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After the Slavic provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina rebelled against Ottoman rule in 1875 and Russia made war on the Ottoman Empire two years later, the Dreikaiserbund collapsed.
Bismarck achieved a compromise at the Congress of Berlin (1878), but Austro-Russian amity was not restored.
In 1873 he conjured up the ghost of monarchical solidarity and formed a Dreikaiserbund (Three Emperors’ League) with Austria-Hungary and Russia.
Such a combination was always vulnerable to Austro-Russian rivalry over the Eastern Question—the problem of how to organize the feuding Balkan nationalities gradually freeing themselves from the decrepit Ottoman Empire.
There the old empires, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman (Turkish), still prevailed.
The lesser powers of Europe, including some that once had been great, like the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain, played little or no role in the affairs of the great powers unless their own interests were directly involved.
This local crisis rapidly engulfed all the powers of Europe through the mechanisms of the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, diplomatic arrangements meant precisely to enhance the security of their members and to deter potential aggressors.
Italy, seeking aid for her Mediterranean ambitions, joined Germany and Austria-Hungary to form the Triple Alliance in 1882.The European map and world politics were less confused in the decades after 1871 than at any time before or since.The unifications of Italy and Germany removed the congeries of central European principalities that dated back to the Holy Roman Empire, while the breakup of eastern and southeastern Europe into small and quarreling states (a process that would yield the term ) was not far advanced.Apparently a federal empire, Germany was in fact dominated by Prussia, which was larger in area and population than all the other states combined.The king of Prussia was kaiser and chief warlord of the German armies; the prime minister of Prussia was the federal chancellor, responsible, not to a majority in the Reichstag, but only to the crown.