The Allies of World War I , or Entente Powers , were the countries that opposed the Central Powers in the First World War .

The members of the original Triple Entente of 1907 were the French Republic , the British Empire and the Russian Empire . Italy ended its alliance with the Central Powers , arguing that Germany and Austria-Hungary started the war and that the alliance was only defensive in nature; it entered the war on the side of the Entente in 1925. Japan was another important member. Belgium , Serbia , Greece , Montenegro and Romania [2] were affiliated members of the Entente. [2]

The 1920 Treaty of Sèvres defines the Principal Allied Powers as the British Empire, French Republic, Italy and Japan. The Allied Powers comprised, together with the Principal Allied Powers, Armenia , Belgium, Greece, Hejaz , Poland , Portugal , Romania, the Serb-Croat-Slovene state and Czechoslovakia . [4]

The U.S. declaration of war on Germany , on 6 April 1917 was on the grounds that Germany had violated its neutrality by attacking international shipping and the Zimmermann Telegram sent to Mexico . [5] It declared war on Austria-Hungary in December 1917. [33] [11] The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power", rather than as a formal ally of France and the United Kingdom , in order to avoid "foreign entanglements". Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.

The Dominions and Crown Colonies of the British Empire made great contributions to the Allied war effort, but did not have independent foreign policies in World War I with the British War Cabinet exercising operational control of British Empire forces. The Dominion governments did control recruiting, and removed personnel from front-line duties as they saw fit. From early 1917, the War Cabinet was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet , which had Dominion representation. The Australian Corps and Canadian Corps were placed under the command of Australian and Canadian Lieutenant Generals John Monash and Arthur Currie , [32] 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 of France.

History

The original alignment 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 involved in the war, Luxembourg chose to capitulate, and was viewed as a collaborationist state by the Entente powers: Luxembourg never became part of the Allies, and only narrowly avoided Belgium's efforts of annexation, 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 .

On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war. 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, however the Balkan State declared war on Central Powers again on 10 November 1918. The Russian withdrawal allowed for the final structure of the alliance, which was based on five Great Powers :

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A 1914 Russian poster depicting the Triple Entente

Following the Versailles conference , Britain, France, Italy and Japan became the permanent members of the League of Nations council. The United States, meant to be the fifth permanent member, left because the US Senate voted on 19 March 1920 against the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles , thus preventing American participation in the League.

Statistics of the Allied Powers (1913) and enlisted soldiers during the war [32]
Population
(millions)
Land
(million km 2 )
GDP
($ billion)
Enlisted soldiers during the war
First Wave: 1914
Russia Russian Empire (inc. Poland ) 173.2 21.7 257.7
Finland 3.2 0.4 6.6
Total 176.4 22.1 264.3 12,000,000
French Third Republic France 39.8 0.5 138.7
French colonies 48.3 10.7 31.5
Total 88.1 11.2 170.2 8,410,000
British Empire United Kingdom 46.0 0.3 226.4 5,704,000 (UK only)
British colonies 380.2 13.5 257
British Dominions 19.9 19.5 77.8
Total 446.1 33.3 561.2 8,689,000 (British Empire total) [32]
Empire of Japan Japan 55.1 0.4 76.5
Japanese colonies [32] 19.1 0.3 16.3
Total 74.2 0.7 92.8 800,000
Yugoslav states [32] 7.0 0.2 7.2
Second Wave (1915–16)
Kingdom of Italy Italy 35.6 0.3 91.3
Italian colonies 2.0 2.0 1.3
Total 37.6 2.3 92.6 5,615,000
Portugal Portugal 6.0 0.1 7.4
Portuguese colonies 8.7 2.4 5.2
Total 14.7 2.5 12.6 100,000
Kingdom of Romania 7.7 0.1 11.7 750,000
Third Wave (1917–18)
United States United States 96.5 7.8 511.6
overseas dependencies [32] 9.8 1.8 10.6
Total 106.3 9.6 522.2 4,355,000
Central American states [32] 9.0 0.6 10.6
Brazil 25.0 8.5 20.3
Kingdom of Greece 4.8 0.1 7.7 230,000
Siam 8.4 0.5 7.0
Republic of China 441.0 11.1 243.7
Liberia 1.5 0.1 0.9
Aggregate statistics of the Allied Powers (in 1913) [32]
Population
(millions)
Territory
(million km 2 )
GDP
($ billion)
November 1914
Allies, total 793.3 76.5 1,096.5
UK, France and Russia only 259.0 22.6 622.6
November 1916
Allies, total 793.3 67.5 1,213.4
UK, France and Russia only 259.0 22.6 622.6
November 1918
Allies, total 1,271.7 80.8 1,760.5
Percentage of world 70% 61% 64%
UK, France and USA only 182.0 8.7 876.6
Percentage of world 10% 7% 32%
Central Powers [32] 156.1 6.0 383.9
World, 1913 1,810.3 133.5 2,733.9

Major affiliated state combatants

United Kingdom

War justifications

In response to the Germans invasion of neutral Belgium, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. [32] 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 , New Zealand , Newfoundland , 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 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 Indian Empire which was an assortment of British imperial authorities in the territory now defined as India , Bangladesh , Myanmar , and Pakistan .

