World History 2 167 - 11.1 Alliances, Expansion, and Conflict

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe political conditions in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century
  • Analyze the nature of the alliances made among European powers by 1914
  • Explain how the desire for colonies destabilized the balance of power in the early twentieth century
  • Describe the competition to build modern navies in the early twentieth century

By the early twentieth century, Europe had achieved outward stability through a series of alliances. Such accords were a hallmark of nineteenth-century diplomacy and had maintained peace for decades on the continent, compressing the wars that did occur into finite conflicts. In the 1900s, these alliances had solidified two opposed groups, each with major powers that allied with one another and then developed relationships with smaller nations. Germany’s territorial ambitions put it in direct conflict with other imperialistic powers as it sought to expand its colonial holdings. Its desire to be taken more seriously and become a force in global affairs threatened to destabilize the peace when its goals brought it into competition with other countries hungry for land and power, notably Great Britain, and led to military buildups. A specter of war soon hung over Europe.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 2: from 1400 textbook by Openstax