International Relations

Triple Alliance


What did they want? 

  • empire, power, influence
  • To take advantage of Ottoman empire decline while keeping its own empire

Conscription meant large land armies 

Dreadnoughts aided expansion of German navy

Empires- A-H in Europe, G+I in Africa 

Rapidly increasing industrial production in Germany

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Entente Cordiale

Britain and France 

Signed because both countries were worried about Germanys increasing industrial power and ambition for an empire

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  • Kaiser Wilhelm II engineered trouble to test Britain and France's relationship 
  • France wanted to take over Morocco 
  • The Kaiser told the moroccons that he supported their independance 
  • Britain stood by France 
  • Germany wanted to split up F+B but the Entente strengthened 

As a result:

  • Tensions with Germany increased 
  • F+B relationship strengthened 
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Triple Entente

Britain, Russia, France

  • To stay number one, protect its empire, keep naval advantage
  • To defend itself from Germany and protect its colonies

Large land armies - France and Russia 

Dreadnoughts - Britians navy biggest in the world 

Empire- British empire the biggest 

Industrial production - Britain losing ground to Germany 

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The Agadir Crisis

  • Rebellion in Morocco 
  • France moved in and took power
  • France offered compensation to other countries; Germany was not satisfied 
  • Germany sent a gun boat to the port Agadir 
  • David Lloyd George threatened war with Germany 
  • Kaiser Wilhelm backed down 
  • Germany was humiliated 
  • Tension increased further- war seemed imminent  
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Balkans + other countries

What did these countries want out of the Balkans? 


  • Serbs that wanted to join Serbia 
  • Worried about Ottoman decline and expansion of Russian influence


  • Wanted sea access through the Dardanelles therefore needed friendly countries in charge there                                                               

Ottoman Empire (turkish)

  • Controlled Dardanelles which gave access to Mediterranean 
  • Britain back O-E to stop Russia getting the shipping route 
  • weak, poor and corrupt
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Balkan Tensions

  • Slav territories wanted independance 
  • Russia encouraged Slav independance to gain sea access and increase their influence 
  • Austria- Hungary tried to stop Slav independance 
  • Ottomans tried to keep hold of their European territories 
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The Bosnian Crisis

  • Austria- Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina to prevent Ottoman attempts to reclaim it 
  • Ottomans, Russia and serbia objected to this 
  • Germany made it clear they would protect Austria-Hungary 
  • Russia and Serbia backed down 
  • Increase in tension 
  • Made Serbia and Russia look weak and they were determined to win the next dispute 
  • Triple Alliance looked strong 
  • Terrorist organisation the 'Black Hand' formed in Serbia to fight Austria Hungary in Balkans
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The First Balkan war

  • Turks fell out of power in O-E 
  • Balkan league formed (Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro)
  • Balkan league declared war on the Ottomans 
  • Three weeks later, the Ottomans were almost completely pushed out of Europe 
  • Decline of O-E worried Austria-Hungary because they feared the same may happen to them 
  • Russia encouraged the Balkan league because it impoved their chances of sea access 
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The Second Balkan war

  • The balkan league started to fight amongst itself 
  • Bulgaria attacked its former allies because it was unhappy with its gains in the first war 
  • The Ottomans also won back some land they had lost 
  • Greece, Romania and Serbia recieved new territories from Bulgaria 
  • Serbia became the most powerful Balkan country 
  • Austria- Hungary forced Serbia to give up the sea access they had won 
  • Austria- Hungary was worried about what the newly stong Serbia may do 
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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

  • Franz ferdinand was heir to the Austrian throne 
  • Austro-Hungarian empire supressed Serbian nationalism 
  • serbia wanted independence for Austro-hungarian serbs 
  • Black hand were serbian nationalists 
  • Austria-hungary believed serbia had helped the black hand group 
  • Russia backed serbia 
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Why did Britain declare war?

  • Officially to defend Belgium 
  • Strategically to control Germanys strength 
  • If Germany controlled Belgium and France it could control the English Channel 
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Long Term factors


  • Britain and France wanted to keep their empires;Germany wanted one 


  • Triple Alliance vs.  Triple Entente 


  • Britain was the worlds biggest power; but had not tried to end the Balkan conflicts 
  • Ottoman Empire lost control 
  • Germany built up a powerful army and navy - began the naval arms race - increased tension 

Strategic aims 

  • The Schlieffen plan - germanys plan to go through Belgium to France 
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Short term factors

  • Sarajevo 
  • Domino effect - Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, France, Germany 
  • Germany gained strong position 
  • Attack on Belgium brought Britain in 
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Why did Germany want an armistice?

