The Central Powers on 1 August 1914:
Countries of the Central Powers
Colonies, protectorates, and territories of the Central Powers
The Central Powers on 11 November 1918:
Countries, condominiums, and non-state actors of the Central Powers
Colonies, occupations, protectorates, and territories of the Central Powers
Client states of the German Empire in 1918:
|Historical era||World War I|
• Dual Alliance
|7 October 1879|
|28 June 1914|
|2 August 1914|
|11 November 1918|
The Central Powers, also Central Empires : Mittelmächte; Hungarian : Központi hatalmak; Turkish : İttifak Devletleri / Bağlaşma Devletleri; Bulgarian : Централни сили, romanized: Tsentralni sili), consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary , the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria - hence also known as the Quadruple Alliance (German : Vierbund)—was one of the two main coalitions that fought World War I (1914–18).(German
It faced and was defeated by the Allied Powers that had formed around the Triple Entente. The Powers' origin was the alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1879. Despite having nominally joined the Triple Alliance before, Italy did not take part in World War I on the side of the Central Powers; the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria did not join until after World War I had begun, even though the Ottoman Empire had retained close relations with both Germany and Austria-Hungary since the beginning of the 20th century.
The Central Powers consisted of the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the beginning of the war. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers later in 1914. In 1915, the Kingdom of Bulgaria joined the alliance. The name "Central Powers" is derived from the location of these countries; all four (including the other groups that supported them except for Finland and Lithuania) were located between the Russian Empire in the east and France and the United Kingdom in the west. Finland, Azerbaijan, and Lithuania joined them in 1918 before the war ended and after the Russian Empire collapsed
The Central Powers were composed of the following nations:
|28 July 1914|
|1 August 1914|
|2 August 1914 (secret)|
29 October 1914 (public)
|14 October 1915|
|GDP per capita|
|Mobilized||Killed in action||Wounded||Missing in action||Total casualties||Percentage casualties of total force mobilized|
In early July 1914, in the aftermath of the assassination of Austro-Hungarian 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 Russian intervention if a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia took place.When Russia enacted a general mobilization, Germany viewed the act as provocative. The Russian government promised Germany that its general mobilization did not mean preparation for war with Germany but was a reaction to the events between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. The German government regarded the Russian promise of no war with Germany to be nonsense in light of its general mobilization, and Germany, in turn, mobilized for war. On 1 August, Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia stating that since both Germany and Russia were in a state of military mobilization, an effective state of war existed between the two countries. Later that day, France, an ally of Russia, declared a state of general mobilization.
In August 1914, Germany waged war on Russia, the German government justified military action against Russia as necessary because of Russian aggression as demonstrated by the mobilization of the Russian army that had resulted in Germany mobilizing in response.
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 responded to this action by declaring war on France.Germany, facing a two-front war, enacted what was known as the Schlieffen Plan, that involved German armed forces needing to move through Belgium and swing south into France and towards the French capital of Paris. This plan was hoped to quickly gain victory against the French and allow German forces to concentrate on the Eastern Front. Belgium was a neutral country and would not accept German forces crossing its territory. Germany disregarded Belgian neutrality and invaded the country to launch an offensive towards Paris. This caused Great Britain to declare war against the German Empire, as the action violated the Treaty of London that both nations signed in 1839 guaranteeing Belgian neutrality and defense of the kingdom if a nation reneged.
Subsequently, several states declared war on Germany in late August 1914, with Italy declaring war on Austria-Hungary in 1915 and Germany on 27 August 1916, the United States declaring war on Germany on 6 April 1917 and Greece declaring war on Germany in July 1917.
Upon its founding in 1871, the German Empire controlled Alsace-Lorraine as an "imperial territory" incorporated from France after the Franco-Prussian War. It was held as part of Germany's sovereign territory.
Germany held multiple African colonies at the time of World War I. All of Germany's African colonies were invaded and occupied by Allied forces during the war.
Cameroon, German East Africa, and German Southwest Africa were German colonies in Africa. Togoland was a German protectorate in Africa.
The Kiautschou Bay concession was a German dependency in East Asia leased from China in 1898. It was occupied by Japanese forces following the Siege of Tsingtao.
German New Guinea was a German protectorate in the Pacific. It was occupied by Australian forces in 1914.
German Samoa was a German protectorate following the Tripartite Convention. It was occupied by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in 1914.
Austria-Hungary regarded the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as being orchestrated with the assistance of Serbia.The country viewed the assassination as setting a dangerous precedent of encouraging the country's South 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 complicity 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 had been warned by Russia that the Russian government would not tolerate Austria-Hungary invading Serbia.However, with Germany supporting Austria-Hungary's actions, the Austro-Hungarian government hoped that Russia would not intervene and that the conflict with Serbia would be a regional conflict.
