Little Entente (äntäntˈ) [key], 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 Entente, 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 Anschluss, 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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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