A Continent of Empires
Before World War I, Europe was dominated by three large empires that no longer exist today: The German Empire, the Russian Empire and the Hapsburg Empire, which is sometimes called Austria-Hungary.
A fourth Empire was the Turkish Ottoman Empire which had once ruled all of southeastern Europe, but was now confined to the Middle East.
All of these empires were governed by autocratic rulers who took little notice of democracy or the wishes of their peoples. They took decisions themselves based on what they thought was right for their empires or for themselves.
From "1000 Facts about World War I" by Rupert Matthews
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