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Spark the Powder Keg
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Spark the Powder Keg


 
Europe was ready to blow. 

The tense, nationalistic feelings of the people in the Balkan region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Serbia, Bosnia, etc.) gave the region the nickname of the "Powder Keg of Europe." 

The spark that set the war off was the assassination of the heir to the Austrian Empire (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) by a Serbian national. Austria declared war on Serbia as a result.

Serbia was an ally of Russia.  When Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente kicked in, bringing the entire continent to war.

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