Little Entente

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Little Entente

(äntänt`), loose alliance formed in 1920–21 by Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Its specific purposes were the containment of Hungarian revisionism (of the terms of the World War I peace treaty) and the prevention of a restoration of the Hapsburgs. The three nations were drawn together by three bilateral treaties of defensive and economic alliance. This combination eventually became closely bound to France by financial and treaty obligations, and Poland sometimes cooperated with it but did not enter the alliance. Yugoslavia and Romania were also members of the Balkan EntenteBalkan Entente
, loose alliance formed in 1934 by Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey to safeguard their territorial integrity against Bulgarian revisionism. It thus was in harmony with the Little Entente (formed by Yugoslavia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia chiefly against
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, formed in 1934.

The overall aims of the Little Entente and the Balkan Entente, taken together, were the preservation of the territorial status quo, established by the treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain, Trianon, and Neuilly, against the efforts of Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Bulgaria to have those treaties revised; the prevention of AnschlussAnschluss
, German term designating the incorporation of Austria into Germany in the 1930s. Anschluss was first advocated by Austrian Social Democrats. The 1919 peace treaty of St. Germain prohibited Anschluss, to prevent a resurgence of a strong Germany.
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, or union, between Germany and Austria; and the encouragement of closer economic ties among its members. The Little Entente was successful in its aims until the rise of Hitler in Germany, when French prestige was gradually displaced by German economic penetration and political pressure. It began to break apart in 1936 and was effectively ended when Czechoslovakia lost its membership by the formation of the Munich Pact (1938).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Little Entente


an alliance of Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, set up in 1920–21 in order to maintain the balance of power that arose in central and southeastern Europe after World War I. It was a major element in the French system of military and political alliances in Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The entente followed the lead of French foreign policy and had a clearly anti-Soviet orientation. The Little Entente was based on bilateral agreements among its partners signed in 1920–21. The Little Entente had considerable armed forces, was linked with Poland through the anti-Soviet Rumanian-Polish pact concluded on July 18,1921, and relied on the help of France.

The weakening of the French position in Europe after the adoption of the Dawes Plan in 1924 and the signing of the Locarno Treaties in 1925 led to a weakening of the Little Entente as well. In an attempt to retain its influence over the partners of the entente, France concluded military and political agreements with them (with Czechoslovakia on Jan. 25, 1924, with Rumania on June 10,1926, and with Yugoslavia on Nov. 11,1927). But the value of these agreements for France was greatly reduced by Rumania’s rapprochements with Britain, with Hungary, and especially with Italy (Italo-Rumanian pact of friendship of 1926). Agreements concluded by Yugoslavia caused a new crack in the system of the Little Entente: the Yugoslav-Bulgarian pact of eternal friendship (Jan. 14, 1937) and the Italo-Yugoslav nonaggression pact (Mar. 25, 1937). The Munich Agreement of 1938, which Britain and France concluded with the fascist governments of Germany and Italy, and which led to the annexation of Czechoslovakia by Hitler’s Germany, put an end to the Little Entente.


British and Foreign State Papers, vol. 114. London, 1924. Pages 695–96.
League of Nations. Treaty Series, vol. 54. [Geneva, n.d.] Document No. 1289.


Boshkovich, B. Balkany i mezhdunarodnyi imperializm. Moscow, 1936.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
France preferred the former option, and advocated an arrangement in which its alliance with Poland, plus the "Little Entente" of Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia, would contain both Hungarian and German expansionism.
France preferred the former option, and advocated an arrangement in which its alliance with Poland, plus the "Little Entente" of Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia, would contain both Hungarian and German expansionism.
--the Little Entente countries--emphasising doubts expressed by the Foreign Office and political circles about the decisions taken by "The First Meeting of the Permanent Council of the Little Entente in Sinaia" and also "Minister Titulescu's activity in Poland and the Balkans" to sign bi--and multilateral agreements.
The author of the Report pays special attention to the way in which the two regional organisations--the Little Entente and the Balkan Entente--are regarded by British politicians, who consider they "are being called on to play a progressively more significant role in the issue of maintaining peace" and "the Little Entente is meant to replace the States that overset the system of the Eastern pact designed by Messrs.
Poland had been an invasion corridor in World War I and after it, and had wrecked the Little Entente and any prospect of collective security in 1938-39; Rumania had occupied Odessa and much of southern Ukraine for four years.
"The received answers may be separated under two sections: of the states that adhered entirely to the Memorandum's proposals, such as France and the countries of the Little Entente and the answers of the governments that have political and economical reserves, such as Germany and Hungary." (17) Otherwise, and this aspect has been mentioned beforehand, the governments' positioning at the Briand Memorandum accurately reflected the intentions and projections of each of them regarding strategies and national visions within the European complex.
The main allies of the Briand Project, precisely for geopolitical reasons, were the representatives of the countries that signed the Little Entente, respectively Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.
But there was very little entente cordial on court as Loit was far from happy at a string of suspect line-calls and Golovin's unscheduled toilet break in the decisive set.
The goal here has been to forge a little entente or conspiracy with the power elite...."
France's alliances with Poland and Czechoslovakia, in the form of the Little Entente (with Romania and Yugoslavia), were never well received in London.
On one side, the Little Entente disappeared and the system of alliance of France with the east of Europe was fading.
(1968), The Little Entente, Bucharest: Scientific Publishing.