Allies of World War I

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
A map of the World showing the participants in World War I. Those fighting on the Entente's side (at one point or another) are depicted in green, the Central Powers in orange, and neutral countries in grey.
European military alliances prior to the war.

The Entente Powers or Allies (French: Forces de l'Entente / Alliés; Italian: Alleati; Romanian: Puterile Antantei / Aliații; Russian: Союзники, Soyuzniki; Serbian: Савезници, Saveznici) were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the French Republic, the British Empire and the Russian Empire; Italy ended its alliance with the Central Powers and entered the war on the side of the Entente in 1915. Japan was another important member. Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Romania[1] were secondary members of the Entente.[2]

The United States declared war on Germany in 1917 on the grounds that Germany violated U.S. neutrality by attacking international shipping and because of the Zimmermann Telegram sent to Mexico.[3] 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".[4] Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.[5]

Although the Dominions 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From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation.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 Generals John Monash and Arthur Currie,[6] respectively, who reported in turn to British generals.[citation needed] In April 1918, operational control of all Entente forces on the Western Front passed to the new supreme commander, Ferdinand Foch.

The only countries represented in the 1918 armistice which ended combat on the Western Front[7] were Britain, France and Germany.


A 1914 Russian poster depicting the Triple Entente.

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.[citation needed] 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 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.[citation needed]. 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.[citation needed]

On 6 April 1917 the United States and its American allies 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:

Statistics of the Allied Powers (in 1913)[8]
Russian Empire (plus Poland and Finland)173.2m (176.4m)21.7m km2 (22.1m km2)$257.7b ($264.3b)
French Third Republic39.8m (88.1m)0.5m km2 (11.2m km2)$138.7b ($170.2b)
The British Empire446.1m33.3m km2$561.2b
Empire of Japan (plus colonies)55.1m (74.2m)0.4m km2 (0.7m km2)$76.5b ($92.8b)
Kingdom of Italy (plus colonies)35.6m (37.6m)0.3m km2 (2.3m 2 )$91.3b ($92.6b)
United States (plus overseas dependencies),[9]96.5m (106.3m)7.8m km2 (9.6m km2)$511.6b ($522.2b)
Allied approximate total928.7m79.2m km2$1,703.3b

Major affiliated state combatants[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

British soldiers in a trench during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
British battlecruiser HMS Lion hit by shell fire during the Battle of Jutland.
British Sopwith Camel fighter aircraft during the war.

War justifications[edit]

In response to Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914.[10] 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[edit]

In Europe[edit]

Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta were British dependencies in Europe.

In Africa[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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, Burma, 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; and Hong Kong.

In Oceania[edit]

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


Russian artillery firing.

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".[11] 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."[11] 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.[11] 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.[12]


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

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.[13]


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.[14] 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".[14] Thus as a result of this, Japan was following through with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.[14]


Italian alpine troops.

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.[15] As such Italy claimed that it was not obligated to join their war effort.[15] 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.[15] 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.[15] Italy initially attempted to pursue neutrality from 1914 to 1915.[15]

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.[16] 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.[16]

Minor affiliated state combatants[edit]


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.


Brazilian soldiers in World War I.

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.


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[edit]

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.[17]


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.[18]

Major co-belligerent state combatants[edit]

United States[edit]

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.[3] 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."[4] Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.[5]

Non-state combatants[edit]

Four 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:


France France[edit]

United Kingdom British Empire[edit]

Canada Dominion of Canada[edit]

Australia Commonwealth of Australia[edit]

British Raj Empire of India[edit]

Union of South Africa Union of South Africa[edit]

New Zealand New Zealand[edit]

Dominion of Newfoundland Dominion of Newfoundland[edit]

Russian Empire Russia[edit]

Kingdom of Serbia Serbia[edit]

Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro[edit]

Kingdom of Greece Greece[edit]

Belgium Belgium[edit]

Kingdom of Italy Italy[edit]

Kingdom of Romania Romania[edit]

United States United States[edit]

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

Empire of Japan Japan[edit]

Portugal Portugal[edit]

Thailand Siam[edit]

See main Article: Siam in World War I

Brazil Brazil[edit]

See main Article: Brazil during World War I

Personnel and casualties[edit]

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 powerMobilized personnelKilled in actionWounded in actionTotal casualtiesCasualties as % of total mobilized
New Zealand128,525118,050[30]41,31759,36746%
South Africa136,07019,463[35]12,02921,49216%
United Kingdom6,211,9222886,342[36]1,665,7492,552,09141%
United States4,355,0003116,708[37]205,690322,3987%

Summary of Declarations of War[edit]

The following table shows the timeline of the several declarations of war among the belligerent powers. Entries on a yellow background show severed diplomatic relations only, not actual declarations of war. Unless stated otherwise, declarations of war by and on the United Kingdom include de facto declarations by and on other members of the British Empire.

