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First Would War and July 5, 1914

            Several crises almost led to general European war in the decade before 1914. Two of these, in 1904-5, and 1911, involved the North African state of Morocco. France had been working to annex Morocco, which lay next to its territory of Algeria; Germany with no vital interests in Morocco, threatened war if not consulted and compensated. Although it agreed only reluctantly to an international conference at Algeciras in 1906, the conferees awarded France most of what it sought (1). In 1908, another crisis, this time in the Balkans, almost brought war between Austria-Hungary and Russia, when the dual Monarchy, authorized only to administer Bosnia-Herzegovina, annexed it. Russia, still reeling from its defeat by Japan, backed down and the crisis passed, but Bulgaria took advantage of the situation to declare its full independence from the Ottoman Empire. The assassination of Achduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 28 June 1914 and the so-called 'blank cheque' given to Austria by Germany on 05th July 1914 promising 'full support' even if should mean war with Russia, the traditional protector of the Slavs, have been considered the crucial milestone that changed the human history. Germany encouraged the Austrians to send Serbia an ultimatum saying "to make use of the present moment "(2) becoming inevitable the World War I after the ultimatum's refusal by the Serbia. Austria declared war on Serbia and immediately began to bombard Belgrade on 28 July 1914. Austria wished an excuse for a war with Serbia, because had interests in the Balkans where the nationalism sentiment, headed by Russian Emperor, has been risen prior the war. .
             While the Russian general mobilization insured that the Balkan war would become a general European conflict, German historian Fritz Fischer has pointed out that this was the final straw for Berlin only because 'the Central Powers were bent on a European war and, for domestic political considerations, needed a pretext for starting it' (3).

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