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1839-1914: The Long Fuse

Wilhelm I is proclaimed Emperor of Germany, 18-Jan-1871

Listed below are some of the events that occurred between the mid to late 19th century and the summer of 1914 that contributed to the War. This period is referred to by many as "the long fuse". I have included some events that are less of major historical significance and more for benefit of insight (such as the incredible streak of bad luck for Emperor Franz Josef). American events are included for a perspective on time.

Turkey loses Bosnia-Herzogovina in 1908

1839Britain, along with the other major European powers, signs a pact that guarantees the sovereignty of Belgium.
1848Austria-Hungary, under Franz Josef, loses war with France.
1860Kingdom of Italy is founded.
1861American Civil War begins.
1866Austria-Hungary, under Franz Josef, loses war with Prussia.
1870Franco-Prussian War
France, under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon III provoked war with Prussia. France lost badly to Wilhelm I (Wilhelm II's grandfather). Among the losses were the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine in western France which were annexed to Germany. Bismarck was against this action fearing the French would never forgive it. Good call.

ø Moltke (the senior) summed it up well:
"What our sword has won in half a year our sword must guard for half a century"
18-Jan-1871Wilhelm I crowned Emperor of Germany at the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles
Jul-1872France passes the law of Universal Service (the draft).
1875France establishes the "Ecole Superieure de Guerre", The War College.
7-Oct-1879 The Dual Alliance is struck between Germany and Austria-Hungary. Not enthusiastic about the alliance and feeling it may offend the Russia that had stood by Prussia, Wilhelm I commented upon signing:
"Thinking of what it means I feel like a traitor."
18-Jun-1881 The Three Emperor's League is formed.
20-May-1882Italy joins Germany and Austria-Hungary to form the Triple Alliance.
18-Jun-1882 ø The Russian Reinsurance Treaty is signed.
9-Mar-1888Wilhelm I dies.A diplomatic cable from Berlin on the Kaiser's death:
"Lord abide with us for the evening draws nigh."
1888Wilhelm II becomes Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany.
1889Emperor Franz Josef's son Rudolph commits suicide (after killing his 16 year old mistress).
1890Wilhelm II dismisses Bismarck. Why? Prince Bernhard von Bulow writes:
"The authentic reason was that Wilhelm wanted to play Bismarck himself."
1890 Germany refuses to renew the ø Russian Reinsurance Treaty of 1887. New Chancellor Georg Leo von Caprivi states:
"Bismarck was able to juggle with three balls but I can only juggle with two."
1891Russia and France agree to consult if either are attacked.
18-Aug-1892 The Franco-Russian Alliance comes into being.
Jan-1893Russia and France agree to mobilize together if threatened by any member of the Triple Alliance.
1896The Dreyfus Affair reveals incompetence, corruption and worse in the French army.
1896Italian army crushed by Ethiopia at the Battle of Adowa.
1897Emperor Franz Josef's wife is assassinated.
1898The Tirpitz Plan is started for the building of a major German fleet.
1898The Spanish-American War begins.
1904 Britain becomes somewhat allied with the Franco-Russian combine with the entente cordiale with France.
1904-5Russo-Japenese War. The Russians lose badly in Manchuria and Korea.
1905Revolution in Russia is put down.
Mar-1905The Morocco Crisis
1906The Pig War between Austria-Hungary and Serbia begins.
1907 Anglo-Russian reconciliation.
1908 Austria-Hungary annexes the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bulgaria proclaims independence from Turkey.
8-Oct-1908The Kaiser is involved in the Daily Telegraph Affair.
1910Edward VII dies and George V is crowned King of Britain.
1911Italy wins war with Turkey to gain Tripoli.
1911Second Moroccan Crisis.
1912Britain and France agree on paper only to consult each other if faced with an unprovoked attack.
1912Widespread strikes and disturbances in Russia.
8-Dec-1912Kaiser calls the "War Council".
1913French pass bill extending military service to three years.
Jun-Jul-1913Second Balkan War between Serbia and Bulgaria.
26-May-1914The Home Rule Act is passed in Britain. Civil war with Ireland becomes a possibility.

Don't be a slacker. If you have an item you would like added to this list then let me know!

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