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Great Powers

In the context of World War I, the Great Powers were the major European countries: Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and its dominions.

The Ottomans had been in decline for many years, and had little claim to being a great power. At the same time, Japan and the United States were beginning to attain Great Power status.

The concerns of individual Great Powers in maintaining, and fear of losing, their status as one of the Great Powers is considered by many to a leading cause of the war.

At the beginning of 1914, the first year of the war, the Great Powers were divided two blocs, the Triple Entente of Russia, France, and Great Britain, and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Neutral in the first year of the war, Italy would join the Entente powers in 1915. Neutral in the first months, Turkey would join Germany and Austria-Hungary in the autumn of 1914.