THE BUILD-UP OF ARMIES
The existence of large armies in Europe was
another threat to peace.
Military leaders argued a strong army would
All the Great Powers apart from Britain
increased their army.
All countries but Britain introduced
THE NAVAL RACE 1906-1914
Britain needed a powerful navy, especially as
the British army was very small.
In 1900 Britain has the largest navy in the
In 1898 the Germans began to build up their
navy. (What do you think this encouraged
Britain to do?).
In 1906 both sides started to build
The Dreadnought was a new style of battleship
that could easily destroy any of the older type
This led to a race to build the most Dreadnoughts.
Public opinion was behind the building of the
This situation worsened relations between Britain
• Military leaders argued that the only way to
ensure peace was to have an army strong
enough to prevent an invasion by another
• This view was encouraged by arms
• Britain was the only one of the Great Powers
not to have introduced conscription before
• In 1913, the French raised their period of
compulsory military service from 2 years to 3
• In 1913 the Russians raised their period from
3 to 3½ years.
• In 1905 when on a visit to Morocco Kaiser
Wilhelm II promised to support Morocco’s
• This upset the French who were interested in
occupying Morocco as a colony.
• Wilhelm was also testing the strength of the
new friendship between Britain and France.
• In a conference held at Algeciras in 1906 Britain and
Russia stood by France and it was agreed that
Germany should have no say in Morocco.
• This strengthened France’s alliance with Britain who
shortly afterwards made a colonial agreement with
Russia, in 1907, so forming the Triple Entente with
• The Germans sensed they were being surrounded
and the Kaiser became even more resentful.
• The Balkans had been
part of the Turkish
Ottoman Empire until
the late 19th Century.
• A number of new states
had been created
Herzegovina and Serbia
• There populations were
• Austria-Hungary wanted
to expand its empire
into the Balkans.
• It was opposed by
Russia, which saw itself
as the leader and
protector of the Slav
• Serbia (a Slav country)
wanted to include the
other Slavs of the
In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina
and made it part of their empire.
This was opposed by Serbia.
Serbia looked to Russia for support.
Russia supported Serbia.
Germany made it clear that it would declare war on
Russia if Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary.
Russia backed down.
1. Austria-Hungary felt confident of German support
for any future actions in the Balkans.
2. Russia started to build up its armies and was
determined not to back down in the next crisis.
3. Serbia was forced to accept that Bosnia was part of
4. Serbia was looking for an opportunity of getting
their own back on Austria-Hungary.
5. Serbia also felt threatened and considered pre-
emptive action against A-H as a serious option.
6. Italy feared that it could get drawn into a war and
became less enthusiastic about the Triple Alliance.
• In 1911 there was a rebellion against the
Sultan of Morocco which was put down with
• This was an opportunity for the French to take
• They were prepared to grant compensation to
countries such as Germany and Spain who
were concerned by the French action.
• The Germans sent a gunboat called the
Panther, to Agadir a port on the Atlantic coast
of Morocco, to challenge the French.
• The Kaiser hoped to force the French into
giving Germany a share of Morocco.
• The British were alarmed that Germany was
going to set up a naval base in Agadir to
challenge Britain’s naval supremacy.
• Germany’s aggressive action in Morocco
confirmed Britain’s worst fears: Germany was
aiming to dominate Europe.
• Britain’s response was to support France over
• The British and French also made a naval
agreement by which Britain promised to
defend the north coast of France if it was
attacked from the sea.
• The French took over Morocco as a
protectorate, that is they governed the country
without it becoming part of the French Republic.
• Germany was given 100,000 square miles of the
French Congo in compensation, but the land was
mostly swamp and jungle.
• The Agadir crisis was a clear victory for France and
• The Kaiser felt humiliated was determined not to be
the loser in the next crisis.
THE BALKAN WARS OF 1912-1913
• By the early 20th
century, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia
had achieved independence from the Ottoman
Empire, but large parts of their ethnic
populations remained under Ottoman rule.
• In 1912, these countries formed the Balkan
League. This was part of a Pan-Slavic movement.
• Smaller countries gained more territory.
• Serbia doubled in size and this was a concern to