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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



or Entente Cordiale, imperialist bloc of England, France, and tsarist Russia (known also as the Triple Entente).

The Entente was formed during 1904–07; during World War I it united more than 20 states against the German coalition. The formation of the Entente was preceded by the conclusion of a Franco-Russian alliance during 1891–93, in response to the creation of the Triple Alliance of 1882—an aggressive bloc headed by Germany. In the early 20th century, Anglo-German contradictions intensified and began to play a decisive role in international relations, pushing into the background the conflicts of England with France and Russia growing out of colonial rivalry. The intensification of contradictions with Germany prompted England to renounce its policy of “splendid isolation,” of playing off the contradictions between both alliances and refusing to join any bloc. An Anglo-French agreement was signed in 1904, and an Anglo-Russian agreement in 1907. In effect, these agreements formalized the creation of the Entente. In the system of the Entente, Russia and France were allies, bound to each other by mutual military obligations fixed by the military convention of 1892 and the subsequent decisions of the general staffs of both states. However, the English government, despite the contacts between the English and French general staffs and naval commands established in 1906 and 1912, respectively, assumed no definite military obligations.

The formation of the Entente alleviated differences between its participants but did not eliminate them. These differences became evident on more than one occasion (for example, the contradictions between England and Russia in Iran, the friction between the three participants of the Entente in the Balkans and in Turkey, and others), which Germany exploited in the effort to detach Russia from the Entente (as in the Potsdam Agreement of 1911). However, strategic considerations, a certain degree of financial dependence of the tsarist government on France, and the aggressive plans of German imperialism doomed the German efforts to failure. The countries of the Entente, in turn, in their preparations for war against Germany and its allies took steps to detach Italy and Austria-Hungary from the Triple Alliance. Although up to the start of World War I, Italy formally remained part of the Triple Alliance, its ties with the countries of the Entente strengthened, and in May 1915 Italy went over to the side of the Entente.

The countries of the Entente made common cause from the start of World War I, which was unleashed by Germany. In September 1914 an agreement was concluded by England, France, and Russia whereby none would conclude a separate peace—this serving as the equivalent of an allied military ‘reaty. In October 1915, Japan—which had declared war on Germany in August 1914—adhered to this agreement. In the course of the war, the greatest burden of which fell on Russia, and also on France, additional states gradually joined. By the end of the war, the states of the anti-German coalition (without Russia, which left the war after the October Revolution) included England, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Greece, Italy, China, Cuba, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Rumania, Santo Domingo, San Marino, Serbia, Siam, the USA, France, Uruguay, Montenegro, Hejaz, Ecuador, and Japan. The term “Entente” has been frequently applied as a general designation for the states fighting against Germany and its allies.

Just as Germany and its allies worked out an imperialist program for the repartition of the world, the main participants in the Entente—England, France, and Russia—engaged in secret negotiations from the first days of the war on the goals of the war, which aimed at the seizure of the territory of other states (the Anglo-Franco-Russian agreement of 1915 provided for the transfer of the Black Sea straits to tsarist Russia; the Treaty of London of 1915 between the Entente and Italy determined Italy’s territorial acquisitions, to be achieved at the expense of Austria, Turkey, and Albania; the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 provided for the division of Turkey’s Asian possessions among England, France, and Russia; and others). After the Great October Socialist Revolution, the imperialist circles of the Entente countries and the USA organized armed intervention against the Soviet state in order to overthrow the Soviet power, dismember Russia, and turn it into a colony. As early as Dec. 23, 1917, England and France signed an agreement on joint intervention against Soviet Russia. The Entente intervention began in March 1918. The USA and a number of other states that were not actually part of the Entente participated actively in the intervention. However, the Entente’s campaigns against the Soviet state were utterly defeated by the Soviet people, led by the Communist Party. The failure of the counterrevolutionary intervention brought in its wake a sharpening of contradictions among the members of the Entente, which in turn resulted in the Entente’s disintegration.


Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia v epokhu imperializma: Dokumenty iz arkhivov tsarskogo i Vremennogo pravitel’stv 1878–1917 gg. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931–40.
Sbornik dogovorov Rossii s drugimi gosudarstvami: 1856–1917. [Moscow], 1952.
Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, [vols. 1–3]. Moscow, 1957–59.
British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vols. 1–11. Edited by G. P. Gooch and H. Temperley. London, 1926–38.
Documents diplomatiques francais (1871–1914), series 1–3. Paris, 1929–60.
Die grosse Politik der Europáischen Kabinette 1871–1914, vols. 1–40. Berlin, 1922–27.


Lenin, V. I. “Pis’ma iz daleka.” Letter 4: “Kak dobit’sia mira?” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 31.
Lenin, V. I. “Pis’mo k rabochim Evropy i Ameriki.” Ibid., vol. 39.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad na II Vserossiiskom s”ezde kommunisticheskikh organizatsii narodov Vostoka 22 noiabria 1919 g.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Politicheskii doklad Tsentral’nogo Komiteta 2 dekabria” (speech to the Eighth All-Russian Conference of the RCP [Bolshevik] of Dec. 2–4, 1919). Ibid.
Istoriia diplomatii, 2nd ed., vols. 2–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963–65.
Tarle, E. V. “Evropa v epokhu imperializma 1871–1919 gg.” Soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1958.
Galkin, I. S. Diplomatiia evropeiskikh derzhav v sviazi s osvoboditel’nym dvizheniem narodov Evropeiskoi Turtsii v 1905–1912 gg. Moscow, 1960.
Shtein, B. E. “Russkii vopros” na Parizhskoi mirnoi konferentsii (1919–1920 gg.). [Moscow], 1949.
Renouvin, P., E. Préclin, and G. Hardy. Lapaix, armée et la grande guerre (1871–1919). Paris, 1947.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. short for entente cordiale
2. the parties to an entente cordiale collectively
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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