Entente Powers
Triple Entente
WWI-re cv.png
Participants in World War I The Central Powers and their colonies in orange, the Allies and their colonies in green, and neutral countries in gray.
Government Military alliance
 -  Established June 28, 1914 
 -  Dissolved November 11, 1918 

The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The key members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire. Belgium, Serbia, Italy, Montenegro, Japan, Greece and Romania were minor members of the Entente.

The United States declared war on Germany on the grounds that Germany violated US neutrality by attacking international shipping and because of the alliance between them and Mexico. The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power", rather than a formal ally of France and Great Britain, in order to avoid "foreign entanglements". Although the Ottoman Empire severed relations with the United States, it did not declare war.

Although the Dominion and Crown Colonies of the British Empire made significant contributions to the Allied war effort, they did not have independent foreign policies during World War I. Operational control of British Empire forces was in the hands of the five-member British War Cabinet (BWC). However, the Dominion governments controlled recruiting, and did remove personnel from front-line duties as they saw fit. From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation. The Australian Corps and Canadian Corps were placed for the first time under the command of Australian and Canadian Lieutenant General John Monash and Arthur Currie, respectively, who reported in turn to British generals.

In April 1918, operational control of all Entente forces on the Western Front passed to the new supreme commander, Ferdinand Foch.


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The original alliance opposed to the Central Powers was the Triple Entente, which was formed by three Great European Powers:

The war began with the Austrian attack invasion of Serbia on 28 July 1914, in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Austrian Empire followed with an attack on the Serbian ally Montenegro on 8 August. On the Western Front, the two neutral States of Belgium and Luxembourg were immediately occupied by German troops as part of the German Schlieffen Plan.

Of the two Low Countries, Luxembourg chose to capitulate, and was viewed as a collaborationist State by the Entente Powers: Luxembourg never became part of the Allies, and became a constituent state of Germany, at the conclusion of hostilities in 1919. On 23 August Japan joined the Entente, which then counted seven members. The entrance of the British Empire brought Nepal into the war.

On 23 May 1915, Italy entered the war on the Entente side and declared war on Austria; previously, Italy had been a member of the Triple Alliance but had remained neutral since the beginning of the conflict. In 1916, Montenegro capitulated and left the Entente, and two nations joined, Portugal and Romania.

Brazil, Liberia, Siam and Greece also became allies. After the October Revolution, Russia left the alliance and ended formal involvement in the war, by the signing of the treaty of Brest Litovsk in November effectively creating a separate peace with the Central Powers. This was followed by Romanian cessation of hostilities. The Russian withdrawal allowed for the final structure of the alliance, which was based on five Great Powers:

Major affiliated state combatants

United Kingdom

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War justifications

In response to Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. The British Empire held several semi-autonomous dominions that were automatically brought into the war effort as a result of the British declaration of war, including Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Colonies and dependencies

In Europe

Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta were British dependencies in Europe.

In Africa

The UK held several colonies, protectorates, and semi-autonomous dependencies at the time of World War I. In Eastern Africa the East Africa Protectorate, Nyasaland, both Northern and Southern Rhodesia, the Uganda Protectorate, were involved in conflict with German forces in German East Africa. In Western Africa, the colonies of Gold Coast and Nigeria were involved in military actions against German forces from Togoland and Kamerun. In Southwestern Africa, the semi-autonomous dominion of South Africa was involved in military actions against German forces in German South-West Africa.

In North America

Canada and Newfoundland were two semi-autonomous dominions during the war that made major military contributions to the British war effort.

Other British dependent territories in the Americas included: British Honduras, the Falkland Islands, British Guiana, and Jamaica.

In Asia

The UK held large possessions in Asia, including the British Raj that were an assortment of British imperial authorities in the territory then defined as India.

Australia and New Zealand were two semi-autonomous dominions of the UK in Asia during the war.

Other British territories at the time included: British Malaya – referring to several Malay states under British control as a result of the Straits Settlements; North Borneo; and Hong Kong.


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In response to Austria-Hungary's invasion of Serbia in 1914, Russian government officials denounced the Austro-Hungarian invasion as an "ignoble war" on a "weak country". Russian government official Nikolaĭ N. Shebeko stated: "the attack on Serbia by a powerful empire such as Austria, supposedly in order to defend its existence, cannot be understood by anyone in my country; it has been considered simply as a means of delivering a death-blow to Serbia." Russia held close diplomatic relations with Serbia, and Russian foreign minister Sergey Sazonov suspected the events were a conspiracy between Austria-Hungary and Germany to expel Russian influence in the Balkans. On 30 July 1914, Russia enacted a general mobilization. The day after general mobilization was enacted, Austria-Hungary's ally Germany declared war on Russia prior to expected Russian intervention against Austria-Hungary.

