• Austria had occupied the two Balkan provinces of Bosnia & Herzegovina since 1878
  • Sept 1908 - Russia & Austria agreed that at some point Austria might absorb these provinces into their empire
  • In return Austria would support Russia to use route for warships through Turkish straits which they had been banned from using in 1841
  • Oct 1908 - Austria went ahead with annexation without keeping to their side of the agreement
  • Germany stepped in to back Austria
  • Russia forced to accept and humiliated because they can't support their ally Serbia
  • Serbia annoyed by annexation
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  • Serbia = independent country that posed a threat to Austria 
  • 1912 - Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece & Montenegro formed the Balkan League aiming to drive Turks from Europe
  • Chose 1912 because Ottoman Empire are distracted by war with Italy and internal struggles
  • Oct 1912 - Balkan League attacked the Turks & began Balkan Wars
  • Rapid success of the League worried Great Powers
  • Settlement negotiated in Treaty of London - some Balkan states unhappy which led to friction between Balkan allies
  • Bulgaria felt most cheated so declared war on Greece & Serbia, but was badly defeated
  • Territorial changes resulted in expansion of Serbia into Kosovo region and northern & central Macedonia
  • Austria insisted on an independent Albania so that Serbia's access to the Adriatic Sea was restricted, therefore they couldn't build up a big national power
    • Austria saw Serbia as a threat & an enemy
    • Serbia resented having to give up its gains & the creation of the new state of Albania so nationalist feelings against Austria ran high
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  • 1905 - Kaiser William II issued a statement of support for Moroccan independence which seemed to be challenging the colonial friendship treaty of 1904 between France and Britain
  • The second crisis occurred in 1911, when a German gunboat arrived in Agadir, seemingly to protect German economic interests during a local uprising 
  • Anti- European rioting in Morocco had caused France to send in more troops and the German naval action seemed to challenge this 
  • French objected and made preparations for war, as did Britain – which was horrified to see a German naval presence on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, as this threatened British approaches to the Mediterranean 
  • France given rights to a formal protectorship over Morocco 
  • Left Germany isolated and made Britain and France distrustful 
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  • the preservation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • the reliance on the Triple Alliance and particularly on links with Germany
  • the belief that Austria could manage a quick, decisive victory
  • the influence of the growth of military power and military planning
  • the desire to prevent Serb nationalism spreading
  • the willingness of its statesmen to take risks 
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  • national feeling – support for fellow Slavs in Serbia ran high
  • military power and preparation – Russian military expansion had given its statesmen the con dence to act, and military planning required early mobilisation
  • the alliance network, which offered the chance of France and possibly Britain giving support
  • the need to support the Russian Empire, which depended on the prestige and power of the tsar
  • humiliation in foreign affairs in 1904–05 had led to revolution; success in war would strengthen the empire and unite the country behind Tsar Nicholas II
  • the willingness of Russian leaders to take a risk and their expectations of a quick victory, with overwhelming numbers of troops, better railways and improved weapons
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  • German militarism and nationalism = enthusiasm and support for war, as well as strong military forces
  • Detailed plans existed - led to hopes that the war would be quick and decisive 
  • Security of the German Empire seemed to depend on war - imperialism had increased conflicts with other powers and there may have been plans to expand Germany’s imperial territory by conquests in Russia, where the Ukraine offered a tempting prospect of food supply for a growing German population
  • The 1879 alliance with Austria was a major consideration - Germany could not let Austria be defeated
  • German statesmen took a number of risks - risked supporting Austria in the hope that action against Serbian terrorism would not lead to general war, risked war against France and Russia on the basis that a well-trained and well-equipped German army following a careful plan would bring a swift victory
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  • France had been concerned by Germany’s challenge to its empire
  • It had been building up its military power
  • The French hoped for support through their country’s alliance with Russia
  • and its friendship with Britain
  • Nationalism was strong – opinion in France supported the return of Alsace-Lorraine
  • Confidence in France’s plan of attack made war a risk worth taking 
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  • Treaty obligations – even if these were not directly linked to firm alliances, they were important
  • National feeling could be counted on - patriotic crowds rallied to ‘King and Country’
  • The security of Britain – the chance to end the threat of the German fleet and the need to avoid any one power controlling the coastline of Europe from Germany to western France
  • Military power – in Britain’s case naval power, which would prevent any invasion and enable Britain to wage war with limited casualties
  • The need to maintain a balance of power in Europe without one power being dominant
  • An acceptable risk – both France and Russia had very large armies; Germany would be encircled and it seemed unlikely that large British forces would need to be involved on land
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  • Immediate trigger to the outbreak of WW1 - heir to Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • Austria responded with a series of demands that Serbia perceived as compromising its independence - demanded that Austrian troops police Serbia, system of alliances means this localised dispute could escalate to full-scale European war
  • Military plans of the major powers involved quick mobilisation which was hard to stop after it started
  • Germany declared war on Russia
  • France declared war on Germany
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