The Central Powers of World War I were the countries that formed its alliances with a specific goal in mind, which was to control Europe. At the time, both France and Great Britain were huge empires that controlled many countries and territories in Africa and Asia. As a result, Germany aspired to create a similar empire but wanted to do so by invading and occupying neighboring European countries.
World War I officially started after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and Russia joined in to defend Serbia. Germany was the third country to join this war. Starting this war was Germany’s ultimate goal for many years. The German leaders thought that the sooner they started the war, the better. Germany wanted to start the war as soon as possible because they did not want to give France and Great Britain a chance to prepare for it.
Germany’s plan was devised by a German field marshal called Alfred von Schlieffen. Von Schlieffen wanted to hold Russia back using as little troops as possible while using the majority of the German Army to take over France. Once it occupied France, Germany’s plan was to start focusing on taking over Eastern Europe and Russia.
The leader of Germany during World War I was its Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II who was the first cousin of the King of England, George V, and the second cousin of the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.
Kaiser Wilhelm II made terrible decisions during World War I. Those decisions cost him both the war and his throne as he ran away from Germany in 1918 leaving the German people to pay for the consequences of his choices after the war was lost via the Treaty of Versailles.
Austria-Hungary effectively started the first World War when the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Serbia. Austria-Hungary took this opportunity to take over Serbia. Serbia was given a 48-hour window to comply with Austria-Hungary’s difficult demands. When Serbia did not deliver, Austria-Hungary declared war.
Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria for over 65 years, was the one who declared war on Serbia and led his country during World War I until his death in 1916.
The Ottoman Empire
In 1914, the Ottoman Empire signed its alliance with Germany to protect its economic interests in the country that started World War I. Losing the war resulted in the downfall of this Empire and the Ottoman dynasty. The country that replaced the Ottoman Empire is known now as Turkey, but it also controlled and ruled all of the Middle East and parts of Europe.
Sultan Mehmed V was the Ottoman leader to declare war on the Allied Powers of World War I in support of Germany. He died in 1918 right before the Central Powers lost the war and the Empire that his ancestors founded over 600 years ago was destroyed.
Bulgaria joined World War I in 1915 as part of the Central Powers in hopes that it would get the land that it had conflict over with Serbia before the war. Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria led his country into this war. After the Central Powers lost World War I, The Tsar was forced to give up his throne and was replaced by his son, Boris III.
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