Road to WWI and Treaty of Versailles

List of fundamental facts I made to learn by heart on these topics.

For AQA History Paper 1

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  • Created on: 07-05-11 10:56
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1. Origins of the first world war
a. Why were there two armed camps in Europe in 1914?
i. Austro-Hungary was ruled by Emperor Franz Josef
ii. Austro-Hungary was militarily weak, and had internal problems as it had two disputing
governments of Austria and Hungary.
iii. Britain was ruled by George V and had a Liberal government.
iv. Britain maintained its power through naval superiority. It had a developing air force
called the RFC (Royal Flying Corps.)It had a relatively weak army, with the majority of
troops being colonial.
v. France lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany during the Franco-Prussian war of 1871. It had
held a grudge ever since.
vi. Germany was ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
vii. Chancellor of Germany was Otto von Bismarck.
viii. Germany had the fastest industrial development in the world. It overtook Britain in its
industrial revolution and produced huge quantities of coal and steel.
ix. Germany had the most efficient army.
x. Russia was ruled by Tsar Nikolas II until 1917.
xi. Russia internal situation was unstable.
xii. Russia had the largest army by far but they were poorly organised and equipped.
xiii. Tsar Nikolas, George v and Kaiser Wilhelm were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
(They were cousins).
xiv. Dual Alliance between Germany and Austro-Hungary in 1879
xv. Triple Alliance consisted of Italy, Germany and Austro-Hungary and was formed in
xvi. The Triple Alliance was a defensive agreement. If one country was attacked, the
others would help it.
xvii. Germany wanted to be stronger for fear of attack from France.
xviii. There were similarities between Austro-Hungary and Germany, so they were
sympathetic to each other.
xix. Italy and Germany were both new countries and needed to be strong.
xx. Italy provided large sea borders for naval access.
xxi. Together the Triple Alliance controlled central Europe.
xxii. Dual alliance between France and Russia in 1892. This was a military agreement for
fear of attack from Germany.
xxiii. Great Britain and France formed the Entente Cordiale in 1904
xxiv. Triple Entente consisted of France, Russia and Great Britain and was formed in 1907.
xxv. Britain joined for fear of Germany's growing navy.
xxvi. Britain delayed its joining because of its policy of `splendid isolation'.
xxvii. Together the Triple Entente controlled either side of the Triple Alliance.
xxviii. The Kaiser said that he `felt surrounded' and used this as his excuse for war.
xxix. The Schlieffen Plan was developed in 1905
b. Why did war break out in 1914?
i. The Naval arms race lasted 1906-1914
ii. Britain owned 25% of the world in 1900
iii. Britain needed a large navy because of its huge empire.
iv. Both Germany and Britain began building Dreadnoughts in 1906.

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v. Dreadnoughts were superior to all older battleships, s Britain needed to build as many
as possible to maintain naval supremacy.
vi. The tension peaked in 1909 when Germany refused to say how many they would
vii. British government planned to build four dreadnoughts in 1909 but public pressure
(`we want eight and we won't wait') forced them to increase the budget and build
viii. Britain won. In 1914 GB had 18 Dreadnoughts and Germany had 17.
ix.…read more

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xl. Russia wanted access to the Mediterranean through the black sea because its main
ports (Vladivostok) froze up in winter. It therefore needed an ally to weaken Turkey.
xli. Serbia wanted to expand. (A `Greater Serbia').
xlii. Turkey was very weak and corrupt. (The `sick man of Europe').
xliii. Serbia wanted part of Bosnia so it could have access to the Adriatic.
xliv. By the Treaty of Berlin 1878 Austro-Hungary had the right to `occupy and administer'
Bosnia.…read more

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lxx. 28th July 1914 - Austria declares war on Serbia
lxxi. 30th July 1914 ­ Russia starts to mobilise (Serb-Russian alliance)
lxxii. 1st August 1914 ­ Germany declares war on Russia (Blank cheque)
lxxiii. 1st August 1914 - France declares war on Austro-Hungary. (Military alliance with
lxxiv. 3rd August 1914 ­ Germany declares war on France (Triple Alliance)
lxxv. 3rd August 1914 ­ German troops enter Belgium (Schlieffen Plan is put into action)
lxxvi.…read more

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3. North Schleswig went to Denmark.
4. A `Polish Corridor was created', giving newly formed Poland access to
the sea, and separating East Prussia from the rest of Germany. (Prussia
was the key state in Germany).
5. Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Estonia made independent. (Threat of
6. The Saar Coalfield was put under League of Nations' control for 15
years, after which time there was to be a plebiscite as to whether it
went to Germany or France.…read more


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