What were the two alliances of World War I? 

What were the two alliances of World War I?


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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During World War I, there were two major alliances. These entangling alliances were a factor in making what was a two-country conflict turn into a world war. The two alliances that existed during World War I were the Central Powers and the Allied Powers.

The Central Powers included the countries of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria. These countries agreed to help each other if they were attacked. Before World War I began, the next King of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by a group of Serbian nationals. Before Austria-Hungary went to war, they asked Germany if they would support Austria-Hungary if another country declared war on them. Germany agreed to support them.

The Allied Powers consisted of France, Great Britain, and Russia. Later, Italy and the United States joined the Allies. Russia and Serbia were close friends. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary. With a member of each alliance now having declared war on a member of the opposing alliance, a chain reaction began. Germany declared war on Russia after Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary. Then France declared war on Germany, and Germany declared war on France. Great Britain also entered the war when Germany invaded Belgium.

This system of alliances was good in offering protection and support to member nations. However, it also helped escalate the conflict in Europe into a world war very quickly.