• Militarism
  • Alliances
  • Imperialism
  • Nationalism


  • Def: Building up of arms (weapons) to deter (scare) others from attacking.
  • Germany was competing with the UK to build battleships.
  • The British feared an attack on their Empire
  • Germany was competing with Russia and France to expand their armies


  • Def: Banding together of countries against a common threat.
  • By 1914, all the major powers were linked by a system of alliances.
  • The alliances made it more likely that a war would start.
  • Once started, the alliances made it more likely to spread.
  • Triple Entente (France, Britain and Russia) vs. Triple Alliances (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy)
  • Allies vs. Central Powers
  • Also, Serbia, which Russia promised to protect.
  • Also Belgium, which Britain promised to protect
  • And, the colonies, such as Canada, who were automatically at war when Britain went to war


  • All the great powers were competing for colonies / territory.
  • Land = power
  • Germany was envious of Britain’s colonial possessions (25% of globe)
  • The British feared Germany in Africa
  • Serbia feared Austria (terrorism)
  • The Austrians feared Serbia (allies with Russia)


  • Def: Feelings of great loyalty to one’s people and homeland. Can lead to feelings of superiority.
  • This was an age when all nations wanted to assert their power and independence.
  • In Europe Slavs, aided by Serbia and Russia, wanted to be free of Austrian rule.
  • Balkan = Serbia, Bulgaria
  • Albania, Romania, etc.
    • Britain: large navy, empire
    • France: history of “greatness”
    • Russia: big (land)
    • Austria-Hungary: large empire, strong army, “natural leaders of Europe”
    • Germany: navy rivaled Britain; “natural leaders of Europe”
    • Italy: recently unified as a country; looking to prove itself

The Crisis 1.

  • 28 June 1914
  • Heir to Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand visits Sarajevo.
  • Capital of Bosnia, recently grabbed by Austria.

The Crisis 2.

  • Black Hand” –Serbian nationalist group /‘terrorists’ attack the Arch Duke
  • Bomb attempt fails in morning
  • Gavrilo Princip shoots Archduke and wife in the afternoon.
  • Austrians blame Serbia for supporting terrorists.
  • Assassination at Sarajevo, Bosnia

The Crisis 3.

  • Austrians, supported by Germany, send Serbia a tough ultimatum (demand by one government to another – accept terms or face war).
  • Serbia agrees to all but one term of the ultimatum.(pg 69)
  • Russia mobilises her troops to support Serbia
  • Germany demands that Russia stands her armies down -> Russia refuses
  • Germany declares war on Russia (Aug. 1, 1914) and on France the next day
  • Why did Canada get involved?
  • Canada was an independent country
  • But all foreign policy controlled by Britain
  • When Britain went to war, Canada automatically went to war
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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