The Central Powers
, Hungarian: Központi hatalmak
, Turkish: İttifak Devletleri, Bağlaşma Devletleri
, Bulgarian: Централни сили, Tsentralni sili
) were one of the two alliances during the First World War (1914 – 1918), consisting of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The alliance was previously known as the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, which was formed in 1882 to oppose the Triple Entente of the UK, France and Russia.
When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (28 July 1914), Germany at once supported her ally whereas Italy refused to join the war, reasoning that the Triple Alliance was supposed to be purely defensive. Italy ultimately switched sides to the Triple Entente in 1915 by declaring war on Austria-Hungary. In October 1914, the Ottoman Empire openly joined Germany and Austria-Hungary, both by now at war with the Triple Entente. This basically formed a ‘new’ alliance: the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. One year later, the Kingdom of Bulgaria joined.Notes:
+ Germany-ball is the biggest because Germany was by far the strongest member of the alliance.
+ Austria-Hungary became militarily dependent on Germany as the war progressed, becoming a de facto military vassal.
+ The Ottoman Empire had been in decline for over a century.
+ Despite being the smallest member of the four Central Powers, the Kingdom of Bulgaria was the only one to survive the defeat of 1918.
+ The German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire all ceased to exist shortly after the war.