Allied War Aims in Europe

  • Matthew Hughes
  • William J. Philpott


Unlike Germany, the allies did not immediately formulate war aims on the outbreak of war. In part this reflected disagreements between the allies themselves, and in part a desire not to give hostages to fortune, since allied diplomacy in the early years of the war was targeted at bringing in neutrals on the allied side, and breaking up the hostile alliance by offering concessions to one or more of Germany’s allies. Often these diplomatic initiatives were contradictory and counterproductive. To bring Italy into the war on the allied side in 1915 she was offered territorial rewards at expense of Austria-Hungary and Turkey (see Maps 14 and 23). Such promises would stand in the way of a separate peace settlement with Austria-Hungary in 1917. Clearly, war aims were a diplomatic minefield which had to be negotiated with caution.


Peace Settlement Peace Offer German Coloni Imperialist Ambition Naval Power 
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© Matthew Hughes & William J. Philpott 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Hughes
  • William J. Philpott

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