Origins of WWI
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Loh Yong Sheng
HIS103Y reading summary: The origins of the first world war
Bridge, F.R. Bullen, Roger. The Great Powers and the European States
System:1815-1914. Canada: Longman Group Limited, 1980.
Time Period: 1895-1911
Characters: Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy), Crispi
(Italy), Salisbury ( Britain)
Main events: Shift of german policy, Armenian rebellion in Turkey, Russo-
Japanese war, Morocco crisis
- Preoccupation of the powers outside Europe (India and Asia) and the
constellation of the powers within Europe provided peace on the continent.
-Salisbury did not believe that the continental powers will be able to unite in
one bloc against the British Empire as they have too many fundamental
- The other Eurasian power, Russia had to concentrate her attention primarily
in Europe, where the main potential threat to her existence as a great power
lies. Technological advancement and scientific developments had deprived her
of the supremacy her vast manpower resources have given her.
- Conclusion of Franco-Russian alliance brought about the prospect of their
domination in Eastern Mediterranean and also the expulsion of Britain from
- Italy’s ambition to become a real imperial power with the help of Germany and
even Britain reduced Franco-Italian relations to a new low.
- Shift of German’s policy from Bismarck’s concentration of the defense of
Germany to Weltpolitik (world policy), which seeks to build Germany into a
strong, large and unbeatable empire in every possible way, one of its most
dramatic impact was the construction of Germany’s naval force which sought to
rival or even exceed the Royal Navy in strength. Elites in Germany also
supported this idea: naval expansion will also mean profits for the
-In order to build up her navy peacefully, Germany had this danger zone policy
where she made it essential to remain on good terms with the other great
powers, especially Britain, when the navy fleet was still in the infant stage.
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