THE CRISIS OF 1914
It is incontestable that the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand furnished an unexpected but not altogether unwelcome opportunity to German diplomats. Sincerely horrified by the brutality of the assassination of the heir apparent to the neighboring throne, they could not but realize that in it lay an opening for the aggressive action which their general policy demanded. Ever since the formation of the Franco-British Entente in 1904, Germany had watched the rise of an international opposition with increasing anxiety. The conditions under which Bismarck had maintained German hegemony had departed. Delcassé, by arranging the quarrels of France with Italy and Great Britain, had enabled France to free herself from German control and establish her diplomatic autonomy. Germany's failure to maintain her mastery of continental diplomacy was further manifested in 1907 when Great Britain and Russia ended their long quarrel and came to an understanding.
The conventions made by the Powers of the Triple Entente were not openly directed against Germany. But she saw in them a concerted policy designed to isolate the German Empire.1 In any case they____________________