The 1839 Treaty of London. Despite occuring some 75 years earlier, this treaty was actually used as the excuse by Britain for entering the war. In the original treaty, the five great powers (including Britain) guaranteed Belgium as an 'independent and perpetually neutral state.'

The 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War. The defeat of France by the Prussian state was deeply humiliating to the French. The fact that Prussia took the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine as reparations was even more humiliating. The Prussians declared themselves to be the head of a German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

The 1879 Dual Alliance Only fifteen years earlier, Germany and Austria had been at war with each other. In 1879, Bismarck had improved relations so much that they could enter into an alliance with one another.

The 1882 Triple Allliance Italy was annoyed with the French annexation of Tunisia. As Tunisia was the closest African territory to the mainland of Italy, Italy had had plans to colonise Tunisia itself. It therefore joined with Germany and Austria-Hungary as a form of protest.

The 1882 Egypt Riots in Alexandria lead to an Anglo-French force being sent to Egypt. At the last moment, the French pull back from the mission. The British take charge in Egypt alone.

The 1884 Berlin Conference Bismarck used this conference to discuss colonial affairs to maintain rivarly between France and Britain. Germany also takes colonies of its own in Africa.

The 1887 Russian Reinsurance Treaty Bismarck created this Treaty to stop the Russians being worried by the strength of the Triple Alliance.

1890 Bismarck is sacked Two years after the Kaiser came to power, Bismarck and Wilhelm clash over their respective styles. Bismarck leaves politics.

The 1890 Reinsurance Treaty lapses Germany's new Chancellor Caprivi drops the agreement Germany had with Russia.

The 1892 Franco-Russian Alliance France and Russia agree to help one another against the powerful Triple Alliance

The 1896 Adowa The Italian army was humiliatingly defeated by an Ethiopian army at the battle of Adowa.

The 1898 Fashoda Crisis France and Britain came close to war when British troops in Sudan discovered that a French force was claiming the Sudan for France.

1899 - 1902 Boer War Fought by the British against the Boers, this war demonstrated how alone Britain had become. No European power was willing to help the British in any way.

1904/5 Russo-Japanese War Russia was humiliated by defeat on the land and on the sea by the relatively unknown power of Japan. Riots and strikes in Russia were one other result of this humiliation.

1904 Entente Cordiale The Francophile King Edward VII visited France and helped pave the way for a warming of relations between France and Britain.

1905 First Moroccan Crisis Rioting in Casablance killed some Europeans. When the French respond to these attacks by using French soldiers, Wilhelm demands that if France takes Morocco as a colony, Germany should also receive a similar sized colony.

1907 Triple Entente France managed to get Britain and Russia to bury their differences with one another - most notably over India. Britain agrees to back France's claim to Morocco, and France agrees to back Britain's claim to Egypt.

1911 - Libya Italy invaded Libya and took it from the Ottomans.

1911 - Second Moroccan Crisis The Germans sent a small gunboat, the Panther, to the small Moroccan port of Agadir to protect its citizens which it said were still being attacked. They are also concerned about French troop deployments in the region. The French asked for British support which was received. The Germans asked for compensation for leaving. No compensation was granted.

1912 - First Balkan War Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro attacked Turkey to try and gain territory and independence.

1913 - Second Balkan War The Balkan powers fell out over their gains from Turkey. Greece, Serbia, Turkey and Romania fight against Bulgaria who they thought had been too greedy.



Colonial Rivalry. The world view of economics at this time thought that the industrial countries needed colonies to gain raw materials for its industries and then to act as markets to sell them in. They thought that it was good to have lots of colonies producing a variety of raw materials.

Arms Race As the European nations had industrialised so much in the late nineteenth century, it was becoming easier to produce the weapons of war. Troops could be armed with better rifles and more modern machine guns. Ships were becoming larger and more powerful. The British Dreadnought Battleship built in 1906 redefined the power of the Navy.

Education and the Press Many European nations had begun to educate their people during the nineteenth century. However, this education was very limited. It usually concerned reading, writing, some mathematics and some religion. It meant that many working class people could now read the popular tabloid newspapers that were being produced. Often, these newspapers were fiercely patriotic and did little to explain different points of opinion

Religion Most established churches were happy to say that God was on their side. The clergy were often very patriotic themselves and thought that it was fine to fight against those who were not following the true Christian path.

Patriotism This was a period when very few ideas reached people from other countries, cultures and points of view. Most of the press was owned by the elite of the same nationality. This was also the era of Social Darwinism when it was common to think that weak nations would lose out to stronger nations.

The Balkans The Balkans was a real problem area. There had been so many invasions, empires and wars in the area that it was difficult to figure out what belonged to what group. In a period of increasing national awareness, the fragmented nature of the Balkans was becoming a more and more serious problem. Most diplomats agreed that there was little chance of pleasing all the peoples of the Balkans.