Allies of World War I

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See also: Causes of World War I

The Triple Entente, later just the Entente Powers (entente being French for "agreement"), were the Allied powers in World War I.[1] The original allies were France, the Russian Empire, the British Empire; later Italy and Romania.

France followed Russia into World War I in 1914 as a result of their long-standing alliance. Britain entered the war over the German army's violation of Belgium's neutrality, not withstanding Sir Edward Grey's comment to French Ambassador Jules Cambon on 29 July 1914 that "our idea has always been to avoid being drawn into a war over a Balkan question". Other countries later joined the Entente during the war.

It should be noted that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and his administration were determined not to define the U.S.A. as an ally. However, the United States declared war on Germany on the grounds of violations of American neutrality, by German U-boats attacking American shipping heading for Britain with war supplies. They entered the war as an "associated power", rather than a formal ally of France and Britain, and maintained that distance for the 16 months they were in the 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 From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation.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 and Canadian army units were grouped in their own separate army corps, usually under Australian and Canadian commanders, who reported in turn to British and/or French generals, as at Gallipoli and the Battle of Amiens.

In April 1918, operational control of all Allied forces on the Western Front passed to the new supreme commander, Ferdinand Foch, a Maréchal de France.

References

  1. Fabre-Luce, Alfred, The Limitations of Victory. London, 1926, p.93-4.