The Crisis Before the War
The crises in the Balkans jumped one to the next as the 1800s turned into the 1900s. Royal assassinations turned into paradigm shifts, causing strikes against the status quo.
No longer wanting to be a dependent satellite of Austria-Hungary, Serbia turned toward Russia and began attempting to diversify their economics. Sensing the threat to their economic hegemony in the Balkans, Austria-Hungary struck back, first with economic sanctions in The Pig War, and then by annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina when the economic sanctions failed spectacularly.
Russia, as it had done since the Russo-Turkish War ended in 1878, attempted to play both sides.
The resulting Bosnian Crisis involved all the actors that would go to war in 1914, but without the provoking assassination. The crisis was averted, but the feelings of anger remained, smoldering, until they could burst into flame 5 1/2 years later on a bridge in Sarajevo.
To read in-depth about the Bosnian Crisis of 1908, please click here.