Describe the Alliance system which existed among European powers before 1914. I am studying for my gcse paper 1 and i really need help because it is in a week;what i do not understand about this question: Do i have to talk about ALL the treaties?! also on top of the question it gives me a picture from before the WW1 ,showing France,Russia and Japan linking hands.Do i have to talk about the Anglo-Japanese treaty in 1902 as well? I need help as soon as possible please . thank you

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Bismarck, Chancellor of the Second Reich, had isolated France from other European powers after the Franco-Prussian War in the belief that if France had no allies there could not be a general war.  His creation of the Dreikaiserbund, or League of the Three Emperors (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia) in 1872 began the "alliance system". Unfortunately, the next ruler of Germany (Kaiser Wilhelm II) was unwise, ignored Bismarck and alienated other powers.  Once France had drawn the rather dim-witted Tsar Nicholas of Russia away from Germany not only was France no longer alone, but Germany was already encircled.

The British had no real military treaty with France before the war, but the government and military allowed themselves to be dragged into becoming part of France's war plans through the working relationship of French General Foch and an Anglo-Irish officer named Henry Wilson.  By the end of the war Wilson was Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Foch was Generalissimo of the Entente forces.  So the Triple Entente of Great Britain, France and Russia was one major power bloc.

The other was the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.  After the outbreak of the war Italy refused to engage, and then joined the Entente Powers.

Japan joined the Entente as things went on, as did many other countries, notably Belgium and various Balkan powers including Rumania and Serbia.  Bulgaria joined the German-Austrian side.  The first link below leads to a site about the alliance system.  It gives a great deal of information about these treaties, including the Dual Alliance, the Triple Alliance, Reinsurance of 1887, the Anglo-Japanese and Anglo-Russian treaties, etc.  I'd cover them all if I were you.

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