Print this page War and democracy In Britain had a constitutional government, but it was not a fully-fledged democracy. In it became a democracy, with the introduction of universal adult male suffrage and votes for women aged over World War One determined the timing of democratic change.
Enjoy the Famous Daily The diplomatic drift towards war: The cast list is unchanged since the early 18th century except that Prussia is now Germanyand the players are well used to the game of diplomacy in which alliances formed for defensive purposes turn into aggressive partnerships as soon as a new war develops a circumstance considered almost inevitable sooner or later in the atmosphere of national rivalry.
However the 19th century has introduced one new element in the form of very much shorter wars.
The idea of rapid victory in a short war is particularly prevalent in Germany, the victor in both the Seven Weeks' War and the Franco-Prussian War.
And the German nation is both more hungry for immediate success on the international stage than its rivals, and more nervous about succumbing to hostile alliances. The reasons are numerous. Germany has recently been transformed by Bismarck from a relatively minor player to potentially the most powerful nation in continental Europe.
But as a late arrival on the world stage, it has no empire to match those of Britain, France and Russia. Nor, unlike them, has it a great navy - the most tangible symbol, perhaps, of international power. German nervousness is increased during the s when alliances among the European powers seem to be slipping beyond German control.
Bismarck worked on the assumption of hostility from France eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and a neutral stance from Britain historically the great rival of France. He therefore concentrated his efforts on creating alliances with his eastern neighbours, Russia and Austria-Hungary.
To these he added Italya new nation on the verge of great power status within Europe. Bismarck's chosen path is not easy, particularly since Austria-Hungary and Russia have conflicting spheres of interest in the unstable Balkans.
As a result, while Austria-Hungary and Italy remain constant allies the three nations become known from as the Central Powers of EuropeBismarck is constantly having to patch up or renew the alliance with Russia under the pressure of international events.
The careful edifice crumbles after Bismarck's dismissal in The new Kaiserrecognizing the incompatibility of Russia and Austria-Hungary as allies, breaks off the alliance with Russia. As a result Russia and France, both equally alarmed by Germany, begin secret negotiations - which result in the Franco-Russian alliance of Then, even more surprisingly, in France and Britain agree an unprecedented Entente Cordiale.
Austria-Hungary, a declining power, and the relatively weak Italy now seem to be Germany's only probable allies in a European conflict. And by this time many, particularly in Germany, feel that such a conflict cannot be far in the future.
All the major nations have been preparing for such an eventuality, but Germany has done so in the most deliberate fashion.
The strategic drift towards war: To this end much pride is placed in the plan devised by Admiral von Tirpitz to provide the nation with a High Seas Fleet to match the naval forces of Britain.
Tirpitz's demands on the Reichstag escalate in the inexorable pattern of any arms race. In he persuades the politicians to pass a Navy Law providing for a fleet of 16 battleships.
Two years later a new Navy Law revises the figure to 38 battleships, with a completion date of for the full fleet. This level will still be below that of the British navy, but Tirpitz argues that it will provide Germany with a Risikoflotte 'risk fleet'meaning one too dangerous for Britain to attack.
Britain radically upsets the calculation by introducing in a vastly more powerful class of battleship, the first of the famous 'dreadnoughts'.
Germany follows suit, upgrading its production line to the new standard. To the German argument that Britain is escalating the stakes, Winston Churchill when first lord of the admiralty in replies that for an island nation a powerful navy is a defensive necessity, whereas to Germany it is 'more in the nature of a luxury'.
Meanwhile the German strategy for the army in the event of war is both more secret and more illicit.In the end, Britain refused to ignore the events of 4 August , when Germany attacked France through Belgium.
Within hours, Britain declared war on Germany. The Kaiser said how foolish he thought the British were. He said that Britain had gone to war for the sake of a "scrap of paper".
The First World War spanned four years and involved many nation states. This section lists the landmark events of the year , the first year of the war which began as the widely expected war of movement, but which inexplicably (to contemporary eyes) settled into stubborn trench warfare.
'A war to end all wars' The First World War was the first truly global conflict – the battle raged not just in the trenches of the Western Front but in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. World War I was sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in and ended with the Treaty of Versailles in Find out what happened in between these momentous events in this World War I timeline.
Although World War I officially began in , much of Europe had been roiled. World War I Trenches in France Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in became the primary motivation behind Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into World War I.
A timeline of World War One, starting with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and finishing with The Treaty of Versailles. Explore. Exam Subjects; The first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place February 19th: Britain bombarded Turkish .