What was the extent of the
arms race and how did it
cause international tension
prior to World War One?
The second Naval law of 1900 by Germany to double
its navy by 1916. The law ordered 41 battleships and
60 cruisers to be built. Alongside this was the naval
league, which promoted public interest in the navy.
This naval initiative was to challenge Britain into
retreating to port rather than face a fight in case of
losing their fleet and trade control.
Britain responded by building a north sea fleet based
at Rosyth in 1903, and then the launching of the
HMS Dreadnought under the guidance of Sir John
THE NAVAL RACE
Outclassed all other ships, making them
to be known as pre-dreadnoughts.
First of her era to use a uniform main
battery consisting of large guns as well
as steam turbines. Therefore, both the
strongest and the fastest.
Never fought a naval battle during the
war but the only battleship to ever sink a
Germany responded by starting production on their
own dreadnought class ships, title “Rhineland”.
Britain responded by ramping up their own
production in order to keep the two power standard.
In 1912 Britain and France agree to a naval pact, in
which the French police the Mediterranean and the
British protect the north sea.
Fisher also orders the building of two super-
dreadnought class ships, Neptune and Queen
By the end of the race, in 1914, Britain has won with
29 dreadnoughts to Germanys 17.
THE NAVAL RACE
Between 1870 and 1914, military spending
multiplied by 300 percent. Along with large
population growth and the adoption of
conscription, countries standing armies also
Germany: Standing army of 800,000 in 1914, 5.6
million trained troops in wartime.
France: 3.5 million in wartime.
Russia: 1.4 million standing, 5 million trained.
Most countries also developed a system of reserves
and war time services.
THE ARMS RACE
Increased production on howitzers and mortars.
Infantry fuelled by the repeating rifle and machine gun.
Military spending on arms increased by at least 20
percent across the board in European countries. Russia
by 65 percent and Germany and Austria-Hungary doubled.
Attempts to stop massive arms build-up were attempted
Only decisions made were the establishment of the
Hague international court to arbitrate international
disputes and agreements on humane restriction on war
Large increase in armaments and naval power.
Increase in public feeling towards increase arming for possible war.
1912 naval agreement between France and Britain creates an
France sends Russia large loans in order for Russia to increase its
Britain builds up her navy in order to maintain her control of the sea
and trade from her colonies.
Two power standard for Britain.
Complete the review activities on page 29.
Time chart of the naval race between Germany
and Britain 1900-1914.
List the ways in which the growth in military
spending would have added to the tension
between the European powers 1900-1914.