28 JulyAustria-Hungary Austria-HungaryKingdom of Serbia Serbia
30 JulyRussian Empire RussiaAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
1 AugustGerman Empire GermanyRussian Empire Russia
3 AugustGerman Empire GermanyFrance France
4 AugustGerman Empire GermanyBelgium Belgium
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United KingdomGerman Empire Germany
5 AugustKingdom of Montenegro MontenegroAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
6 AugustAustria-Hungary Austria-HungaryRussian Empire Russia
Kingdom of Serbia SerbiaGerman Empire Germany
9 AugustKingdom of Montenegro MontenegroGerman Empire Germany
11 AugustFrance FranceAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
12 AugustUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United KingdomAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
22 AugustAustria-Hungary Austria-HungaryBelgium Belgium
23 AugustEmpire of Japan JapanGerman Empire Germany
25 AugustEmpire of Japan JapanAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
1 NovemberRussian Empire RussiaOttoman Empire Ottoman Empire
2 NovemberKingdom of Serbia SerbiaOttoman Empire Ottoman Empire
3 NovemberKingdom of Montenegro MontenegroOttoman Empire Ottoman Empire
5 NovemberUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom
France France
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
23 MayKingdom of Italy ItalyAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
3 JuneSan Marino San MarinoAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
21 AugustKingdom of Italy ItalyOttoman Empire Ottoman Empire
14 OctoberKingdom of Bulgaria BulgariaKingdom of Serbia Serbia
15 OctoberUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom
Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
16 OctoberFrance FranceKingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
19 OctoberKingdom of Italy Italy
Russian Empire Russia
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
9 MarchGerman Empire GermanyPortugal Portugal
15 MarchAustria-Hungary Austria-HungaryPortugal Portugal
27 AugustKingdom of Romania RomaniaAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Kingdom of Italy ItalyGerman Empire Germany
28 AugustGerman Empire GermanyKingdom of Romania Romania
30 AugustOttoman Empire Ottoman EmpireKingdom of Romania Romania
1 SeptemberKingdom of Bulgaria BulgariaKingdom of Romania Romania
6 AprilUnited States United StatesGerman Empire Germany
7 AprilCuba CubaGerman Empire Germany
10 AprilKingdom of Bulgaria BulgariaUnited States United States
13 AprilBolivia BoliviaGerman Empire Germany
20 AprilOttoman Empire Ottoman EmpireUnited States United States
2 JulyKingdom of Greece GreeceGerman Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
22 JulyThailand SiamGerman Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
4 AugustLiberia LiberiaGerman Empire Germany
14 AugustRepublic of China (1912–49) ChinaGerman Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
6 OctoberPeru PeruGerman Empire Germany
7 OctoberUruguay UruguayGerman Empire Germany
26 OctoberBrazil BrazilGerman Empire Germany[38]
7 DecemberUnited States United StatesAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
7 DecemberEcuador EcuadorGerman Empire Germany
10 DecemberPanama PanamaAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
16 DecemberCuba CubaAustria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
23 AprilGuatemala GuatemalaGerman Empire Germany
8 MayNicaragua NicaraguaGerman Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
23 MayCosta Rica Costa RicaGerman Empire Germany
12 JulyHaiti HaitiGerman Empire Germany
19 JulyHonduras HondurasGerman Empire Germany
10 NovemberKingdom of Romania RomaniaGerman Empire Germany

