Countries involved in World War I (the Great War)

During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Canada, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers).

World War I or Great War (in Soviet historiography sometimes referred to as the First World Imperialist War; July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918) is a military conflict involving 38 nations between two coalitions of states in Europe, the fighting of which also spread to the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia.

By 1914 the great powers of Europe were divided into two military-political blocs: Entente, which included France, Russia and Great Britain; and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Tensions in the Balkans reached a climax on June 28, 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian heir, by the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip. Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia, which led to the July Crisis – an attempt to avoid conflict through diplomacy. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28. Russia declared to defend Serbia, and by August 4 the system of alliances had drawn Germany, France, and Britain and their respective colonies into the war. In November the Ottoman Empire, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed a bloc of Central Powers, and in April 1915 Italy defected to Britain, France, Russia and Serbia, forming an Allied bloc in World War I.

In the two-front war that began, Germany’s strategy in 1914, according to the Schlieffen Plan, was to first defeat France, then move its forces into Eastern Europe and defeat Russia. However, the German advance into France was halted, and by the end of 1914 the Western Front had stabilized from the Channel to Switzerland, changing little until 1917. In contrast, the Eastern Front was more fluid – Austria-Hungary and Russia were conquering and losing significant territory. The other theaters of combat were the Middle East, Italy, and the Balkans, dragging Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece into the war.

Countries involved in the Great War

The First World War, also known as the Great War, was a global conflict that took place from 1914 to 1918. It involved numerous nations from different parts of the world, making it the first truly global war in history. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the countries involved in this monumental conflict and to examine the various geopolitical alliances that shaped the course of the war.

The Central Powers

The Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria, formed one of the most important alliances during World War I. Germany, led by Kaiser Wilhelm II, emerged as the dominant force, seeking European hegemony. Austria-Hungary, facing internal nationalist tensions, sought to assert its influence in the Balkans. The Ottoman Empire, struggling to maintain its territorial integrity, allied with the Central Powers to protect its interests in the region. Bulgaria later joined the alliance, hoping to regain lost territory.

The Allied Powers

The Allied Powers were a coalition of countries that opposed the Central Powers.

United Kingdom

As one of the major powers, the United Kingdom, led by King George V, played an important role in the conflict. The British Empire spanned the globe, and its dominions, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, actively participated in the war.


France, under President Raymond Poincaré, was deeply affected by the German invasion and sought to defend its territorial integrity. French troops fought on several fronts, including the Western Front, alongside their British allies.

The Russian Empire

The Russian Empire, ruled by Tsar Nicholas II, entered the war in support of Serbia after Austria-Hungary declared war. However, internal unrest and the Russian Revolution of 1917 led to its withdrawal from the conflict.


Originally part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Italy switched sides in 1915 and joined the Allied Powers. Italy’s decision was driven by territorial ambitions and the promise of territorial expansion.

The United States

The United States, under President Woodrow Wilson, initially pursued a policy of neutrality. However, events such as unrestricted submarine warfare and the interception of the Zimmerman telegram led to its entry into the war in 1917, providing a significant boost to the Allied cause.

Other Allies

Numerous other countries joined the Allies, including Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece, Japan, and several smaller nations. They contributed troops, resources, and strategic support to the war effort.

Neutral countries

Not all nations were directly involved in the conflict. Some nations chose to remain neutral in order to avoid the devastating effects of war. Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands maintained their neutrality throughout the conflict, while countries like Spain and the United States initially pursued neutrality before eventually joining the war.

Serbia and the Balkans

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1914 served as a catalyst for war. In response, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, which had strong ethnic and territorial ties to the Slavic populations of the Balkans. This conflict quickly escalated, drawing in other countries and leading to the formation of opposing alliances.

The Eastern Front

While much of the focus on World War I is often on the Western Front, the Eastern Front played a significant role in the conflict. It encompassed the battle lines between the Central Powers and the Allies in Eastern Europe, particularly along the borders of Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Balkans. Fighting on the Eastern Front was characterized by large-scale maneuvering and brutal trench warfare.

The Colonial Empires

World War I involved the colonial empires of the great powers as they sought to protect and expand their territories. The conflict spread to Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, where European powers clashed over colonial possessions. British, French, Belgian, German, and Portuguese colonies were drawn into the war, with troops from these regions fighting on multiple fronts.

The collapse of empires

The war had a profound effect on the political landscape, leading to the collapse of several major empires. The Russian Revolution of 1917 led to the overthrow of the Tsarist regime and the creation of the Soviet Union. The war also played a role in the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, redrawing the map of Central Europe and the Middle East.

The Role of Colonies and Dominions

The colonies and dominions played an important role in the war effort. Troops from British colonies and dominions, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, were sent to fight alongside their European counterparts. These contributions underscored the global nature of the conflict and served to strengthen national identities within these regions.

