This timeline details the main events covered in the first 40 years of the twentieth century and is linked to the GCSE topic Peace and War: International Relations 1900 – 1939
This was an alliance made between Germany and Austria-Hungary to protect themselves from Russia. The Treaty was instigated by the the German minister Bismarck who was concerned by the fact that relations between Austria-Hungary and Russia had become strained because Russia had attacked Turkey. The terms of the treaty agreed that they would come to the other’s aid in the face of attack by Russia.
This alliance extended the Dual Alliance made in 1879 to include Italy. The Italians had been prompted to join the Alliance because of anger at France’s seizure of Tunisia but also out of a need for protection in case of attack.
This was a mutual aid alliance between France and Russia. The French Republic had so far remained independent but in the face of the Triple Alliance made the alliance with Russia to curb German and Austro-Hungarian power. In the event of war Germany and Austria-Hungary would be forced to fight a war on two fronts.
A law was passed in Germany to significantly increase its navy. This alarmed Britain because Britain had always had the largest navy in the world. As a result Britain increased production of battleships to retain its superior position.
War broke out between Russia and Japanese over control in China.
This was an agreement, but not a formal alliance, between France and Britain. The agreement ended the traditional hostility between the two countries. France recognised British control of Egypt while Britain recognised French control of Morocco, disputes over fishing rights were settled and disputes in Siam (Thailand) were also settled.
Morocco wanted independence from France. Germany declared support for the Moroccans against the French. War was avoided following negotiations which allowed France to retain possession of Morocco.
The signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente together with the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France and the Franco-Russian Alliance created what was known as the Triple Entente and provided for mutual aid guarantees if any country were attacked.
Austria took control of Bosnia angering Serbia. Serbia threatened Austria-Hungary with war. Russia, allied to Serbia, mobilised its forces. Germany mobilised its forces and threatened Russia. War was avoided when Russia backed down.
Germany sent a gunboat to the Moroccon port of Agadir in protest at France’s increasing military presence in Morocco. Britain announced that she would stand behind France which threatened to result in the outbreak of war. War was avoided when, in November, Germany agreed to French possession of Morocco in return for some land in the Congo.
An amendment to the German Naval law was passed approving a new surge in the production of German naval vessels.
Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria had formed the Balkan League in order to force the Turks out of the area. On 8th October the Balkan League attacked the Turks and forced them out of the Balkan region. Austria Hungary was alarmed at the prospect of Serbia gaining control and wanted to send troops against Serbia. However, the Great Powers forced a peace settlement on the Balkan States.
This Treaty gave additional territory to Serbia but prevented them from having a coastline by creating Albania. Serbia doubled in size and its population increased by 1.6 million to 4.5 million. Serbia gained the backing of Russia which made the country stronger but also made Austria Hungary determined to prevent them becoming even more powerful.
The League fell apart when Bulgaria, which had also gained land from the Treaty of London, attacked Greece and Serbia. Full scale war was averted when Russia and Britain intervened and forced them to agree peace.
Bulgaria lost most of the territory gained from the Treaty of London 1913 and wanted revenge on Serbia and Greece. Bulgaria was supported by Austria Hungary.
The heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated. The couple were on a visit to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo when they were shot and killed by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand Serbian terrorist group.
This was a peace treaty negotiated by Russia with Germany. As part of the settlement Germany gained land in Russia.
Lloyd George of Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson were the leading delegates of ten from USA, Britain, France, Italy and Japan that met to discuss the peace settlement in Paris. Wilson put forward a 14 point plan that he believed would ensure ongoing peace in Europe. However, Clemenceau wanted to see Germany punished and weakened. Lloyd George, who had recently fought an election promising the British people that Germany would pay, did not want to antagonise the electorate. Although Lloyd George wanted a mid way between Clemenceau and Wilson he sided with France to appease the British electorate.
This treaty which dealt with the punishment of Germany contained 440 articles and came into effect in January 1920. Germany had not been invited to the negotiations and even though they felt the terms excessively harsh they had no choice but to sign. Failure to sign may have meant a return to a war that Germany could not win.
The main clauses of the treaty were:
War Guilt Clause – Germany had to accept the blame for the war
Reparations – Germany was to pay £6,600 million in reparations
Army – reduced to 100,000 men
Navy – reduced to 15,000 sailors, 6 battleships, 30 other ships and no submarines
Airforce – destroyed
Land – Germany lost 13% of its territory including the industrial region of Alsace Lorraine. All overseas colonies were re-distributed.
