After their defeat, the authoritarian empires disintegrated.
Enjoy the Famous Daily The diplomatic drift towards war: The cast list is unchanged since the early 18th century except that Prussia is now Germanyand the players are well used to the game of diplomacy in which alliances formed for defensive purposes turn into aggressive partnerships as soon as a new war develops a circumstance considered almost inevitable sooner or later in the atmosphere of national rivalry.
However the 19th century has introduced one new element in the form of very much shorter wars. The idea of rapid victory in a short war is particularly prevalent in Germany, the victor in both the Seven Weeks' War and the Franco-Prussian War. And the German nation is both more hungry for immediate success on the international stage than its rivals, and more nervous about succumbing to hostile alliances.
The reasons are numerous. Germany has recently been transformed by Bismarck from a relatively minor player to potentially the most powerful nation in continental Europe. But as a late arrival on the world stage, it has no empire to match those of Britain, France and Russia. Nor, unlike them, has it a great navy - the most tangible symbol, perhaps, of international power.
German nervousness is increased during the s when alliances among the European powers seem to be slipping beyond German control. Bismarck worked on the assumption of hostility from France eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and a neutral stance from Britain historically the great rival of France.
He therefore concentrated his efforts on creating alliances with his eastern neighbours, Russia and Austria-Hungary.
To these he added Italya new nation on the verge of great power status within Europe. Bismarck's chosen path is not easy, particularly since Austria-Hungary and Russia have conflicting spheres of interest in the unstable Balkans.
As a result, while Austria-Hungary and Italy remain constant allies the three nations become known from as the Central Powers of EuropeBismarck is constantly having to patch up or renew the alliance with Russia under the pressure of international events.
The careful edifice crumbles after Bismarck's dismissal in The new Kaiserrecognizing the incompatibility of Russia and Austria-Hungary as allies, breaks off the alliance with Russia.
As a result Russia and France, both equally alarmed by Germany, begin secret negotiations - which result in the Franco-Russian alliance of Then, even more surprisingly, in France and Britain agree an unprecedented Entente Cordiale.
Austria-Hungary, a declining power, and the relatively weak Italy now seem to be Germany's only probable allies in a European conflict. And by this time many, particularly in Germany, feel that such a conflict cannot be far in the future.
All the major nations have been preparing for such an eventuality, but Germany has done so in the most deliberate fashion. The strategic drift towards war: To this end much pride is placed in the plan devised by Admiral von Tirpitz to provide the nation with a High Seas Fleet to match the naval forces of Britain.
Tirpitz's demands on the Reichstag escalate in the inexorable pattern of any arms race. In he persuades the politicians to pass a Navy Law providing for a fleet of 16 battleships. Two years later a new Navy Law revises the figure to 38 battleships, with a completion date of for the full fleet.
This level will still be below that of the British navy, but Tirpitz argues that it will provide Germany with a Risikoflotte 'risk fleet'meaning one too dangerous for Britain to attack.
Britain radically upsets the calculation by introducing in a vastly more powerful class of battleship, the first of the famous 'dreadnoughts'. Germany follows suit, upgrading its production line to the new standard.
To the German argument that Britain is escalating the stakes, Winston Churchill when first lord of the admiralty in replies that for an island nation a powerful navy is a defensive necessity, whereas to Germany it is 'more in the nature of a luxury'.
Meanwhile the German strategy for the army in the event of war is both more secret and more illicit. It is the work of Alfred von Schlieffen, chief of the general staff from to During the second half of the s, when France and Russia are in alliance and it is accepted that a war must be fought on both fronts, Schlieffen devises a two-stage plan.
A massive and rapid flanking attack will be made on France from the north, through Belgium in total disregard of Belgium's neutralitywhile a relatively light force holds at bay the Russians - who are likely to be slower in their mobilization.
France will then be defeated in time to redirect the full German might against Russia. In December the emperor William II and his military advisers hold a secret meeting in which they discuss the possible launch of a preventive war, on the basis of the Schlieffen Plan, to protect Germany's interests.
Tirpitz argues for delay to give him more time to build up the fleet. His view prevails, but it is agreed that it will be essential to wait for not much more than two years.
In the Reichstag passes a bill to increase the size of Germany's peacetime army, with a target ofmen by the autumn of The other four players in this dangerous game are also now following suit. There is no evident reason for war.Europe Plunges into War This map is part of a series of 20 animated maps showing the history of The first World War, In the morning of June 28, , the procession of the Archduke of Austria was making its way towards City Hall in Sarajevo, when a bomb was hurled in its direction.
Ch 20 Margin Qs. STUDY. PLAY. What aspects of Europe's nineteenth-century history contributed to the First World War? competing states, Franco-Prussian War, defeat of Napoleon, Germany looking for new place in Europe, European alliances In what ways were the origins of World War II in Asia and Europe similar to each other?
How were . World War I summary: The war fought between July 28, , and November 11, , was known at the time as the Great War, the War to End War, and (in the United States) the European War.
Only when the world went to war again in the s and ’40s did the earlier conflict become known as the First. The First World War raged from to in muddy, bloody trenches of western Europe, saw the introduction of the machine gun and poison gas into battle.
Learn more about the major battles and figures of the Great War, as well as its impact on cultural, economic, and social life across the globe. First World War Excavating Robert Graves With biographies of all the big-name poets of the Great War (with the exception of Wilfred Owen) to her name, Jean Moorcroft Wilson has established.
Nov 15, · A good book which would make for an excellent resource in a college course on twentieth century European history, a history of World War I or a study of what happened in Europe during the interwar iridis-photo-restoration.coms: