Growing Crisis 1900-1914  [FaT BABA]


Different perspectives:

...on Austria's annexation of Bosnia, 1908


1.   The Austrians, taking advantage of a revolution in Turkey, annexed Bosnia.   This was a deliberate blow at the neighbouring state of Serbia which had been hoping to acquire Bosnia since it contained about 3 million Serbs among its population.

Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern World History (1982)

A GCSE revision book. 



The period 1900-1914 was a time of increasing tension between the great powers, which exacerbated the long-term 'pressures-towards-war', moving towards the final crisis at Sarajevo which sparked the First World War.


[Note that the AQA syllabus only requires you to know about the first and second Moroccan crises, the Bosnia crisis and Sarajevo ...]






    How did international relations deteriorate, 1900-1913?



    Crises of 1905-1914   ppt.   swf.



- Giles Hill on the growing tension





Did You Know?

It has been suggested that imperial rivalries were a long-range cause of World War I.

It has also been said that they were a safety valve, drawing off European energies that might otherwise have erupted in war much sooner.


1First Moroccan Crisis, 1906

France hoped to conquer Morocco in Africa, and one of the points of the Entente Cordiale (1904) was that the British would help them.  But in 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm visited Morocco and promised to protect Morocco against anyone who threatened it.  

  •  Effects
    • 1.  The French were furious with Germany.
    • 2.  The British saw it as yet another attempt by Germany to build a German Empire to rival Britain's empire.
    • 3.  A Conference was held at Algeciras (1906), where Britain and Russia supported France, and Germany was forced to promise to stay out of Morocco.   This in turn annoyed Germany, who thought that they were 'ganging up' to stop Germany occupying its rightful place in the world.
    • 4.  In 1907, Britain and Russia, alarmed by German ambitions, made an Entente


Description of the Kaiser's landing in Morocco in 1905

Wikipedia on the Moroccan crisis of 1905


Moroccan Crises 1903-14 - very hard








2Telegraph Article, 1908

Kaiser Wilhelm gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, in which - although he claimed that he wanted to be friends with Britain - he said that the English were 'mad', said that the German people hated them, and demanded that: 'Germany must have a powerful fleet to protect her interests in even the most distant seas'.  

  •  Effects
    • 1.  The article outraged the British.
    • 2.  It convinced them that Germany wanted to challenge the British Empire overseas.


Daily Telegraph article of 1908 and

    a comment on it by 'Trenches on the Web'


Source A

You English, are mad, mad, mad as March hares.   What has come over you that you are so completely given over to suspicions quite unworthy of a great nation? ... I have said time after time that I am a friend of England ... but you make things difficult for me....   

The prevailing sentiment among large sections of the middle and lower classes of my own people is not friendly to England...

An interview with Kaiser Wilhelm II, published in the Daily Telegraph, 28 October 1908


3. Bosnian crisis, 1908

Turkey had been in decline for a long time.   In 1908 there was a revolution in Turkey, and Austria-Hungary took advantage of this to annex (take over) the Turkish state of Bosnia.  

  •  Effects
    • 1.  Serbia was furious, because Bosnia included many Serbs whom it had hoped to rule.  This eventually led to the assassination at Sarajevo and the First World War
    • 2.  Serbia asked her ally Russia to help, and Russia called a European Conference, expecting support from France and Britain.   However, Britain and France did NOT support Russia, no conference took place, and Russia had to back down and was humiliated - but Russia vowed not to back down again.   This, again, was to help to cause the war in 1914.



The Bosnian Crisis of 1908-9

Annexation of Bosnia - original documents


Source B  

Different perspectives

...on the annexation of Bosnia


2.   Because of the altered state of affairs in the Ottoman Empire ... I am forced to announce the annexation of Bosnia.

Letter from Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary

to Kaiser Wilhelm, 29 September 1908.


3.   In order to raise Bosnia to a higher level of political life ...   The new order of things will be a guarantee that civilization and prosperity will find a sure footing in your home.

Franz Josef's Proclamation of the Annexation,

6 October, 1908 


4.  Agadir Crisis, 1911

There was a revolution in Morocco, and the French sent in an army to put it down, then took over the country.   In the middle of this, Kaiser Wilhelm sent the gunboat Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir.

  •  Effects
    • 1.  The French and British were furious - the British minister Lloyd George said that 'Britain's interests were vitally affected'.   Fear of Germany's intentions increased.
    • 2.  Germany was forced to back down and remove the gunship, and was given only a small piece of jungle in the Congo.   This increased German resentment: 'the Kaiser was determined not to be the loser in the next crisis'.

Wikipedia on the Agadir crisis of 1911  


Source C  

Now we know where our enemy stands.   Like a flash of lightening in the night these events have shown the German people where its enemy is...   When the hour of decision comes we are prepared for sacrifices, both of blood and of treasure.

From a speech made in the Reichstag (the German parliament) by the Kaiser, November 1911


Source D  

Germany is deliberately preparing to destroy the British Empire.   We are all to be drilled and schooled and uniformed by German officials.   Britain alone stands in the way of Germany's path to world power and domination.

from an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, 1909


5 Balkan Wars, 1912-13

As Turkey continued to grow weaker, in 1912 Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria (calling themselves the Balkan League) attacked Turkey and captured almost all the remaining Turkish land in Europe.   Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, arranged a peace conference in London, but in 1913 fighting broke out again.   Britain and Germany got together and used their influence to bring the war to an end (Treaty of Bucharest, 1913).

  •  Effects
    • 1.  Serbia became the most powerful Balkan state, and felt confident enough to threaten Austria - the Serbian Prime Minister Pasic said: 'the first round is won; now for the second round - against Austria'.
    • 2.  The Kaiser took Sir Edward Grey's co-operation as a sign of Britain's weakness.   When the next crisis happened, he assumed that Britain would co-operate again.

 Austro-Serbian relations before 1914



6.  Assassination at Sarajevo, 1914

On 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.



Assassination of Franz Ferdinand detailed account     


Original sources:

  Count Harrach

  film footage of Franz Ferdinand arriving at the Town Hall

  Contemporary account (notice that it gets almost EVERY fact wrong)



1.   For each of these 'crises' 1-6, explain whether it is an example of:




   Alliances in action


2. How, and why, do explanations 2-3 in Source B of why Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia differ from Norman Lowe's explanation 1 at the top of this page?