Subtitles prepared by human
How are you Welcome to the video dedicated to the causes of the First World War. Throughout the following minutes we will talk about the Armed Peace and international relations at the beginning of the 20th century, fundamentally marked by the so-called Bismarckian systems. We will also address the contenders, the fronts of the conflict and, finally, the keys and consequences of the Sarajevo attack. Let's start! We know as Armed Peace the period in the history of international relations that developed between 1870 and 1914. This stage was characterized by rivalries between the powers and rearmament, which were undoubtedly key to the outbreak of the First World War. In this process, the change in German international policy after the dismissal of Chancellor Bismarck in 1890 had special significance. The new emperor, Wilhelm
II, abandoned the prudence that had hitherto characterized the actions of the German Chancellery , inaugurating a new way of understanding international relations is known as weltpolitik. Thereafter, the two fundamental objectives of William II were the creation of a great German colonial empire and the development of a fleet capable of competing with the British for dominance of the seas. As is logical, this ended up undermining the political stability of Europe, at the same time that it favored the rapprochement between the British Empire and the great enemies of Germany; that is, the French. Another characteristic of the Armed Peace was the development of Imperialism. Not surprisingly, colonial expansion and the desire to control world trade led to constant clashes between Western powers. And, closely related to what we have just commented, the rise of nationalisms must be located, which affected both the great powers and the small nations that made them up. In this last point it is worth
highlighting the situation of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, formed by extensive territories that, in turn, were inhabited by ethnic and cultural minorities who aspired to create their own states. We will finish this section dedicated to Armed Peace by developing the question of rearmament that we mentioned a moment ago. In the early years of the 20th century, the arms race began , where both technological innovations and the industrialization of previous decades were taken advantage of. Therefore, really all the great powers were prepared to initiate a warlike conflict, although many of their leaders maintained that this rearmament was dissuasive; In other words, their enemies, seeing them so prepared, would come to the conclusion that the best option was to keep the peace. When dealing with international relations at the beginning of the 20th century , the rivalry between France and Germany should be
mentioned first. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the French lost the territories of Alsace and Lorraine. And, of course, they had a great interest in recovering them and taking revenge for the defeat that Germany inflicted on them in that conflict. To this we would have to add the German claims to expand its influence on the African colonial scene, clashing on several occasions with the interests of France. The clearest example of this was the Algeciras Conference of 1906, in which William II made Morocco not only a French protectorate, but also a Spanish one. The second source of tension was related to the aforementioned weltpolitik undertaken by the Emperor of Germany, which threatened the world primacy in the sea of the British. The implementation of the Tirpitz Plan, which contemplated the increase of the German war fleet , was seen in London as a provocation and a direct threat to their interests. And, as discussed above, it led to a rapprochement between the UK and France.
Also the Balkan region, where Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had important interests, was a source of instability in those years. In the last years of the 19th century, both powers began a growing rivalry for control of that territory in southeastern Europe that, since the 16th century, had been under the control of the increasingly weakened Ottoman Empire. This process of decline had given rise to a series of small Balkan nations over which the Russians and Austrians exerted their influence, who sought to establish a more effective rule, either through direct control of the territory or through diplomatic channels. Tension grew in the area until it led to the annexation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary in 1908 and the Balkan wars , between the nations in that environment, in 1912 and 1913. To finish this review of international relations, we are going to stop and analyze the alliance system, which is considered another key to the outbreak of the First
World War. Between 1870 and 1890, the German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, promoted a complex model that allowed him to become the arbiter of international politics. In essence, what he wanted was to isolate France diplomatically, knowing that this nation was eager to take revenge in the Franco-Prussian war and recover the lost territories of Alsace and Lorraine. Starting in 1872, what we know as the first Bismarckian system was put into operation, which had the following characteristics: On the one hand, it sought an alliance with Austria and Russia with whom it arrived, in 1873, at the Entente of the Three Emperors. And, on the other, it tried to ensure British neutrality in the event of a Franco-German conflict. The truth is that this issue was not very complicated for him, since France and the United Kingdom were facing each other in various colonial settings. However, this framework built by Bismarck collapsed in 1878 as a result
