The Armed Peace was the historical period of forty years that preceded World War I and was characterized by an armed race and political tensions among the industrialized nations of Europe. The boundary disputes over their colonies in Africa between Great Britain and Germany provided the fuel for the geopolitical tensions and the Second Industrial Revolution provided the new weapons and means of transportation for the military build-up. As latent hostility grew, the European countries signed two defensive treaties that bound them together and divided Europe into two confronting sides: the Triple Entente, which was signed in 1894 between Britain, France, and Russia, and the Triple Alliance, which was subscribed in 1882, binding together Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Italy.
The Armed Peace began right after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), in which Prussia had defeated France and recovered the regions of Alsace and the Loraine for Germany, which became politically unified and economically stronger. As a result, the French Second Empire of Louis Napoleon had collapsed and the Third Republic had been established. Thus, the new French government would reorganize its economy and begin its own military build up, with colonial expansions in Africa and Southeast Asia. The steel industry and the new inventions would make of the German Empire an industrial might that came to rival the United Kingdom. During this period, the European nations equipped their navies with new armored ships propelled by powerful steam engines; these were called battleships, which were fitted with modern and powerful guns. Meanwhile, European armies were supplied with modern guns, with the new hydro-pneumatic recoil system, and machine guns, which would put an end to the cavalry on the battlefield in the Great War.