Serbia’s decline of the Ultimatum led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on the Serbs. Another key event in the July Crisis was Austria-Hungary sending a “blank cheque” to Germany. This cheque meant to ask if Germany would help Austria-Hungary if they went to war. Germany agreed to the “blank cheque”. As Austria-Hungary went to war against Serbia; Serbia had alliances with France, Russia, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire to join the war on their side.
By the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, Austria-Hungary was permitted to occupy and administer Bosnia and Herzegovina. When Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, it stirred an upsetting reaction from the West, and many Serbians wanted a pan-Slav state directed by Serbia, a province that had better relations with Russia than with Austro-Hungary. Serbia protested for independence and Serbian newspapers demanded a strip of territory extending across Novi-Bazar and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Adriatic. The Government of the Dual Monarchy refused to receive the Serbian protest by denying that Serbia had any right to raise question the annexation. Austria-Hungary, which was a dynastic empire, comprising of many different races, hated Pan Slavism, the nationalism which Slav races of the Balkan aspire to set up in their own nation-states.
Causes of WW1 I think that the First World War was the product of long-standing rivalries rather than a badly mismanaged Balkan Crisis because it was these rivalries that led to the Balkan Crisis. The Balkan Crisis may appear mismanaged because previous crises such as those in Morocco in 1905 and 1911 did not result in war. In the July Crisis Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) despite not having conclusive proof. Austria-Hungary asked for German support to "eliminate Serbia as a power factor in the Balkans". Germany agreed, offering her full support for Austria- Hungary to start a war with Serbia, and this became known as the "blank cheque".
World War 1: A Tragedy of Miscalculation To some extent, the outbreak of the First World War was a tragedy of miscalculation. Austria declared war on Serbia, in the hope that it would only be a short and local war. Germany had miscalculated the risk of a two-front war. Germany’s war plan – the Schlieffen Plan, inevitably involved France, Russia, Belgium and Britain. In “The war to end all wars”, Germany also did not take into calculation the ‘Domino Effect’ of the alliances between France, Russia and Britain.
(The Twentieth Century: A Brief Global History, p.99) I believe this is a prime example of how forcefully aggressive Germany was. Germany’s involvement might have been expected due to their alliance with Austria-Hungary. However, it had to be their hostility and thirst for control that drove them to persuade Russia so much in their favor. Another good example of Germany’s aggression that points to their responsibility for causing WWI, is their war plans. Germany had developed a plan of how to be victorious against Russia and France if they should ever be at war with each other.
The Austro-Russian rivalryé¬¥çˆ in the Balkans was unsolved. At the Congress of Berlin 1878, Bismarck placed Bosnia-Herzegovina under Austrian administration, but trisected "Big Bulgaria" to depriveå‰å¥ª Russia of an outletå‡ºè·¯ to the sea. As a result, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Dual Allianceå…©åœ‹ (å¾·å¥§) åŒç›Ÿ in 1879 against Russia. Nonetheless, the danger of a two-front war still lingeredå¾˜å¾Š. Bismarck feared that Russia might leané å‘ to France against Germany.
The purpose of the group was to recruit and train partisans for a possible war between Serbia and Austria. They also undertook anti-Austrian propaganda and organized spies and saboteurs to operate within the empire's provinces. Satellite groups were formed in Slovinia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Istria. The Bosnian group went under the name Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia). Narodna Odbrana's work had been so effective that in 1909 a furious Austria pressured the Serbian government to put a stop to their anti-Austrian insurrection.
After the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for their deaths - even though the terrorist was not connected to the Serbian government. A month later, on 31 July 1914, Austria-Hungary went one step further and declared war on Serbia. At this point it still seemed that the war would not spread, but ... A number of alliances existed between the countries of Europe. Russia supported Serbiaand was drawn into the quarrel. Russia mobilised its army ready to help the Serbs against Austria-Hungary.
When he gave Austria-Hungary the ‘blank cheque’, Bethmann Hollweg realized that the crisis might escalate into a European war. It appeared like Germany hoped that the Austro-Serb crisis might divide the big Entente powers and with that give Germany a blood free victory. In addition to that Zechlin accepts the fact that Germany took advantage of the crisis to advance its own plan. The Gerhard Ritter thesis Gerhard Ritter supposes that Germany can’t be blamed for the outbreak of World War One. Ritter’s six main claims were: 1.
In Berlin, Kaiser William II was horrified at the assignation of Francis Ferdinand and advised Francis Joseph to take a stand against the Serbia and assured him of German support. Instead of urging restraint, Germany gave Austria a "blank check." Serbia sought support from Russia. From St. Petersburg Nicholas II telegraphed William II. The czar asked William to urge Austria to soften its demands on the ultimatum.