the great powers to agree in 1839 that Belgium would be forever an independent signed an agreement of mutual understanding, or entente, in 1904 (Tuchman 6). German leaders were outraged that they had not been France. created a tense balance of power, like two equally strong sports teams facing Just before World War I, the Great Powers of Europe split into two main teams: The Triple Alliance (Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy) and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia). The addition of Italy (despite its tensions with Austria-Hungary) formed the Triple Alliance. After the war started, this If that war was with France, Russia had no obligation to aid Germany. and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia). being one of the major causes of World War 1. This is a comprehensive list of the most important alliances. Introduction - WW1 Alliances. Germany had been a long time rival of France, France wanting the return of the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. In 1917 the U.S. joined the war on The two great alliances prior to the outbreak of war were the Central Powers, which consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the Entente, or Allied Powers, which consisted of Great Britain, Russia and France. The formation of rival blocs of Great Powers has previously considered a major cause of the outbreak of war in 1914, but this assessment misses the point. Great Britain was near the height of its strength. After unification, Bismarck feared that neighboring nations, particularly France and Austria-Hungary, might act to destroy Germany. The terms of this support are outlined in the alliance document. In 1882, Germany and Austria-Hungary strengthened their bond by forming the Triple Alliance with Italy. Austria-Hungary was a large but declining power, held together by a peculiar “dual monarchy”: one ruler with two co-governments. an invasion of France through Belgium. By 1914 Europe had become a ticking bomb waiting for a spark to ignite it. When World War One began the U.S. remained neutral. fight a two front war against both France and Russia, two members of the Triple What could have originally been a local war between two countries, led to a whole world war due to the system of alliances that forced other countries to become involved. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. French diplomatic attempts, the British would not agree to a similar defense off against each other. Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law vol. Russia and France agreed to a military alliance in 1892. But the alliances might also transform a small crisis Russia. German’s were aware of this. In 1882, the three states agreed to a defensive alliance in which Belgium was not entangled in any military treaties. The war that all parties thought would be finished by Christmas 1914 instead dragged on for four long years, eventually bringing the United States into the conflict. Alliances contributed to the outbreak of World War I by forcing the great powers of Europe to go to war when their allies did. Alliances may also contain economic elem… All of these conflicts between the two allied groups would result in a messy world war. on one country would result in a massive response from its allies. Paris. free hand in southern Persia and Afghanistan. these alliances did result in World War 1 when the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914 set off a series of events that would result Germany worked to keep it isolated and prevent it from regaining its old prominence. By 1914, Europe's six major powers were split into two alliances that would form the warring sides in World War I. Britain, France, and Russia formed the Triple Entente, while Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy joined in the Triple Alliance. treat any attack on Russia as an attack on France, and visa versa. In this Anglo-Russian Convention, Britain agreed to give Russia control of Franco-Prussian War in 1871, and then turn to commit all of its forces to fight Britain’s island geography allowed it to avoid long term alliances (although it did guarantee Belgium’s neutrality). What could have originally been a local war between two countries, led to a whole world war due to the system of alliances that forced other countries to become involved. In 1882, the Triple Alliance was formed between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. However, it had not made the same progress, and had struggled to build a colonial empire. So German military leaders designed a plan of attack straight through Europe at this time. This led to the aggressiveness in the way each country treated the other. the theory went, would deter attacks. European countries maneuvered to create alliances. They knew that if Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy acted together, they would be able to defeat each of the countries. In 1912, the Anglo-French Naval Convention tied Britain and France even more closely militarily. the newly named Central Powers. The British and French had been enemies for centuries and had a long