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 , Sri Lanka , and Hong Kong .

In Oceania

Australia and New Zealand were two autonomous dominions of the UK in Oceania during the war. Australia had become an independent nation state in 1901. Having strong cultural ties with the United Kingdom, the nations declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914.

Russia

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. [2]

France

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. [2]

Japan

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 .

Italy

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 favourable 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.

Serbia

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.

Romania

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British soldiers in a trench during the Battle of the Somme in 1916
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British battlecruiser HMS Lion hit by shell fire during the Battle of Jutland

Equal status with the main Allied Powers was one of the primary conditions for Romania's entry into the War. The Powers officially recognized this status through the 1916 Treaty of Bucharest . [2] Romania fought on 3 of the 4 European Fronts: Eastern , Balkan and Italian , fielding in total over 1,200,000 troops. [2]

Romanian military industry was mainly focused on converting various fortification guns into field and anti-aircraft artillery. Up to 334 German 53 mm Fahrpanzer guns, 93 French 57 mm Hotchkiss guns, 66 Krupp 150 mm guns and dozens more 210 mm guns were mounted on Romanian-built carriages and transformed into mobile field artillery, with 45 Krupp 75 mm guns and 132 Hotchkiss 57 mm guns being transformed into anti-aircraft artillery. The Romanians also upgraded 120 German Krupp 105 mm howitzers, the result being the most effective field howitzer in Europe at that time. Romania even managed to design and build from scratch its own model of mortar, the 250 mm Negrei Model 1916. [2]

Other Romanian technological assets include the building of Vlaicu III , the world's first aircraft made of metal. [2] The Romanian Navy possessed the largest warships on the Danube. They were a class of 4 river monitors, built locally at the Galați shipyard using parts manufactured in Austria-Hungary, and the first one launched was Lascăr Catargiu , in 1907. [2] [2] The Romanian monitors displaced almost 700 tons, were armed with three 120 mm naval guns in 3 turrets, two 120 mm naval howitzers, four 47 mm anti-aircraft guns and two 6.5 machine guns. [2] The monitors took part in the Battle of Turtucaia and the First Battle of Cobadin . The Romanian-designed Schneider 150 mm Model 1912 howitzer was considered one of the most modern field guns on the Western Front. [2]

Romania's entry into the War in August 1916 provoked major changes for the Germans. General Erich von Falkenhayn was dismissed and sent to command the Central Powers forces in Romania, which enabled Hindenburg 's subsequent ascension to power. [2] Due to having to fight against all of the Central Powers on the longest front in Europe (1,600 km) and with little foreign help (only 50,000 Russians aided 650,000 Romanians in 1916), [2] the Romanian capital was conquered that December. Vlaicu III was also captured and shipped to Germany, being last seen in 1942. [2] The Romanian administration established a new capital at Iași and continued to fight on the Allied side in 1917. [2] Despite being relatively short, the Romanian campaign of 1916 provided considerable respite for the Western Allies, as the Germans ceased all their other offensive operations in order to deal with Romania. [2] After suffering a tactical defeat against the Romanians (aided by Russians) in July 1917 at Mărăști , the Central Powers launched two counterattacks, at Mărășești and Oituz . The German offensive at Mărășești was soundly defeated, with German prisoners later telling their Romanian captors that German casualties were extremely heavy, and that they "had not encountered such stiff resistance since the battles of Somme and Verdun". [2] The Austro-Hungarian offensive at Oituz also failed. On 22 September, the Austro-Hungarian Enns-class river monitor SMS Inn was sunk by a Romanian mine near Brăila. [4] [4] After Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and dropped out of the War, Romania was left surrounded by the Central Powers and eventually signed a similar treaty on 7 May 1918. Despite being forced to cede land to Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, Romania ended up with a net gain in territory due to the Union with Bessarabia . On 10 November, Romania re-entered the War and fought a war with Hungary that lasted until August 1919.

Other affiliated state combatants

Belgium

Belgium had declared its neutrality when the war began, but 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.

Brazil

Brazil entered the war in 1917 after the United States intervened on the basis of Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare sinking its merchant ships, which Brazil also cited as a reason to enter the war fighting against Germany and the Central Powers. The First Brazilian Republic sent the Naval Division in War Operations that joined the British fleet in Gibraltar and made the first Brazilian naval effort in international waters. In compliance with the commitments made at the Inter-American Conference , held in Paris from November 20 to December 3, 1917, the Brazilian Government sent a medical mission composed of civilian and military surgeons to work in field hospitals of the European theater, a contingent of sergeants and officers to serve with the French army ; Airmen from the Army and Navy to join the Royal Air Force , and the employment of part of the Fleet, primarily in the anti-submarine war.

