Triple Alliance between Germany,
Austria-Hungary and Italy (1882)
The Franco-Russian Alliance
(1894): improved France's
national security against a
German invasion. The alliance
was a threat to Germany - war on
the President of
was a tactless
Weltpolitik 1897-1904(World Policy)
The grand plan involving both continental and overseas
expansion in order to attain world power.
Achievements: Between 1897 and 1904 the real achievements of Weltpolitk
were very limited.
Chinese port of Kiaochow (1897) - naval base
Islands in the Pacific
The end of British splendid isolation: led to -
Anglo-japanese Alliance (1902) = Britain able to withdraw
naval forces in the Pacific. - Anglo-French Agreement
(1904) = co-operation between countries.Germany and
Britain was no longer close - fear of encirclement?
Anglo-German agreement did not happen because Bulow
thought that it would lead to war with France and Russia
Place in the sun?
International Crises and Tensions 1904-11
The first Moroccan Crisis 1905-6: Morocco an
accepted French sphere of influence was a place
of economic interest for Germany. The Germans
demanded an international conference - discuss
future of Morocco = hoping to drive a wedge
between France & Britain.Germans also attempted
to drive Russians away from their friendship with
the French (Treaty of Bjorko 1905) but the
Humiliation for the Germans, caused the
resigning of Foreign Minister Friedrich von
Triple Entente (1907): Alliance between Britain, France &
Russia suggest Germany's fear of encirclement as
powerful European countries had formed an
alliance as a defensive approach against Germany's aggression.
Anglo-German differences: Bethmann recognised
that an agreement with Britain to limit naval
construction would reduce Germany's financial
difficulties, at the same time loosen Britain from the
Triple Entente. Both sides saw the advantages from
the settlement but the demands were high between
1909-1911 negotiations: Britain wanted Germany to
reduce navy expansion whilst Germany demanded
Britain to promise neutrality in the event of attack
upon France and Russia.
Impossible for both countries to accept these conditions.
The Second Moroccan Crisis (1911): in Feb 1909 - French & German
governments signed an agreement to respect each other's interests in Morocco.
in 1911 - French military intervened in the town of Fez. As a result, Germany
attempted to bully France into surrendering the French Congo in return Germany
would give up all interests in Morocco.
Germany gained two strips of land in the Congo.
The Bosnian Crisis: Austria (1908) attempted to annex the
regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to deal with the
Serbs. The Serbs and the Russian Govt. was furious with the
annexation as the peace in the Balkans had finished (made in
1897). In February 1909 - Austria Hungary (supported by
Germany) forced Serbia & Russia to recognise the annexation
by threatening war against Serbia. Russia was too weak for war
due to 1905 Revolution = had to accept the annexation
A diplomatic triumph for Germany because the victory of Austria, in
support of Germany strengthened their alliance. Russia & Serbia humiliated
- did not want to be humiliated again. Doubts within the Triple Entente
about the true purpose of German foreign policy.
Navy Rivalry (1909): Anglo-German relations reached low points = Bosnian crisis but also Britain's worry about
German Navy expansion. Germany felt threatened by the creation of HMS Dreadnought, therefore invested in
expanding the Navy = more battleships. Led to an arms race in 1913 = an uneasy relationship, Britain saw the
German gala expansion as a threat.
in 1909: British Govt. set budget to build 9 Dreadnought - battle class ships in the year.
1911-14: The Final Years of Peace
Fischer argues that 1911 was an important
year for German foreign policy because it was
evident after 1991 the real motives and aims of
Germany led directly to war in August 1914.
The Balkans War 1912-13:
changed the international
lost nearly all
Serbia doubled in size but felt
resentful at the creation of Albania
- blaming Austria for denying its
access to the sea. = Austria fear
that its state was threatened by the
Russia won diplomatic victory
from Serbia's military victory.
The Army Bill of June 1913 increased the
German army's size by 170,000 troops =
French and Russian also increased army.
The 'War Council;' 1912 meeting: the increasing sense of
isolation and encirclement of the Triple Entente led to a failed
attempt to reach an Anglo-German rapprochement.
British Minister of War, Lord Haldane warned the German
ambassador in London that Britain would stand by France
unconditionally in the event of a continental war.
War Council supports Fischer's view of
Germany's intentions to fight a war at a time most
suitable to German military. The meeting included
Kaiser and his top military staff: Molkte, Tirpitz and
Kaiser insisted that Austria should be supported in her actions
against Serbia. If Russia decided to fight then so be it Austria
would be supported by Turkey, Romania, Albany and Bulgaria,
leaving Germany to deal with France and Britain. Molkte
thought war against Russia was 'inevitable' - the sooner the
better? Whilst Tirpitz suggested that the navy needed 12-18
months for further development.
1914-15 best time for war as France and
Russia's reforms wouldn't come into affect till
The Arms Race: By 1912 it was clear that
Germany could not afford and not win the naval
race - Navy Law 1912
Concern for Germany's capacity to fight war on land against
France & Russia. This led to increase in the Army Law 1912-13 =
663,000 to 800,00 men
The mood of 1914: Germany had been forging closer friendship with Austria and in early months of 1914
Russo-German alliance was worsening. Bethmann was encouraged by the peaceful settlement of several
colonial disputes = success in war? This suggest plan for war certainly existed - Schlieffen Plan (developing for 20yrs)?
July Crisis 1914
Assassination of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand - heir of the Austrian
throne was a shocked to the world
and sparked the crisis that lead to
The Blank Cheque: on 5-6th July, Kaiser and Bethmann gave their
unconditional support to Austria. This urged Austria to send harsh
ultimatum and take immediate action against Serbia. Serbia was
accepted most conditions apart from Austrian police patrolling
Bethmann saw July Crisis to be the perfect time for Austria to
dominate power over Serbia - weakening Russia and the Triple
Britain attempted to mediate by calling an
international conference = Germany
ignored the proposal.
Misunderstanding between German leaders: Kaiser proposed that the Austrians
should 'halt in Belgrade' and negotiate on basis of Serbian reply to Austrian Govt. Yet
German generals encouraged to use military initiatives.Moltke and generals
recognised that once Russia started mobilise - Germany would become committed to
28July: Austria declared war on Serbia; 29th July Partial mobilisation by Russia - led to full mobilisation on 31st July. 1st
August German declaration war on Russia, 3rd August German declaration of war on France & invasion of Belgium. 4th
August Britain declared war on Germany.
Schliefen Plan: prevent war on two fronts as the plans consisted of achieve in all out assault in
the west in order to defeat France before Russia could mobilise. Thought it would take 6 weeks
to defeat France and 6 weeks for Russian army to mobilise. However, the plan was a failure as
Russian mobilisation was fast, took 15 days and invasion in France took longer.
For the plan to work, it was necessary to invade through Belgium (neutral) -
Britain demanded withdrawal of German troops - did not happen = Britain
declared war on Germany.