Allies of World War I

Allies of World War I
Military alliance
1914–1918
 *     Allied and Associated Powers (and their colonies) *     Central Powers (and their colonies) *     Neutral Powers    Principal Allied Powers:  France    British Empire   Russia to October 1917   Japan from August 1914   Italy from April 1915   United States; co-belligerent from April 1917       Associated Allies and co-belligerents: * 1914;   Serbia   Belgium   Montenegro  * 1915;  Emirate of Asir   Emirate of Nejd and Hasa  * 1916;   Portugal   Romania   * 1917;   Hejaz   Greece   China   Siam   Brazil * 1918;   Albania[1]   Armenia
  •      Allied and Associated Powers (and their colonies)
  •      Central Powers (and their colonies)
  •      Neutral Powers

Principal Allied Powers:

 France
British Empire
 Russia to October 1917
 Japan from August 1914
 Italy from April 1915
 United States; co-belligerent from April 1917


Associated Allies and co-belligerents:
StatusMilitary alliance
Historical eraWorld War I
Succeeded by
Allies of World War II
European diplomatic alignments shortly before the war

The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term commonly used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the 1914-1918 First World War. The Allies were further divided into so-called Principal and Associated or Affiliated Powers.

In 1907, the French Third Republic, the British Empire and the Russian Empire formed the Triple Entente; entry into the war in 1914 automatically involved their respective colonies, while Japan was added to the Entente in August 1914. Originally part of the 1882 Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Italy remained neutral in 1914 before joining the Entente in 1915. Affiliated or Associated members of the Entente included Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Romania.[2]

In April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, then on Austria in December; the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria broke off diplomatic relations with the US but neither declared war.[3] The US joined the Entente as a Co-belligerent, due to the long-standing American opposition to formal alliances.[4]

Background

1914 Russian poster depicting the Triple Entente

When the war began in 1914, the Central Powers were opposed by the Triple Entente, formed in 1907 by the British Empire, the Russian Empire and the French Third Republic.

Fighting commenced when Austria invaded Serbia on 28 July 1914, purportedly in response to the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Emperor Franz Joseph; this brought Serbia's ally Montenegro into the war on 8 August and it attacked the Austrian naval base at Cattaro, modern Kotor.[5] At the same time, German troops entered neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as dictated by the Schlieffen Plan; over 95% of Belgium was occupied but the Belgian Army held their lines on the Yser Front throughout the war. This allowed Belgium to be treated as an Ally, in contrast to Luxembourg which retained control over domestic affairs but was occupied by the German military.

In the East, between 7-9 August the Russians entered German East Prussia on 7 August, Austrian Eastern Galicia. Japan joined the Entente by declaring war on Germany on 23 August, then Austria on 25 August.[6] On 2 September, Japanese forces surrounded the German Treaty Port of Tsingtao (now Qingdao) in China and occupied German colonies in the Pacific, including the Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall Islands.

Despite its membership of the Triple Alliance, Italy remained neutral until 23 May 1915 when it joined the Entente, declaring war on Austria but not Germany. On 17 January 1916, Montenegro capitulated and left the Entente;[7] this was offset when Germany declared war on Portugal in March 1916, while Romania commenced hostilities against Austria on 27 August.[8]

On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war as a co-belligerent, along with the associated allies of Liberia, Siam and Greece. After the 1917 October Revolution, Russia left the Entente and and agreed a separate peace with the Central Powers with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918. Romania was forced to do the same in the May 1918 Treaty of Bucharest but on 10 November, it repudiated the Treaty and once more declared war on the Central Powers.

These changes meant the Allies who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 included France, Britain, Italy, Japan and the US; Part One of the Treaty agreed to the establishment of the League of Nations on 25 January 1919.[9] This came into being on 16 January 1920 with Britain, France, Italy and Japan as permanent members of the Executive Council; the US Senate voted against ratification of the Treaty of Versailles on 19 March, thus preventing American participation.