IGCSE History
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Exams and Revision

Did the Alliance System make war more or less likely?

Activities Resources
The Alliance System was a complex network of agreements, contracts and understandings that can be difficult to understand. Your job is to simplify things so that you understand things!
  1. Begin by reading Farmer (42-9) and jotting down in rough the details of all the 'alliances' he mentions. 
  2. Next either draw or get from the Internet a map of the alliance system (like the one in McAleavy p.5 or Brooman p.15
  3. Underneath the map draw up a timeline of how the Alliance system came about. Begin with the Dual Alliance in 1879 and end with Triple Entente of 1907.
  4. Explain how the Alliance System was meant to prevent war. The key word needed in your explanation is 'deterrence'.
  5. Explain how the Alliance System actually made war more likely (rising tensions, military plans, military rivalries, arms race etc.) and more difficult to contain (i.e. local conflict might quickly become international)
Alan Farmer Modern European History 1890-1990 (42-49) 
McAleavy (5) 
Brooman The End of Old Europe (14-15)

Trenches on the Web timeline 'the long fuse' http://worldwar1.com/tlprewar.htm gives a detailed chronology of the causes of WW1 including the alliances. 

The Open Door website has a set of notes and diagrams to explain the alliance system (amongst other things).

The BBC Curriculum Bite site has good maps and clear explanations about how the alliances came about. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/worldwarone/hq/causes1_01.shtml 

alliance_entente.gif (29245 bytes)

How did the arms race contribute to rising tensions between the Great Powers?

This is not actually referred to in the syllabus but is important background to understanding how the alliance system was more than a diplomatic agreement. As well as promises of military support, there was also real preparation for war.

Under the heading 'Planning for War', create two sets of notes that explain how the countries in the alliances prepared for war (i) at sea (ii) on land.

Words/names/images to be included: Dreadnought, Naval Race, German Naval Law, Tirpitz, Fisher, Naval League, Risk Theory, Two-Power Standard, Schlieffen Plan, Plan 17. 

Explain briefly how the war plans helped make war more likely.

Brooman The End of Old Europe (16-19)

BBC World War One
BBC Schools WWI Curriculum Bite
Trenches on the Web
Spartacus WWI Encyclopedia
Learning Curve: The Great War
SchoolHistory links for IGCSE

Alliances and Empire: How did the Tangier Crisis (1905) and the Agadir Crisis (1911) increase tensions between the Great Powers? 

Read Brooman (20-21). Put a heading 'How did colonial problems create tensions between the Great Powers? 
Two case studies. 
(i) Tangier Crisis (1905)
(ii) Agadir Crisis (1911)

For each explain the following briefly: (a) What caused the crisis? (b) What happened? (c) What was the consequence? War was avoided in each case, why?

Brooman - The End of Old Europe (20-21)
Farmer - The First Moroccan Crisis, 1905-06 (48-9) and The Second Moroccan Crisis, 1911 (51-2)

See The Corner website for good clear explanations.