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Britain relied heavily on Indian troops to control the empire.The highest priority for Britain was protecting the trade routes between Britain and India.To start with, other European countries had rival empires.
The Triple Entente's pressure was keeping the Russians fighting, as with them involved, Germany would be fighting on both a Western front and an Eastern front.
From the offset Russia were always going to be fighting two wars, one against the enemy and one against themselves.
Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia, even though the terrorists were not connected to the Serbian government.
On 31 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia mobilised its army ready to help the Serbs against Austria-Hungary.
Everyone knew that if Russia attacked Austria-Hungary, then the alliance system meant that Germany and France could be pulled into the war as well.
The alliance system did not mean that a European war had to happen.Britain's large navy protected trade links with India and with the rest of the world.Despite this focus on the empire, Britain was interested in events in Europe.This in turn allowed one crisis to spiral out of control and spark off a war that killed millions.The war was fought between rival alliances of European powers: The advantage of these alliances was that it gave the great powers a sense of security.Some say that it could still have been avoided - especially if Britain could have made Germany hold back from helping Austria-Hungary.Germany decided to help Austria-Hungary and declared war on Russia (1 August) and France (3 August).While Russia was suffering at home they were still fighting a war.There were some early warning signs in battles early on.Unfortunately for the Russians, neither their government nor military were able to cope with the pressures of a modern war; moreover they lost both battles the one against their enemy and the one against themselves. The causes of this war have been debated by politicians and historians ever since.