Triple Alliance of 1882

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Triple Alliance of 1882


a politico-military bloc formed in 1882, when Italy joined the Dual Alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary (seeAUSTRO-GERMAN AGREEMENT OF 1879).

After concluding the alliance with Austria-Hungary, Germany sought to improve relations with Italy in order to isolate France. Taking advantage of a disagreement between Italy and France over Tunisia, O. von Bismark induced Italy to conclude an alliance not only with Germany but also with the Austrian Haps-burgs, who had oppressed the Italian people for many years. In Vienna on May 20, 1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy concluded a secret alliance directed against France and Russia. Germany sought to use the Triple Alliance to gain hegemony over Europe.

The parties to the treaty pledged not to enter into alliances or commitments directed against any of the signatories and promised to extend support to one another (art. 1). Germany and Austria-Hungary pledged to give full military support to Italy in the event of an unprovoked attack by France, and Italy committed itself to help Germany in case of a French attack; the obligations of Austria-Hungary in the event of an attack by France on Germany were limited to the observance of neutrality unless Russia should enter the war on France’s side (art. 2). The three members of the alliance pledged to maintain a benevolent neutrality in the event of a war between any of them and any other great power except France and to give military aid to one another in the event of an attack by two or more great powers.

After the treaty had been signed, Germany and Austria-Hungary acknowledged Italy’s declaration that it would not render military aid to its allies if they should go to war with Great Britain. In 1887 additions were made to the treaty for Italy’s benefit; these provisions granted Italy the right to take part in the resolution of questions concerning the Balkans, the Turkish coasts, and the islands in the Adriatic and the Aegean seas. In 1891 the alliance officially agreed to support Italy’s claims to the northern African territories of Cyrenaica, Tripoli, and Tunisia.

The Triple Alliance led to the formation of other great European military blocs whose existence increased the danger of a European war; the Franco-Russian Alliance (formed 1891–93) and the Entente (formed 1904–07) were created in response to the Triple Alliance. Although the Triple Alliance was concluded for a five-year term, it was renewed several times and lasted until 1915, when Italy entered the war on the side of the Entente rather than on the side of its partners in the Triple Alliance.


Kliuchnikov, Iu. V., and A. Sabanin. Mezhdunarodnaia politika noveishego vremeni v dogovorakh, notakh i deklaratsiiakh, part 1. Moscow, 1925. Pages 241–42,254–55,267–68.


Skazkin, S. D., Konets avstro-russko-germanskogo soiuza. Moscow, 1974.
Istoriio diplomatii, 2nd ed., vol. 2. Moscow, 1963. Chapter 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.