May 20th

On May 20th, 1882, the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy was formed. The Triplice ensured mutual support, should a member of the alliance be attacked by another great power.


The alliance was the creation of the German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who sought an alliance which would protect Germany from a war on two fronts, hence why he strategically picked these nations. Of course, it was a conflict of this nature which went on to see a German defeat in both world wars.

Both Italy and Austria-Hungary appear to have entered the alliance in order to advance their expansionist foreign policies; Italy desired Northern African colonies, whilst Austria-Hungary aimed to expand it’s territory Eastward, into the Balkans.

Cartoon from German newspaper, Lustige Blatter, showing the Germany in the Triple Alliance dragging Austria whilst Italy holds on to France

Cartoon from the German newspaper, Lustige Blätter, showing Germany in the Triple Alliance dragging Austria-Hungary, whilst Italy holds on to France.


The alliance was subsequently renewed three times;

  • In 1887 the alliance was renewed with the condition that Germany would provide support to Italian colonies in Northern Africa.
  • It was renewed again in 1902. Shortly after, Italy and France came to an agreement that they would both remain neutral, should their allies attack one-another.
  • In 1912, the alliance was renewed for the final time. Two years later, the Triple Alliance would be waged in a war with the Triple Entente; a similar alliance made between Britain, France and the Russian Empire.

Naturally, the alliance broke down during WW1, chiefly due to the destruction and dissolution of the nations involved, alongside the complications of fighting a global and modern war.



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