The Contribution of the Alliance System to the Outbreak of the First World War

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The Contribution of the Alliance System

to the Outbreak of the First World War

The "Alliance System" refers to the formation of military

alliances or conclusioné”æˆ of ententes諒解 among the European powers

during the period of 1871-1914. The Alliance System was first

devised設計 by Bismarck; it was one of the underlying causesé å› leading

to the outbreak of the First World War.

The Alliance System during the period of 1871-1890 was called the

Bismarckian System. In the Franco-Prussian War, France was utterly

defeated慘敗. By the Treaty of Frankfurt 1871 France was to cede

Alsace-Lorraine, and pay an indemnity of 5 billion francs to Germany.

To prevent the French attempt of revengeå ±å¾© and the possibility of a

two-front war, as well as to consolidateéžå›º the infantåˆç”Ÿçš„ German

Empire, in 1873 Bismarck, the German Chancellor首相, created the

Dreikaiserbund三å¸åŒç›Ÿ. The emperors of Germany, Austria-Hungary and

Russia vowed誓言 to guarantee the status quoç¾ç‹€ of Europe of 1871, resist

revolutions and maintain peace in the Balkans. Yet it was only a

verbalå£é ­ statementè²æ˜Ž. The Austro-Russian rivalry鬥爭 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 outlet出路 to the sea. As a result,

Germany and Austria-Hungary formed the Dual Alliance兩國 (德奧) åŒç›Ÿ in 1879

against Russia. Nonetheless, the danger of a two-front war still

lingered徘徊. Bismarck feared that Russia might leané å‘ to France against

Germany. In 1881 Bismarck convinced Czar Alexander III to conclude the


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Alliance System was likely to change a local war to a general war with

its chain-effect連鎖å應. After the Sarajevo Assassination塞拉耶弗事件 of June

1914, Germany supported Austria-Hungary unconditionally against both

Serbia and Russia. She also declared war on France since France was

Russia's ally.

Yet not all the powers entered the First World War because of the

Alliance System. Britain declared war on Germany because William II

insisted on invading France via繞經 Belgium. Not only the Belgian

neutrality but the British national security was threatened. Italy did

not help Germany in 1914 because she had already reached secret

agreements with France in 1900-02.

To sum up, the Alliance System complicated the international relations

of Europe and added fire to the outbreak of the First World War.

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