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.
Austria-Hungary was internally divided into two states with their own governments, joined in communion through the Habsburg throne. Austrian Cisleithania contained various duchies and principalities but also the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Dalmatia, the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. Hungarian Transleithania comprised the Kingdom of Hungary and the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. In Bosnia and Herzegovina sovereign authority was shared by both Austria and Hungary.
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 on 2 August 1914. The alliance treaty expected that the Ottoman Empire would become involved in the conflict in a short amount of time. However, for the first several months of the war the Ottoman Empire maintained neutrality though it allowed a German naval squadron to enter and stay near the strait of Bosphorus. Ottoman officials informed the German government that the country needed time to prepare for conflict. Germany provided financial aid and weapons shipments to the Ottoman Empire.
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, the Yavuz Sultan Selim (formerly SMS Goeben) and the Midilli (formerly SMS Breslau) 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 declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
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. It invaded Serbia in conjunction with German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Bulgaria held claims on the region of Vardar Macedonia then held by Serbia following the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 and (from the Bulgarian point of view), the costly Treaty of Bucharest (1913).As a condition of entering WW1 on the side of the Central Powers, Bulgaria was granted the right to reclaim that territory.
|Date||Declared by||Declared against|
In opposition to the Union of South Africa, which had joined the war, Boer rebels refounded the South African Republic in 1914 and engaged in the Maritz Rebellion. Germany assisted the rebels, and the rebels operated in and out of the German colony of German South-West Africa. The rebels were eventually defeated by British imperial forces.
The Dervish movement was a rebel Somali movement which had existed since before World War I. It was led by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, who was seeking the independence of Somali territories. The Dervish movement was supported by the Ottoman Empire and Germany, and also briefly by the Ethiopian Empire from 1915–1916.Dervish forces fought against Italian and British forces in Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland during the Somaliland Campaign.
The Senussi Order was a Muslim political-religious tariqa (Sufi order) and clan in Libya, previously under Ottoman control, which had been lost to Italy in 1912. In 1915, they were courted by the Ottoman Empire and Germany and Grand Senussi Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi declared jihad and attacked the Italians in Libya and British controlled Egypt in the so called Senussi Campaign.
The Sultanate of Darfur forces aligned themselves with the Central Powers and fought against British forces in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in the Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition of 1916.
During 1917 and 1918, the Finns under Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim and Lithuanian nationalists fought Russia for a common cause. With the Bolshevik attack of late 1917, the General Secretariat of Ukraine sought military protection first from the Central Powers and later from the armed forces of the Entente.
The Ottoman Empire also had its own allies in Azerbaijan and the Northern Caucasus. The three nations fought alongside each other under the Army of Islam in the Battle of Baku.
The Belarusian People's Republic was a client state of Germany created in 1918.
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was a client state of Germany created in 1918.
The Crimean Regional Government was a client state of Germany created in 1918.
The Don Republic was closely associated with the German Empire and fought against the Bolsheviks.
The Kingdom of Finland was a client state of Germany created in 1918. Prior to the declaration of the kingdom, Finland existed as an autonomous Grand Duchy of Russia since 1809.
The Kuban People's Republic was a client state of Germany created in 1918.
The Kingdom of Lithuania was a client state of Germany created in 1918.
The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was associated with the Central Powers.
The Democratic Republic of Georgia declared independence in 1918 which then led to border conflicts between newly formed republic and Ottoman Empire. Soon after Ottoman Empire invaded the republic and quickly reached Borjomi. This forced Georgia to ask for help from Germany which they were granted. Germany forced the Ottomans to withdraw from Georgian territories and recognize Georgian sovereignty. Germany, Georgia and the Ottomans signed a peace treaty, the Treaty of Batum which ended the conflict with the last two. In return Georgia become a German "ally". This time period of Georgian-German friendship was known as German Caucasus expedition.
The Kingdom of Poland was a client state of Germany created in 1916.This government was recognized by the emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary in November 1916, and it adopted a constitution in 1917. The decision to create a Polish State was taken by Germany in order to attempt to legitimize its military occupation amongst the Polish inhabitants, following upon German propaganda sent to Polish inhabitants in 1915 that German soldiers were arriving as liberators to free Poland from subjugation by Russia. The state was utilized by the German government alongside punitive threats to induce Polish landowners living in the German-occupied Baltic territories to move to the state and sell their Baltic property to Germans in exchange for moving to Poland, and efforts were made to induce similar emigration of Poles from Prussia to the state.
