by Michael Haskew The emergence of Germany as the dominant power in Central Europe in the 1870s and the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century despite Austrian efforts to prevent it combined to quell the immediate territorial aspirations of the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary on the Italian peninsula and in the Balkans. However, portions of Austria-Hungary and Germany shared a common language, while mutual cultural and economic interests were recognized as well. By 1880, the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires had begun to formalize their relationship. [text_ad] With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the opportunity for expansion into the Balkans was revived in Austria-Hungary. However, Imperial Russia, its rival to the East, also sought to take advantage of the eroding Ottoman hold on the Balkan states. As the two countries appeared on a collision course, Russia offered in 1876 to partition the Balkans. Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrassy refused the overture on the grounds that his country was unable to absorb additional territory at that time. This decision contributed to a steady escalation of tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary for another generation. In August 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Army occupied the Balkan province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, eventually annexing the former Ottoman territory in 1908. Italy Makes 3: The Alliance Is Created Meanwhile, Russia won territorial concessions from the Ottoman Empire with the concl


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