Q:

How did alliances contribute to the outbreak of World War I?

A:

Alliances contributed to the outbreak of World War I by forcing the great powers of Europe to go to war when their allies did. The two great alliances prior to the outbreak of war were the Central Powers, which consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the Entente, or Allied Powers, which consisted of Great Britain, Russia and France.

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The spark that lit the fuse of war was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. The assassin was a Serbian nationalist who wanted Austria-Hungary out of the Balkans. Austria-Hungary sent the Serbian government an ultimatum that promised war if specific demands were not met. However, Russia had promised to protect the Serbs and threatened retaliation. Once Austria invaded Serbia on July 28, 1914, the German army began mobilizing for war, prompting the Russian army to do likewise. Assuming that the Austro-Hungarians would take care of the Russians, Germany declared war on France on August 3, launching an invasion through Belgium, which was a neutral country. Due to its alliance with Belgium, Great Britain joined the war against the Germans on August 7. Because of the complex alliances necessitated by the balance of power theory of European relations, the outbreak of war in a small corner of the continent flared up into a continent-wide conflagration.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did entangling alliances affect World War I?

    A:

    The entangling alliances among the European powers affected World War I by causing a small regional conflict to explode into an international war. The first of the two major alliances in this war was the Central Powers dominated by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Their opponents were the Allies made up of France, Great Britain, Russia, Japan, Italy and eventually the United States.

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  • Q:

    What are World War I bayonets?

    A:

    A World War I bayonet is a blade, and is part of the guns that were used during World War I by most soldiers. The bayonet connects to the barrel of a battle rifle and was utilized in close combat.

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  • Q:

    Who was in World War I?

    A:

    The major combatants in World War I were the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire versus the Allied Forces of Great Britain, France, the United States, Russia, Italy and Japan. In addition, nearly 20 other countries and several colonies joined the conflict.

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  • Q:

    When was World War I?

    A:

    World War I was fought from July 28, 1914 to Nov. 11, 1918. The war ended with nearly 10 million dead and 20 million wounded. The German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires collapsed, leaving geopolitical divisions that remain as of 2014.

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