The shifting balance in power in Europe and the thought that all the countries believed they would benefit from war was key in the outbreak of war in 1914. World War One was a war intended to end all wars and as a consequence became a 'Total War'. A war that not only involved soldiers and a battlefield but one that took over countries socially and domestically everyone became part of the war effort, everything at home was targeting towards war in 1914. The impact of world war one cannot be underestimated and as a result fifteen million people died in a war that was so horrific - it was something no one had witnessed before. There are elements to suggest that world war one came through accident and design, the Alliance system in Europe and the extensive military agreements were designed to protect themselves in the case of war, the arms race and the naval race between Britain and Germany geared Europe for war, with military advances and expansions heightened tensions between the countries which intentionally prepared the powers for war. Another design for war was Germany, the pre-preparations prove that they wearing organizing themselves for war pre 1912, their vast industrialization and urbanization also frightened the neighboring states especially France, with personal vendetta for Alsace and Lorraine and also many of the tensions in the Balkans led countries towards war. However much of the reasons for war can be seen as an accident, the scramble for Africa, was not a design towards a world war, although there was tough competition for the colonies it was a way of expanding their empires, not a reason to go to war. .
From the outset of war in 1914 there were two clear camps. The triple Entente which included Britain, France and Russia after signing the Anglo-Russian Entente on 31 August 1907, to fight against the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary which were bound by the 1879 Dual Alliance to support each other 'with the whole strength of the empires' if Russia attacked, and Italy joined in 1882 to form the Triple Alliance.