GCSE AQA History, Origins of World War 1

These cards are just a brief summary of the causes of the First World War. Hope they help!! :)

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  • Created by: Samina
  • Created on: 06-06-12 13:59

Kaiser Wilhem II

Kaiser Wilhelm was the leader of Germany during the First World War...

His main aims were:

- To turn Germany into a huge imperial power.

- He wanted his 'nation to emerge form the shados and take its place in the sun'

- To be respected and to stop being undervalued.

- To dominated Central Europe.

- To gain a huge trading nation.

These aims of Wilhelms were called 'WELTPOLITIK'. Wilhelms aggressive policy spread fear throughout the whole of Europe.

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Allliances 1900-1914

1882- Germany and Austria-Hunagry formed an alliance with Austria Hungary, known as the Triple Alliance.

1894- Russia formed an alliance with France.

1902- Great Britain and Japan made a naval agreement.

1904- Briatin and France formed the Entente Cordiale.

1907- Entente Cordiale became the Triple Entente because Russia joined the alliance.

Europe was divided, this caused tension between rivals and turned local disputes into wider hostility.

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Arms Race

By 1914 Germany had the greatest increase in military build-up. Germany and Great Britain also greatly increased their navies in this time period...

The arms race was a cause of WW1 because;

-armies were growing

-made countries more stronger and confident

-bought more weapons, manufacturers encouraged the equipping of weapons


- existence of large armies was a threat to peace (more trained soldiers)

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Naval Race

GB had a very big navy due to the fact they were an island, and they had a huge overseas empire. In 1898, Tirpitz built up the German navy to rival GBs.

GB saw this a challenge to their empire and so after 1906, both nations begain to increase their navy by building 'Dreadnoughts'. This race reached a peak in 1909.

The British govt. planned to only build 4 dreadnoughts in 1909-10, but public pressure mounted and they had to increase spending on British fleet, "We want 8 and we won't wait."

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First Moroccan Crisis, 1905-06

GB and France decided to take Morocco under the French Sphere of Influence. This angered Wilhelm tho wanted to have colonies in Africa.                                             So Wilhelm visited Morocco and promised to support their independence.              This infuriated the French.                                                                                             In 1906, there was a conference held in Algeciras between GB, France and Russia, they decide that Germany had no say in Moroccan affairs.                                      This caused the Triple Entente to form.

Kaiser did this to test the agreement between nations. But he was also left humiliated and angry.

Germany was beginning to feel surrounded by its enemies.

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Second Moroccan Crisis, 1911 (Agadir Crisis)

French help the Sultan to crush a rebellion against his rule, this is their oppurtunity to take over Morocco.

France compensate Spain and Germany.

Germany send a Panther gunboat to pressure the French into giving them good land. They are given 100 000 sq/m of French Congo (mainly swamp land).

After seeing the gunboat, GB feel threatened of the German navy, thye make an agreement with France to protect the French North Coast (neares to them).

Wilhelm is infuriated by the turn of events, and so is determined not to lose again.

A stronger alliance between France and Britain is formed...

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Bosnia, 1908-09 (Balkans)

Bosnia annexed into Austria Hungary since 1878.                                                        In 1908 there is a revolution in Turkey and Austria Hungary take oppurtunity to annex Bosnia.                                                                                                                    Serbia is very angry because they wanted to control the Slavs of Bosnia.             Serbia couldn't face Austria Hungary alone so they look to Russia for support.        However in 1909, Germany made it clear that if Russia decalred war on Austria Hungary, they would get involved.                                                                               So Russia backed off because they were afraid of Germany's immense power.

Importance of this event;

- re assured Austria Hungary that it could rely on Germany.

- meant Russia built up armie so they were prepared for the next dispute.

- serbia looking for revenge on Austria Hungary

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Schlieffen Plan

It was a German plan of attack made by Count Von Schlieffen. It was so Germany could avoid war on 2 fronts.

They were going to attack France through Belgium and Netherlands, leaving a very small force to hold off the attack from Alsace Lorraine.

In 1914 the plan was changed by General Motke, who attacked only through Belgium, then planned to defeat France in 6 weeks and turn back to fight Russia. However when Russia mobilised its troops in July 1914 it threw Germans into pionsanic.

On 3 August 1914, the Germand launched the Schlieffen Plan.

It didn't work because, the plan was based on assumptions and it was changed in 1914, and also Britain became involved because of neutrality pact.

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Assassination of Franz Ferdinand

In Sarajevo, 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand was visiting the people of Bosnia.

The Black Hand was a Serbian terrorist group who had formed in 1910. These terrorists made two attempts to kill the Archduke.

The first time the threw a bomb at the car, but Ferdinand deflected it and instead it injured the watching crowd.

The tour had to be cancelled but the Archduke insisted on visiting those injured by the bomb.

But at a wrongturn, the second attempt to kill the Archduke was carried out by Gavrilo Princip, who fired two shots and killed the Archduke and his wife.

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Slide To War

The assassination was one of the reasons that led to the outbreak of war in 1914, but there was also other issues that contributed to it.

Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the assassination, they offered an ultimatum on the 23rd of July. Serbia wanted to avoid war BUT they didn't agree with the 6th term - which was interference in the Serbian govt, they wanted Austrian delegates to be allowed to be involved in the inquiry.

On the 28th July, Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia mobilise to prepare for war on the 30th July. On the 31st July, Germany declared war.

On the 5th July, Germany and Austria-Hungary meet, the Germans offered a 'blank cheque'.

On 3rd August, the Schlieffen Plan was put into action.

On the 4th August Briatain declared war because of their neutrality pact with Belgium (Treaty of London (1839)).

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