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World War 1: A Short Timeline Pre-1914

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Although the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 is cited as the first event leading directly to World War 1, the true build up was much longer. As well as growing public support for a confrontation - which varied but ultimately grew in the period before - the treaties and diplomatic relations so important in 1914 were all established years, often decades, before.

• 1839: Guarantee of Belgium Neutrality
• 1867: The Treaty of London: establishes Luxembourg's neutrality.
• 1870: The Franco-Prussian War, in which France is beaten and Paris is besieged.
• 1871: The German Empire is created.
• 1879: The Austro-German Treaty.
• 1882: The Triple Alliance established between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
• 1883: The Austro-Romanian Alliance.
• 1888: Wilhelm II becomes Emperor of Germany.
• 1889 - 1913: The Anglo-German Naval Race.
• 1894: The Franco-Russian Alliance.
• 1902: The Franco-Italian Agreement.
• 1904: The Entente Cordial, agreed between France and Britain.
• 1904-5: The Russo-Japanese War, in which Russia loses.
• 1905-6: The First Moroccan Crisis.
• 1907: The Anglo-Russian Agreement.
• 1908: Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia.
• 1909: The Russo-Italian Agreement.
• 1911: The Second Moroccan (Agadir) Crisis.
• 1911 - 12: Turkish-Italian War.
• 1912: Anglo-French Naval Agreement.
• 1912, October 8 - May 30 1913: The First Balkan War.
• 1913: Woodrow Wilson sworn in as US president.
• 1913, April 30 - May 6: The First Albanian Crisis.
• 1913, June 29 - July 31: The Second Balkan War.
• 1913, September - October: The Second Albanian Crisis.
• 1913, November - Janaury 1914: The Liman von Sanders Affair.

By 1914, the 'Great Powers' of Europe had already come close to war thanks to the Balkan, Moroccan and Albanian disputes; passions were running high and the Austro-Russo-Balkano rivalry remained deeply provocative.

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