"Wars are caused by miscalculations of the aggressors, and the failure of politicians and diplomats to exercise crisis management" a statement that with respect to World War I is generally true for many of the European empires including those of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and other nations throughout Europe. World War I or the Great War as was called by it's contemporaries, had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, the series of actions that fueled the war was almost a half of a centuries worth of secret treaties and alliance systems along with power struggles of some empires, such as that of Germany for " a place in the sun."
The roots of the First World War can be traced back to the unification of Germany, concluding in 1871, and was carried out by Prussia, under the oversight of Prussia's first Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck. During this time Bismarck, for having achieved his life's aim at unifying the German empire, put his expansionary plans to an end, and made his chief desire to maintain German stability and the absence of Germany from any major military campaigns. He therefore set about building European alliances aimed at protecting Germany from potentially threatening nations.
1888 was the year of three emperors in Germany, in March the elderly Wilhelm I died, his successor Fredrick III died shortly there after, reigning only 99 days on the throne, and on June 15, Fredrick's son Wilhelm II took the throne as Kaiser. Unlike his grandfather, who relied heavily on the influence of Bismarck to manage Germany and German affairs, and who rarely intervened, the new Kaiser was determined to rule his empire the way he believed it should be run. With that premise he fired Bismarck, a man who had be in charge of German foreign policy for nearly twenty years. This decision was one of the most crucial miscalculations made on behalf of the new Kaiser. In the firing of Bismarck, whose principle concern was to maintain German stability and avoid any major military action that included Germany, the Kaiser allowed for the influence of the new Chancellor, General Leo von Caprivi a "respected military man but with no previous experience either in domestic affairs or in diplomacy."
The week of Bismarck's firing the Kaiser met with the Russian ambassador, without consulting Caprivi and told him that Germany was ready to renew the Reinsurance Treaty. The Kaiser asked Caprivi to set the process of renewing the Reinsurance Treaty in motion. But before doing so, he fell under the influence of a Foreign Office official named Friedrich von Holstein. Holstein, who was uncomfortable with Bismarck's system and hostile to Russia, convinced Caprivi that renewal of the treaty was a mistake. The Russians took this as a devastating blow, but went on and in the same year allied herself with France. Caprivi almost immediately broke the "most fundamental policy in...