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The period before the First World War was one of increasing tension between the European powers. The decay of the Turkish Empire had been the cause of many, with various parts of the Empire snapped up by the major powers, while in the Balkans the Turks had been forced back almost to the gates of Constantinople. A second cause of friction was the perceived decay of the Hapsburg Dual Monarchy of Austria and Hungary, when the majority of Slavs agitated for either independence, or a greater role in government, while the Austrian and Hungarian elites held out for the statue-quo, led by the elderly Emperor, Franz-Joseph, a force for autocracy and tradition. Austria's main ally was the recently unified Germany, always worried about potential Russian gains as Austria weakened, especially in the Balkans. The Germans were also engaged in a naval arms race with Great Britain, which in turn moved Britain closer to France, and thus to her ally Russia. Despite all of the potential causes of tension, Europe in 1914 looked to be more peaceful than for some years. However, on 28 June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was shot and killed by Gavrilo Princip, a Serb terrorist, while visiting Sarajevo. The mood in Austria was already hostile towards Serbia, and now it turned towards war. The Austrians were certain that the Serbian government had been in some way involved in the murder, and while it is not certain how far that was true, the leader of the terrorists was also head of Serbian Intelligence. this is a small information about first world war.
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