At that time the new born state of a united Germany enjoyed a fast economical development.
Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor since 1888, is already at the height of his powers.
Graf Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s first Reichskanzler,
intrigued The French Prussian War of 1870.
The French lost with this war it’s north-eastern territories of the Vosges,
Alsace and Lorraine!
In 1871 Bismarck unites the German peoples from different little states,
and becomes the founding father of
"Das Kaiser Reich Deutschland".
The birth of this new Superpower shifted the balance of powers in Europe enormously.
In the period around 1890 there were 5 other social political evolutions happening:
1. Economic prosperity
The industry and economy in the European countries were booming.
Cheap raw materials from the new Colonies,
collected under circumstances of slavery by the suppressed
and low wages for the European workers.
2. The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution led to many new inventions,
like the railroad, armoured battle-ships, airplanes.
These new inventions were also important from a military point of view,
and helped to fulfil the nationalistic military dreams of the future warmongers.
Somewhere in this time the "International Military Industrial Complex" must have been founded.
All powers were engaged in an arms race to build the most modern fleets,
even when they possessed hardly any coast, like for instance Austria.
3. Colonial Rivalry
All European powers rivalled to complete their colonial empires.
Relatively new states, like Germany and Italy,
were eager to get also their piece of the cake of colonial territories.
Some leftovers of the other colonial powers were to be found
for these two states in Africa and on the coast of China.
This rivalry also led to the building of the needed modern armies to suppress the colonies.
4. Social Unrest
Although all European societies were divided in two social classes,
with a totally different income and social life styles, the second,
lower class did not profit at all from the booming economy.
Since 1848 there were waves of revolutions and social unrest all over Europe.
To name some of these events:
the Commune de Paris (1861), the first meetings of the Socialist International,
and many assassinations on heads of state by anarchic –social terrorists.
In Russia, Germany and Austria the governments had already declared
by law all socialist activity and organisations illegal.
To unite the peoples of the new state in one new national identity,
like in Germany, colonialism, political intrigues and war can be very helpful.
Besides this all European monarchies claimed socialism, anarchism,
and terrorism as a threat to the state.
They used this claim as an argumentation to bring to perfection
the police state and the military dictatorship with
all its nasty aspects and without any political influence for the working classes.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was the worst;
he was a devoted supporter of the growing German cult of "Der Übermensch".
Crowned families intriguing.
Of course this situation around 1890-1905 was inevitably
leading to tensions between the heads of state and their secondants.
The Austrian Hungarian double monarchy of Kaiser Franz Josef...
...was fighting political unrest and separationistic movements
under the peoples of the Balcan.
To my opinion the worst warmongers of this époque
were Wilhelm II and Franz Josef, together forming "Der Deutscher Bund".
As a prove of Wilhelm II’s warmonging:
the attack plan later used in 1914 at the start of the war on the Western Front, already in 1905!
Although the Kaiser, The Czar and the British King were nephews,...
The grandsons of QueenVictoria in 1907:
Wilhelm chats on board of his yacht
with the Prince of Wales,
the later King George V.
...this fact did not stop them, for intriguing colonial wars,
and creating a complex of secret alliances, defence-pacts and ententes.
To describe this complex network of ententes I recommend this (Dutch) map.
With all this colonial rivalry, social unrest, nationalism,
and the new inventions of the industrial revolution,
the situation would have to explode inevitably.
If one state felt itself threatened by war,
a domino-chain of pacts and ententes would tumble.
This domino-chain obliged all European states to enter the war by one pact
or another entente.
One just had to wait for the sparkle to unleash the warmachine.
Visit also my next chapter of World War 1 for Rookies:
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