Origins of WWI
Monday, September 24, 2012
1. Rise of Germany
2. Ententes and Alliances
3. Nationalism/Decline of Austria
Wilhelm I (r. 1861-1888)
Otto von Bismarck
Wilhelm II (r. 1881-1918)
Entente Cordiale (1904)
Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia)
Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy)
Franz-Joseph (r. 1848-1916)
Rise of Germany
Erupted in August 1914 and ended November 11 1918
In 1871 Wilhelm I won war making himself a great power of Europe. Named
Germany. Named Germany an “empire”. This caused a great sense of
nationalism amongst German people. This also causes Europe to be
reshaped. Only the power of Great Britain remained unaffected. Notably,
Austro-Hungary and France lost come of their power as Germany rose.
Tension in Europe increased.
Otto von Bismarck dominated German politics until 1890. He worked hard to
“keep the peace” in Europe. Convinced Europe that after 1871 Germany had
all the land it desired- by doing so he hoped to convince the world that
Germany wouldn’t be a threat.
Change in German monarchy in 1888- Wilhelm I died and was replaced by
his grandson Wilhelm II. Wilhelm II believed in Germany’s success.
Unfortunately he was very opinionated, “a bully”, and had a rude/unpleasant
temperament. A popular story is of his left hand birth defect- he took great
pleasure in using his right hand and signet ring to crush the hands of people
as they shook. Another interesting point is that he was the grandson of Queen
Victoria. Wilhelm II very quickly fired chancellor (Bismarck). It took restraint and
realism to keep foreign affairs friendly- traits Wilhelm II lacked.
Wilhelm II let Russian alliance expire led to the Franco-Russian alliance
Wilhelm II had expansive European ambitions. Tried to establish British
alliance, but failed and sulked. Therefore the Germans made things difficult