War at sea

Naval warfare played a crucial role in World War I. The British Royal Navy, with its powerful fleet, sought to blockade Germany and limit its access to vital resources. Germany responded with unrestricted submarine warfare, targeting merchant ships and resulting in the sinking of several passenger liners, including the RMS Lusitania. The naval conflict also saw the Battle of Jutland, a major engagement between the British and German fleets.

Armistice and peace treaties

The war ended with the signing of the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11, 1918. Peace negotiations followed, resulting in a series of treaties, most notably the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. These treaties imposed harsh conditions on the Central Powers, especially Germany, setting the stage for future conflicts and contributing to the geopolitical tensions that would culminate in World War II.


World War I was a global conflict involving a wide range of nations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The Central Powers, led by Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria, faced off against the Allied Powers, which included major players such as the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Italy, and the United States. The war’s complex geopolitical alliances, rivalries, and territorial ambitions contributed to its widespread and devastating nature. The involvement of numerous countries in World War I forever changed the course of history and set the stage for subsequent conflicts and geopolitical shifts in the 20th century.


What countries were involved in the Great war?

Over 30 nations declared war between 1914 and 1918. The majority joined on the side of the Allies, including Serbia, Russia, France, Britain, Italy and the United States. They were opposed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, who together formed the Central Powers.

What countries were involved in the start of World war 1?

The war pitted the Central Powers (mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey) against the Allies (mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States).

Which country won the ww1?

Germany had formally surrendered on November 11, 1918, and all nations had agreed to stop fighting while the terms of peace were negotiated. On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations (including Britain, France, Italy and Russia) signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war.

Which European countries entered ww1?


Germany entered into World War I on August 1, 1914, when it declared war on Russia. In accordance with its war plan, it ignored Russia and moved first against France–declaring war on August 3 and sending its main armies through Belgium to capture Paris from the north.

What side was Russia on in ww1?

the Allies

The war quickly involved countries not part of the Triple Entente, so the opposing side was known as the Allies: Serbia, Russia, France and its Empire, Belgium, Montenegro and Britain and its Empire, including self-governing colonies like Canada and Australia.

Why did US enter ww1?

Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917 became the primary motivation behind Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into World War I.

How did ww1 end?

The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended World War I, was signed on June 28, 1919. The main authors of the treaty were the leaders of France, England, Italy and the United States. Germany and its former allies were not allowed to participate in the negotiations.

What were the first two countries to declare war in 1914?

On July 28, 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War.

What countries were not involved in World War 1?

Denmark, Monaco, and Sweden were also perfectly neutral European countries. In Central and South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Paraguay were perfectly neutral. In Africa, it was Ethiopia that wouldn’t take sides.

How was Africa involved in WW1?

“Britain relied heavily on Africans for labor on the Western Front and during the Egypt and Palestine campaign. Their role was to carry supplies and ammunition, construct camps and dig trenches. The campaigns in Africa could not have been fought without the contributions of Africans on both sides.

Why is it called World War?

The Germans, seeing themselves pitted against the global empires of Britain and France, felt the world was against them from the outset. From their perspective, the war was of such magnitude that it created a sense of the whole world collapsing – the term World War expressed the scale of fear the conflict unleashed.

Why did Britain win WW1?

New weapons and technologies were used that enabled new ways of fighting, which caused destruction on a scale that had never been seen before. Millions of people – both soldiers and ordinary citizens – lost their lives as a result of the fighting.

Why did Germany surrender in WW1?

The failure of the Spring Offensive and the loss of her allies in mid- to late-1918 eventually resulted in a German surrender and the signing of a ceasefire on November 11th 1918.

What countries were not involved in World war 1?

Denmark, Monaco, and Sweden were also perfectly neutral European countries. In Central and South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, and Paraguay were perfectly neutral. In Africa, it was Ethiopia that wouldn’t take sides.

Why did Germany start ww1?

Wilson cited Germany’s violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as its attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States, as his reasons for declaring war.

Why did the 1st World war happen?

The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 set off a chain of events that led to war in early August 1914. The assassination was traced to a Serbian extremist group that wanted to increase Serbian power in the Balkans by breaking up the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Why did each country join ww1?

Great Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia all had empires. This meant that they ruled many countries all over the world. Each of these countries wanted to keep their empire strong and was afraid of other countries taking over new territories. They saw this as a threat to their own empires.

Who was the last country to join ww1?

War justifications
Bulgaria was still resentful after its defeat in July 1913 at the hands of Serbia, Greece and Romania. It signed a treaty of defensive alliance with the Ottoman Empire on 19 August 1914. It was the last country to join the Central Powers, which Bulgaria did in October 1915 by declaring war on Serbia.

What were the first two countries to declare war in 1914?

On July 28, 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War.

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