This treaty dealt with the punishment of Austria. The main clauses of the treaty were:
Reparations – Austria was to pay reparations but before the amount was set Austria became bankrupt
Army – reduced to 30,000 men
Land – Austria lost land to Czechoslovakia, Italy and Yugoslavia
Anschluss – Union with Germany, was forbidden.
This treaty dealt with the punishment of Bulgaria. The main clauses of the treaty were:
Reparations – Bulgaria had to pay £90 million in reparations
Army – reduced to 20,000 men
Land – Bulgaria lost land to Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia
This treaty dealt with the punishment of Hungary. The main clauses of the treaty were:
Reparations – Hungary was to pay reparations but the amount was never set
Army – reduced to 35,000 men
Land – Hungary lost about 65% of its land to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia.
This treaty dealt with the punishment of Turkey. However, Turkey refused to accept the treaty and were particularly upset by the fact that land would be given to Greece. This led to conflict with Greece and allied forces in Turkey were also threatened.
This treaty was negotiated with Turkey to replace the Treaty of Sevres, August 1920.
This was an attempt to relieve tensions caused by the reparations Germany had to pay as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The main points of the plan were:
Following a two year moratorium, Germany would pay reparations at a fixed rate
French and Belgian troops were to evacuate the Ruhr
Germany would be given a loan by the USA and Britain.
This was a new agreement designed to reduce tension between France and Germany. It agreed:
The borders between Germany and France were fixed and Alsace Lorraine would be permanently French
The Rhineland area should be de-militarised.
The initial aim of this pact was to improve relations between France and the USA but it was then extended to other countries. Signatories of the pact agreed not to use war to resolve disputes.
The American stock market crashed causing a World depression as Americans called in international loans. Banks collapsed leaving people with very little money. This meant consumer spending fell and as a result businesses and factories had to cut production and lay off staff. It became known as the Great Depression.
Japan had been badly affected by the Depression as demand for Japanese goods fell worldwide. Without income from exports Japan could not import goods needed. Manchuria in China was rich in raw materials and also offered additional living space for the Japanese people. China appealed to the League of Nations who requested Japanese withdrawal of troops from the area. The Japanese refused and the League set up a commission to investigate the affair. By the time the investigation was completed in September 1932 Japan had completed its conquest. In February 1933 The League of Nations called for Japan to return Manchuria to China, Japan refused and left the League of Nations. Britain and the USA had territories in the Far East and were reluctant to intervene for fear of Japanese reprisals.
Delegates from 60 nations met to discuss ways in which to achieve disarmament. The conference failed due to the fact that France and Germany could not agree.
Germany and Italy signed an agreement where they agreed to work together on matters of mutual interest.
This was an anti-communist pact signed by Germany and Japan.
German troops marched into Austria and the two countries were joined together. Britain and France protested but as they were both following a policy of appeasement they did nothing.
Hitler ordered the leader of the Sudeten Nazi Party to stir up trouble in the region. German newspapers then reported that Czech officials were being hostile towards Germans living in the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia.
Hitler demanded that the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia, which had a majority German population, be given to Germany. He made it clear that he would declare war if the land was not returned.
Hitler now demanded that land in the Sudeten should also be given to Poland and Hungary since there were nationals from both countries living there.
In a bid to stop Hitler invading the Sudetenland region Chamberlain, Daladier, Mussolini and Hitler met to try to prevent an outbreak of war. The Czech Prime Minister was not invited to attend. Hitler insisted that if he was allowed to have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia then it would be the end of his expansion ideas. It was also agreed that Poland and Hungary would also receive land from the Sudeten. The four leaders agreed to guarantee Czechoslovakia’s new borders.
This was a night of violence towards the Jewish population in Germany where shop windows were smashed, houses and synagogues destroyed. The violence was condemned by Britain.
Italy and Germany signed this pact of friendship and military alliance.
This was a German Soviet non-aggression agreement where both countries agreed:
Not to support any country making an attack on Russia or Germany
Not to join any alliance that was unfavourable to the other country
To jointly invade Poland and split the region between the two countries.
That Russia could invade and occupy Estonia, Latvia and LIthuania.
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017). Peace and War: International Relations 1900 – 1939. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/peace-and-war-international-relations-1900-1939 Last accessed December 9th, 2019