February 17, 2013
WWI: Domino Theory
In the aftermath that resulted from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 till 1871, was a time period of relative tranquility amongst Europe and the United States. There had been a surge in commercial and industrial achievements/accomplishments. The western powers had expanded their trade and colonies and everything seemed good at the time.1 Consequently, all good things must come to a close some time or later and at the turn of the 19th century, tensions between European nations began to grow at a tremendous rate. European powers were looking to expand their influence throughout the Mediterranean Basin and nationalism became a major driving force behind this idea. Tensions between France and Germany began to increase at exponential rates as well as between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. With alliances beginning to be formed all over the European continent, it would not take long before a global conflict would be initiated.
Nationalism in Europe had grown on a tremendous scale in the early twentieth century. European powers were determined to be the strongest on the continent and become superior to the other nations. Nationalism within the five European powers led to increased conflict between them. After the Franco-Prussian War, Germany was united and quickly grew into the strongest economic and military power on the European continent. As a result of this power, Germany wanted to spread its influence to all parts of the world and its foreign policy at this time could be best summarized by the term 'Weltpolitik,' meaning World Politics.2 It became more aggressive with other countries and often got involved in conflicts with nations all over Europe with the exception of Austria-Hungary. Nationalism in Austria-Hungary also was centered around conflict. The nation consisted of many group of people including, Serbs, Croats, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians, and Poles, creating tensions within the country itself. Only Austrians and Hungarians were allowed to rule, suppressing a majority of the population. Austria-Hungary concentrated most of its attention to the Balkan Peninsula, where it hoped to crush the Serbian national movements. As a result, Austria-Hungary became enemies with Serbia and Russia, since Russia often backed Serbia, a fellow Slav country.3 Nationalism in Russia, like Austria-Hungary, concentrated on the Balkan Peninsula. Russia was a landlocked country and it hoped, that by moving into the Balkans, can acquire a warm water port.4 Nationalism in France was concentrated on overseas colonies and a bitter rivalry with Germany. France was determined to regain Alsace and Lorraine from Germany after losing them in 1871.5 France also set its eyes across the Mediterranean to Africa, where it owned the colonies of Algeria and Morocco. Britain’s nationalism concentrated on protecting its overseas empire with its huge navy. Britain’s navy was the largest navy in the world, but when Germany began to build up its navy and threatened Britain’s supremacy, Germany became Britain’s main enemy.6 In the early twentieth century, four major international crises occurred. These crises were brought about by the two rival European groups, the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. The Triple Entente included France, Britain, and Russia while the triple Alliance included the countries of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The first of these crises occurred in 1905, in the form of the First Moroccan Crisis. The crisis occurred when Germany wanted to disrupt the Anglo-French Entente, formed in April 1904 as an agreement between the rivalries between Britain and France in North Africa. Under its conditions, Britain would be able to pursue its interests in Egypt, while France was free to expand westward from Algeria into Morocco. As a direct result, France signed an agreement with Spain dividing Morocco...
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