The Franco-Prussian War
The war between France and Prussia (the future German Empire) that lasted from 1870 to 1871 ended with a humiliating defeat for France. It lost the regions of Alsace and Lorraine, and was forced to pay a huge indemnity to Prussia. The Franco-Prussian War led to creation of a powerful German Empire with a military and industrial potential to further disrupt the European balance of power on the one hand and widespread resentment and desire for revenge among the French (revanchism) on the other.
Accession of Wilhelm II to the German throne
With the accession of Wilhelm II to the German throne in 1888, the German foreign policy became more bellicose. The new German Emperor dismissed the skillful Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor. He also refused to renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia that maintained the fragile peace between Russia and Austria-Hungary as well as kept France isolated. That way Wilhelm II helped create an alliance between France and Russia (formed in 1892) that became the basis for the future Triple Entente.
russo-japanese rivalry over Manchuria and Korea reached its height with the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). The outcome of the war against the Japanese was a major blow for the Russians who lost almost entire Baltic and Pacific fleet. The defeat also provoked a serious political crisis that led to the Russian Revolution of 1905. But the Russo-Japanese War also made an end to the Russian ambitions in the Far East and as a result, the Tsarist government focused its attention to Europe, in the first place to the Balkans. This intensified the old rivalry with Austria-Hungary that also had a great interest in the Balkans.
Why The United States joined World War 1
The fundamental reason for the US entry into WWI was the fact that the US had strong economic connections to Britain. These were strong before the war and became stronger as the war went on and England needed more goods. These economic ties helped to make Americans see the British as important allies.
There were other issues that helped bring the US into the war. The unlimited submarine warfare waged by the Germans helped to bring the US in. This was connected, of course, to the US desire to continue to trade with England.
The US was also angered by the Zimmermann Telegram. This was an offer by Germany to give some US territory back to Mexico if Mexico were to join the war on the German side. This made Americans more likely to take the Allied side. IN addition, there were reports of German atrocities that upset many Americans.
However, it was largely the economic ties to England, along with the idea that freedom of the seas was an important right of neutrals, that led to US involvement in this war.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. Hoping to ease tensions with the Balkan nations, he arranged to tour Bosnia-Herzegovina with his wife, Sophie. On June 28, 1914, an assassin killed Franz Ferdinand and Sophie in Sarajevo, The murderer, a young Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip, had links to a Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand.
The assassination of Franz Ferdinand gave Austria-Hungary a reason to attack Serbia, its long-time enemy in the Balkans. Backed by Germany’s promise of support, Austria-Hungary sent a list of demands to Serbia. Serbia accepted most of the demands and offered to settle the rest through an international conference. Austria-Hungary rejected the offer and declared war on Serbia on July 28.
It results from the depositions and confessions of the criminal perpetrators of the outrage of the 28th of June that the Serajevo assassinations were planned in Belgrade; that the arms and explosives with which the murderers were provided had been given to them by Serbian officers and functionaries belonging to the Narodna Odbrana; and finally, that the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was organized and effected by the chiefs of the Serbian frontier service.
The above-mentioned results of the magisterial investigation do not permit the Austro-Hungarian Government to pursue any longer the attitude of expectant forbearance which they have maintained for years in face of the machinations hatched in Belgrade, and thence propagated in the territories of the Monarchy. The results, on the contrary, impose on them the duty of putting an end to the intrigues which form a perpetual menace to the tranquillity of the Monarchy.
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