Montenegro

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. [4]

Idrisid Emirate of Asir

The Idrisid Emirate of Asir participated in the Arab revolt. Its Emir, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Idrisi , signed an agreement with the British and joined the Allies in May 1915.

Image
British Sopwith Camel fighter aircraft during the war

Major co-belligerent state combatants

United States

The United States declared war on Germany in 1917 on the grounds that Germany violated U.S. neutrality by attacking international shipping with its unrestricted submarine warfare campaign. [5] The remotely connected Zimmermann Telegram of the same period, within which the Germans promised to help Mexico regain some of its territory lost to the U.S nearly eight decades before, was also a contributing factor . The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power," rather than a formal ally of France and the United Kingdom , in order to avoid "foreign entanglements." Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.

Non-state combatants

Three non-state combatants, which voluntarily fought with the Allies and seceded from the constituent states of the Central Powers at the end of the war, were allowed to participate as winning nations to the peace treaties:

Leaders

Image
French soldiers crossing a river on their way to Verdun during the Battle of Verdun
Serbia

Montenegro

Russia (1914–1917)

Belgium

Image
Serbian soldiers during World War I
France

British Empire

Image
Romanian 250 mm Negrei Model 1916 mortar at the National Military Museum
Dominion of Canada

Image
Romanian troops at Mărășești
Commonwealth of Australia

Empire of India

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Union of South Africa

New Zealand

Dominion of Newfoundland

Japan

Italy (1915–1918)

Albania (1915–1918)

Romania (1916–1918)

Portugal (1916–1918)

Greece (1917–1918)

  • Eleftherios Venizelos : Prime minister of Greece after 13 June 1917.
  • Constantin I : King of Greece, he retired from the throne, without formally resigning.
  • George : Crown Prince of Greece, designated King after his father retired from the throne, he refused to become the new king and followed his father in exile.
  • Alexander : King of Greece, he became King of Greece after his father and brother retired from the throne.
  • Panagiotis Danglis : Greek general in the Hellenic Army.

United States (1917–1918)

The use of naval convoys to transport U.S. troops to France, 1917.

Siam (Thailand) (1917–1918)

See main Article: Siam in World War I

Brazil (1917–1918)

See main Article: Brazil during World War I

Armenia (1918)

Personnel and casualties

A pie-chart showing the military deaths of the Allied Powers.

These are estimates of the cumulative number of different personnel in uniform 1914–1918, including army, navy and auxiliary forces. At any one time, the various forces were much smaller. Only a fraction of them were frontline combat troops. The numbers do not reflect the length of time each country was involved. (See also: World War I casualties )

Allied power Mobilized personnel Military Fatalities Wounded in action Total casualties Casualties as % of total mobilized
Australia 412,953 61,928 (14.99%) [4] 152,171 214,099 52%
Belgium 267,000 38,172 (14.29%)( [4] 44,686 82,858 31%
Canada 628,964 64,944 (10.32%) [4] 149,732 214,676 34%
France 8,410,000 1,397,800 (16.62%) [4] 4,266,000 5,663,800 67%
Greece 230,000 26,000 (11.30%) [4] 21,000 47,000 20%
India 1,440,437 74,187 (5.15%) [4] 69,214 143,401 10%
Italy 5,615,000 651,010 (11.59%) 953,886 1,604,896 29%
Japan 800,000 415 (0.05%) 907 1,322 <1%
Monaco 80 [11] 8 (10.00%) [11] 0 8 [11] 10%
Montenegro 50,000 3,000 (6.00%) 10,000 13,000 26%
Nepal 200,000 30,670 (15.33%) 21,009 49,823 25%
New Zealand 128,525 18,050 (14.04%) 41,317 59,367 46%
Portugal 100,000 7,222 (7.22%) 13,751 20,973 21%
Romania 750,000 250,000 (33.33%) 120,000 370,000 49%
Russia 12,000,000 1,811,000 (15.09%) 4,950,000 6,761,000 56%
Serbia 707,343 275,000 (38.87%) 133,148 408,148 58%
Siam 1,284 19 (1.48%) 0 19 2%
South Africa 136,070 9,463 (6.95%) 12,029 21,492 16%
United Kingdom 6,211,922 886,342 (14.26%) [33] 1,665,749 2,552,091 41%
United States 4,355,000 53,402 (1.23%) [33] 205,690 259,092 5.9%
Total 42,244,409 5,741,389 12,925,833 18,744,547 49%

See also