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Allies (World War I)

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Allies (World War I)

The Entente Powers or Allies (French: Forces de l'Entente / Alliés; Italian: Alleati; Romanian: Puterile Antantei / Aliații; Russian: Союзники, Soyuzniki; Serbian: Савезници, Saveznitsi; Turkish: İttifak Devletleri) 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, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania and the Czechoslovak legions[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From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation.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. In April 1918, operational control of all Entente forces on the Western Front passed to the new supreme commander, Ferdinand Foch.


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 Serbian allies 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 only narrowly avoided Belgian 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 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)[7]
Population Land GDP
Russian Empire (plus Poland and Finland) 173.2m (176.4m) 21.7m km2 (22.1m km2) $257.7b ($264.3b)
French Third Republic 39.8m (88.1m) 0.5m km2 (11.2m km2) $138.7b ($170.2b)
The British Empire 446.1m 33.3m 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),[8] 96.5m (106.3m) 7.8m km2 (9.6m km2) $511.6b ($522.2b)
Allied approximate total 928.7m 79.2m km2 $1,703.3b


France France

United Kingdom British Empire

Canada Dominion of Canada

Australia Commonwealth of Australia

British Raj British India

Template:Country data Union of South Africa Union of South Africa

New Zealand New Zealand

Russian Empire Russia

Kingdom of Serbia Serbia

Template:Country data Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro

Kingdom of Greece Greece

  • Eleftherios Venizelos: Prime minister of Greece after 13 June 1917.
  • Constantin I: King of Greece, he retired from the throne, without formally resigned.
  • Alexander: King of Greece, he became King of Greece after his father retired from the throne.
  • Panagiotis Danglis: Greek general in the Hellenic Army.

Belgium Belgium

Kingdom of Italy Italy

Kingdom of Romania Romania

United States United States

Empire of Japan Japan

Portugal Portugal

Thailand Siam

Brazil Brazil

See main Article: Brazil during World War I

  • Venceslau BrasPresident of Brazil
  • Admiral Pedro Frontin, Chief of DNOG (Brazilian Expeditionary Fleet)
  • General Napoleão Felipe Aché, Chief of Brazilian Military Mission in France
  • Dr. Nabuco Gouveia – Chief of the Brazilian Medical Delegation

Personnel and casualties

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 Killed in action Wounded in action Total casualties Casualties as % of total mobilized
Australia 412,9531 61,928[10] 152,171 214,099 52%
Belgium 267,0003 38,172[11] 44,686 82,858 31%
Canada 628,9641 64,944[12] 149,732 214,676 34%
France 8,410,0003 1,397,800[13] 4,266,000 5,663,800 67%
Greece 230,0003 26,000[14] 21,000 47,000 20%
India 1,440,4371 74,187[15] 69,214 143,401 10%
Italy 5,615,0003 651,010[16] 953,886 1,604,896 29%
Japan 800,0003 415[17] 907 1,322 <1%
Monaco 80[18] 8[18] 0 8[18] 10%
Montenegro 50,0003 3,000 10,000 13,000 26%
Nepal 200,000[19] 30,670 21,009 49,823 25%
New Zealand 128,5251 18,050[20] 41,317 59,367 46%
Portugal 100,0003 7,222[21] 13,751 20,973 21%
Romania 750,0003 250,000[22] 120,000 370,000 49%
Russia 12,000,0003 1,811,000[23] 4,950,000 6,761,000 56%
Serbia 707,3433 275,000[24] 133,148 408,148 58%
Siam 1,2842 19 0 19 2%
South Africa 136,0701 9,463[25] 12,029 21,492 16%
United Kingdom 6,211,9222 886,342[26] 1,665,749 2,552,091 41%
United States 4,355,0003 116,708[27] 205,690 322,398 7%
Total 42,244,409 5,741,389 12,925,833 18,744,547 49%

Summary of Allied declarations of war on Central Powers

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.

Date Declarer On
28 July Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary Kingdom of Serbia Serbia
30 July Russian Empire Russia Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
1 August German Empire Germany Russian Empire Russia
1 August Monaco Monaco German Empire Germany
3 August German Empire Germany France France
4 August German Empire Germany Belgium Belgium
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom German Empire Germany
5 August Template:Country data Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
6 August Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary Russian Empire Russia
Kingdom of Serbia Serbia German Empire Germany
9 August Template:Country data Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro German Empire Germany
11 August France France Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
12 August United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
22 August Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary Belgium Belgium
23 August Empire of Japan Japan German Empire Germany
25 August Empire of Japan Japan Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
1 November Russian Empire Russia Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
2 November Kingdom of Serbia Serbia Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
3 November Template:Country data Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
5 November United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom
France France
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
23 May Kingdom of Italy Italy Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
3 June San Marino San Marino Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
21 August Kingdom of Italy Italy Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
14 October Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria Kingdom of Serbia Serbia
15 October United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom
Template:Country data Kingdom of Montenegro Montenegro
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
16 October France France Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
19 October Kingdom of Italy Italy
Russian Empire Russia
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
9 March German Empire Germany Portugal Portugal
15 March Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary Portugal Portugal
27 August Kingdom of Romania Romania Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Kingdom of Italy Italy German Empire Germany
28 August German Empire Germany Kingdom of Romania Romania
30 August Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire Kingdom of Romania Romania
1 September Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria Kingdom of Romania Romania
6 April United States United States German Empire Germany
7 April Cuba Cuba German Empire Germany
10 April Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria United States United States
13 April Bolivia Bolivia German Empire Germany
20 April Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire United States United States
2 July Kingdom of Greece Greece German Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
Kingdom of Bulgaria Bulgaria
22 July Thailand Siam German Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
4 August Liberia Liberia German Empire Germany
14 August Template:Country data Republic of China (1912–1949) China German Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
6 October Peru Peru German Empire Germany
7 October Uruguay Uruguay German Empire Germany
26 October Brazil Brazil German Empire Germany[28]
7 December United States United States Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
7 December Ecuador Ecuador German Empire Germany
10 December Panama Panama Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
16 December Cuba Cuba Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
23 April Guatemala Guatemala German Empire Germany
8 May Nicaragua Nicaragua German Empire Germany
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
23 May Costa Rica Costa Rica German Empire Germany
12 July Haiti Haiti German Empire Germany
19 July Honduras Honduras German Empire Germany
10 November Kingdom of Romania Romania German Empire Germany

Special case: Insurgent nationalities

Four insurgent nationalities, 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:

  • Poland Poles
  • Bohemia Czechoslovak Legions: armed by France, Italy and Russia
  •  The Hejaz: armed by Britain in Arabia
  • Armenia Armenians: seceded from Russia and fought against Ottoman Empire.

See also




See List of World War I books

  • Ellis, John and Mike Cox. The World War I Databook: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants (2002)
  • Esposito, Vincent J. The West Point Atlas of American Wars: 1900–1918 (1997) despite the title covers entire war; online maps from this atlas
  • Falls, Cyril. The Great War (1960), general military history
  • Higham, Robin and Dennis E. Showalter, eds. Researching World War I: A Handbook (2003), historiography, stressing military themes
  • Pope, Stephen and Wheal, Elizabeth-Anne, eds. The Macmillan Dictionary of the First World War (1995)
  • Strachan, Hew. The First World War: Volume I: To Arms (2004)
  • Trask, David F. The United States in the Supreme War Council: American War Aims and Inter-Allied Strategy, 1917–1918 (1961)
  • Tucker, Spencer, ed. The Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social, and Military History (5 volumes) (2005), online at
  • Tucker, Spencer, ed. European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1999)
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