Who DID we fight in World War I?

Hey guys! So I was watching a Friends episode, ‘The one with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding’, and Joey had landed a role in an upcoming war film with Gary Oldman. However, no one knew who fought in World War I. I was surprised that I actually didn’t know either, I’d studied WWII in high school, but the details of WWI escaped me!

So, what did happen?

World War I, or the Great War, was a conflict between the major powers of the time from 1914 to 1918. For me, one of the most interesting parts is to see who’s fighting alongside whom, so that I can look at their relationship today and compare.

Basically, it was Allies vs Central Powers.

The Allies consisted of something called a Triple Entente – UK, France and the Russian Empire. Italy joined later, along with some other minor members. The U.S. declared war on Germany, and entered the war as an ‘associated power’ rather than a formal ally, to avoid obligations, pacts etc.

The Central Powers consisted of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Allies – Green, Central Powers – Orange

How it started is really long and complicated, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible whilst retaining as much accuracy as I can. Basically, Europe is huge and has a lot of kingdoms and such, and at the time there was a lot of balancing out of powers. This resulted in a lot of alliances and stuff being thrown around until you have a complicated network of pacts, alliances and promises.

For four decades prior to the war, there were tensions between the great powers, because Germany was growing steadily and there were territorial conflicts concerning the Balkans. Austria and Serbia were butting heads over it, and through the alliances, they brought bigger people into the conflict.

The immediate cause of the war, the catalyst of it all, was the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, by a Serbian fellow called Gavrilo Princip. This led to the July Crisis which in turn started the war.

Fair enough, too many big fish in one tank.

Hope you learned something here as I did! I don’t think I’ll remember it all, but at least I know who fought whom in WWI!

Thanks for reading!



30 responses to “Who DID we fight in World War I?

  1. Pingback: On This Day In History: The Start of World War I « I Love History…and Research·

  2. Oct. 3 2012 just sitting here watching a late night re-run of friends the same one that u mentioned n ur post. I asked my self the same question u asked and turned to my phone as u do when searching for information to find this exact thing has been answered tyvm lol

  3. Ironically enough i looked this up on Google because that episode of friends is on and i wanted to know too!:)

  4. that’s funny that u mentioned the tv show friends, I’m watching it now (rerun gotta love em) and I googled bc I didn’t know the answer

  5. Unbelievably the same thing happened to me. I was watching the same episode of Friends, hence my reason for going to this site. Thank you , it was very informative.

  6. Thank you. I was watching the same show and didn’t know either, so i decided to look it up. Lol

  7. That cracks me up, i’m watching Friends and realized I didn’t know this either. I can’t believe Friends made us all learn something.

  8. How can so many people not know who was in WW1. This was one of the largest conflicts ever fought, and it concluded less than 100 years ago. I am literally speechless.

    • I was watching the same friends episode too. I think alot of people must look it up after friends. I think the reason people forget ww1 is because we aren’t taught it in school as much as ww2. They glance over it and you forget.

      • I was surprised at myself as well for not knowing anything about it! But I have to agree with Suz, I just don’t think our curriculums focus on it as much (unless you’re a history major)

  9. I’m watching the same episode of friends right now haha. As a Brit we study WWI and WWII in great detail, but whilst watching the friends episode it dawned on me that maybe Americans don’t study WWI as much. I originally thought it was a bit sad that Americans might have no clue who they fought in WWI but then again America stayed out of the first 3 years so its a bit harsh to think less of you when you were only involved in the last year. That’s not no say that Americas contribution in the world wars was any less. It took all of the allies to win, particularly the 3 main powers. In relation to WWII I believe they say “Britain brought the time, America the money and Russia the blood”

    Now back to friends

    All the best


  10. It’s funny bc I came here bc I was watching that episode too! 😂😂😂 THATS SO FUNNY.

  11. Thank you lol I’m watching the same firends episode and didn’t really know what WW1 was about didnt remember it in high school ☺

  12. Me too a was there watching friends and then they said so who did we fight in world war 1 because I didn’t know at all

  13. Here it is, 2016 and I was watching friends reruns on netflix and the same episode came up about ww1. I went to Google also and here I am. This is too funny. Thanx for the history lesson!

  14. Well, here we are in May 2016 and that same Friends re-run just aired. Like Rachel, I couldn’t answer the question and googled my way to your page. Thanks for the info!

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