- The launch of the first Dreadnought by Britain in 1906 changed the balance of navies in the world.
- The new battleship was faster and had longer-range guns than older ships.
- The older ships were now referred to as finf minuten ships by the Germans because it was estimated that they would last only five minutes if faced by a Dreadnought.
- Germany felt that it could challenge Britain at sea if it had enough Dreadnoughts- start of the Naval Race.
- In 1908 the Germans were believed to be speeding up their production of Dreadnoughts.
- There was a belief that the only reason that Germany was increasing its fleet was that it wanted to dominate Britain and Europe.
- Britain was planning to build 4 Dreadnoughts in 1909, but there were demands for this to be doubled by groups who wanted to increasespending on the navy using the slogan 'we want eight and won't wait'.
- After 1911 the naval rave continued but was less intense because Britain had gone further ahead.
- Germany didn't seem to realise the threat that its navy was to Britain.
- By 1907 Europe had been divided up into two armed camps: the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente.
- All the alliances were defensive but as they were secret this was not known.
- Therefore all countries involved feared that each alliance was directed against them.
- Germany felt that the Entente Cordiale powers were trying to surround them; France and Russia felt that Germany was trying to expand its territory towards them.
The existence of large armies in Europe was another threat to peace. Military leaders argued that the only way to ensure peace was to have an army strong enough to deter another country from invading. This was the start of the arms race.
All countries in Europe apart from Britain increased the size of their army.
- In 1913 the French raised the period of conscription from two years to three years and the Russians raised theirs from three to three and a half years to try and build up their army.
- By 1913 the German army was very powerful. Only Russia had more soldiers due to their high population.
- Britain was the only power that had not introduced conscription by 1914.