International Alliances and Aspirations

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In the years following the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), Europe underwent a great transformation. Germany and Italy emerged as unified nations, while the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires went into decline. Well intentioned diplomats sought to preserve peace and stability through a series of alliances, which pledged one nation to come to the aid of another in the event of an attack from a third party. Warfare would not be limited to two contenders, but instead would draw in a series of nations. Some of the alliances were recognized publicly, but others were secret—a contributing factor to the later conflagration.

The basic national motivations and alliances included:

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Awards and Alliances
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