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European military alliances prior to the war.


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 Kingdommarker, France, and the Russian Empiremarker. Many other countries later joined the Entente side in the war: Belgiummarker, Serbiamarker, Italy, Japanmarker, Greece, Romania and the United Statesmarker, which were also drawn into the war.

The United States declared war on Germanymarker on the grounds that Germany violated American neutrality by attacking international shipping and because of the Zimmermann Telegram that was sent to Mexico. The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power", rather than a formal ally of France and Great Britain, because it had not declared war on the Ottoman Empire like those two countries. Although Turkey severed relations with the United States, it did not declare war.

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 From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation.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, 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.

History

Russian poster depicting the Triple Entente
The original alliance opposed to the Second Reichmarker was the Triple Entente, which was formed by three Great European Powers: The war began with the Austrian attack invasion of Serbiamarker on July 28, 1914, in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Austrian Empire followed with an attack on Serbian allies Montenegro on August 8. On the Western Front, the two neutral States of Belgiummarker and Luxembourgmarker were immediately occupied by German troops as part of the German Schliefen 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 nearly avoided Belgian efforts of annexation, at the conclusion of hostilities in 1919. On August 23, Japanmarker joined the Entente, which counted 7 members.

On May 23, 1915, Italy, originally a member of the Triple Alliance but neutral from the beginning of the conflict, entered the war on the Entente side and declared war on Austria. In 1916, two more nations joined the Entente, Portugal and Romania.

The direction of the war changed on April 6, 1917, with the entrance of the United Statesmarker and its American allies. Liberiamarker, Chinamarker, 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-Litovskmarker 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 November 10, 1918. The Russian withdrawal allowed for the final structure of the alliance, which was based on five Great Powers:

When war finished in November 1918, many new States were formed over the ruins of the Central Powers. The Great Powers recognized these national movement and their help to the common goal, accepting their claims of sovereignty between the signatories of the peace treaties.

Leaders

 United Kingdom




 Russia




 France




 Commonwealth of Australia




 Dominion of Canada




 Indian Empire




 Union of South Africa




 Serbia




 Belgium




 Italy




 Romania




 United States






 Japan




Personnel and casualties

Pie chart showing 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 powers Mobilized personnel Killed in action Wounded in action Total casualties Casualties as % of total mobilized
Australia 412,953 61,928Australia casualties
Included in total are 55,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds -. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. -Totals include 2,005 military deaths during 1919-21 -. The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 59,330 Army war dead .
152,171 214,099 52%
Belgium 267,000 38,172Belgium casualties
Included in total are 35,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds Figures include 13,716 killed and 24,456 missing up until Nov.11, 1918. "These figures are approximate only, the records being incomplete." .
44,686 82,858 31%
Canada 628,964 64,944Canada casualties
Included in total are 53,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. Totals include 3,789 military deaths during 1919-21 and 150 Merchant Navy deaths -. The losses of Newfoundland are listed separately on this table. The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 56,639 Army war dead .
149,732 214,676 34%
France 8,410,000 1,397,800France casualties
Included in total are 1,186,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds . Totals include the deaths of 71,100 French colonial troops. -Figures include war related military deaths of 28,600 from 11/11/1918 to 6/1/1919.
4,266,000 5,663,800 67%
Greece 230,000 26,000 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 missing , The Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis estimated total dead of 26,000 including 15,000 military deaths due disease
21,000 47,000 20%
India 1,440,437 74,187 India casualties
British India included present-day India, Pakistanmarker and Bangladeshmarker. Included in total are 27,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds . The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. Totals include 15,069 military deaths during 1919-21 and 1,841 Canadian Merchant Navy dead . The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 64,454 Army war dead
69,214 143,401 10%
Italy 5,615,000 651,010Italy casualties
Included in total are 433,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds Figures of total military dead are from a 1925 Italian report using official data .
953,886 1,604,896 29%
Japan 800,000 415 907 1,322 <1%
Montenegro 50,000 3,000 10,000 13,000 26%
New Zealand 128,525 18,050New Zealand casualties
Included in total are 14,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds .The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. Totals include 702 military deaths during 1919-21 . The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 16,711 Army war dead .
41,317 59,367 46%
Portugal 100,000 7,222Portugal 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 POW .
13,751 20,973 21%
Romania 750,000 250,000Romania casualties
Military dead is "The figure reported by the Rumanian Government in reply to a questionnaire from the International Labour Office" . Included in total are 177,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds .
120,000 370,000 49%
Russia 12,000,000 1,811,000Russia casualties
Included in total are 1,451,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds . The estimate of total Russian military losses was made by the Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis.
4,950,000 6,761,000 56%
Serbia 707,343 275,000Serbia casualties
Included in total are 165,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds .The estimate of total combined Serbian and Montenegrin military losses of 278,000 was made by the Soviet researcher Boris Urlanis
133,148 408,148 58%
South Africa 136,070 9,463South Africa casualties
Included in total are 5,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. Totals include 380 military deaths during 1919-21 . The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 7,121 Army war dead .
12,029 21,492 16%
United Kingdom 6,211,922 886,342UK and Crown Colonies casualties
Included in total are 624,000 killed or missing in action and died of wounds .The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2005-2006 is the source of total military dead. Military dead total includes 34,663 deaths during 1919-21 and 13,632 British Merchant Navy deaths . The 1922 War Officemarker report listed 702,410 war dead for the UK , 507 from "Other colonies" and the Royal Navy (32,287) . The British Merchant Navy losses of 14,661 were listed separately ; The 1922 War Officemarker report detailed the deaths of 310 military personnel due to air and sea bombardment of the UK .
1,665,749 2,552,091 41%
United States 4,355,000 116,708United 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.[157728], The US Coast Guard lost an additional 192 dead .
205,690 322,398 7%
Total 42,243,214 5,691,241 12,809,280 18,500,521 44%


Statistics of the Allied Powers
Population Land GDP
Russian Empiremarker 173.2m 21.7m km2. $257.7b
French Third Republic 39.8m 0.5m km2. $138.7b
United Kingdommarker 46.0m 0.3m km2. $226.4b
Empire of Japanmarker 97.8m 0.67m km2. $?b
Kingdom of Italy 35.6m 0.3m km2. $93.3b
United Statesmarker 96.5m 7.8m km2. $511.6b
Allied Total 793.3m 67.5m km2. $1,096.5b


Summary of Allied declarations of war on Central Powers

List of the 23 member States of the Entente:

After the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand



After the Miracle of the Marne



After the Russian Revolution



Special case: British Empire

Five Dominions of the British Empire, which were subordinate to London under international law, were admitted to the Conference of Versailles as reward for their huge military involvement:

Special case: Nominal allies

Four States of South America severed relationships with Germany, but did not declare war and had no military involvement:
  • : after April 1917
  • : after October 1917
  • : after October 1917
  • : after December 1917


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:

See also



Footnotes

  1. US Declaration of War
  2. first Canadian to attain the rank of full general
  3. War dead figure is from a 1991 history of the Japanese Army .
  4. S.N. Broadberry, Mark Harrison. The Economics of World War I. illustrated ed. Cambridge University Press, 2005, pgs. 7-8.


References



Sources

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 eBook.com
  • Tucker, Spencer, ed. European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1999)



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