Triple Entente

Orfeas Katsoulis | Jan 26, 2023

Table of Content


Entente is a military-political bloc of Russia, Great Britain, and France. Abroad, the official and academic literature accepts the expanded name of the Triple Entente, English Triple Entente. It was created as a counterweight to the "Triple Entente" of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. It was mainly formed in 1904-1907 and completed the separation of the great powers on the eve of World War I.

Originally, since 1904, the phrase fr. l'Entente cordiale ("cordial agreement") was used to refer to the newly formed new Anglo-French alliance, recalling the short-lived Anglo-French alliance of the 1840s that bore the same name.

The creation of the Entente was a reaction to the establishment of the Triple Alliance and the strengthening of Germany, an attempt to prevent its hegemony on the continent, initially by Russia and France (France initially had an anti-German stance), and then by Britain. Faced with the threat of German hegemony, Britain was forced to abandon its traditional policy of "brilliant isolation" and turn to its - however, also traditional - policy of blockade against the continent's strongest power. The German naval program and Germany's colonial claims were particularly important incentives for Britain to make this choice. In Germany, in turn, this turn of events was declared "encirclement" and served as a pretext for new military preparations, positioned as purely defensive.

The confrontation between the Entente and the Triple Alliance led to World War I, where the opponent of the Entente and its allies was the bloc of Central Powers, in which Germany played a leading role. France did much to coordinate the military efforts of the Entente.

Initially the Entente was a more political entity, and only the prolongation of World War I and the effective management of the enemy armies by the German General Staff raised the question of close military cooperation among Entente members in 1915. From 1915 regular inter-allied conferences of the Entente powers began to be held (the first opened on July 7, 1915, at Chantilly).

After the victory over Germany in 1919, the Supreme Council of the Entente practically served as a "world government" in the organization of the post-war order, but the failure of Entente policy toward Russia and Turkey revealed the limits of its power, undermined by internal contradictions between the victorious powers. In this political capacity of "world government," the Entente ceased to exist after the formation of the League of Nations.

The October Revolution in Russia initially mattered to Russia's Entente allies primarily in terms of their disastrous military prospects (Russia's withdrawal from the war). Great Britain, France, and Italy, believing that a pro-German party had seized power in Russia, which had concluded an armistice and begun peace talks with Germany on the withdrawal of Russia from the war, decided to support the forces that did not recognize the power of the new regime.

On December 22, the conference of representatives of the Entente in Paris recognized the need to maintain contact with the anti-Bolshevik governments of Ukraine, Cossack regions, Siberia, the Caucasus and Finland and open loans to them. On December 23, 1917, an Anglo-French agreement on the division of spheres of responsibility in Russia was concluded: the British zone included the Caucasus and the Cossack regions, the French zone - Bessarabia, Ukraine and the Crimea; Siberia and the Far East were considered the responsibility of the United States and Japan.

After the conclusion of the Brest Peace Treaty on March 3, 1918, the Entente declared its non-recognition of the agreement, but did not proceed to military action against the Soviet government, trying to negotiate with it. On March 6, a small English landing party, two companies of marines, landed in Murmansk to prevent the Germans from seizing the huge amount of military supplies delivered by the Allies to Russia, but did not take any hostile actions against the Soviet power (until June 30). In response to the murder of two Japanese citizens on April 5, two companies of Japanese and a half company of British landed in Vladivostok, but they were returned to the ships two weeks later.

The aggravation of relations between the Entente countries and the Bolsheviks began in May 1918. Then Germany demanded that Soviet Russia strictly fulfill the conditions of the Brest Peace Treaty - in particular to intern, that is, to fully disarm and imprison in concentration camps, all soldiers of the Entente and its allies, located on Soviet territory. This led to the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps, the landing of 2,000 troops by the British in Arkhangelsk in August 1918 and the advance of the Japanese into Primorye and Transbaikalia.

After the defeat of Germany in November 1918, the Entente attempts to fill the military-political vacuum created by the withdrawal of German (and Turkish - in Transcaucasia) troops, occupying the Russian Black Sea towns: Odessa, Sevastopol, Nikolayev, as well as Transcaucasia. However, except for the battalion of Greeks that participated in the battles with Ataman Grigoriev's detachments near Odessa, the rest of the Entente troops, never taking up combat, evacuated from Odessa and the Crimea in April 1919.

Japan remained active in the Far East, pursuing its own interests but restrained in this respect by the Americans. England in the spring of 1919, at the invitation of the local governments: Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, - landed its troops in the Transcaucasus.

