Diplomatic Tensions and World War I. The power balance within Europe was altered by the rise of Germany. Bismarck realized this and created a complex alliance system to protect Germany. European nations expended their energies in an overseas expansion that, by 1900, covered most of the globe. Latin America remained independent, but was under extensive United States interest. Most of Africa was divided among European nations. China and the Middle East were the scenes of intense competition among the great powers. Imperial rivalries were a part of the tensions among Europeans. Britain worried about the growth of the German navy and Germany’s surging economy. France, to escape diplomatic isolation, drew closer to Britain and Russia.