Are Finland and Hungary enemies
Europe before World War I (1914)
The world of European states in the early 20th century was partly still within the limits of the Vienna Congress of 1815, but partly it had also undergone radical changes. They were most serious in the southeast of the continent.
The largest state structure in Europe on the eve of the First World War was Austria-Hungary, a multi-ethnic state that united Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Romanians and Italians. The Danube Monarchy was a personal and real union of the Austrian imperial and the Hungarian kingdom.
Italy was almost as young a state as the German Reich proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in 1871. In 1861 Victor Emanuel II had accepted the title of King of Italy, although it was not undisputed and Rome was still ruled by France under Napoleon III. was occupied. The Franco-Prussian War in 1870 offered the opportunity to conquer Rome and make it the capital.
Poland was completely divided between Prussia, Austria-Hungary and Russia during the third partition of Poland in 1795 and has since disappeared from the map as an independent state. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it was united as the "Congress Poland" in personal union with Russia. The Grand Duchy of Finland, which has belonged to Russia since 1809, enjoyed partial autonomy in the 19th century. Their temporary elimination by Tsar Alexander III. in 1899 was revoked six years later by Tsar Nicholas II.
Iceland, which has belonged to Denmark since the 14th century, had also achieved partial autonomy in the second half of the 19th century.
Spain had seen decades of continuous unrest and political power struggles since it was occupied by Napoleonic troops. Only with the constitution of 1876 did the domestic political situation stabilize again. However, at the end of the 19th century, what was once the most important colonial power had to accept the loss of almost all non-European possessions. Most fell to the USA after armed conflict.
The way into the world war
The political tensions immediately before the First World War had their roots in the late 19th century. The era of imperialism began in the 1880s with the struggle for overseas colonies, known as the "Scramble for Africa". All of the major European powers wanted to be conquered, and all of them, except Austria-Hungary, waged war to extend their property rights to other continents. At the same time, there was a break with the national ideas and liberal traditions of the 19th century within industrial societies. The desire for annexation aroused envy and aggressive nationalism between the states; especially in the German Reich, which was surrounded by enemies and believed to have been cheated out of the colonies to which it was supposedly entitled.
The risky German foreign policy under Wilhelm II, who, especially after Bismarck's dismissal, repeatedly snubbed the neighboring powers and openly expressed the ambitious plan to establish a "strong German fleet", alarmed the European states. The two Moroccan crises of 1905 and 1911 and the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria in the summer of 1908 contributed to the rest. The allies Great Britain, France and Russia as well as the Central Powers Germany and Austria-Hungary prepared for armed conflicts, also by developing new types of weapon systems. At the same time - with the introduction of general conscription - the armed forces of the continental European powers grew into armies of millions.
For the first time, the First World War clearly showed the dark side of modernity and progress. Not armies but whole peoples fought one another. The development of the means of communication and new forms of propaganda made it possible for the warring forces to mobilize entire countries within days. At the same time, the military had new weapons of mass destruction such as machine guns and poison gas grenades; Aircraft were used for aerial reconnaissance and to locate the enemy. About ten million people from 32 participating states were the victims of this war.
D. Bode, K. Lückemeier
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