Major Allied powers Russia: Russia, along with Britain and France, was one of the major Allied Powers, and first among the nations to mobilize troops against Germany on July 30 1914. 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.
France: After Germany declared war on Russia, France with its alliance with Russia prepared a general mobilization in expectation of war. On August 3, 1914, Germany declared war on France.
Great Britain: In response to Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium, Great Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914. 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. The spread of the British colonies across the globe brought World War I to Africa and Asia.
Italy: Although, Italy initially attempted to pursue neutrality from 1914 to 1915, the country had been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary since the 1880s. After diplomatic negotiations, Britain and France convinced Italy to join the war effort with promises that Italy would gain favorable territorial concessions from the Central Powers, including Italian-populated territories of Austria-Hungary. Italy ordered mobilization in May 1915, and issued an ultimatum to Austria-Hungary, and then declared war on Austria-Hungary, though it did not declare war on Germany. 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, which 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.
Belgium: Belgium had declared its neutrality when the war began, however 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.
minor Allied powers Serbia: Serbia was invaded by Austria-Hungary after Austria-Hungary placed an ultimatum to the Serbian government demanding full obedience to an Austro-Hungarian investigation of involvement 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. During the war, Serbia justified the war as being the result of Austro-Hungarian imperialism towards Serbs and Slavs.
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. Brazil was the only South American country to participate in the Great War.
United States of America: 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. 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.”
Major central powers Austria-Hungary: Austria-Hungary regarded the assassination of Arch Duke Francis Ferdinand as being orchestrated with the assistance of Serbia. The country viewed the assassination as setting a dangerous precedent of encouraging the country's Slav population to rebel and threaten to tear apart the multinational country. Austria-Hungary formally sent an ultimatum to Serbia demanding a full-scale investigation of Serbian government involvement in the assassination, and complete compliance by Serbia in agreeing to the terms demanded by Austria-Hungary. Serbia submitted to accept most of the demands, however Austria-Hungary viewed this as insufficient and used this lack of full compliance to justify military intervention. These demands have been viewed as a diplomatic cover for what was going to be an inevitable Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia. Austria-Hungary's invasion of Serbia resulted in Russia declaring war on the country and Germany in turn declared war on Russia, setting off the beginning of the clash of alliances that resulted in the World War.
Germany: In early July 1914, in the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the immediate likelihood of war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German government informed the Austro-Hungarian government that Germany would uphold its alliance with Austria-Hungary and defend it from possible Russia intervention if a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia took place.
Ottoman Empire: The Ottoman Empire joined the war on the side of the Central Powers in November 1914. The Ottoman Empire had gained strong economic connections with Germany through the Berlin-to-Baghdad railway project that was still incomplete at the time. The Ottoman Empire made a formal alliance with Germany signed in August 1914. After pressure escalated from the German government demanding that the Ottoman Empire fulfill its treaty obligations, or else Germany would expel the country from the alliance and terminate economic and military assistance, the Ottoman government entered the war with the recently acquired cruisers from Germany, launching a naval raid on the Russian port of Odessa, thus engaging in a military action in accordance with its alliance obligations with Germany. Russia and the Triple Entente then declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
minor central powers Bulgaria: The Kingdom of Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and fought until September 1918. Secretly courted by both sides in World War I as a potential ally in the rowdy Balkan region, Bulgaria eventually decided in favor of the Central Powers. In his statement of October 11, 1916, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister argued that confronting the Allied powers alongside Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire was desirable not only for economic reasons, as the latter two countries were Bulgaria’s chief partners in trade, but also as a way for the country to defend itself against the aggression of Serbia, the Russian ally and major power in the Balkans that was considered to be Bulgaria’s “greatest foe.”
World War I
A Global War Name: _________________________________
Directions: Using the information provided, list which alliance each country was a part of (ALLIED or CENTRAL POWERS). Next, briefly explain their justification for entering the war.
* Great Britain:
* Ottoman Empire:
United States of America:
CRITICAL THINKING: “Why is the fact that Germany, France and Great Britain being the main aggressors in the war inevitably make the war a global conflict?”