GCSE: Modern World History (Unit 1): Development of the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente

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  • GCSE Modern World History-Unit 1: The Origins of the First World War
    • Why were there two armed camps in Europe in 1914?
      • 1907: Europe was divided into two rival groups. These were the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.The Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia.
      • The Triple Alliance
        • This alliance was eventually signed in 1882.
        • In 1879, the German Chancellor Bismarck signed the Dual Alliance with Austria to strengthen Germany against France and Russia.
        • 3 years later, Italy joined and it became the Triple Alliance. This was a defensive alliance with all three powers agreeing to support each other if one of them was attacked by two or more powers.
      • The Triple Entente: This came together in three different stages.
        • 1) The Franco-Russian Dual Alliance of 1894
          • These two countries allied for several reasons:
            • Kaiser Wilhelm II had made it clear that he did not favour close relations with Russia.
              • Both France and Russia felt isolated in Europe.
                • France was still determined to get revenge on Germany for the defeat of 1871 and wanted to recover the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine.
                  • Russia was in need of a loan to help develop her economy.
            • The alliance was defensive, with both countries agreeing to support each other if attacked by Germany or Austria-Hungary.
        • The Entente Cordiale of 1904
          • At the end of the 19th century, Britain played very little part in events in Europe.
          • There were several reasons for this:
            • Britain felt increasingly isolated, especially as Germany had declined to sign an agreement in the year 1900-02 limiting naval expansion.
              • There was increasing rivalry between Germany and Britain due to German naval expansion.
                • France continued to want revenge on Germany and the recovery of the lost provinces.
                  • Britain wanted to stop French interference Egypt and the French wanted a free hand to expand into Morocco.
    • The Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907
      • This was signed mainly due to French influence as France was already in alliance with Russia and had signed the Entente Cordiale with Britain.
      • Moreover, Britain and Russia were keen to settle areas of difference in the Middle East, especially Persia and the Far East.
      • Britain now had agreements with France and Russia and this is often referred to as the Triple Entente, although no such alliance actually existed.
      • The alliance system, including the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance, was important because:
        • It increased tension in Europe. It was like having two rival gangs fighting for influence.
        • A dispute between one of the members could well involve the other members. This would turn a dispute between two countries into a major conflict between all six.
  • Results/Consequences of Entente Cordiale
    • France allowed Britain to go  ahead with reforms in Egypt and Britain promised not to oppose any French action in Morocco.
    • This had several important effects:
      • Kaiser Wilhelm was suspicious of the agreement and became determined to break it up.
      • It encouraged French Expansion in Morocco.
      • Anglo-French relations became closer in the years after 1904 so that by 1914 the two countries even planned how to fight a future war against Germany.


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