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First World War Origins Revision Notes

History Notes > Roads to Modernity 1789-1945 Notes

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First World War: Origins and Cause Lecture: The Triple Alliance:1879 - a Dual alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary is signed1882 - Accession of Italy, forming the Triple AllianceThe Triple alliance was designed as a counterweight to the Franco-Russian alliance, which surrounded central Europe o

Germany and France have a history of bad relationsNapoleon, Franco-Prussian war

Franco-Russian Alliance:Russia feared an expanded Triple Alliance; this increased the appeal of a French alliance to the Romanov dynastyFrench desire to recapture the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine from the Germans o

Lost in Franco-Prussian warEarly 1892 - Tsar Alexander III suggested that if Germany attacked either France or Russia, the other must immediately come to their aidAugust 1892 - Military conventionRatified on January 4th 1894

The End of British Isolation:Since the establishment of the British Empire in the 17 th century the British policy of isolationism had enabled them to become to most powerful country in the worldBritain would intervene when one nation became too powerful oBritish empirical concern at the forefront of any alliance made oIndia, threat from Russia

Anglo-German agreement rejected in London as too dangerous oNapoleonic France

The Germans could not help if Russia decided to invade India

Salisbury had faith in the system of isolation o

Suggested that forming an alliance was an attempt to guard from a danger the British had no reason to believe existed

HISTORY REVISIONAnglo-Japanese alliance in 1902 ensured British security in the Far East without undertaking dangerous continental commitments

The Entente Cordiale:Outbreak of Russo-Japanese war in February 1904Britain and France keen not to get involved, despite them both having alliances with participantsProcess of settling imperial differences had been underway for a year o

Did not want to revert to hostile relationships between Britain and FranceEntente signed on April 8th, 1904Not a military alliance; focused on colonial & naval disputes o

However, France believed that by signing this, Britain had forged a military allianceSigning of the entente marked the end of the oldest animosity in the worldSir Edward Grey on the Entente: o

Britain signing the Entente created an image to the French that the British would support them in a war. If the British disappointed the French, there would be no salvaging Anglo-French relations.


Britain places a lot of significance on morality; they would not want to be viewed as untrustworthy or negatively portrayed to the international community

The First Moroccan Crisis:1905 - France sought to establish a protectorate over MoroccoKaiser Wilhelm II visited Tangiers, publically promising to support Morocco against any French aggressionApril 1905 - Germany called a conference to resolve the crisisJanuary-April 1906 - Algeciras Conferenceo

Moroccan political independence


French economic control of Morocco


Policed by Spain and France (also Switzerland)

Russia and Britain supported France

The Anglo-Russian Entente:Signed on 31st August, 1907Attempt to reconcile Imperial differences

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