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World War One: 1890-14 - Reasons For Increasing Tensions Among The Great Powers

In GCSE History one topic studied is World War One and one aspect of this that is looked at is the build up to the war. This is the first of two quizzes on that subject focussing in particular on the increase in tensions between powers prior to the beginning of the war.

Prior to the outbreak of World War One there were already problems in Europe. From the accession of the German Emperor, and the dismissal of the German Chancellor Bismarck, there was an increase in tensions between European powers, who eventually split between two hostile alliances. These differences were exacerbated by colonial rivalries, an arms race and regular crises.

Discover more about the increase in tensions between world powers prior to the outbreak of World War One in this quiz.

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  1. On the eve of the outbreak of war, in August 1914, Britain's Foreign Secretary commented: "The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our time". What was he called?
    The British Foreign Office had done their best to avoid war: for example, proposing an international conference to settle the issue of Franz Ferdinand's assassination. This ploy had helped to solve the 1905 crisis but there was little enthusiasm for it in 1914
  2. In 1905, 1908 and 1911 international crises arose in an African state, which France regarded as its colony. What name was given to this area?
    Germany, which had only been fully united in 1871, felt left out in the race for colonies - above all in Africa, where the 1890s saw a mad scramble by the Powers to grab what was left. France was particularly sensitive to German intrusions, as it had other issues with Germany - like the continued occupation of Alsace-Lorraine and a military arms race
  3. The 1912-1913 period was marred by two wars in South Eastern Europe, as the regional powers squabbled with each other over what arrangements should follow an inevitable Ottoman withdrawal from their remaining European possessions. What name was given to these wars?
    Turkish weakness, and possible withdrawal from their remaining land in South East Europe, could lead to a vacuum which would be disputed by Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. These tensions could further destabilise other parts of Europe
  4. In 1908 Austria-Hungary decided to annex two provinces that were nominally part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. Russia objected strongly to an incursion into territory that she regarded as part of her backyard, but the Austrians refused to back down. This crisis clearly instilled fresh tension into an already tense area. What was the region's name?
    Russia was anxious to defend brother Slavs from the eastward advance of Austro-Hungarian forces. If the Habsburgs got away with this, Russia feared that Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and even Russia herself, could be at risk
  5. In 1902 Britain signed a treaty with a non-European power, which had important military and colonial clauses. Which was this power?
    Britain was anxious to settle existing naval and colonial issues wherever they were to be found
  6. After 1882 Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy were members of a military alliance that lasted until 1914. What was this grouping called?
    Germany regarded Austria-Hungary as its staunchest ally, and she was delighted when the newly unified Italian state chose to join the treaty
  7. In 1911 the British Chancellor of the Exchequer made a bellicose speech at the Mansion House in the City of London after the appearance of a German warship at an Atlantic port. What was this British politician called?
    Britain's navy was her principal military asset, and Britain resented any attempt by Germany to flaunt its naval power
  8. In June 1914 the heir to the Austrian throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in a Bosnian city by a member of a Serbian terrorist group called the "Black Hand". In which precise city did this outrage take place?
    Bosnia-Hercegovina contained many ethnic Serbs, whom the "Black Hand" organisation intended to support. However, there were also Muslims, Croats and Slovenes who feared the consequences of Serb nationalism
  9. In 1906 the Royal Navy launched the first of a new class of capital ships, which immediately made all existing battleships and battle cruisers redundant. What was the name of this ship, which gave its name to all others of a similar type which were built from now on?
    The British were suspicious of German naval intentions: the Germans seemed to be increasing the size of their fleet, and to be more willing to deploy their naval assets into the Atlantic, which Britain regarded as her backyard. Moreover, the Germans were widening and deepening the Kiel Canal, a vital waterway between the North Sea and the Baltic, where the key naval base of Kiel was to be found
  10. In 1904 Britain and France settled their colonial quarrels by signing an agreement. What name was given to this treaty?
    In 1898 Britain and France almost went to war over the Fashoda Incident, when their two armies confronted each other on the Upper Nile. The 1904 agreement was intended to settle all mutual colonial claims and was not a full military alliance of the kind that France had signed with Russia eleven years before

Author: Edward Towne

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