The Ukrainian State was a client state of Germany led by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who overthrew the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic.
The United Baltic Duchy was a proposed client state of Germany created in 1918.
In 1918, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, facing Bolshevik revolution and opposition from the Muslim Musavat Party, was then occupied by the Ottoman Empire, which expelled the Bolsheviks while supporting the Musavat Party.The Ottoman Empire maintained a presence in Azerbaijan until the end of the war in November 1918.
Jabal Shammar was an Arab state in the Middle East that was closely associated with the Ottoman Empire.
States listed in this section were not officially members of the Central Powers, but at some point during the war engaged in cooperation with one or more Central Powers members on a level that makes their neutrality disputable.
The Ethiopian Empire was officially neutral throughout World War I but widely suspected of sympathy for the Central Powers between 1915 and 1916. At the time, Ethiopia was one of the few independent states in Africa and a major power in the Horn of Africa. Its ruler, Lij Iyasu, was widely suspected of harbouring pro-Islamic sentiments and being sympathetic to the Ottoman Empire. The German Empire also attempted to reach out to Iyasu, dispatching several unsuccessful expeditions to the region to attempt to encourage it to collaborate in an Arab Revolt-style uprising in East Africa. One of the unsuccessful expeditions was led by Leo Frobenius, a celebrated ethnographer and personal friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Under Iyasu's directions, Ethiopia probably supplied weapons to the Muslim Dervish rebels during the Somaliland Campaign of 1915 to 1916, indirectly helping the Central Powers' cause.
Fearing the rising influence of Iyasu and the Ottoman Empire, the Christian nobles of Ethiopia conspired against Iyasu over 1915. Iyasu was first excommunicated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch and eventually deposed in a coup d'état on 27 September 1916. A less pro-Ottoman regent, Ras Tafari Makonnen, was installed on the throne.
Other movements supported the efforts of the Central Powers for their own reasons, such as the radical Irish Nationalists who launched the Easter Rising in Dublin in April 1916; they referred to their "gallant allies in Europe". However, the majority of Irish Nationalists supported the British and allied war effort up until 1916 when the Irish political landscape was changing. In 1914, Józef Piłsudski was permitted by Germany and Austria-Hungary to form independent Polish legions. Piłsudski wanted his legions to help the Central Powers defeat Russia and then side with France and the UK and win the war with them.
Bulgaria signed an armistice with the Allies on 29 September 1918, following a successful Allied advance in Macedonia. The Ottoman Empire followed suit on 30 October 1918 in the face of British and Arab gains in Palestine and Syria. Austria and Hungary concluded ceasefires separately during the first week of November following the disintegration of the Habsburg Empire and the Italian offensive at Vittorio Veneto; Germany signed the armistice ending the war on the morning of 11 November 1918 after the Hundred Days Offensive, and a succession of advances by New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, Belgian, British, French and US forces in north-eastern France and Belgium. There was no unified treaty ending the war; the Central Powers were dealt with in separate treaties.
The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original combatants of the first war along with facing a surprise attack from Romania from the north. The conflicts ended catastrophically for the Ottoman Empire, which lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".
Quadruple Alliance may refer to:
The Triple Alliance was an agreement between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. It was formed on 20 May 1882 and renewed periodically until it expired in 1915 during World War I. Germany and Austria-Hungary had been closely allied since 1879. Italy was looking for support against France shortly after it lost North African ambitions to the French. Each member promised mutual support in the event of an attack by any other great power. The treaty provided that Germany and Austria-Hungary were to assist Italy if it was attacked by France without provocation. In turn, Italy would assist Germany if attacked by France. In the event of a war between Austria-Hungary and Russia, Italy promised to remain neutral. The existence and membership of the treaty were well known, but its exact provisions were kept secret until 1919.
The League of Balkans was a quadruple alliance formed by a series of bilateral treaties concluded in 1912 between the Eastern Orthodox kingdoms of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, and directed against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time still controlled much of Southeastern Europe.
The Aftermath of World War I saw drastic political, cultural, economic, and social change across Eurasia, Africa, and even in areas outside those that were directly involved. Four empires collapsed due to the war, old countries were abolished, new ones were formed, boundaries were redrawn, international organizations were established, and many new and old ideologies took a firm hold in people's minds. World War I also had the effect of bringing political transformation to most of the principal parties involved in the conflict, transforming them into electoral democracies by bringing near-universal suffrage for the first time in history, as in Germany, Great Britain, and Turkey.
The Eastern Front or Eastern Theater of World War I was a theater of operations that encompassed at its greatest extent the entire frontier between the Russian Empire and Romania on one side and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire on the other. It stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, involved most of Eastern Europe and stretched deep into Central Europe as well. The term contrasts with "Western Front", which was being fought in Belgium and France.
