RaptorStar
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I am doing AQA Hisotry B and my topics are peacemaking and the origins of the first world war

Any advice or resources would be appreciated, not just for me but for anyone else doing AQA History
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Ukvoltaire
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(Original post by RaptorStar)
I am doing AQA Hisotry B and my topics are peacemaking and the origins of the first world war

Any advice or resources would be appreciated, not just for me but for anyone else doing AQA History
I am doing the same thing. Just remember how to answer the 4 markers, 6 markers and 10 markers.

4 markers need two relevant points identified and explained in detail.

6 markers need the nature,origin and purpose of the source identified as well as why you agree (based on own knowledge and provenance) and why you disagree (based on own knowledge and provenance). Then include a brief conclusion stating whether you agree or disagree and why.

10 markes need a brief introduction that introduces the two factors. Then you have to describe Factor X (use own knowledge) and explain why it is significant. Then you describe Factor Y (use own knowledge) and explain why it is significant. Finally, add a paragraph saying which factor is the most significant and explain why, making sure you link back to the question.

Here are some notes on the Origins of the First World War. Sorry I do not have notes for Peacemaking yet.


Topic 1 -The Origins of the First World War

During 1890, Europe was dominated by five ‘great powers’. These great powers were:
  • Britain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Austria-Hungary


A great power is made by having a big industry, an overseas empire, a large navy, natural resources, unity and a strong ruler.

In France, the population was 39.6 million and the population of the empire was 63 million. The steel production was 4 million tonnes. The army consisted of 1,250,000 men and the navy consisted of 62 warships and 73 submarines. France has been defeated by Germany in a short war in 1870, which led Germany to annex the territory called Alsace-Lorraine. France has also began to develop a good friendship with Russia. France’s main concern is Germany and they had to make sure that they were protected against them. Another concern was to get back the region of Alsace-Lorraine that they lost in the short war.

In Germany, the population was 63 million and the population of the empire was 15 million. The steel production was 17 million tonnes. The army consisted 2,200,200 men and the navy consisted of 97 warships and 23 submarines. Germany was a new nation and the Kaiser was ambitious and wanted to be a world power. Germany was mainly concerned about the encirclement that they had from three powers.

In Russia, the population was 167 million and they did not have an empire at the time.The steel production was 4 million tonnes. The army consisted of 1,200,000 men and the navy consisted of 26 warships and 29 submarines. Russia were the largest power out of all the other powers in Europe. They had good relations with France and Serbia however they had a long rivalry with Austria-Hungary. Their main concern is to maintain no defeat in future wars.

In Italy, the population was 35 million and the population of the empire was 2 million. The steel production was 3.9 million tonnes. The army consisted 750,000 men and the navy consisted of 36 warships and 12 submarines. Italy was a new nation and was looking to establish itself as a major power. Their main concern is to gain allies and build an overseas empire.

In Britain, the population was 46 million and the population of the empire was 390 million. The steel production was 7.9 million tonnes. The army consisted of 711,000 men and their navy consited of 122 warships and 63 submarines. In the 19th century, Britain had tried no to get involved in European politics. Britain focussed on building its empire. Their main concern was to expand their army, navy and colonies.

In Austria-Hungary, the population was 50 million. The steel production was 2.6 million tonnes. The army consisted of 810,000 men and they navy consisted of 24 warships and 65 submarines. Austria-Hungary were made up of million of people with different ethnicities. Their main concern was to keep the empire together and prevent any countries (e.g. Serbia) from breaking apart.

These great powers later formed alliance groups. These groups are Triple Alliance and Triple Entente.

The Triple Alliance is made up of Germany (and its empire), Austria-Hungary and Italy.

The Triple Entente is made up of Britain (and its empire), France (and its empire) and Russia.

In 1871, Germany’s victory in the Franco-Prussian war changed the balance of power in Europe. In 1879, Germany and Austria-Hungary signed a secret treaty promising to protect each other because they were worried about Russia. In 1882, Italy joins in with the treaty since it became worried about France, forming the Triple Alliance. In 1888, Wilhelm II became the Kaiser of Germany. In 1895, France and Russia signed a treaty (Franco-Russian Alliance) too because they were worried about Germany. Britain did not sign the treaty and refused to because they believed in the policy of splendid isolation, which was a policy of not getting involved with other countries politics. However, Germany’s navy became a threat to Britain, so in 1904, Britain has an agreement of friendship with France and signed the Entente Cordiale, ending Britain’s isolation. In 1907, Britain also has a friendly agreement (Anglo-Russian agreement) with Russia, forming the Triple Entente.

