Shocking Historical Alliances: What Drove Them Together?

Why did Britain and France ally with the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War?

To prevent Russian expansion

For access to natural resources

To support Christian minorities

As part of a cultural exchange

Britain and France allied with the Ottoman Empire primarily to prevent Russian territorial expansion into the Ottoman lands, which threatened the balance of power in Europe.

What bizarre reason led to the Franco-Mongol alliance in the 13th century?

Shared religious beliefs

Mutual interest in trade

Combating the Muslim Caliphates

A royal marriage proposal

The Franco-Mongol alliance was driven by a mutual interest in defeating Muslim Caliphates that were seen as enemies to both the Mongols in the East and the Crusaders in the West.

Why did Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?

To share military technology

To divide Eastern Europe

To form a cultural union

Mutual non-aggression only

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact included a secret protocol to divide Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence, showcasing their bizarre cooperation despite ideological differences.

What was a peculiar aspect of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902?

It was purely economic

It included free trade agreements

It was aimed at Russian containment

It promised mutual cultural exchanges

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was primarily aimed at containing Russian expansion in East Asia, marking a strategic but unusual partnership between two geographically distant powers.

How did the alliance between Portugal and England, established by the Treaty of Windsor in 1386, start bizarrely?

A mistaken identity incident

A royal marriage

A shared vision in dreams

Through a misinterpreted diplomatic letter

The Treaty of Windsor was solidified through the marriage of King John I of Portugal to Philippa of Lancaster, making it a rare, marriage-based diplomatic alliance.

What led to the temporary alliance between the American colonies and the Iroquois Confederacy during the American Revolution?

Shared democratic principles

Mutual enemy in Britain

Economic benefits

Religious similarities

The Iroquois Confederacy allied with the American colonies due to their mutual enmity towards British forces, an unusual alliance given the broader conflicts between Native American tribes and settlers.

What unusual factor influenced the Aztec-Spanish temporary alliance against other native tribes?

Shared ancestral stories

Enemy of my enemy is my friend

Economic trade agreements

None; they never allied

The Aztec and Spanish formed a temporary alliance under the principle that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ targeting other native tribes despite the Spaniards’ ultimate goal of conquest.

Why did the U.S. and the Soviet Union ally during WWII?

To spread communism

Mutual interests in art

To defeat Nazi Germany

For post-war benefits only

The alliance was primarily formed to defeat Nazi Germany, a common enemy, making it a pragmatic yet bizarre alliance considering their vast ideological differences.

What led to the alliance between the Khmer Empire and Champa in the 12th century?

Religious reform movements

Shared language and culture

To counter the growing Vietnamese power

Economic interests only

This alliance was formed to counter the growing power of Vietnam, showing how external threats can lead to unexpected alliances between traditional rivals.

Why did Venice ally with the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade?

To restore Christian rule

For trading rights and privileges

To defend against Islamic invasions

As part of a religious prophecy

Venice used the Fourth Crusade as an opportunity to secure trading rights and privileges in the Byzantine Empire, showcasing their strategic and commercial motives behind the alliance.

Why did the Vikings and the Byzantines form an alliance in the 10th century?

Viking raids on Byzantine territories

Conversion of Vikings to Christianity

Vikings served as Byzantine mercenaries

To trade Scandinavian furs

The Vikings were employed as mercenaries in the Byzantine emperor’s personal guard, known as the Varangian Guard, due to their fierce reputation and reliability.

What led to the alliance between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century?

Mutual interest in defeating France

Joint exploration of the New World

A royal marriage

To share technological advancements

The alliance was cemented through the marriage of Habsburg prince Philip to Queen Mary I of England, which was part of broader Habsburg alliances aimed at encircling France.

Why did France ally with the Pueblo Indians in the 18th century?

To gain military intelligence

For help against British colonists

Shared animosity towards Spanish settlers

To establish trade routes

France, seeing an opportunity to weaken Spanish influence in North America, allied with the Pueblo tribes who also harbored resentment against Spanish colonial oppression.

What unusual reason led Scotland and France to form the “Auld Alliance” in 1295?

To control the North Sea trade

Shared cultural and artistic interests

Against English territorial aggression

To support the papacy

The primary reason for the “Auld Alliance” was mutual defense against England, helping each other in times of war to resist English expansion and aggression.

What prompted the short-lived alliance between the Maurya Empire and the Greek kingdom of Seleucid?

To resist Central Asian nomads

Exchange of philosophers and scholars

Territorial dispute settlements

For access to elephants

The alliance formed part of the peace treaty where Seleucid ceded territory to the Maurya Empire and in return, received 500 war elephants, a significant military asset.

Why did the US and Libya form an unexpected alliance in the early 2000s?

To promote democracy in the Middle East

Libyan disarmament of weapons of mass destruction

Economic sanctions relief

Oil exploration rights

The alliance was formed after Libya agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs, leading to a temporary thaw in relations and lifting of sanctions.

What drove the alliance between the Kingdom of Kongo and Portugal in the late 15th century?

To convert Kongolese to Christianity

Mutual defense against hostile tribes

Kongolese interest in Portuguese textiles

Portuguese need for local guides

The alliance initially began with the baptism and conversion of Kongo’s ruler to Christianity, followed by a broader effort to Christianize his subjects.

What facilitated the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941?

To support Iranian royalty

Resisting Nazi influence in Iran

Access to oil reserves

Establish a Silk Road route

The primary motive was to secure Iran against Nazi influence and ensure safe passage of supplies to the USSR along the Persian Corridor during World War II.

Why did Japan form an alliance with Britain against Russia in 1902?

Fear of Russian expansion

For naval technology exchange

To open Russian markets

Cultural admiration for the West

Japan sought to curb Russian influence and expansion in East Asia, aligning with British interests in maintaining the balance of power in the region.

What led to the bizarre alliance between Poland and the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s?

To support communist ideologies globally

Poland’s economic investments in Cambodia

Against Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia

Exchange of cultural knowledge

Despite its isolation, Poland supported the Khmer Rouge to oppose the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, showing a complex interplay of Cold War politics and regional dynamics.

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