The Central Powers was an alliance between several European nations. The alliance fell apart at the end of the Great War, with only two of the original nations surviving the final year of conflict.
Triple Alliance (Before the outbreak of war)
- Italy (Withdraws upon the outbreak of the Great War)
States joined during the Great War
- Bulgaria (joined on October 14th, 1915)
The Triple Alliance, the earliest incarnation of the Central Powers, was a pact between the nations of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy for mutual defense which lasted from 1882 to 1914.
Italy, having joined the Alliance to "flex its muscles", was largely predicted to switch sides should war break out. Italy was at odds with Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, having fought several wars with each over what Italians considered to be their land. At the outbreak of the Great War, Italy refused to fight, saying that the Triple Alliance was a defensive pact, and the Central Powers where clearly taking the offensive.
At the same time that Italy retreated from the alliance, the Ottoman Empire, backed by Germany, was keen to enter it. The Young Turk revolution that had taken control of the Empire was largely backed by the Central Powers. After secretly aiding German and Austria-Hungary, the empire formally entered the war by declaring war on Russia on October the 29th, 1914.
Bulgaria, resentful from its 1913 defeat at the hands of Greece, Serbia, Romania and the Ottomans, joined the Central Powers in 1915.
For a long while, it seemed that the Central Powers had an upper hand in the war. Their leaders, particularly Wilhelm II, where extremely confidant. However, in 1918, the newly reunified Russia, which had been thrown into civil war by the German-backed Soviets, reopened its fronts against Germany. Lavr Kornilov'forces took Berlin, ending the German Empire.
The Central Powers where thrown into complete disarray following the end of the Great War. Bulgaria and Germany where no longer in the alliance, and the Ottoman Empire would soon fall appart. Only Austria-Hungary remained, the last of the Central Powers. This nation would later join the European Community, reconciling with the Entente.