European Diplomacy before the First World War

The Alliance System in Europe 1871-1890

This revision podcast focuses on Bismarck and the International System (sometimes known as the Alliance System) he created from 1871 until his resignation in 1890.  Approaching the topic through a consideration of Bismarck’s foreign policy aims following the unification of Germany, the podcast explains how he attempted to isolate France, befriend Britain, and create a series of alliances with Russia and Austria-Hungary.

          

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Dual Alliance

The formation of the Dual Alliance by Germany and Austria-Hungary – introductory video

Keen to consolidate the newly-united Germany, Otto von Bismarck turned to diplomacy in an attempt to ensure the status quo in Europe.

Triple Alliance

The creation of the Triple Alliance: an overview

Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed the Triple Alliance.

The Reinsurance Treaty

The Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia: a brief overview

Germany and Russia signed the secret Reinsurance Treaty that ensured they would each remain neutral if the other went to war with a third European power.

Dropping the pilot

Why did Otto von Bismarck resign in 1890?

On the 20th March 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany formally accepted Otto von Bismarck’s resignation.

The breakdown of the International System from 1890

In this revision podcast we see how the ascension of Wilhelm II to the throne of Germany in 1890 led to the breakdown of the Alliance System created by Bismarck.  It explores how a number of factors led to increased European tensions through reference to key issues including Weltpolitik, the arms race, and nationalism.  These factors are assessed in order to explain the changing relationships between the European powers during the period.

          

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Europes-military-alliances-in-World-War-I-1914

Causes of the First World War – the ‘Alliance System’

An overview of the Alliance System before the outbreak of the First World War including archive footage from the time.

Entente Cordiale

Explanation of the Entente Cordiale

A brief explanation of the terms and effects of the signing of the Entente Cordiale on 8th April 1904.

Causes of the First World War – Militarism and the ‘Arms Race’

How did Kaiser Wilhelm II provoke the First Moroccan Crisis?