Ask Mr. Donn
World War I
How did secret treaties contribute to the start of World War I?
Many nations had treaties to help each other out in case of war. Example: Serbia and Russia had a secret treaty. If someone attacked either, the other would step in and help. Austria wanted to punish Serbia because of the assassination of Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, by a Serbian national. Austria attacked Serbia. Serbia called on Russia. Russia responded by attacking Austria. If Austria had known about the secret treaty, they may have decided not to attack Serbia. Other countries lined up on one side or the other, in large part based on their secret treaties. Soon, over 30 countries were involved, and the world was at war. Secret Treaties and World War I