Active material and economic assistance to the White Movement continued until the conclusion of the Peace of Versailles, which formalized Germany's defeat in the war. After that the assistance of the Western allies to the White Movement gradually ceased.

In Soviet historical scholarship, the Entente intervention in Russia was viewed as an invasion directed against Soviet Russia, identified by the Soviet government with Russia as a whole. In modern Russia, the Entente intervention is already less often viewed as an armed attack.

Emperor Wilhelm II states in his memoirs that in fact the Entente bloc took shape as early as 1897, after the signing between England, America, and France of the tripartite agreement known as the "Gentlemen's Agreement.

The problem of Japan" by an anonymous author, published in The Hague in 1918, supposedly written by an ex-diplomat from the Far East, cites excerpts from a book by Roland Ascher, professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis. Ascher, like his former colleague, Professor John Bassett Moore of Columbia University in New York, was frequently engaged by the State Department in Washington as a foreign policy advisor, for he was a great expert on international affairs, which also concerned the United States, of which there are few in America. A book published in 1913 by Roland Ascher, professor of history at the University of Washington, first made known the contents of an "Agreement" or "Treaty" of a secret nature between England, America, and France, concluded in the spring of 1897. This agreement stipulated that should Germany, or Austria, or both together start a war in the interest of "Pan-Germanism," the United States would immediately side with England and France, and provide all its means to aid these powers. Professor Usher goes on to cite all the reasons, including those of a colonial nature, that led the United States to take part in the war against Germany, the proximity of which he predicted as early as 1913. - The anonymous author of "The problem of Japan" has made a special table of the clauses of the agreement concluded in 1897 between England, France and America, dividing them into separate headings, and thus depicting in a visual form the extent of the mutual obligations. This chapter of his book reads with extreme interest and gives a good idea of the events preceding the world war and of the preparations for it by the Entente Cordiale countries, which, while not yet acting under the name of "Entente cordiale", were already then uniting against Germany. The former diplomat notes: Here we have a treaty concluded, according to Professor Ascher, as early as 1897 - a treaty which envisaged all the stages of England, France and America's participation in future events, including the conquest of Spanish colonies, the control of Mexico and Central America, the use of China and the annexation of the coal plants. Nevertheless, Professor Ascher wants to persuade us that these events were only necessary to save the world from "Pan-Germanism. It is superfluous to remind Professor Ascher, the ex-diplomat continues, that even if the specter of "Pan-Germanism" were acknowledged to exist, no one had heard of it yet in 1897, for by that time Germany had not yet exhibited its great naval program, which was not promulgated until 1898. Thus, if England, France, and the United States really cherished those general plans which Professor Usher attributes to them, and if they made an alliance to carry out these plans, it will hardly be possible to explain both the origin of these plans and their execution by such a weak pretext as the success of "Pan-Germanism." So says the ex-diplomat. This can be truly marveled at. The Gauls and the Anglo-Saxons, with the object of destroying Germany and Austria, and of eliminating their competition in the world market in complete peace, conclude without the slightest remorse this treaty of partition, elaborated to the smallest detail, against Spain, Germany, etc. This treaty was concluded by the united Gallo-Anglo-Saxons 17 years before the outbreak of the world war, and its aims were systematically elaborated during that period. One can now understand the ease with which King Edward VII was able to carry out his encirclement policy; the main actors had long since melded together and were ready. When he dubbed this alliance "Entente cordiale," it was unpleasant news to the world, especially to the Germans; to the other side, however, it was only an official recognition of what had long been known de facto.


  1. Triple Entente
  2. Антанта
  3. ^ Robert Gildea, Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800–1914 (3rd ed. 2003) ch 15
  4. ^ Edgar Feuchtwanger, Imperial Germany 1850–1918 (2002). p 216.
  5. ^ Gildea 2003, p. 237.
  6. ^ Ruth Henig, The Origins of the First World War (2002), p.3.
  7. Official Supplement (1915), 'Chapter 7: Declaration of the Triple Entente', American Society of International law, p. 303.
  8. Павлов А. Ю. Россия на межсоюзнических конференциях в годы первой мировой войны. // Военно-исторический журнал. — 2010. — № 2. — С.25-31.
  9. Вильгельм II События и люди 1878—1918. — Мн.: «Харвест», 2003. — С. 51-52
  10. Robert Gildea, Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914 (3rd ed. 2003) ch 15
  11. Feuchtwanger 2002, p. 216.
  12. Gildea 2003, p. 237.
  13. Entente Cordiale European history
  14. Herber – Martos – Moss – Tisza: Történelem 6. (Budapest, 2000) 148. o.

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