There were different factors leading to the outbreak of WWI from the Balkans, such as their land, who they were being occupied by, and how the Balkan people acted. Serbia, Austria, and Russia had roles in the war too, by being involved with alliances. Germany wanted expansion over the seas, and also wanted general war. .
The Balkan area was divided into various national states. Occupied for centuries by the Romans, Turks, Austrians, and Hungarians, the Balkan people were forced to adopt the methods of irregular warfare in the struggle against them. Sometimes the Balkan people battled one another and kept alive their fighting traditions in bitter blood feuds. The mountainous terrain of their peninsula, with few good roads of rail lines, hampered the countermeasures of regular forces and made possible sustained guerrilla operations. .
Serbia resented Austria since its annexation of Bosnia in 1908, which is a big part of the Balkan scene. In 1912-1913 Serbia took an active part in the Balkan wars, gaining both respect and territory. Serbia received more land such as part of Macedonia and Kosovo. Austria-Hungary became alarmed by Serbia's growing strength in the Balkans. .
In June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist at Sarajevo, Bosnia. The Austro-Hungarian government trampled the nationalist movement by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia which, in the degree of its demand, the assassins are brought to justice, which effectively nullified Serbia's independence. Austro-Hungary was unsatisfied with Serbia's response to their ultimatum so they held Serbia responsible and declared war. France, Russia, and the U.K. entered war in support of Serbia. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilization of its army in Serbia's defense. .
Four major alliances were in business with the outbreak of WWI. The Franco - Russian alliance made France and Russia against Germany, and its allies.