Military Monday No.3

Welcome to part three of ‘Jack’s Military Monday’. This week we will look at the complex alliances that the world powers built up on the eve of the war. This time round, it’s the Triple Alliance or Central Powers.

arms race, Triple Alliance, Triple Entente. World War One, First World War, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Treaty of London, 1914, 100 years since the war

The Triple Alliance

Originally a pact signed in 1882, the alliance consisted of Germany, The Austrian-Hungarian Empire and a newly unified Italy.


The Italian’s main reason for joining the alliance was to get one over on France. Prior to the agreement, Italy had seen many of their African colonies lost top the French so they believed that joining up with the alliance would see them returned their lands if war ever broke. They would also


As well as being long-term allies of Germany, Austria was keen to spread their forces over an Italian front so an alliance was gleefully accepted.


From the late 19th century, Germany was engaged in an arms race with Britain. A lot of tension was built up in this face-off so joining with Austria-Hungary and Italy was, as they believed, an ideal partnership. The German elite believed in the theory of Encirclement where Russia and France would invade using a double-sided pincer movement. This paranoia added further fuel to the fires of war.

Changing sides

In the build up to war, it was evident that the Italian’s alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary was rocky. The Entente sensed this and persuaded Italy to sign the Treaty of London. They duly agreed and the Entente had gained a member while the alliance had lost one. Instead, Germany and Austria-Hungary were joined by the Turkish Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.