World War I

YEAR MONTH EVENT
1871 January 18 William I of Prussia becomes emperor of united Germany.
  May 10 Peace of Frankfurt ends Franco-Prussian War; France loses eastern provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany.
1872   Germany, Austria, and Russia form "League of Three Emperors" against France.
1875   Bosnia-Herzegovina rebels against Ottoman Empire.
1877 January Russo-Turkish War begins; Russia supports Balkan Slav Christians in Ottoman Empire (Eastern Question), seeking land, influence, and prestige.
1878 March Russo-Turkish War ends with Treaty of San Stefano.
  June-July Congress of Berlin with German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck as " honest broker"; Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro freed from Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria divided and partly independent; Austro-Hungarian Empire gains administrative rights over Bosnia-Herzegovina; tensions in Balkans grow.
1879   Dual Alliance of Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire.
1882 May Triple Alliance of Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Italy.
1885   Bulgaria takes Eastern Rumelia from Ottoman Empire; Bismarck uses Italy, Great Britain, and Austro-Hungarian Empire to prevent Russian interference.
1887   Rivalry of Russia and Austro-Hungarian Empire over Balkans ends "League of Three Emperors".
  June 18 Secret Reinsurance Treaty reaffirms Russo-German alliance.
1888 June William II becomes emperor of Germany.
1890 March William II dismisses Bismarck; German foreign policy shifts. William II cancels Russo-German Reinsurance Treaty against Russia's wishes, Austro-Hungarian Empire's position indirectly weakened, Germany faces encirclement.
1894 January Dual Alliance of France and Russia against Triple Alliance finalized. Pan-German League formed to promote German expansion and proto-fascism.
1896 January Kruger Telegram from William II praising Boers angers British. Archduke Francis Ferdinand becomes heir to Austro-Hungarian throne; his federalist aims make him target of Greater Serb nationalists seeking to dismantle Habsburg dominions.
1897   Russia and Austro-Hungarian Empire agree to maintain Balkan status quo for 10 years. Dreyfus Affair erupts in France over German spies in French army.
1898   Fashoda Crisis between France and Great Britain over French presence in Sudan. Germany begins naval construction programme; start of naval arms race. Attempts to establish Anglo-German alliance fail.
1899 May First Hague Conference convened; establishes international arbitration forum and limits on warfare. Renewal of Franco-Russian Dual Alliance.
1900   Secret Franco-Italian agreement over African interests; Triple Alliance undermined, especially Austro-Hungarian Empire; Italy free to pursue Balkan goals.
1902   Great Britain forms alliance with Japan.
1904 February Russo-Japanese War begins.
  April France and Britain conclude "Entente Cordiale", partly to avoid involvement in Russo-Japanese War.
1905 March First Moroccan Crisis: William II backs Morocco against French.
  September Treaty of Portsmouth ends Russo-Japanese War; arrival of Japan as world power; humiliated Russia turns back to Eastern Question. German General Staff finalize Schlieffen Plan for war on France and Russia.
1906 January-April Algeciras conference averts war over Morocco. Britain launches Dreadnought battleship.
1907 June Second Hague Conference convened, expands and clarifies rules of war; Germany rejects disarmament proposals, exacerbating mistrust. Triple Entente of France, Great Britain, and Russia; Anglo-Russian agreement removes British restraint on Russia's Balkan ambitions.
1908 July Young Turk Revolution in Ottoman Empire initiates Balkan crisis.
  October Austro-Hungarian Empire annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina, enraging Serbia; Russia angered but unwilling to back Serbian demands for war. William II's careless remarks in Daily Telegraph interview enrage British.
1909 March Petersburg Dispatch from Austro-Hungarian Empire warning against Balkan involvement enrages Russia against Central Powers. Secret Russo-Italian Treaty of Racconigi to maintain Balkan status quo.
1911 July Second Moroccan Crisis; German warship Panther sent to Agadir to challenge French interests.
  September Italo-Turkish War begins; Triple Alliance undermined by strain on German friendship with Ottoman Empire.
  November Agadir conference averts war; Morocco made French protectorate; Germany receives territorial compensation, but its isolation is demonstrated. Serbian Black Hand terrorist society advocating Greater Serbia formed. Germany grants Alsace and Lorraine limited autonomy.
1912 October Treaty of Lausanne ends Italo-Turkish War; Italy gains Libya. First Balkan War; Balkan League attacks Ottoman Empire, and liberates Albania and Macedonia. Failure of Anglo-German naval limitation talks; arms race intensifies.
  December William II's councillors advocate early war to break encirclement by Triple Entente.
1913 May Treaty of London ends First Balkan War; Ottomans surrender Crete to Greece; Albania made independent; Macedonia partitioned; Serbia dissatisfied and forms anti-Bulgarian alliance with Greece.
  June-August Second Balkan War; Bulgaria vanquished by hostile coalition; Austro-Hungarian Empire stops Serbia from seizing Adriatic Coast; Serbia doubles size, with Austrian Bosnia-Herzegovina its next objective. Preparations for war: Germany increases army; France lengthens conscription from two to three years; European powers increase military budgets.
1914 June 28 Black Hand agents assassinate Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
  July 6 Germany assures Austro-Hungarian Empire of complete fidelity to alliance.
  July 20 French president visits Russia, assures Russia of complete fidelity.
  July 23 Austrian ultimatum to Serbia demanding prosecution of culprits.
  July 25 Serbia accepts most ultimatum terms and partially mobilizes. Russia decides to support Serbia; British and German mediation offers rejected.
  July 28 Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Serbia (to curb Serb/Slav threat).
  July 29 Russia partially mobilizes.
  July 30 Full Russian mobilization.
  July 31 Full Austro-Hungarian mobilization; Germany issues ultimatums to Russia (suspension of mobilization) and France (neutrality)-no response.
  August 1 Germany mobilizes and declares war on Russia; Great Britain mobilizes fleet.
  August 2 Belgium refuses German demand to permit passage of troops to attack France; Britain guarantees French coastal security.
  August 3 Germany declares war on France and invades Belgium; Italy declares neutrality.
  August 4 British ultimatum to Germany to respect Belgian neutrality (effective declaration of war).
  August 6 Serbia declares war on Germany; Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia.
  August 11 France declares war on Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  August 12 Great Britain declares war on Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  August 23 Japan declares war on Germany.

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