Ferguson p 85 Plans, distrust and mobilization Closely related is the thesis adopted by many political scientists that the war plans of Germany, France and Russia automatically escalated the conflict. Fritz Fischer and his followers have emphasised the inherently aggressive nature of the Schlieffen Plan, which outlined German strategy if at war with both France and Russia. Conflict on two fronts meant Germany had to eliminate one opponent quickly before taking on the other, relying on a strict timetable.
May 20, Wikimedia Commons The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that killed millions and set the continent of Europe on the path to further calamity two decades later. With the centennial of the outbreak of hostilities coming up inErik Sass will be looking back at the lead-up to the war, when seemingly minor moments of friction accumulated until the situation was ready to explode.
This is the 69th installment in the series. Conrad was an old-school Austrian German who viewed southern Slav nationalists as existential enemies of the Dual Monarchy, with Serbia in the lead. The huge expansion of Serbian territory and population in the First Balkan War alarmed Conrad, who warned the Serbs would now turn to liberating their ethnic kinsmen in Austria-Hungary.
It was imperative, Conrad said, to break the momentum of Slavic nationalism by crushing Serbia and reducing it to a vassal state—maybe even absorbing it.
The peaceful resolution of the Scutari crisis seemed to remove any justification for war against Serbia and Montenegro, but Conrad remained convinced the Slavic kingdoms had to be crushed militarily, not just contained diplomatically—and also saw another chance for Austria-Hungary to act in the impending Second Balkan War.
On May 20,he wrote to Franz Josef: Then we must not hesitate to intervene against Serbia. The archduke made his views known in no uncertain and often abrasive terms: They were also infuriated by the oppressive, discriminatory policies Austria-Hungary directed against its restive Italian population.
Franz Ferdinand felt war with Italy was probably inevitable, and therefore opposed any policy that threatened to distract or weaken Austria-Hungary by embroiling it in conflicts elsewhere—especially in the Balkans, with the attendant risk of confrontation with Russia.
As often as Conrad brought up the idea, the archduke would shoot it down: Great Powers Scheme to Grab Ottoman Territory While the Great Powers struggled to keep the peace in the Balkans, to the east they were all jockeying to claim their share of the ailing Ottoman Empire, whose demise they expected at any moment.
The main threat came from Russia, whose designs on Constantinople and the Turkish straits were well known, and which was also greedily eyeing Anatolia. Petersburg was using the Armenians and Kurds as pawns in a devious gambit to build its influence there: The Russians sought to further weaken Ottoman control by forcing Constantinople to implement decentralizing reforms in eastern Anatolia.
On May 20,German anxieties were heightened by a report from the German ambassador in Constantinople, Baron Hans von Wangenheim, stating that the Russians had succeeded in uniting the Kurdish tribes in Ottoman territory—no easy feat—as a preamble to a general rebellion.The area of German land known as "the Saar" was filled with valuable coal fields/mines; at the end of the First World War, coal was equally as important an energy source (and therein source of $$$) as oil is today.
At first, the invasion went well, however Hitler did not prepare his men for one of the most severe winters Russia would ever have. The winter slowed Hitler's men greatly and ended in Hitler not conquering Moscow or Stalingrad.
Had Hitler not opened the second . The eminent British historian Max Hastings has written Catastrophe about the first five months of that war, now known as World War I, to mark the centennial of the war’s beginning. The Great War forever upset the prevailing global order, killed eight million people, and still shadows today’s international affairs.
Nevertheless, Austria-Hungary was more urbanized (25%) than its actual opponents in the First World War, like the Russian Empire (%), Serbia (%) or Romania (%).
Furthermore, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had also more industrialized economy  and higher GDP per capita  than the Kingdom of Italy, which was . Conrad was an old-school Austrian German who viewed southern Slav nationalists as existential enemies of the Dual Monarchy, with Serbia in the lead.
The huge expansion of Serbian territory and population in the First Balkan War alarmed Conrad, who warned the Serbs would now turn to liberating their ethnic kinsmen in Austria-Hungary. the first Balkan crisis, in Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina while Russia failed to gain access, thus frustrating Serbia, this was an Austro-Hungarian violation of the Congress of Berlin, war was averted because Russia was not yet ready and France was not willing to fight over the Balkans.