The Bosnian Crisis of 1908–09, also known as the Annexation crisis or the First Balkan Crisis, erupted in early October 1908 when Austria-Hungary announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, territories formerly within the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. This unilateral action—timed to coincide with Bulgaria's declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire—sparked protestations from all the Great Powers and Austria-Hungary's Balkan neighbours, Serbia and Montenegro. In April 1909 the Treaty of Berlin was amended to reflect the fait accompli and bring the crisis to an end. The crisis permanently damaged relations between Austria-Hungary and the neighboring states of Italy, Serbia, and Russia, and in the long term helped lay the grounds for World War I. Although the crisis ended with what appeared to be a total Austro-Hungarian diplomatic victory, Russia became determined not to back down again and hastened its military build-up. The Crisis also cooled down Austrian–Serbian relations, which continued to be strained until 1914.
The powder keg of Europe or Balkan powder keg was the Balkans in the early part of the 20th century preceding World War I. There were a number of overlapping claims to territories and spheres of influence between the major European powers such as the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire and, to a lesser degree, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and Kingdom of Italy.
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers were the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria–Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria during the First World War (1914–1918).
The Balkans campaign, or Balkan theatre of World War I was fought between the Central Powers, represented by Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire on one side and the Allies, represented by Serbia, Montenegro, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Italy, later joined by Greece, on the other side.
The Serbian campaign of World War I was fought from July 1914, with the three unsuccessful Austria-Hungarian invasions of Serbia, until December 1915, when Serbia was conquered by combined Austria-Hungarian, German and Bulgarian forces under the command of Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen. This resulted in the Great Serbian Retreat, the evacuation to Greece and the establishment of the Macedonian front together with the Allies. The defeat of Serbia gave the Central Powers temporary mastery over the Balkans, opening up a land route from Berlin to Istanbul, allowing the Germans to re-supply the Ottoman Empire for the rest of the war. Mackensen declared an end to the campaign on November 24, 1915.
World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, the Seminal Catastrophe, and initially in North America as the European War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to World War I:
Bulgaria–Germany relations are foreign relations between Bulgaria and Germany. Bulgaria has an embassy in Berlin, a general-consulate in Munich and an office in Bonn. Germany has an embassy in Sofia. As EU members, the Bulgarian government views Germany as its key strategic partner in the EU. Some Bulgarian government ministers and President Plevneliev speak German. German experts have been and still are active in an advisory capacity in Bulgarian government ministries as part of continuing implementation measures connected with the country’s EU accession.
The Negotiations of Bulgaria with the Central Powers and the Entente were attempts of the two belligerents in World War I, the Central Powers and the Entente to involve Bulgaria in the war on their side. They are also called The Bulgarian Summer of 1915.
While Poland did not exist as an independent state during World War I, its geographical position between the fighting powers meant that much fighting and terrific human and material losses occurred on the Polish lands between 1914 and 1918.
Albania during World War I was an independent state, having gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, on 28 November 1912, following the First Balkan War. It was recognized by the Great Powers as the Principality of Albania, after Turkey officially renounced all its rights in May 1913. A new country with various ethnic groups, it quickly unraveled and just a few months after taking power, its ruler, Austro-Hungarian aristocrat, Prince William of Wied, was forced to flee. After World War I broke out, anarchy took hold of the country as tribes and regions rebelled against central rule. To protect the Greek minority, Greek control was established in the southern districts replacing the Northern Epirote units beginning in October 1914. In response to this, Italy, although officially neutral, also sent troops into the port of Vlorë, while Serbia and Montenegro took control of northern regions. In 1915 Serbia was overrun by combined German, Austro-Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces; the Serbian army retreated across the mountain passes of northern Albania, towards the Adriatic. Italian troops drove the Greeks from southern Albania and brought almost all Albanian territory under their control. Austrian forces invaded in June 1916, Austro-Hungarian forces remained in Albania until the end of the war when a multinational Allied force broke through and pushed them out in 1918.
History of modern Serbia or modern history of Serbia covers the history of Serbia since national awakening in the early 19th century from the Ottoman Empire, then Yugoslavia, to the present day Republic of Serbia. The era follows the early modern history of Serbia.
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 attack Paris from the north. The German invasion of Belgium caused Britain to declare war on Germany on August 4. Most of the main parties were now at war. In October 1914, Turkey joined the war on Germany's side, becoming part of the Central Powers. Italy, which was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary before World War I, was neutral in 1914 before switching to the Allied side in May 1915.