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The Alliances of World War I

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WORLD WAR I
Foreign policy:
Even before WW1 began, years of tension had built up a rivalry between the great powers of Europe, triggered by alliances, power plays, weapons races and security. Furthermore, the Balkans was a power-vacuum, formally under the control of a fast-deteriorating Ottoman Empire. Imperialist expansionism on the part of Austria-Hungary and the German Reich was also giving rise to tensions. The increased efforts of Germany to have a colonial empire in Africa was another factor that led to WW1. During the 19th century, Britain, France and Germany had been in competition with each other, trying to build colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Russia, Japan and the United States were doing the same in the Asian theatre.
Africa and parts of Asia were points of contention amongst the European countries. This was because of the raw materials these areas could provide. The increasing competition and desire for greater empires led to an increase in confrontation that helped push the world into World War I.
The resulting tensions and rivalries between the major European powers culminated in a dynamic arms race that was coming to a head by 1914.
Over time, countries throughout Europe made mutual defense agreements that would pull them into battle. If one country was attacked, allied countries were bound to defend them. Before World War 1, the following alliances existed:
Russia and Serbia
Germany and Austria-Hungary
France and Russia
Britain and France and Belgium
Japan and Britain
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia got involved to defend Serbia. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia. France was then drawn in against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Germany attacked France through Belgium ...

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...in signed the Nazi-Soviet pact with Hitler, which only increased anti-Soviet hostility in the West, but delayed the onset of war between the two powers. However, while Stalin hoped Germany would get bogged down in a war with France, early Nazi conquests occurred quickly, enabling Germany to invade the Soviet Union in 1941.
1917
October: Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
1918-1920
Unsuccessful Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War.
1919
March 15: Lenin creates the Communist International (Comintern) to promote international revolution.
1922
December 30: Creation of the USSR.
1933
United States begins diplomatic relations with USSR for the first time.
On August 13, 1961, the East German government erected the Berlin Wall in order to keep its citizens from fleeing to the West. For 28 years, the Berlin Wall separated West from East and became a symbol of the Cold War.
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