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The beginning of the triple alliance began in 1879 when Austria-Hungary and Germany formed a dual alliance. This became a triple alliance in 1882 when it expanded and included Italy. These three countries agreed to support each other if attacked by either France or Russia. It was renewed at five year intervals. The new alliance soon divided Europe into different political camps. The alliance system was started by Otto Von Bismarck. One of the first alliances was Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia known as the Three Emperors League. Austria-Hungary and Russia were not the best of friends which posed a threat. In 1871 two new major states of Europe had been formed, the German Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. The new German Empire under the hand of Otto van Bismarck, was steered carefully, always with an eye upon France from the Franco-Persian War which left France thirsting for revenge.


http://www.thecorner.org/hist/wwi/alliance.htm
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Triple_Alliance_and_Triple_Entente.aspx
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Triple_Alliance_and_Triple_Entente.aspx