  • Germanys 'big push' had failed 
  • Germany feared allied break through and invasion of Germany 
  • Abandoned by its allies 
  • Danger of communist revolution 
  • Sailors refused to battle 
  • Kaiser abdicated and fled into exile 
  • better than unconditional surrender 
  • civillians were suffering due to the blockade 
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Terms of the armistice

germany must: 

  • Stop fighting 
  • withdraw all troops and give up won land from Russia 
  • allow occupation of allied troops within the border 
  • hand over vast amounts of weapons and war vehicles including submarines 
  • navy to be controlled by allies
  • Germany had no say in terms 
  • had to sign it 
  • allies wanted to make sure they could not fight again 
  • allies kept naval blockade, which was starving germans,going untill peace terms were agreed  
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Aims of the Big three

USA- Woodrow Wilson 

  • wanted a fair treaty and a league of nations  to keep peace 
  • wanted self determination 
  • wanted arms reduction and no more secret treaties 

GBR- Lloyd George 

  • wanted germany to pay 
  • wanted germany weakened but not too harshly 
  • didnt want league of nations 
  • didnt want self determination 
  • both things threatened the British Empire 

FRA- Clemenceau 

  • wanted self determination 
  • wanted reparations 
  • wanted Germany broken up 
  • wanted the Rhineland to be independant; act as a buffer zone between them and Germany
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The Paris peace conference



  • A ruined Germany would be a danger to peace in the future 
  • Needed Germany as a trading partner to fight communism/ wanted to make Germany pay
  • Wanted to make Germany pay to get revenge 


  • Didnt want a weak Germany - slef determination 
  • wanted territory in payment for fighting against Germany 
  • Wanted to carve up germany so it wouldnt be a threat
  • wanted to keep Germany economically strong but also wanted overseas territories 

League of Nations 

  • wanted to replace empires with fairness and justice for all (isolationism)
  • worth trying if it would prevent a war 
  • happy if it didnt threaten the British Empire (membership)
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Treaty of Versailles

Land losses 

  • all german colonies lost including European territories 
  • Rhineland to be occupied by allies 
  • no union between Germany and Austria (Anschluss)


  • war guilt clause 
  • kaiser and other leaders tried for war crimes 

Economic terms 

  • reparations - £6600 million 
  • France to control the Saar coalfields 

Military restrictions 

  • 100,000 troops and 15,000 navy only 
  • no conscription or submarines or planes , tanks , machine guns

League of nations set up to avoid war 

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Other Treaties

Treaty of St.Germain (Austria)

  • broke up Austro-Hungarian empire 
  • lost land 
  • reparations 
  • limited troops 

Treaty of Nuilly (Bulgaria)                                       Treaty of Sevres (turkey

  • lost land                                                           Ottoman empire broken up
  • reparations                                                       Lost european land; gained other land  
  • limited troops                                                    No reparations 

Treaty of Trianon (Hungary

  • made independant 
  • lost land 
  • reparations 
  • limited troops 
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Reactions to Versailles


  • Demilitarisation of the Rhineland made them weak and defenceless 
  • treaty was a Diktat- no German participation 
  • 'war guilt' - germany was actually forced into the war 
  • huge reparations 


  • FR- wanst harsh enough
  • GBR- too harsh, German econmony damaged too badly 
  • USA- too harsh, favoured britain too much, USA prevented from joining League of nations or signing the treaty of versailles 


+Wasnt broken up, like the french wanted, economic problems stemmed from its debts not reparations 

- harsh measures led to economic collapse, wasnt the only country to start the war 

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Invasion of the Ruhr

  • Reduced reparations - Germany couldnt pay 
  • France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr which was Germanys industrial heartland 
  • German workers went on strike and the economy collapsed 
  • USA and GBR were not happy with France 
  • League of nations couldnt prevent French actions 
  • USA put together the Dawes plan 
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Pacts and agreements

Dawes plan 

  • Set up by USA to help German economy so reparations could be paid 

Locarno Pact 

  • Germany joins League of Nations 
  • series of agreements to protect borders and prevents wars 

Kellogg-Briand Pact 

  • 62 countries pleged to stop using war ( including Germany and the US) 
  • all disputes to be peacefully settled 
  • Did not prevent WW2
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League of Nations


