Prelude to war, causes of war, alliance systems

Ms Costello
Australia and the
First World War
Prelude to War
In the four decades prior to August 1914, the western world was
undergoing unprecedented changes in every area of society.
Industrial expansion and wealth, both personal and national, had a
profound impact on economic life.
 These changes lead to conflicts, jealousies and differences that
were not easily reconcilable.
 Monarchies and democracies alike sought to cope with the changes
and to protect their authority.
 Meanwhile, as the major European nations sought to expand their
wealth and territories, they also needed to protect them. Thus they
looked for partners they could turn to in case of war
Causes of the War
 Historians have traditionally cited four long-term
causes of the First World War
 IMPERIALISM – Economic and political control
over weaker nations
 NATIONALISM – a devotion to the interests and
culture of one’s nation
 MILITARISM – policy of maintaining a strong
military organisation in aggressive preparedness
for war
 ALLIANCE SYSTEM – By 1907 Europe was
divided into two armed camps
 For many centuries,
European nations built
empires across the
globe in order to
control as much
territory as they could.
Reasons for Imperialism
Why European nations competed with each
other to gain colonies
 Power and prestige - The more territory that they were able to
control the more powerful and important they thought they could
 Natural resources. These could be brought to Europe
and turned into manufactured goods.
 New markets for their manufactured goods. These goods
could be sold in Africa for large profits.
 To prevent others from taking that region
The Scramble for Africa
was a process of invasion,
occupation, colonisation and
annexation of African territory
by European powers during
the New Imperialism period,
between 1881 and World
War I in 1914
 Often nationalism led
to rivalries and conflicts
between nations.
Additionally, various
ethnic groups resented
domination by others
and wanted
independence. Finally,
Russia and AustriaHungary disagreed over
the treatment of Serbs
in central Europe.
Germany was allied with AustriaHungary while Russia, France and
Britain were partners
 Empires had to be defended and
European nations increased
military spending enormously in
the late 19th and early 20th
 Britain had long ruled the seas as
it had the strongest naval fleet
 By 1890 Germany had surpassed
Britain as the strongest nation militarily in
Germany had a strong army and built
up a navy to rival England’s fleet.
France, Italy, Japan and the United
States quickly joined in the naval buildup.
There was fierce competition between Britain and Germany for
mastery of the seas and Battleships were being stockpiled
from the late 19th century. HMS Dreadnought was a battleship
of the British Royal Navy that revolutionised naval power. The
Germans soon followed suit introducing their own battleships.
Alliance System
 By 1907 there were two
major defense alliances in
 The Triple Entente
(later known as the
Allies) consisted of
France, Britain, and
European Alliances in 1914
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente
or Allies
France, Britain, and
1914 Russian propaganda
poster. The upper
inscription reads
“Agreement". The
uncertain Britannia on the
right and Marianne
(French emblem of liberty
and reason) on the left
look to the determined
Mother Russia (centre) to
lead them in the coming
The Triple Alliance
 The Triple Alliance, later known as the
Central Powers, consisted of Germany,
Austria-Hungary, and Italy (Soon joined
by the Ottoman Empire)
Triple Alliance
An Artists impression of
the Triple Alliance.
Germany is depicted on
the left
Austria-Hungary on the
right and
Italy below and centre
European Alliances 1914
The Balkans
This part of
Europe has
from the
rest of
Europe due
to Greek &
Igniting a Powder Keg
The Balkans
 The Balkan region was
considered “the
powder keg of Europe”
due to competing
interests in the area.
The Balkans
 Russia wanted access to the
Mediterranean Sea. Germany wanted a
rail link to the Ottoman Empire.
The Balkans
 Austria-Hungary, which had taken control of
Bosnia in 1878, accused Serbia of subverting its
rule over Bosnia.
Igniting the Powder Keg
 Finally, in June of 1914, Archduke
Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian
throne was gunned down in Sarajevo,
the capital of the Austro-Hungarian
province of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian radical
igniting a diplomatic crisis.
 This is incident is regarded as the
‘spark’ that triggered the First World
Igniting the Powder Keg
Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to
the Austro-Hungarian throne, travelled
with his wife to Sarajevo
Serbian radical
Gavrilo Princep
travels to Sarajevo
The Fighting Begins
 The Alliance system pulled
one nation after another
into the conflict – The
Great War had begun. On
August 3, 1914, Germany
invaded Belgium, following
a strategy known as the
Schlieffen Plan. This plan
called for a quick strike
through Belgium to Paris,
France. Next, Germany
would attack Russia
 The plan was designed to
prevent a two-front war for
The Schliefflen Plan
Ms Costello
28.2.13 Today we will:
- Review Exercise (Name the two alliance and the countries involved)
- Check Bookwork policy is signed
- Examining the following:
- Chain of events that lead to World War
- Map worksheet – Alliances and Schlieffen Plan
- Australia’s enthusiasm for war
- Causes of WWI wordsearch
- Our class wiki
Do now: (and do every time you walk into the classroom)
1. Take out your book, diary, pencil case, ruler - write today's date in your book
2. Write the heading (underline all headings) Today we will : and copy list above
3. Move directly on to Review Exercise
• Write the heading Review Exercise in your books (and underline)
• Write 5 facts, ideas, concepts that you remember from the previous lesson
(Alliance systems – see above)
A Chain of Events
as a result of
The assassination
of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand led to
the ‘July Crisis’
and AustriaHungary
declaring war on
Australia stands
behind the ‘Mother
Country’ to ‘defend
her to our last man
and our last
Great Britain
declares war on
4th August 1914
Great Britain had
an agreement to
defend Belgium
this brought them
and all nations of
the British Empire
into the war as
28 June 1914
30 July Russia
began to mobilise
due to its alliance
with Serbia,
Germany then put
the Schlieffen
plan into action
and declared war
on Russia (1st
3rd August
German army then
launched its attack
on Russia's ally,
France, through
Austro-Hungarian Empire (1914 -1918)
German Empire + German colonial forces
(1914 – 1918)
Ottoman Empire (Turkey) secretly from 2
August 1914 & openly from 29 October 1914
– 1918
Kingdom of Bulgaria (1915 – 1918)
*N.B. Italy, although an original member of
the Central Powers alliance, fought on the
side of the Allied Powers from 1915. The
original Triple Alliance was intended to be
limited to defensive purposes only. Declaring
war on Serbia was aggressive and not
defensive action so Italy withdrew their
support and fought on the other side.
France (1914 -1918)
British Empire (1914 -1918) + all members
of its Empire including Australia, New
Zealand, India, Canada, South Africa
Russian Empire (1914–17)
Belgium (1914 -1918)
Montenegro (1914–16)
Japan (1914 - 1918)
Serbia (1914 – 1918)
*Italy (23 May 1915–18)
Romania (1916–18)
Portugal (1916–18)
Brazil (1916-18)
Greece (1917–18)
United States (1917–18)
+ others colonies of the European Powers

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