The alliance system played a role in the start of World War One because it divided the power of Europe. When Germany and Italy became alliances, the balance of power in Europe was shaken. Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck realized that there would be some serious consequences of Germany being unified under Russian leadership. One being a two-sided war against Germany led by France and Russia. In order to keep Germany safe and to make sure France didn’t try to take revenge on them after France’s loss in the Franco-Prussian war, Bismarck established the Three Emperors League between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. The Triple Alliance was also made between Austria, Italy, and Germany for the same reason.
(Buenviaje Paragraph 1)Bismarck tried to convince the British that Germany was no threat to their land or safety as well. Despite his efforts to convince other countries that Germany was harmless, all his work disappeared with the new kaiser Wilhelm II. Bismarck and Wilhelm II had contrasting views on how to make Germany a great power. Wilhelm II wanted to make Germany a powerful navy country which Great Britain saw as a threat because their safety and foreign policy relied on them having the strongest navy. In 1890, kaiser Wilhelm II angered the Russians by not renewing Bismarck’s alliance. (Buenviaje, paragraph 2) An agreement between Russia and France in 1891 became stronger in 1892 and 1894.
(Wilmot, 15) As a result of Russia and France’s agreement and Wilhelm II refusing to renew Bismarck’s alliance, the way was paved for a strong alliance between France and Russia in 1894. Then, Germany only had its Triple Alliance with Italy and Austria-Hungary. (Buenviaje Paragraph 2)By 1907, European powers the European powers were divided into the Triple Alliance containing Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and the Triple Entente with France, Russia, and Great Britain. Tensions increased between the 2 groups. There were no powers to intervene in conflicts because they were either in the Triple Alliance or the Triple Entente. Countries became less willing to settle conflicts by peaceful means because they knew they had their allies to militarily support them. And lastly, any conflict between 1 country in each camp easily involved all of that country’s allies as well. For example, during the Bosnian Crisis, Russia and Serbia were on the same side as were Austria and Germany making the disagreement between two countries between four.
In 1910, alliances had moved from being only for defense purposes to being very aggressive. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 by a Bosnian Serb, Austria was given support from its ally Germany. Austria then sent a list of terms that Serbians would need to abide by to Serbia. When Serbia refused to accept the last term, Austria started a war against Serbia.
A day later, Russia sent troops to help Serbia and Germany sent a demand to stop Russian troops. When Russia did not stop their troops, Germany started war against Russia. France then sent troops to help Russia. Then, Germany started a war with France and invaded Belgium. Britain asked Germany to stop invading Belgium and when Germany refused, Britain declared a war against them.
(Buenviaje, paragraphs 9-13) A fight between Austria and Serbia turned into a the start of a World War when the two countries allies tried to defend Austria and Serbia. Therefore the alliance system was a main factor into the start of World War I.