The causes of World War One

HideShow resource information

The first Moroccan crisis: 1905

  • The Kaiser visited Moroccan port of Tangiers, supposidly in the French sphere of influence.
  • He conferred with representatives of the Sultan on Morocco and declared his support for their independence.
  • Bulow demanded an international conference to discuss the future of Morocco.
  • The Kaiser had wanted to cause friction for the Entente Cordiale,in hope they might split and join Germany.
  • Germany had attempted to force Russia away from an alliance with France through the Treaty of Bjorko, but this had failed because the Russians were not willing to put the Franco-Russian alliance at risk.
  • A conference was held at Algeciras.
  • 16th January-7th April 1906: through the Algeciras conference and the Algeciras Act, Morocco was confirmed in the French sphere of influence.


  • The Entente Cordiale was strengthened
  • Germany was left humiliated and diplomatically isolated (aside from Austria-Hungary).
  • Led to Anglo-Russian Entente and Anglo-Franco-Spanish pact of Cartagena.
1 of 9

The creation of the Schlieffen plan:1905

  • Created by Alfred von Schlieffen.
  • Aimed to capture Paris by passing through a neutral Belgium (and Holland and Luxemberg) before Russia could mobalise.
  • This would avoid war on two fronts.
  • Von Moltke replaced Schlieffen in 1906 and made some alterations to the plan. His plan avoided invading Holland, instead concentrating attack though Belgium.
  • It was planned that they woukd use 90% of the German military on the Eastern front and 10% on the Western front.
  • Germany would need to defeat France in six weeks, before Russia could mobalise their troops.
  • Germany didn't believe that Britain would go to war over the 1813 Treaty of London.
2 of 9

The Bosnian crisis:1908

  • September 1908- meeting between Austria Hungary and Russia. Izvolski (Russian foreign minister) said that he would give Russian approval of the annexation if Austria recognised Russian rights in Dardanelle straits.
  • Austria -Hungary got Germany and Italy to agreee to the annexation in return for things.
  • October 1908- the deal fell through with Russia and Austria went ahead and announced the annexation. 
  • Ended Russia-Hungarian understanding of 1897 (which kept peace in the Balkans).
  • January 1909- Germany promised Austria-Hungary full support.
  • February 1909- Austria forced Seribia and Russia to recognise the annexation of Bosnia Herzegovina, it did so by threatening war against Serbia. It did so with the full support of Bulows government, which promised to mobalise German armed forces in support.
3 of 9

The second Moroccan crisis:1911

  • February 1911- France and Germany signed an agreement-> Germany recognised French interests in Morocco and France agreed not to hamper with German comercial and economic interests there.
  • However it soon became clear to Germany that France would not allow them to have any input in building railways in Morocco.
  • April 1911- some tribes in the town of Fez started to rebel against the Sultan. As the situation got worse the Sultan appealed to France for help and the decision was made to send in 20,000 French troops.
  • Kirdlen-Watcher (foreign secretary) persuaded the Kaiser to send a gunboat to Morocco to protect the German citizens there. A gunboat known as the Panther was sent to the port Agadir and it arrived on July 1st 1911.
  • Britain and Russia gave their support to France, whilst Austria-Hungary failed to support Germany, so Germany had to back down.
  • 9th July Kirdlen-Watcher met with French ambassador Cambon to discuss both countries interests in Morocco. Willing to discuss German interest in the French Congo in exchange for French control in Morocco. 
  • November- France handed over 107,00 square miles of land, Germany 6,450 square miles
4 of 9

The first Balkans war:1912

  • 1911 Italy-  went to war against Turkey. Success encouraged expansionist ambitions of small Balkan states.
  • 1912- Balkan league launched attack on the Ottoman empire. Serbia invaded Albania. Austria-Hungary horrified because they did not want Serbia having access to Adroatic Sea and creating a greater Serbia. Turks defeated and driven out of Eurpope.
  • Austria-Hungary demanded the creation of independent Albania (although France and Russia supported the idea of enlarged Serbia). Serbia ignored this. Germany pressed Austria-Hungary to make their point. Austria-Hungary and Russia began to mobalise their troops.
  • Germany called a council of military advisers to consider options. Kaiser spoke to Swiss ambassador about how racial war (Slavdom v Germandom) was unavoidable
  • 1913 the Treaty of London ended the first Balkans war. Germany got CreteSerbia got MacedoniaAlbania became independent, Bulgaria got land.
5 of 9

The second Balkans war:1913

  • Short
  • Involved countries in the Balkan League again.
  • Bulgaria attacked Serbia as they were angry at being cheated out of some of the gains of the last war. Greece, Romania and Turkey joined on Serbias side.
  • Bulgaria was swiftly defeated.
  • Serbia emerged strengthened.
  • August- Treaty of Bucharest- under the terms of the treaty Greece and Serbia divided up most of Macedonia between themselves, leaving Bulgaria with only a small part of the region. 
6 of 9

The Daily Telegraph Affair:1908

  • The Kaiser gave an interview to a Britsh newspaper, which gave the impression that he wanted a close alliance with Britain.
  • The Reichstag rejected the implication of the article that the Kaiser made foreign policy without consultation. 
  • The Kaiser blamed Bulow for failing to censor the interview and guaranted the Reichstag that he would be more careful in future.
  • The Reichstag dropped the issue without demanding any restraints on the Kaisers Power.
  • Bulows new budget proposals were rejected by the Reichstag in 1909 and his chancellorship ended.
7 of 9

The Kruger telegram:1896

  • This was a messaged sent by Kaiser Wilhelm II to Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger of the Transvaal Republic on January 3rd 1896.
  • The Kaiser congratulated the President on repelling the Jameson raid- a sortie by 600 British irregulars from Cape Colony into the Transvaal under the command of Lenader Starr Jameson. 
  • Telegram caused huge indication in the UK- led to greater tension between Britain and Germany.
  • Telegram was interpretated in the Transvaal as a possible sign of German support in the future.
8 of 9

The July crisis:1914

  • 28th June= The assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
  • 5th July- Count Hoyos (AH diplomat) went to Berlin seeking German support for action against Serbia. The Kaiser and the government have Austria-Hungary a blank cheque (unconditonal support).
  • 23rd July- ultimatium sent to Serbia. Sebia agreed to all but one of the demands (they didn't want Austrian officials to get involved in the inquiry of the assassination. Serbia was given 48 hours to accept, but Austria knew they wouldn't.
  • 25th July-Russia said they would support Serbia, bolstered by French assurances of support. 
  • 28th July- Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia.
  • Bethman Hollweg urged to resume Autro-Russian negotitaions. Failed to persuade Great Britain to remain neutral.
  • 30th July- Russia ordered general mobalisation depsite orders from Germany.
  • As Russia were mobalising, events were now set by the Schlieffen plan. Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia
  • WAR.
9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The rise of Germany 1871 – 1945 resources »