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European nations formed opposing alliances because they wanted to protect themselves from the growing rivalries with other nations that could possibly initiate conflict. Nations pledged to each other that they would defend one another in the case a conflict broke out. In essence, the purpose of the alliances was to form powerful groups of nations, strong enough so that no one would dare attack them. An atmosphere of distrust and fear, along with the continuing rivalries motivated European nations to form great alliances.

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