  • Every member country had one vote and all decisions had to be unanimous to be agreed


  • made the major decisions, met more often than the assembly, needed unanimous vote


  • only non- defeated nations could join, russia was excluded, USA refused to join (isolationism) to keep out of European politics 

Elements of the league 

  • The permanant court of international justice - to settle international disputes 
  • The secretariat - civil servants that carried out the administrative work of the league 
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Problems with the league

  • No USA 
  • No real power- didnt have an army to enforce decisions
  • Organisation- unanimous vote made it hard to get decisions made quickly
  • Sanctions- couldnt enforce decisions 
  • Exclusion of the defeated nations- defeated countries saw the league as against them 
  • dominated by Britain and France- didnt want to upset allies or agressive countries 
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The Great Depression

  • Fall in Wall street share values 
  • shareholders lose money 
  • USA called in foreign loans so other countries suffered too 
  • USA stopped importing so much 
  • Economic depression spread around world 
  • Great Depression 

Impacts in Europe:

  • Money loaned by USA had to be repaid

Impacts in Germany: 

  • Economy built on US loans 
  • unemployment rose and reparations not payed 
  • Hitler comes to power by exploiting the econmic hardships 
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The Manchurian Crisis

  • Alleged attack on Japanese soilders by the Chinese 
  • Japan invaded Manchuria 
  • China appealed to the League of Nations 
  • Japan ignored the League and invaded more of China 

  • League couldnt help - no army 
  • Britain and France didnt want to spend any money helping 
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  • Mussolini, the Italian leader, invaded Abyssinia in Africa 
  • The leader of Abyssinia asks the league for help 
  • The league impose economic sanctions against Italy but not against oil 
  • Privately, Britain and France made the Hoare-Laval pact to give most of Abyssinia to Italy to keep Italy as an ally against Hitler 

As a result: 

  • League discredited 
  • Hitler saw the league was powerless 
  • Italy did a deal with Hitler anyway (Rome-Berlin axis)
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Hitler's plans

  • Treaty of Versailles to be scrapped - symbol of humiliation (no more reparations,rearmament,retaking territory)
  • wanted all german speaking people to be united in one country - Grossdeutschland 
  • more room to expand - Lebensraum 
  • greatest threat to Germany - communism and USSR's plans to spread it 
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Why was Hitler appeased?

  • Fear of another war 
  • Needed time to build up forces 
  • US isolationism- didnt want to get involved in European disputes
  • League of Nations had no power to enforce decisions 
  • Great Depression - Britain and France were preoccupied with their own economic problems 
  • Fear of communism - needed a strong Germany to stand up to USSR
  • mistaken belief that Hitler wanted to avoid war at all costs 
  • Feeling that Versailles had been too tough 
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Hitler's actions

Luftwaffe (airforce) and conscription                          Sudetenland (Grossdeutschland)

  • TOV military restrictions                                     Czechoslovakia was a independant nation   
  • no response                                                      B+F told Czechs to hand over majority
  • Germany was a real threat again                         Hitler wanted more 

Remilitarisation of the Rhineland (German troops occupied it) 

  • TOV banned troops from the Rhineland 
  • Britain and France condemned the action but wanted to resist war; encouraged Hitler 

Anschluss (Forced austrian government to step down and be occupied by nazi's)

  • TOV had banned the union 
  • no action was taken because a plebiscite showd Austrians supported Anschluss 

Bohemia, Moravia, the saar and Memel

  • Hitler was trying to expand Germany       B+F knew Hitler needed to be stopped- they guaranteed polands independance 
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Munich Conference and other pacts

  • Britain and France abandoned their commitments to defend Czechoslovakia 
  • Anglo-German Declaration - agreement to never go to war 
  • Gave Germany the Sudetenland - Germany took the whole of the Czechoslovakia
  • USSR not invited - upset Stalin 

Pact of Steel 

  • Germany and Italy to aid each other in the war
  • war to start in three years 
  • military allies 

Nazi-Soviet pact

  • Stalin tried to gain allies against Germany but the communists werent trusted 
  • USSR wasnt invited to the Munich conference - Stalin thought B+F were trying to get Germany to attack USSR instead 
  • Stalin needed more time to prepare for war 
  • plan to divide Poland between Germany and USSR 
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Invasion of Poland

  • Germany invades Poland 
  • Poland fell to the Nazi's in 10 days 
  • Britain, Italy and the USSR couldnt stop him due to their respective pacts 
  • Britain declared war on the third of september 1939
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