Factors of World War I

Imperialism, nationalism, militarism, and alliances


In 1870, as part of its plan to unify Germany, Prussia forced France to give up territory along the German border. As a result, France and Germany became enemies. To protect itself, Germany signed alliances with Italy and with the huge empire of Austria-Hungary, which controlled much of southeastern Europe. This became known as the Triple Alliance.
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Alliances fostered militarism. Over time, German militarism led Britain to become involved in the alliance system.

In 1898 Germany began building a large modern navy. The buildup threatened the British, who rushed to build warships. By the early 1900s, Britain and Germany were engaged in an arms race.

Triple Entente

Nationalism and Imperialism

By the late 1800's nationalism had become a powerful idea in Europe.

In the 1800s, nationalism led to a crisis in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe.

In the 1700's and 1800's imperialism was how European powers built empires.

For years the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had ruled the Balkans.

The Serbs, who were the first to gain independence, formed a nation called Serbia.

Russia supported the Serbs, but Austria-Hungary worked to limit Serbia’s growth. In 1908 Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia, which had belonged to the Ottoman Empire, outraging the Serbs. .

The Assassination that Leads to War

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Interactive Image

Go to your online text book and interact with this image in Lesson 1 of Chapter 16.


Who were the Black Hand?

Explain how the assassination occurred.

Who was specifically responsible for the death of the Archduke?