After this, all the German states joined together and formed the German Empire.

Germany took the territory of Alsace-Lorraine from the French who had to sign a humiliating defeat.

By 1900, Germany was seriously challenging Britain in terms of industrial production.

They wanted an Empire of their own and felt they needed a strong army to defend their territory especially if the French decided to try and take back Alsace-Lorraine.

Wilhelm II, the Kaiser (like a king) of Germany, intended to build a strong navy to realise Germany’s Imperial ambitions


Main Points Franco-Prussian War Alsace-Lorraine Industry French concern Strong army needed Empire wanted Strong navy needed

The Great Powers of Europe Austria-Hungary •

This was a large Empire made up of many nationalities, including Czechs, Poles, Germans, Hungarians and Serbs.

The main problem was trying to keep all these different groups together as one country.

Main Points Different peoples Unity issues •

Austria was very worried about the increasing strength of Serbia which had become rather powerful in the Balkan area.

They feared that the Serbs living in Austria-Hungary would want to join with Serbia.

Threat from Serbia Serb nationals Threat from Russia •

Russia was a close ally of Serbia and their strong army was a great concern for Austria-Hungary.

The Great Powers of Europe Summary Germany Won Franco Prussian War Strong industry Feared French attack Wanted an overseas Empire to rival Britain Developing a strong Navy and Army Austria-Hungary Collection of different nationalities Internal problems Feared strength of Serbia Worried that Serbians living in Austria Hungary want to join with Serbia Concern over Russia’s close relations with Serbia Italy Britain France Russia Wanted an Empire overseas Allied to Germany and Austria Hungary Disputes with Austria Strong industry Strong military Largest overseas Empire Largest Navy Isolated from politics Feared German imperial ambition Needed to keep a strong na vy Lost Franco Prussian War Wanted revenge Wanted alliances Overseas Empire threat from Germany Needs a strong army Largest power in Europe Poor industry Support for Serbia against Austria Feared Germany Building up strong army

After looking at each country’s reasons for going to war….

Who is to blame for WWI?

Who’s To Blame?

Guglielmo (bearing the European war): "Heavens! It's beginning to get heavy

• Who does the cartoonist blame for World War One?

• How can you tell? Explain.

At the end of your Interactive Notes: • Based upon your readings and this Powerpoint Presentation, write about what country or countries you believe hold the primary responsibility for World War One and explain why with historical evidence

War is Impossible

"Nothing could have been

• Do you agree with

more obvious to the people

this statement?

of the early twentieth

• If countries are on a

century than the rapidity with which war was

path towards war, is

becoming impossible. And

there a point when

as certainly they did not see

there is no turning

it. They did not see it until


the atomic bombs burst in

• Why or why not?

their fumbling hands."


H G Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

• Do on Left Side.

First World