None of the European power wanted World War I, but they feared Germany. Germany was newly unified, and was beating the European powers in population and Industry. France wanted to recover the Alsace-Lorraine. Britain was a country used to being on the ocean, so they felt threatened by Germany's colonial expansion and William II's insisting on a large navy. Russia and Austria feared pressure on their unstable empires. In 1887 William II refused to renew the Reinsurance treaty with Russia, but continued the Triple Alliance of Germany,Austria-Hungary, and Italy. In 1894 Russia made an alliance with France, and Great Britain settled it's differences with France in the Entente Cordiale in 1904 forming the Triple Entente. The assassination, with Serbian Knowledge, of the liberal Austrian archduke Francis Ferdinan in Sarajevo in June 1914 was the spark that set off the war. Germany assured Austria full support, which resulted in an Austrian ultimatum that Serbia could not accept.
Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia mobilized to defend Serbia, then Germany declared war on Russia. Germany also declared war on France. Germany wanted a quick defeat of France. To avoid the French frontier, German forces moved through neutral Belgium thinking they would take Paris by surprise. The Germans encountered more resistancethan expected in Belgium, giving France time to prepare. [Caidin 207] This violation of international law destroyed all sympathy for the Central Powers. Although German forces nearly reached Paris, the British and French Miraculously turned back the Germans at the Battle of Marne. The two sides dug trenches for a war that would last four years. The Russians then attacked sending Germany into a two front war. The Germans defeated the Russians Many times on the east, but the Allies blockaded the Germans on the east by cutting off food and raw materials,