What caused the First World War?

Essay by lewiHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2003

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--Did the alliance Alliance System make war more likely or less likely?

The Alliance System between the European countries divided the continent into two rival groups.

In 1817, Germany gained control over the region of Alsace-Lorraine as a prize for wining the Franco-Prussian War. Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, knew that one day, France would regain the land by getting help from the other countries. In order to prevent this, he made alliances with the other European countries.

In order to isolate France, in 1872, the Three Emperor's League was made, which was an alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia. The Triple Alliance was then formed in 1882, which included Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. This alliance promised that all the members would help each other if one of them were attacked. The Reinsurance Treaty was made with Russia in 1887, because Russia and Austria-Hungary were potential powers. This allowed both countries to stay neutral if the other was having a war.

Everything went well, until a new German Kaiser named William II came to throne. He took away Bismarck's political power, and abandoned the alliance with Russia, since he thought that it was not needed. Also, it was because William II wanted to have better relationships with Austria-Hungary and have a more reliable ally. The Triple Alliance was broken.

As Bismarck had expected, France too, started looking for allies in order to regain the region of Alsace-Lorraine. After being defeated in the Franco-Prussian War, the French had learned that they were powerless. They needed the help of other countries to make a revenge on Germany. After William II abandoned the treaty with Russia, soon in 1894, Russian made an alliance with France. Although Britain had been refusing to make alliances with the other European countries, because they were afraid...