Following a raid by Ottoman warships on the Russian port of Odessa, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914.


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After Germany declared war on Russia, France with its alliance with Russia prepared a general mobilization in expectation of war. On 3 August 1914, Germany declared war on France.


Battle of Tsingtao Japanese Landing

Japanese soldiers landing in Tsingtao during the Siege of Tsingtao in which Allied forces seized control of Germany's Kiautschou Bay concession.

Japan declared war on Germany after it did not accept an ultimatum sent by Japan to Germany, demanding that Germany extinguish its title to the Kiautschou Bay concession and restore that territory to China. The Japanese government appealed to the Japanese public that Japan was not merely entering a "European War" on behalf of European powers, but that Japan was fighting on behalf of Asians against a belligerent European power, Germany, that Japan identified as the "source of evil in the Far East". Thus as a result of this, Japan was following through with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.


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Italy had been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary since the 1880s, however the Triple Alliance stipulated that all parties must be consulted in the event of one country engaging in war and Italy was not informed of this. As such Italy claimed that it was not obligated to join their war effort. Italy's relations with Germany and Austria-Hungary in contrast to the Allies were additionally affected by the fact that in 1913, Britain supplied Italy with 90 percent of its annual imports of coal. The war effort of the Central Powers meant that Germany and Austria-Hungary were using their coal supplies for the war, and little was available to be exported to Italy. Italy initially attempted to pursue neutrality from 1914 to 1915.

After diplomatic negotiations, Britain and France convinced Italy to join the war effort with promises that Italy would gain favorable territorial concessions from the Central Powers, including Italian-populated territories of Austria-Hungary. Italy ordered mobilization on 22 May 1915, and issued an ultimatum to Austria-Hungary, and then declared war on Austria-Hungary, though it did not declare war on Germany.

Minor affiliated state combatants


Belgium had declared its neutrality when the war began, however Germany disregarded Belgium's neutrality and invaded the country in order to launch an offensive against the French capital of Paris. As a result Belgium became a member of the Allies.


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Brazil entered the war in 1917 on the basis of Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare sinking its merchant ships, which Brazil cited as a reason to enter the war fighting against Germany and the Central Powers.


Montenegro had very close cultural and political connections with Serbia and had cooperated with Serbia in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. Montenegro joined the war against Austria-Hungary.

Nejd and Hasa

The Emirate of Nejd and Hasa agreed to enter the war as an ally of Britain in the Treaty of Darin on December 26, 1915.


Vojska Ada Ciganlija

Serbian soldiers during World War I.

Serbia was invaded by Austria-Hungary after Austria-Hungary placed a stringent ultimatum to the Serbian government demanding full compliance to an Austro-Hungarian investigation of complicity by the Serbian government in the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Serbia agreed to most of Austria-Hungary's demands but because it did not fully comply, Austria-Hungary invaded.

Serbia had the diplomatic support of Russia, and both Serbia and Russia resented Austria-Hungary's absorption of Bosnia and Herzegovina that held a substantial Serb population. Serbia had expanded in size through its actions in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 when the Ottoman Empire's control in the Balkans collapsed.

During the war, Serbia justified the war as being the result of Austro-Hungarian imperialism towards Serbs and South Slavs, Serbia cooperated with Yugoslavists including the Yugoslav Committee who sought pan-South-Slav unification, particularly through liberating South Slavs from Austria-Hungary. In the Corfu Declaration in 1917, the Serbian government officially declared its intention to form a state of Yugoslavia.

The first two allied victories in the war were won by the Serbian army, on the mountains of Cer and Kolubara, in western Serbia. The Austro-Hungarian army was expelled from the country, suffering heavy losses. Serbia suffered great losses during the war, almost 50% of all men and around 30% of its entire population were killed. On July 28, 1918, the Serbian flag was raised at American public buildings, including the White House, on the order of President Woodrow Wilson as a sign of recognition for Serbia's resistance against the Central Powers.


Flag of France France

Flag of the United Kingdom British Empire

Canadian Red Ensign 1868-1921 Dominion of Canada

Flag of Australia Commonwealth of Australia

British Raj Red Ensign British India

South Africa Flag 1912-1928 Union of South Africa

Flag of New Zealand New Zealand

Dominion of Newfoundland Red Ensign Dominion of Newfoundland

Flag of Russia Russia

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