Kasier Wilhelm II foreign policy terms were:

  • Weltpolitk – This means ‘world power’ which means that the Kaiser wants to be a world power by controlling the whole world.
  • Turning Germany into a great trading nation – For this Germany would need an African empire.
  • To have a strong navy – This is to be an imperial power in Europe.
  • ‘Mitteleuropa’ – This is the plan to have a German dominated central Europe.
  • ‘Place in the sun’ – This is what the Kaiser wants to achieve and gain spotlight and respect in Europe.


These foreign policies shown how ambitious the Kaiser was which is due to his fear of encirclement from other powers.

The First Moroccan (Tangier) Crisis happened during 1905 – 1906. Morocco was one of the few African countries that escaped being colonised during the Scramble for Africa and wants to retain its independence. France wanted to conquer Morocco since Morocco was considered weak. The Entente Cordiale agreement allowed Britain to support France in conquering Morocco without interfering with French ambitions in Morocco. This was because Britain was concerned about Germany’s Weltpolitk. In 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm II visited the Moroccan city of Tangier and said that he will support Moroccan independence, so that Morocco becomes a trading nation to them. So he called for a conference to be held to agree Morocco’s future. In 1906, the conference was held in Algeciras in Southern Spain. Germany was supported by Morocco and Austria-Hungary whereas France was supported by Britain and Russia. This conference allowed Britain and Russia to improve relations and sign the Anglo-Russian agreement later in 1907. The outcome was that France gained joint control over the Moroccan banks and police with Spain, which humilates the Kaiser. This First Moroccan crisis saw the Entente Cordiale strengthened and Britain became more involved in European affairs. This crisis also increased tensions in Europe by 1907 as it angers the Kaiser even more.

The Bosnian crisis happened during 1908-1909. Bosnia is located in the Balkans region. This region was mostly occupied by Serbia. Serbia was the leading Slav state in the Balkans and Serbia wanted Bosnian under its leadership because they are Slavs too so Serbia wanted them for a Slavic nation. Austria-Hungary were concerned as they wanted to have Bosnia as part of their empire, fearing that his empire might break up if he doesn’t. In 1908, there was a revolution in the Ottoman Empire meaning that the empire became weak. This was a good oppurtunity for Austria-Hungary to annex Bosnia. This annoyed Serbia and asked Russia for help. Russia were also annoyed since Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia without telling them. Austria-Hungary got support from Germany. Even though Kaiser Wilhelm II was annoyed that Austria-Hungary did not consult with him, he still supported them. This was because he was even more annoyed with the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 and Austria-Hungary backed them up at the Algeciras conference. Russia was too weak to fight Germany and was forced to back out. This crisis has led to crucial effects on the main powers.

These effects are:
  • Austria-Hungary felt that they had full support from Germany now.
  • Russia feels humiliated for backing out, so Russia would make sure that it doesn’t happen again, which led to military improvements in Russia.
  • The Triple Entente is strengthened as now Britain, France and Russia have a reason for hating Germany.
  • Serbia became more determined to oppose Austria-Hungary next time.


In 1911 the Second Moroccon (Agadir) Crisis took place, where a rebellion broke out in the city of Fez. The Sultan appealed to the French for help and they sent an army to Morocco to put down the rebellion. The Germany retaliated by sending a gunboat called the Panther’ to the port of Agadir in order to protect German trade with Morocco. The Germans claimed they were doing the same as the French since the French were protecting their interests in Fex. Germany hoped that their action would allow them to negotiate with France for colonies in Africa in exchange for allowing France to take over Morocco. Britain didn’t like Germany’s actions and saw it as aggressive. They called it ‘gunboat diplomacy’ and as the biggest naval power hated Germany for challenging them. Britain though that Germany wanted to build an Atlantic base to challenge their naval base at Gibraltar. For this reason, Britain supported France and preparations for war were made in Germany, Britain and France. Eventually, Germany backed down, since they were weak. The Agadir Crisis brought Europe much closer to war than before and affected the relationships between the great powers.

These effects were:

  • Germany felt humiliated, meaning that they would not back out in future crises.
  • German people felt angry with Britain and therefore began to support the idea of a war.
  • Britain and France had a secret naval agreement, where Britain promised to defend the north coast of France and France promised to defend the Mediterranean if they got attacked.
  • The Triple Alliance weakened since Italy opposed Germany, meaning that Germany relied on Austria-Hungary even more.


