Primary Documents - Pre-1914
This page of the Primary Documents section of the website collects together archive source documents originating in the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 - in some cases many years before.
Included among the pre-1914 documents is the 1839 Treaty of London, which bound Britain to defend neutral Belgium, with momentous consequences some 75 years later; and the text of the 1904 Entente Cordiale which saw Anglo-French relations improve to the point that a military alliance in the event of war against either at the hands of Germany became feasible.
The list presented below - with each entry accompanied by a brief summary of its significance - is sorted by date, with earlier documents listed first.
|Treaty of London 1839||1839 - Britain guaranteed Belgian neutrality|
|Ems Telegram||1870 - Bismarck's attempt to provoke France into war|
|Dual Alliance||1879 - Germany's alliance with Austria-Hungary|
|Three Emperor's League||1881 - Russia's alliance with Germany/Austria-Hungary|
|Triple Alliance||1882 - Italy joined Germany and Austria-Hungary's alliance|
|Reinsurance Treaty||1887 - Bismarck's alliance with Russia|
|France-Russian Military Convention||1892 - French/Russian precursor to Triple Entente alliance|
|Anglo-Japanese Alliance||1902 - Intended as counterweight to France and Russia|
|Entente Cordiale||1904 - Anglo-French diplomatic agreement|
|Anglo-Russian Entente||1908 - Russia joins the Anglo-French Entente agreement|
|Young Turk Proclamation||1908 - Issued by Young Turk administration in 1908|
|President Wilson's Inauguration Address||1913 - Address given by Wilson at start of his first term|
|Crown Prince Wilhelm on Upcoming War||1913 - Germany heir to the throne's enthusiasm for war|
A 'flying pig' was a mortar bomb.
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