Triple Alliance: context, countries, interests, summary

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THE Triple Alliance it was one of the military agreements formed by European nations in the late 19th century. The countries participating in this alliance were Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. This agreement was signed in 1882 and renewed periodically until 1915, when Italy left it.

The Triple Alliance was part of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's strategy to create a network of alliances that would prevent war in Europe and bring his country into it. He also sought to isolate France and Russia, the two greatest threats to Germany at the end of the 19th century.

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Summary of Triple Alliance

  • It was a military agreement realized by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.

  • It was signed on May 20, 1882 and renewed until 1915.

  • In 1915, the Italians abandoned the Triple Alliance and joined the Triple Entente.

  • This agreement sought to diplomatically isolate France and Russia.

  • The failure of German foreign policy brought Britain, France and Russia closer together and formed the Triple Entente.

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What was the Triple Alliance in World War I?

The Triple Alliance was a agreement that united Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy, signed May 20, 1882. This agreement made the three nations establish mutual cooperation with each other, in the sense that if one of them was attacked, they would all go to war with the aggressor country.

The Triple Alliance was part of the strategy of diplomatic and military agreements formulated by the German chancellor in the 1870s and 1880s, Otto von Bismarck. His objective was to create a network of alliances that would act to prevent a war from starting and Germany enter the conflict.

Furthermore, this agreement was diplomatically isolate The France and The Russia and prevent them from attacking any of its members. That's because there were issues that put them as the biggest threats to the members of the agreement, as we will see.

In addition to mutual cooperation, there were some specific agreements between the nations involved:

  • Germany has pledged to support Italy in its imperialist demands on the African continent.

  • Italy would be aided by the German and Austrian governments if attacked by the French.

  • Italy pledged to remain neutral if Austria-Hungary went to war with Russia.

  • Austria-Hungary renounced old rivalries and disagreements with Italy.

  • Italy assured to maintain its friendship with Germany.

This agreement was periodically renewed between 1882 and 1915, until Italy decided to abandon it when the First World War was ongoing.

What were the interests of the Triple Alliance countries?

The Triple Alliance fulfilled important objectives for each of the participating countries, with the primary objective of each one being to guarantee support in case of an attack by an enemy nation. The two main targets of this agreement, as mentioned, were Russia and France, countries that the Germans mainly wanted to isolate diplomatically.

starting with the germans, the Triple Alliance agreement served to guarantee the defense of the country from a conflict. The objective was to prevent the conflict from happening, but if it did start, the Germans would have support from the Austrians and Italians. The country that posed the greatest threat to the Germans was France.

This was because German unification had been completed with a Prussian war against France between 1870 and 1871. The Prussian victory in that war gave rise to the German Empire. Thus, the Germans feared a possible revenge from the French, and this made them seek the alliance of the Austrians, for example.

Furthermore, Austria-Hungary and Germany shared a great rivalry with Russia. This was because the Russians showed interest in expanding their margin of influence over the Balkans as a result of the weakening of the Ottoman Empire in that region. The Germans tried to prevent the increase of Russian influence, trying to limit it only to Bulgaria.

Despite the rivalry, Germany sought to keep Russia as an ally and did so on different occasions, two of which were in an alliance called the League of the Three Emperors, which brought together Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, but this agreement failed. Between 1887 and 1890, Germans and Russians maintained the Reinsurance Treaty, but the resignation of Otto von Bismarck caused Germany to withdraw from this agreement.

This definitely distanced Russia from Germany and brought it closer to the French. Finally, the rivalry between the Russians was very strong, mainly due to the dispute overs Balkans, because the Austria-Hungary also had interests in expanding its influence over the place, including the annexation of Bosnia to its territory.

THE Italy, in turn, had a great rivalry with France, and this was explained by the disputes imperialists fought between these two European nations. The Italians had their ambitions in Africa thwarted by France, and this was converted into a strong rivalry with the French. Fearing war with that country, Italy sought to ally with other European nations to protect itself.

Read more: Background of the First World War

How did the Triple Alliance develop?

The Triple Alliance is understood as the expansion of an alliance that existed between Germany and Austria-Hungary, the so-called Dual Alliance, formed in 1879. The addition of Italy was understood as a way of giving strength to the countries of the Dual Alliance, but the ties that linked Italy with Austria-Hungary and Germany were always weak.

The formation of the Triple Alliance and German foreign policy, after the dismissal of Otto von Bismarck, brought the French, Russians and British closer together. This was a consequence of German foreign relations, which deliberately chose to distance themselves from Russia and began to threaten the economic and military power of the British.

With that, France, Great Britain and Russia united, forming the Triple Entente, the group that fought against Austria-Hungary and Germany in World War I. In 1915, Italy withdrew from the group and joined the Triple Entente.

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