Summary of the Situation of Europe in the 1900s

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Last updated: November 11, 2019

The growth of Germany has created much tension and many problems Europe. Germany was on its way to becoming one main powers and it was in direct competition with all the other powerful nations. Whoever was the most powerful and stable country would be the winner of this race.

The political system of Germany was an autocracy. The ‘Kaiser’ or the supreme warlord would be at the top of ranks and had absolute power, then the chancellor and then the ministers. These officials often had little power compared to the Kaiser and could only take care of small issues. Kaiser Wilhelm desperately wanted to expand his empire and gain status in the world.The Kaiser was insane and obsessed with getting his goals completed. This made Germany very unstable due to this insane Kaiser. Germany wanted a friendly relationship with Russia, so they could isolate France. They were in desperate need of allies.

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France was also an autocratic nation. The Franco – Prussian war 1870-1871, it was started by Prussia offending their honour. France was defeated and humiliated and they had a desire for revenge. France was going through revolutionary ideas and enlightenment at the time. The middle class franchise wanted to vote and wanted a more liberal government.Germany took the Alsace-Lorraine in 1070/71 from France. It was a resource rich and industrial land and France wanted it back.

France had a liberal alliance with Britain but poor relations with the rest of Europe. Before WWI, Great Britain set reform in the popular interest of the people. The government was very stable and strong. However they needed an ally to break out of their isolation. Britain had many dispute over colonies in France however. Their relationship with Germany was very good because of good sea trade with them.

Austria/Hungary had a dual monarchy in which one monarch resides in Austria and the other in Hungary.They had an autocracy ruling but it was very corrupt which made it weak. The aristocracy was incompetent it was partly due to inbreeding. Russia was no different to Austria/Hungary. It also had a weak government and was corrupt. Russia was part of the triple alliance which consisted of France, Britain and itself.

They were allied for security. They wanted to gain some land from the Ottoman Empire, join the Slavic people and also gain Constantinople. Turkey or the Ottoman Empire had a sultanate ruling. The sultans had absolute power but it was contest by the Committee of Union and Progress.They were very xenophobic which meant that they had a strong nationalistic pride and hated foreigners in their country. They were in a Germany, Austria/Hungary Alliance. Politically, Great Britain was the strongest by far.

It had modern democracy which made them very stable. Economically, Germany was taking an advantage and eventually taken over all the other powers and became the leading industry in Europe. There was growth of heavy and chemical industry and new industries. Some problems were that there was tension for raw materials and resources and there was also social unrest there.France was also a strong industrial nation but was soon taken over by Germany. However there was still poverty and agriculture there. Great Britain was also very industrial but again, was taken over my Germany.

Britain had stretched resources because of her colonies but had excellent sea trade. Some issues they had was a clash between the liberal government and the House of Lords, usually they had problems over budget. Austria/Hungary had a very weak economy and was not industrialized.

Russia was different and went through rapid industrial expansion in 1890. They also had a well developed railway system but they still had inefficient farming.All this development was wasted since all the profit was sent to the aristocracy to support for their extravagant lifestyle.

There was no money left for the continued investment and support of Russia’s economy anymore, which lead to the decline of their income. Turkey was also known as the sick man of Europe. Their economy was not strong and it wasn’t going to improve.

They had many different people and there was racial tension between the Slavic people. Their empire was soon to be declining and will cause great conflict between the other powers of Europe. They all want the assets of Turkey. From here, Germany has the strongest economy.They continued to expand and had the latest technology. This made room for other improvement of their country. Germany’s strengths were that it had a very strong army. It was well trained and well equipped with modern warfare technology.

They were also increasing the size of their navy in rivalry with Great Britain. Germany was afraid of ‘Fear of encirclement,’ which meant that they did not want to be isolated with no allies. France was on the west, Russia on the east and Britain from the north. They desperately needed allies.

France is regarded as one of the most powerful nations in Europe.However, it grew weaker through the 1800s and eventually in 1910; its army was unfit to fight. It also had a large colony so its army, navy and resources were stretched. Britain’s army grew through huge volunteer of the people in her empire. They had a small dispersed army but a strong navy. They were afraid if Germany will defeat them in the naval race and did not want their sea trade to be destroyed. Russia had the largest army but it was ill-equipped.

They often had men with no weapons and no training. Russia wanted to develop its economy more and it feared a war with Germany or Great Britain.Turkey also had a large army but ill-equipped. There were poor supplies and transport. Turkey wanted to modernize and create a more liberal government. Germany was in competition with Great Britain.

Although they had overtaken them in their army and economy, Britain still had the upper hand in her navy. Germany is seen to be the most powerful nation of all. It has surpassed all the other competing countries in their economy, military and technology.

It was also creating huge tension in Europe. Britain’s biggest advantage was that she had a very stable and strong government. This situation soon led to the first world war.

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