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Triple Entente Information

Triple Entente

World War 1 Picture - European military alliances prior to World War I.

Picture - European military alliances prior to World War I.

The Triple Entente (from French entente [ɑ̃tɑ̃t] "agreement") was the name given to the alliance among Great Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907. The alliance of the three powers, supplemented by various agreements with Portugal, Japan, the United States, Brazil and Spain, constituted a powerful counterweight to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. (Italy had concluded an additional secret agreement with France, effectively nullifying their alliance with Germany.)


Russia's alignment

League of the Three Emperors

Russia had previously been a member of the League of the Three Emperors with Austria-Hungary and Germany, an alliance established in 1873 between Tsar Alexander II, Emperor Franz Joseph I and Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany. The alliance was part of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's plan to isolate France diplomatically; he feared France had revanchist aspirations and might try to regain her 1871 losses, and to fight against radical sentiments the conservative rulers found unsettling, such as the First International.

However, the League faced great difficulty with the growing tensions between the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary. These tensions revolved mainly over the Balkans where, with the rise of nationalism and the continued decline of the Ottoman Empire, many former Ottoman provinces struggled for independence.

The situation in the Balkans (especially in the wake of the Serbo-Bulgarian War) and the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, which left Russia feeling cheated of her gains made in the Russo-Turkish War led to the League not being renewed in 1885.‏

Reinsurance Treaty and Russian alliance with France

In an attempt to stop Russia from allying with France, Bismarck signed the secret Reinsurance Treaty of 1887, assuring both parties would remain neutral towards each other should war break out.‏

Yet despite the treaty, the Russian leadership was alarmed at the country's diplomatic isolation and entered the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892.

Due to the alliance between Russia and France, and Bismarck's exclusion of Russia from the German financial market in 1887, the treaty was not renewed, ending the alliance between Germany and Russia.

British neutrality

The Entente heralded the end of British neutrality in Europe. It was partly a response to growing German antagonism, as expressed in the expansion of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) into a battle fleet that could threaten British naval supremacy.

Ironically, the Franco-Russian Alliance, which had seemed weak during Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, later appeared the more powerful alignment, when Russia unexpectedly and rapidly recovered from the defeat and from the Russian Revolution of 1905, and when Britain was added as a partner.

This was not the first time Britain, France, and Russia had co-operated diplomatically. They had done so before during the Greek War of Independence.

Participating nations

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

last decade of the nineteenth century, Britain seemed to have adopted a foreign policy of "splendid isolation". Britain's primary focus was its massive overseas empire. However, by the early 1900s the European theatre began to change dramatically. Some in Britain thought it was in need of allies. For most of the nineteenth century, Britain had regarded France and Russia as its two most dangerous rivals but with the apparent threat of German imperialism, British sentiments began to change.

The three main reasons were:

In 1907, the Anglo-Russian Entente was agreed, which attempted to resolve a series of long-running disputes over Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet, as well as helping to address British fears about German expansion in the Near East.

French Third Republic

In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, Prussia defeated the Second French Empire, resulting in the establishment of the Third Republic. In the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871), Prussia forced France to cede Alsace-Lorraine to the new German Empire. Ever since, relations had been at an all time low. France, worried about the escalating military development of Germany, began building up its own war industries and army as a deterrent to German aggression. As another measure, France developed a strong bond with Russia by joining the Franco-Russian Alliance, which was designed to create a strong counter to the Triple Alliance. France's main concerns were to protect against an attack from Germany, and to regain Alsace-Lorraine.

World War 1 Picture - 1914 Russian poster. The upper inscription reads agreement. The uncertain Britannia (right) and Marianne (left) look to the determined Mother Russia (centre) to lead them in the coming war.

Picture - 1914 Russian poster. The upper inscription reads "agreement". The uncertain Britannia (right) and Marianne (left) look to the determined Mother Russia (centre) to lead them in the coming war.

Empire of Russia

Russia possessed by far the largest manpower reserves of all the six European powers, but was also the most backward economically. Russia shared France's worries about Germany. After the Germans started to reorganize the Turkish army, Russia feared that they would come to control the Dardanelles, a vital trade artery which accounted for two fifths of Russia's exports.

This was also coupled with Russia's long history of rivalry with Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary had recently annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, angering Russia immensely. Russia had considered itself the leader of the Slavic world (Pan-Slavism) and viewed the invasion as another step towards annexing Serbia and Montenegro. To counteract Austria-Hungary's aggression into the Balkans, Russia pledged to aid Serbia militarily if invaded.

Russia had also recently fought the grueling Russo-Japanese War in 1905, resulting in a revolutionary uprising and transformation into a constitutional monarchy. To counter its enemies militarily and politically, Russia sought to revive the Franco-Russian Alliance. Although it was perceived as useless during the war with Japan, in the European theatre it was invaluable. Russia signed the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 with Britain to counter act the threat of the Triple Alliance.

Allies of World War I
Central Powers (allies of Germany in World War I)

Feuchtwanger‏, E. J. (2002). Bismarck. Routledge‏. ISBN 0415216141.
Gildea, Robert (2003). Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199253005.
Henig, Ruth Beatrice (2002). he origins of the First World War. Routledge. ISBN 0415261856.
Holborn‏, Hajo (1982). A History of Modern Germany: 1840-1945. Princeton University Press‏. ISBN 0691007977.

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Source: WikiPedia

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