The Countries Involved in World War I

More than 100 nations worldwide eventually joined the conflict

Sikh soldiers on the march in France at the start of World War I

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

The relevance of "world" in the term "World War I" is often difficult to see, because books, articles, and documentaries generally concentrate on Europe and America; even the Middle East and Anzac— Australian and New Zealand—forces are often glossed over. The use of "world" isn't, as non-Europeans might suspect, the result of self-important bias toward the West, because a full list of the countries involved in WWI reveals a picture of global activity.

Between 1914 and 1918, more than 100 countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe were part of the conflict.

How Involved Were Countries?

The levels of involvement differed hugely. Some countries mobilized millions of troops and fought hard for more than four years, some were used as reservoirs of goods and manpower by their colonial rulers, while others simply declared war later on and contributed only moral support. Many were drawn in by colonial links: When Britain, France, and Germany declared war, they also committed their empires, involving most of Africa, India, and Australasia, while the 1917 entry of the U.S. prompted much of central America to follow.

Consequently, the countries in the following list didn't necessarily send troops, and few saw fighting on their own soil; they either declared war or were considered involved in the conflict, such as being invaded before they could declare anything.

It's important to remember, though, that the effects of WWI went beyond this global list. Even countries that remained neutral felt the economic and political effects of a conflict that shattered the established global order.

The nations involved in WWI, by continent, were:

Africa

Algeria
Angola
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Basutoland
Bechuanaland
Belgian Congo
British East Africa (Kenya)
British Gold Coast
British Somaliland
Cameroon
Cabinda
Egypt
Eritrea
French Equatorial Africa
Gabon
Middle Congo
Ubangi-Schari
French Somaliland
French West Africa
Dahomey
Guinea
Ivory Coast
Mauretania
Senegal
Upper Senegal and Niger
Gambia
German East Africa
Italian Somaliland
Liberia
Madagascar
Morocco
Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique)
Nigeria
Northern Rhodesia
Nyasaland
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South West Africa (Namibia)
Southern Rhodesia
Togoland
Tripoli
Tunisia
Uganda and Zanzibar

Americas

Brazil
Canada
Costa Rica
Cuba
Falkland Islands
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Guadeloupe
Newfoundland
Nicaragua
Panama
Philippines
U.S.A
West Indies
Bahamas
Barbados
British Guiana
British Honduras
French Guiana
Grenada
Jamaica
Leeward Islands
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
Trinidad and Tobago

Asia

Aden
Arabia
Bahrein
El Qatar
Kuwait
Trucial Oman
Borneo
Ceylon
China
India
Japan
Persia
Russia
Siam
Singapore
Transcaucasia
Turkey

Australasia and Pacific Islands

Antipodes
Auckland
Austral Islands
Australia
Bismarck Archipelago
Bounty
Campbell
Carolina Islands
Chatham Islands
Christmas
Cook Islands
Ducie
Elice Islands
Fanning
Flint
Fiji Islands
Gilbert Islands
Kermadec Islands
Macquarie
Malden
Mariana Islands
Marquesas Islands
Marshal Islands
New Guinea
New Caledonia
New Hebrides
New Zealand
Norfolk
Palau Islands
Palmyra
Paumoto Islands
Pitcairn
Phoenix Islands
Samoa Islands
Solomon Islands
Tokelau Islands
Tonga

Europe

Albania
Austria-Hungary
Belgium
Bulgaria
Czechoslovakia
Estonia
Finland
France
Great Britain
Germany
Greece
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Montenegro
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Turkey

Atlantic Islands

Ascension
Sandwich Islands
South Georgia
St. Helena
Tristan da Cunha

Indian Ocean Islands

Andaman Islands
Cocos Islands
Mauritius
Nicobar Islands
Reunion
Seychelles

Other Involvements

  • Brazil was the only independent South American country to declare war in WWI; it joined the Entente countries—Great Britain, France and Russia— against Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1917. Other South American nations severed their relations with Germany but did not declare war: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay, all in 1917.
  • Despite Africa's size, the only regions to remain neutral were Ethiopia and the four small Spanish colonies of Rio de Oro (Spanish Sahara), Rio Muni, Ifni, and Spanish Morocco.