[b][size=29][center]Balance of power (a cause of ww1)[/center]
Political cartoon depicting the tangled web of European alliances at the end of the 19th century
One of the goals of the foreign policies of the Great Powers in the pre-war years was to maintain the 'Balance of Power' in Europe. This evolved into an elaborate network of secret and public alliances and agreements. For example, after the [/size][url=https://algassania2.mam9.com/wiki/Franco-Prussian_War][u][size=25][color:0ebe=#0000ff]Franco-Prussian War[/u][/color][/size][/url][size=25] (1870–71), Britain seemed to favour a strong Germany, as it helped to balance its traditional enemy, France. After Germany began its naval construction plans to rival that of Britain, this stance shifted. France, looking for an ally to balance the threat created by Germany, found it in Russia. Austria-Hungary, facing a threat from Russia, sought support from Germany.
When World War I broke out, these treaties only partially determined who entered the war on which side. Britain had no treaties with France or Russia, but entered the war on their side. Italy had a treaty with both Austria-Hungary and Germany, yet did not enter the war with them; Italy later sided with the Allies. Perhaps the most significant treaty of all was the initially [i]defensive[/i] pact between Germany and Austria-Hungary, which Germany in 1909 extended by declaring that Germany was bound to stand with Austria-Hungary even if it had started the war.[/size][url=https://algassania2.mam9.com/l%20cite_note-27][u][size=25][color:0ebe=#0000ff][/u][/color][/size][/url][size=25]