Aims of European Powers before World War I

Central Powers


  • Territorial expansion (colonies) + economical control
  • Annex parts of Belgium, France and Luxembourg
  • Establish dominance/national pride
  • Domestic legitimization
  • International respect, prestige of a great power
  • “find place in the sun”
  • Maintain power
  • Support ally with Austria-Hungary
    • Secure borders
    • Trade arguments
    • International, diplomatic relationships (in future)
    • Less threat
  • Stop encirclement
  • Prove themselves
  • Fix internal social problems
  • Europe custom union (economic trade)


  • Neutralize threat of nationalistic uprising
  • Defeat/control Serbia
    • Austria-Hungary wanted to avoid/eliminate Serbia as a threat
    • Austria-Hungary wanted to protect its empire
    • Stabilization
    • Protection
  • Control minorities in the empire (Slavs…)
  • Reply to insult of Serbia
    • Respect and prestige



  • “Revanché”
  • Gain Alsace-Lorrain back
  • Regain former position in Europe
  • Secure borders (against Germany)


  • Defend the trade route by using the navy
  • Feeling of Duty (France, Russia, Belgium)
  • Glory
  • Satisfy people
  • Gain naval dominance after arms race with Germany (destroy German navy)
  • Protect colonies (India)
  • National pride
  • Dominance


  • Defend Panslavic interest (Independent/puppet Slavic states)
  • Pay back for Humiliations (revenge)
  • Respect & prestige
  • Access to Dardanelles
  • Warm harbors
  • International diplomatic + economic relationships


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