Until the late 1880s, the French Republic had a rather isolated position among the great powers. Colonial conflicts with Britain and Italy played a role, but also the perception of France as the standard-bearer of the revolution. Republicanism and revolution were seen as a mortal threat to Europe in general and to Russia in particular, especially by the Tsar and his government. Bismarck had successfully appealed to the Tsar`s conservatism in 1873 and did so again in 1881, when Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary signed treaties that followed the traditions of the Holy Alliance. With the secret reinsurance contract concluded in 1887 between Germany and Russia, Bismarck attempted to employ Russia, but a customs dispute and Germany`s decision in 1887 to ban the flow of Russian state loans on German markets proved counterproductive. After the fall of Bismarck in 1890, the German decision to terminate the reinsurance contract and the policy of applying the Berlin partners in the eastern Mediterranean in 1891 favored alienation between Germany and Russia. French politicians felt an openness to closer relations with the continent`s only strategic partner that could help counter Germany. The imprisonment of Russian anarchists in France made the Republic tastier for the Tsar. The French Republic had financial support to offer, but it also had considerable military capabilities. The visit of a French naval squadron to the Russian port of Kronstadt in 1891 and a Russian counter-visit to Toulon in 1893 made the reorientation public. Under these conditions, the impact of a change of sides by Italy or Romania or a withdrawal of Britain from its informal alliances on the equation of military capabilities in Europe would be enormous.
It was therefore entirely sensible to look for signs of erosion, consolidation or broadening of great power alliances. Until 1914, things had become even more complex due to the growing relevance of alliance models in Southeast Europe. It was doubtful whether Romania could still fulfil its obligations under the Triple Alliance. This issue was closely linked to expectations of Bulgaria`s attitude in a great war. The answer was very important, because the Balkan Peninsula had once again become the focus of the great power conflict. As the winter crisis of 1912-1913 showed, this brought Austria-Hungary and Russia to the forefront of a possible general fire. The balance of military forces in the Balkans had become an important factor in every war scenario. Therefore, the perception of an imminent regional reorientation has been integrated into the overall assessment of the evolution of the strategic situation on the continent. Beyond a diplomatic coup that both binds Bulgaria to the tripartite alliance and would keep Romania as an ally, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry expected sooner rather than later the end of the Habsburg monarchy`s status as a great power. By the early summer of 1914, the Germans had come to similar conclusions. From this point of view, the time was on the side of the Triple Entente, provided that Russia continued to strengthen its army and protect Serbia`s client from Austrian pressure with the help of France and Britain.
 Some of the agreements signed between nations are discussed below. Otto von Bismarck was primarily responsible for the creation of the Tripartite Alliance. However, he began to lose power after William II acceded to the throne in the German Empire. This was followed by the appearance of a more adventurous government policy of the new leadership. Germany was now almost exclusively dedicated to colonial and commercial expansion. The German plan for a Baghdad railway was viewed with great concern by the interested powers in the Middle East. The German trade rivalry with Britain not only posed direct difficulties, but it also fueled the German desire for maritime power and a great navy. It should be noted that most of these alliances and agreements took place in secret and were only revealed after the public signed.. . . .