There is no alliance that can be built upon ideal sympathy or ideal loyalty or ideal gratitude. Alliances are so much the stronger the more the individual parties are able to hope to thereby gain personal advantages. Trying to base an alliance on any other foundation is fanciful.
[Makes complete sense. Too bad (literally) that Adolf Hitler did not follow his own advice (and simply common sense) when he came to power. His alliance with Italy was much more a liability than an asset. And his alliance with Japan was all liabilities and no assets.
Alliance with Italy forced him to (a) send to North Africa troops and equipment that were desperately needed on the Eastern front and (b) postpone the invasion of a Soviet Union for a month – or even more.
Which very probably led to the failure of the Blitzkrieg on the Eastern front and subsequently to the defeat in WW2, demise of the Third Reich and his suicide in the Führerbunker. Oh, and Italy gave him a nice stab in the back in 1943 – which also contributed significantly to the defeat and demise of the Third Reich
His alliance with Japan inspired him to commit probably the most catastrophic blunder in his life – declare war on the United States. Which all but doomed his state, his civilization and him personally]
Breakup of Austro-Hungarian Empire was desired by a large number of European powers [mostly by Serbia], but who would only have been able to achieve this in alliance with Russia.
[And that’s precisely what Serbian radicals did in 1914 – established the alliance with the radical wing of the Russian government, planned and executed the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz-Ferdinand – and ignited the Great War.
The war where Germany was a victim, not a predator; a hero, not a villain. Which made the Treaty of Versailles so unfair, insulting and humiliating]
Liquidate the alliance with Austria (at least by the turn of the century), abandon the Austrian state to its fate, and rescue the German portions of it for the Reich.
[Probably the only course of action that made sense in the 1900s. A strategic alliance with Russia (after all, Russia was a strategic ally of Prussia for centuries) also made sense.
Unfortunately, the German Imperial government chose another strategy – which ended in a total disaster, defeat in the Great War, abdication of the Kaiser and the demise of the German Empire]
In August 1914 the entire German people instinctively sensed that the war was a battle for its very existence.
[It wasn’t. None of its opponents had any desire to destroy Germany. Serbia wanted to grab from the Habsburg empire territories that it needed to assemble the Great Serbia (Yugoslavia).
Russia wanted to (a) make Yugoslavia its key tool for dominating the Balkans; (b) establish control over the Bosporus (to safeguard its grain exports); and (c) seize some territories from Austria – e.g. Galicia.
France (obviously) wanted Alsace-Lorraine back; Italy wanted South Tyrol and Britain wanted to make sure that Germany does not become a dominant power in Europe.
So for Imperial Germany the Great War by no means was the war for its very existence. In reality, it leaders wanted to (a) – maintain the territorial integrity of the Habsburg Empire – an exercise in futility, if you ask me; (b) keep Alsace-Lorraine; (c) become a dominant power in Europe by weakening France and Russia; and (d) snatch from Russia as much valuable land (either fertile or rich in natural resources) as possible
Hence for all sides (with the exception of Britain) the Great War was a very much imperialist endeavor. Hence no participant was “better” (more “noble”) than the other. The only difference was that the war was ignited by Serbia and Russia and Austria and Germany were forced into it]