Crisis in the Mediterranean
Naval Competition and Great Power Politics, 1904-1914
Prior to July 1914, the extensive British grip on the Mediterranean Sea was beginning to weaken, leading to a wide-open competition between Austria-Hungary, Italy, France and Great Britain. This change, Jon Hendrickson contends, was driven by three largely understudied events: the weakening of the British Mediterranean Fleet to provide more ships for the North Sea, Austria-Hungary's decision to build a navy capable of operating in the Mediterranean, and Italy's decision to seek naval security in the Triple Alliance after the Italo-Turkish War. These three factors radically altered the Mediterranean balance of power, forcing Britain and France to come to a mutual accommodation and accelerate ship construction to defend their respective interests in the region. However, the July Crisis and the ensuing World War obscured these events, leading later historians to ignore these events.