Tensions in european politics and the outbreak of the first world war. The eastern question: the rise of the russian empire and associated anxieties & the slow decline of the ottoman empire. French-german antagonism (humiliation on both sides from the other) Arms race caused by industrialization, especially german-british naval arms race. Hardening systems of alliances, breakdown of the congress system. Decline of the ottoman power means russia can gain more territory. Balkan nations gain independence from the ottoman empire. 1875: peasant uprising spread peasant resentment of heavy taxing. 1877-78: russo-turkish war (russians tried to take over balkans) Germany has been unified and is progressively expanding and gaining power. Otto van bismarck: unification of germany, franco-prussian war ( blood and iron ). Not allowed to have their own national definition (but allowed language, religion, schools: south slavs. Triple alliance (germany, austria-hungary, italy, secretly romania) Competition for colonies: potential flashpoints that have yet resolved.