Causes of World War One Answers What was the name of Germany’s ruler, 1888-1918?



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Causes of World War One – Answers

  1. What was the name of Germany’s ruler, 1888-1918?

    • Wilhelm II

  2. What was the title of Germany’s national anthem and what does it mean?

  3. What is Nationalism?

    • The strong belief that your country is better than others

  4. What was Panslavism?

    • The nationalism of the Slav peoples of the Balkans

  5. What happened at the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878?

    • Serbia became an independent country

  6. What did Kaiser Wilhelm say in 1901 that he wanted for Germany?

    • ‘A place in the sun’

  7. What is imperialism?

    • The desire to build an empire.

  8. How much of the globe did the British Empire cover in 1900?

  9. What was Britain’s ambition in Africa?

    • An empire ‘from Cairo to Cape Town’.

  10. Where and when did French and British colonial ambitions clash?

    • At Fashoda in the Sudan, 1989.

  11. What is militarism?

    • The control of government by military aims, and the desire to build up a strong military power.

  12. How big was the German army in 1914?

  13. How many men (including reservists) could Germany call up if there was a war?

    • 8.5 million

  14. How many warships did Great Britain have in 1914?

    • 185

  15. Whose army was growing fastest?

    • Russia – 1.2 million men in 1914

  16. Why did politicians try to build up huge armed forces and military alliances?

    • To preserve the ‘Balance of Power’ – which they thought kept the peace.

  17. Who was the German Army Chief of Staff in 1914?

    • Von Moltke

  18. What did the Moltke believe about war, and why?

    • He said: ‘I believe war is unavoidable; war the sooner the better’.   This was because, although Germany had the biggest and best army in the world, the Germans believed that Russia’s army was catching up quickly.

  19. What was the Dual Alliance?

    • Germany and Austria, 1879

  20. What was the Triple Alliance?

    • Germany, Austria and Italy, 1882.

  21. What was the Triple Entente?

    • A ‘friendly relationship’ of France and Britain, 1904 (joined by Russia in 1907)

  22. Which country did Britain make a naval agreement with and why?

    • Japan, 1902 – so Britain did not need to worry so much about her naval power in the Pacific.

  23. Who was the ‘sick man of Europe’?

    • Turkey

  24. Who was Otto von Bismarck?

    • He had been the shrewd Chancellor of Germany, but Wilhelm sacked him in 1890 – after which Wilhelm controlled foreign affairs much less carefully.

  25. When had Italy become a united country?

    • 1866

  26. Who dominated the Russian Tsar Nicholas II until 1916?

    • Rasputin, the ‘mad monk’.

  27. Which country had defeated Russia in a war?

    • Japan, in 1904

  28. What had happened to France in 1870?

    • France had gone to war to try to stop Germany becoming a united country, but had been easily defeated by the Germans (in 10 weeks).




  1. Name two nationalist French politicians who hated Germany for France’s defeat in 1870.

    • Clemenceau and Poincare.

  2. What did Britain’s foreign policy advocate, and what does this mean?

    • ‘Splendid isolation’ – keeping out of European politics.

  3. Which British war did Kaiser Wilhelm criticise?

    • The Boer War, 1899-1900.

  4. What did the German Navy Law of 1900 say?

    • Germany started to build up a navy to rival Britain’s.

  5. What did people mean by ‘We want 8 and we won’t wait’?

    • In 1906, the British people – fearing the growth of Germany’s navy – demanded that the government build 8 of the new ‘Dreadnought’ super-warships.

  6. What provoked the First Moroccan Crisis

    • In 1906, Kaiser Wilhelm went to Morocco and guaranteed its independence (France had been hoping to take it over).

  7. How was the first Moroccan Crisis solved?

    • A Conference was held at Algericas where Britain, France and Russia forced Wilhelm to back down.

  8. Who was ‘mad, mad, mad as March hares’?

    • This was what Kaiser Wilhelm said about the British people in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in 1908.   he was saying he supported them, but his words made the British people hate him.

  9. What does the word ‘annex’ mean, and who annexed who in 1908?

    • ‘Annex’ means to take over the government of a state, and Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia from Turkey in 1908.

  10. What provoked the Second Moroccan Crisis?

  11. How was the Second Moroccan crisis solved?

    • Britain and France forced Germany to back down.

  12. What was the Balkan League?

    • The alliance of Balkan states (Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria) which in 1912 went to war with Turkey and drove Turkey out of Europe (First Balkan War, 1912) – then they promptly started fighting amongst themselves (Second Balkan War, 1913)

  13. How was the Second Balkan War ended?

    • Germany and Britain united and used their influence to forced them to stop fighting (Treaty of Bucharest, 1913)

  14. When was Archduke Franz Ferdinand shot?

    • Sunday, 28 June 1914

  15. Name the six assassins who were waiting for Franz Ferdinand along the Appel Quay.   Who actually tried to kill him?

    • Mehmedbasic, Cubrilovic, Nedeljko Cabrinovic (threw a bomb), Popovic, Gavrilo Princip (shot him), Grabez.

  16. What was the name of the Serbian terrorist group?

    • Union or Death (nicknamed the `Black Hand')

  17. What was the name of the Austrian governor of Sarajevo?

    • Potiorek

  18. What was the ‘polyglot empire’?

    • Austria-Hungary – an empire with many different languages.

  19. Who was General Hotzendorff and why was he important?

    • The Austrian Army Chief-of-Staff – he saw the assassination as a chance to ‘get’ Serbia.

  20. What was the ‘blank cheque’?

    • The promise, given by Germany to Austria on 5 July 1914, that Germany would support Austria whatever she did.

  21. What is an Ultimatum?

    • A list of demands, with a threat of war if they are not met.

  22. When was the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia?

    • 23 July 1914

  23. Which point of Austria’s ultimatum did Serbia reject and why?

    • Point 6 – the demand to send Austrian police into Serbia – because it was against the Serbian constitution.

  24. What did Tsar Nicholas II think of the Austrian declaration of war?

    • He said: ‘An unjust war has been declared on a weak country’.


  1. Why was it significant that Nicholas ordered a ‘general mobilisation’?

    • At first, Nicholas wanted a partial mobilisation (just against Austria), but he was told this was impossible, so he had to order a general mobilisation (against Austria and Germany) – he sent a telegram to Wilhelm assuring him that the mobilisation was not against Germany.

  2. What was the name of Germany’s military plan and why?

    • The Schlieffen Plan, because it was written by the German Army Chief of Staff Alfred von Schlieffen.

  3. Why was the Schlieffen Plan going wrong in August 1914?

    • Because it relied on defeated France before Russia was ready for war; instead Russia was mobilising and France wasn’t yet at war with Germany.

  4. What did Bethmann-Hollweg ask Moltke and what was the reply?

    • ‘Is the Fatherland in danger?’ Moltke replied: ‘Yes’

  5. Why did Germany declare war on France?

    • The Germans claimed that French planes had bombed Nuremberg.

  6. Why did Britain declare war on Germany?

    • Because German troops invaded Belgium – Britain was obliged to defend Belgium by a treaty of 1839.

  7. What did Bethmann-Hollweg call the Anglo-Belgian treaty of 1839?

    • He said: ‘For a scrap of paper, Great Britain is going to make war?’

  8. When did Britain declare war on Germany?

    • 11pm (midnight in Germany) of 4 August 1914.




© John D Clare 2005


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