The Bismarckian system (1871-1890) German emperor Wilhelm I used diplomacy to maintain the balance of power between European countries. The counselor, Otto von Bismarck, established a system of alliances with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and Italy: The Bismarckian empire. The objectives were:Maintain Germany hegemony in Europe to have friendly relationships with the other countries. Prevent France from declaring the war to Germany in order to recover Alsace-Lorraine. With this policy, Bismarck avoided conflict in Europe for 20 years. This caused the arms race: Bismarck had to strengthen the german army.In 1885 the Congress of Berlin took place in order to distribute Africa among the most important empires.The expansionist foreign policy of Wilhelm II (1890-1914) In the second phase, the german emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II,  he focused on obtaining a colonial empire that could reflect the Germany’s growing economic power. The political hegemony (supremacia) of Wilhelm II caused concern in France and Great Britain. They formed the triple entente (1907) with Russia tried to stop Germany’s expansion. EUROPEAN EMPIRES Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm I (king). Otto von Bismarck (councilor) Spain: Rei Alfonso XII Russia: Tsar Great Britain: Queen Victoria France: Republic FIRST WORLD WAR (1914-1918)It was fought by various European countries and their African and Asian colonies, the United States, Japan, China, and some Latin American republics.  The causes of the war.  Control of the Balkans: The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russian Empire competed for the control of the Balkans. Also Serbia was angry about the expansion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into the area. This led to a crises. Control of the some colonies: France wanted to recover the region of Alsace-Lorraine. France and Germany also competed for control of colonies, important for economic expansion, especially Morocco. Great Britain supremacy of its merchant navy threatened: When the German empire, which had become an economic power during the Second Industrial Revolution, constructed a large fleet of merchant  ships in order to dominate international trade.  This created a pre-war atmosphere and European countries bought arms. -On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) by a young Serbian nationalist. -On 28 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. Phases of the war: Initial German offensives (1914) The Schlieffen Plan was put into effect. It consisted on invading the Belgium and the north of France (Paris). Once France was defeated, German troops fought against the Russians. The plan failed.. Incorporation and withdrawal of allies (1917) In 1917 USA decided to join the war in the Allies side because German submarines had sunk neutral merchant ships: Lusitania. The end of the war and Armistice (1918) The help of the American troops and weapons allowed the Allied forces to advance on the Western Front. Exhaustion and ever-increasing lack of resources drove the Central Powers to seek peace. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and on 11 November 1918 the Armistice was signed. The peace settlement  The Paris Conference was hold in 1919 in order to decide the peace conditions that would be imposed on the defeated countries. Allied countries insisted on sever conditions for defeated countries. Germany was considered to be responsible for the war and wanted to pay for the damage it caused.  After negotiations the Peace Settlement was agreed, it consisted in 5 treaties ratified by the Allied countries and signed by the defeated. GERMANY:AUSTRIA: Treaty of Saint Germain HUNGARY: Treaty of Trianon BULGARIA: Treaty of NeuillyOTTOMAN EMPIRE: Treaty of Sèvres Consequences of the First World War: Decrease in population: There were tens of millions of victims, and millions were injured, mutilated or disappeared. Destruction of cities: Transport, networks, factories and agricultural land were damaged and destroyed in areas of combat. Incorporation of women in the workplace: During the war women demonstrated they were capable of doing the same jobs as men. Loss of Europe’s economic power: Due to material losses and loans. US became the world’s leading economic power. Redistribution of colonies: The peace treaties included the redistribution of  the colonies belonging to defeated countries between the victorious countries. The most benefited countries were Great Britain and France. The new map of Europe: End of the European empires and the creation of new states.