The Anglo-German naval rivalry happened in 1906, where the first Dreadnought was launched by Britain. The Dreadnought was much faster and had longer-range guns than older ships. The Dreadnought made the British navy much more powerful. The British navy was important as it was for protection and to keep open trade with its empire. When the Kaiser announced his intention to build a powerful German navy, Britain felt very threatened by his intention. Germany challenged Britain at the sea if it had enough Dreadnoughts, which leads Britain and Germany into a naval race. Germany began to speed up the production of their Dreadnoughts in order to catch up to Britain. Britain also began the production of dreadnoughts, where they planned for four in 1909, however the British public opinion was that they wanted eight, using the slogan ‘We want eight and we won’t wait’. The Agadir Crisis increased fears for Britan due to ‘gunboat diplomacy’. After 1911, the naval race continued but it became less intense since Britain was way ahead of Germany. Germany began to realise that the navy was not as important as the army for them, therefore ending the naval race. The naval rivalry intensified the competion and hatred between Germany and Britain, meaning that Britain was more likely to fight against Germany.

In 1907, the military arms race is where all the Great Powers begin to build up their armies. This was because countries began to fear countries from the opposing side. Overall, Russia had the biggest army, whereas Germany had the most powerful army. This was because the Russians were badly equipped whereas Germany came up with strageic plans like the Schlieffen plan. Britain set up the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), which consists of 150,000 highly trained and well-equipped soldiers. France were also a well-equipped army and its main plan of attack was known as Plan 17, where French troops would charge across the frontier and attack deep into Germany, forcing them to surrender. Austria-Hungary mainly relied on the help of Germany so that Russia can be held back.

The Ottoman Empire had dominated the Balkans for a very long time. However, during the 1800s, the Ottoman Empire weakened in power, territory and influence. In 1912, the First Balkan War took place, where Serbia allied with other Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Greece, and Montengro) to form the Balkan League. Then the Balkan League defeated the Ottomans very easily and they won the territory as well as gaining confidence. In 1913, Serbia and Bulgaria disagree over the conquered lands, which meant that the Second Balkan War took place. Serbia was allied with Greece and the Ottomans and they win the war, allowing them to expand their territory even more. The Balkan wars has made Serbia much stronger than they were before, which worried Austria-Hungary, fearing that their empire may break up for independence.

On 28th June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated by a young Serb terrorist called Gavrilo Princip. The heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne decided to visit Sarajevo in Bosnia with his wife. On that day was the anniversary of the Battle of Serbia in 1389, which was an important day for the Serbians. When the Archduke is going to the Town Hall to deliver a speech, there were seven assassins from the Black Hand terrorist organisation ready to assassinate the Archduke. Their weapons were supplied by the Serbian army. One of the assassins threw a grenade at his car. The grenade misses and injures 20 people. After the speech is delivered, he decides to vist the wounded people in hospital and tells his driver to go to the hospital. However the driver makes the wrong turn and they are seen by one of the assassins named Gavrilo Princip. Princip, who was in a café eating a sandwich, got his pistol ready and shot two bullets from a distance of 1.5 metres. One shot was at Franz Ferdinand and another was at his wife. The reason for this assassination was because Bosnia Serbs were not happy with the rule of Austria-Hungary. So in 1911, ten men formed the Black Hand organization which aimed to unite all Serbs and be nationalist. In order to show their hatred towards Austria-Hungary, they planned this assassination.

Austria-Hungary used the assassination as an excuse to take revenge on Serbia. Therefore Austria-Hungary sent a 10-point ultimatum for Serbia to accept. Serbia refused to accept one of the points. Germany said that they will support Austria-Hungary on 6th July which assured Austria-Hungary. On 28th July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This declaration meant that Russia had to back Serbia as they don’t want to repeat the same mistakes made during the Bosnian Crisis. So on 30th July 1914, Russia begins to mobilise its army. On 1st August 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. At this point, only Eastern Europe are in the war.

When the Franco-Russian Alliance was signed in 1893, Germany were worried on what to do in an event of a war on two fronts (encirclement) since France could attack from the west and Russia could attack from the east. So in 1905, German Field Marshall Alfred von Schlieffen suggested that the best way to overcome this problem was to march the German troops through Belgium and then to France. This is because the French would be expecting an attack in Alsace-Lorraine where they shared a border with Germany, so they will be ready with troops. The Schlieffen Plan was meant to be a surprise attack for France from the Belgium border. The Schlieffen Plan aimed to make France surrender in six weeks. Since it was believed that Russia would take a long time to mobilise, they were planning to defeat Russia with the samy army since Russia was very weak and unprepared. Britain guaranteed Belgium’s neutrality in 1839. So when Germany declares war on France on 3rd August, German troops entered ‘neutral’ Belgium on the same day, Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August. Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia on 6th August.

I hope this was useful. I am also doing my GCSE's this year and I hope I get an A in History overall. Good luck for History on Monday 5th June 2017.
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RaptorStar
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Ukvoltaire Thanks for the advice, much appreciated
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