of the rivalry in the Balkans between Austria-Hungary and Russia. Berlin took sides with Vienna, thus breaking the Entente of the Three Emperors, and forming the Double Alliance between Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, the German Chancellor also considered the alliance with Russia important, an interest that led him to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him in 1881. In that year Tsar Alexander III, son of the assassinated Alexander II, ascended to the throne , and with him the Russian international politics took a new turn. There was a rapprochement with Germany, which Bismarck knew how to see to renew the alliance of the three empires. A new step within the system was the signing, in 1882, of the Triple Alliance between Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy. Again the ability of the German Chancellor was decisive, as he knew how to take advantage of the rivalry between the French and the Italians to gain the trust of the latter and further isolate the former. However, the Balkans would again blow up
Bismarck's plans in 1887. A new diplomatic dispute between Austrians and Russians led to the breakdown of the Entente of the Three Emperors, a structure that Germany once again replaced by the Duplicitous Alliance with Austria-Hungary. In turn, it signed the Reinsurance treaty with Russia, in which both powers promised to remain neutral in the event of conflict with the French and Austrians. In short, when Bismarck left the Chancellery in 1890, France had no allies to wage a revenge war that would also allow it to regain Alsace and Lorraine. However, in the following years, Kaiser Wilhelm II did not renew the Reinsurance treaty with Russia, a circumstance that was taken advantage of by the French government to get out of its diplomatic isolation : in 1892 the French Third Republic and the empire of the Tsars signed a friendship agreement. In addition, before the German Weltpolitik and the implementation of the Tirpitz Plan,
the British began their rapprochement with France, which bore fruit with the signing of a treaty in 1904. In the following years, this set of movements ended up shaping the Triple Entente, one of the two sides of the First World War made up of the United Kingdom, France and Russia. On June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia -a territory that since 1908 was under Austrian rule-, the young Bosnian terrorist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austrian crown, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sofia. Chotek. The attack caused a great commotion in Europe, but did not immediately unleash the war. Initially, it seemed that everything was going to be a mere investigation into the events and those responsible. However, the Austrian government, convinced of the involvement of Serbia in the preparation of the attack, obtained German backing to retaliate
against that country. In this way, on July 23, the Austrians issued an ultimatum to the Serbs that, if not fulfilled, would lead to a formal declaration of war. For its part, the Serbian government requested help from Russia, while mobilizing its army. From then on, the machinery of alliances that we have just described came into play, in such a way that, when the Austrians began the bombing of Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) on July 28, Russia began the mobilization of its troops towards the Western border. For their part, the Germans, feeling threatened by the growing presence of Russian soldiers in the area, issued an ultimatum that was rejected by Tsar Nicholas II. In this way, on August 1, 1914, Germany and Russia went to war and, by virtue of the latter's agreement with France, this power too declared war on Germany. Finally, on August 4, as a result of the invasion of Belgium by the Germans, the United Kingdom also ended up entering the conflict on the side of the
Serbs, Russians and French. At this point, it is worth pausing briefly to explain that last event, as we have not commented on the situation of the Belgians so far. In this regard, it is necessary to know that the Schlieffen Plan, drawn up by that German military in anticipation of a war against France, was considered the best option to invade French territory without having to face the strong defense located on its border with Germany, was to enter through Belgium. Therefore, Kaiser Wilhelm II authorized the invasion, without taking into account that the Belgians and the British had an agreement where the latter agreed to guarantee the independence of the former. Therefore, the implementation of the Schlieffen Plan served so that London could present to its citizens, and to the international community as a whole, the need to enter the war. Although the war progressively involved more countries, in August 1914 Germany and Austria-Hungary were fighting on the one hand, and
Serbia, Russia, France and the United Kingdom on the other. And to this are added their respective colonial empires , so it went from a European conflict or another of a global nature. We end the video here, but our review of the First World War will continue in the next one, which will be dedicated to the successive phases of the conflict, the Versailles Conference and the consequences of all these events on a political, economic and social level. Greetings to everybody!
Watch, read, educate! © 2021