~~~~~-To Imperial Germany-~~~~~
The Empire of Austria-Hungary
The Empire was fading as the different and diverse cultures saw the independence and reunification of Italy. This was an inspiration to the separate groups to find their own kingdoms or empires. What did not help was the medieval thinking of the Habsburgs in dealing with their empire and other foreign affairs.
In order to quell the chaos, the Habsburgs were prepared to accept Hugarian representatives, thereby forming the dual-monarchy. This did not serve to calm the many other diverse groups in the Empire (Croats, Slavs, Magyars, etc.) The internal disorder made Austria-Hungary fear one thing above all others: becoming the next 'sick man' of Europe.
The conflict with the Slavs in the Balkans also brought conflicts with the eastern neighbor- Russia. Russia considered herself the protector of the Slavs, and also fought with Austria-Hungary for control of the Ottoman states breaking away from the Empire.
In order to save itself somewhat, Austria-Hungary threw her lot with Germany in a fierce and loyal alliance that historians would later argue drove Germany to war. It is hard to see who was dominant in this alliance, as it sometimes seemed that Germany dictated it with her larger resources, but Austria-Hungary had a kind of hold on the new German Empire as well. This was because Germany considered Austria-Hungary their only 'half reliable ally".
The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir apparent) and his wife in the Balkans would provide Austria-Hungary the excuse they needed to invade the Balkans and take back the province. The dual monarchy offered an unacceptable ultimatum to the Balkans and prepared for war.