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karel Schelle, The First World War and the Paris Peace Agreement, GRIN Verlag, 2009, p. 24
  2. ^ First World – Feature Articles – The Causes of World War One
  3. ^ a b US Declaration of War
  4. ^ a b Tucker&Roberts pp. 1232, 1264
  5. ^ a b Tucker&Roberts p. 1559
  6. ^ Perry (2004), p.xiii
  7. ^ Griffiths, William R. (1986). Thomas E. Griess, ed. The Great War. Wayne, NJ: Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 0-89529-312-9. Page 163
  8. ^ S.N. Broadberry, Mark Harrison. The Economics of World War I. illustrated ed. Cambridge University Press, 2005, pgs. 7–8.
  9. ^ As Hawaii and Alaska were not yet U.S. states, they are included in the parenthetical figures.
  10. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. 2009. P1562.
  11. ^ a b c Jelavich, Barbara. Russia's Balkan Entanglements, 1806–1914. P262
  12. ^ Afflerbach, Holger; David Stevenson, David. An Improbable War: The Outbreak of World War 1 and European Political Culture. Berghan Books. 2012. P. 293.
  13. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. 2009. P1556.
  14. ^ a b c Hamilton, Richard F; Herwig, Holger H. Decisions for War, 1914–1917. P155.
  15. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Richard F; Herwig, Holger H. Decisions for War, 1914–1917. P194.
  16. ^ a b Hamilton, Richard F; Herwig, Holger H. Decisions for War, 1914–1917. P194-198.
  17. ^ Abdullah I of Jordan; Philip Perceval Graves (1950). Memoirs. p. 186. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ first Canadian to attain the rank of full general
  20. ^ Australia casualties
    Included in total are 55,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85-.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4-
    Totals include 2,005 military deaths during 1919–215-. The 1922 War Office report listed 59,330 Army war dead1,237.
  21. ^ Belgium casualties
    Included in total are 35,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85 Figures include 13,716 killed and 24,456 missing up until Nov.11, 1918. "These figures are approximate only, the records being incomplete." 1,352.
  22. ^ Canada casualties
    Included in total are 53,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds.6,85
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4
    Totals include 3,789 military deaths during 1919–21 and 150 Merchant Navy deaths5-. The losses of Newfoundland are listed separately on this table. The 1922 War Office report listed 56,639 Army war dead1,237.
  23. ^ France casualties
    Included in total are 1,186,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85. Totals include the deaths of 71,100 French colonial troops. 7,414-Figures include war related military deaths of 28,600 from 11/11/1918 to 6/1/1919.7,414
  24. ^ Greece casualties
    Jean Bujac in a campaign history of the Greek Army in World War One listed 8,365 combat related deaths and 3,255 missing8,339, The Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis estimated total dead of 26,000 including 15,000 military deaths due disease6,160
  25. ^ India casualties
    British India included present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    Included in total are 27,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4
    Totals include 15,069 military deaths during 1919–21 and 1,841 Canadian Merchant Navy dead5. The 1922 War Office report listed 64,454 Army war dead1,237
  26. ^ Italy casualties
    Included in total are 433,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85
    Figures of total military dead are from a 1925 Italian report using official data9.
  27. ^ War dead figure is from a 1991 history of the Japanese Army10,111.
  28. ^ a b c Monaco 11-Novembre : ces Monégasques morts au champ d'honneur | Nice-Matin
  29. ^ Jain, G (1954) India Meets China in Nepal, Asia Publishing House, Bombay P92
  30. ^ New Zealand casualties
    Included in total are 14,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4
    Totals include 702 military deaths during 1919–215. The 1922 War Office report listed 16,711 Army war dead1,237.
  31. ^ Portugal casualties
    Figures include the following killed and died of other causes up until Jan.1, 1920; 1,689 in France and 5,332 in Africa. Figures do not include an additional 12,318 listed as missing and POW1,354.
  32. ^ Romania casualties
    Military dead is "The figure reported by the Rumanian Government in reply to a questionnaire from the International Labour Office"6,64. Included in total are 177,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85.
  33. ^ Russia casualties
    Included in total are 1,451,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85. The estimate of total Russian military losses was made by the Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis.6,46–57
  34. ^ Serbia casualties
    Included in total are 165,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85.The estimate of total combined Serbian and Montenegrin military losses of 278,000 was made by the Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis6,62–64
  35. ^ South Africa casualties
    Included in total are 5,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4
    Totals include 380 military deaths during 1919–2115. The 1922 War Office report listed 7,121 Army war dead1,237.
  36. ^ UK and Crown Colonies casualties
    Included in total are 624,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds6,85.
    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead.4
    Military dead total includes 34,663 deaths during 1919–21 and 13,632 British Merchant Navy deaths5. The 1922 War Office report listed 702,410 war dead for the UK1,237, 507 from "Other colonies"1,237 and the Royal Navy (32,287)1,339.
    The British Merchant Navy losses of 14,661 were listed separately 1,339; The 1922 War Office report detailed the deaths of 310 military personnel due to air and sea bombardment of the UK1,674–678.
  37. ^ United States casualties
    Official military war deaths listed by the US Dept. of Defense for the period ending Dec. 31, 1918 are 116,516; which includes 53,402 battle deaths and 63,114 other deaths.[1], The US Coast Guard lost an additional 192 dead 11,481.
  38. ^ Declarations of War, 1914–1918



See List of World War I books