Difference Between Axis and Central Powers

The Axis and Central Powers were two factions who fought against the Allied powers. The Axis powers fought against the Allies in World War 2, and the Central Powers fought against them in World War 1.

The commonality between them was that they both had expansionist agendas at the expense of other nations and one of the differences between the two is that the Central Powers were the enemies of the Allies during World War 1, while the Axis powers were one of the opposing factions of the Second World War.

Candidates preparing for the upcoming Civil Services Exam can also refer to the following links:

Difference Between Allied and Axis Powers World War I [1914 – 1918]
World War II [1939 – 1945] Causes of World War I
Global Impact of World War II Causes of World War II

Difference Between Axis and Central Powers - UPSC History 2021

We will discuss further differences between the Axis and Central powers in this article for the IAS Exam                       

Differences between the Axis and Central Powers


Central Powers

The Axis Powers were active during the Second World War (1939-1945) The Central Powers were active during the entirety of World War 1. It was dissolved upon its defeat in 1918
The Axis Powers consisted of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. The Central Powers consisted of Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria
The Axis camp was led by German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini and Japanese Shōwa Emperor Hirohito (Although military affairs were led helmed by General Tojo Hideki) The Central Powers were led by Emperor Wilhelm of Germany, King Franz-Joseph of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sultan Mehmed V of the Ottoman Empire and Tsar Ferdinand V of Bulgaria
The Axis Powers were mostly dictatorships with the exception of Imperial Japan led by Emperor Hirohito The Central Powers were all monarchies with an imperialist agenda in mind
The Axis Powers were motivated by territorial expansion at the expense of their neighbours and in ensuring that their spheres of influence were protected from the advance of communism The Central Powers wanted to preserve their own regional hegemony while protecting and expanding their interests against other European powers, such as the British and French Empires
The wartime GDP of the axis was $911 billion at its height in 1941 The Wartime GDP of the Central Powers was $383.9 billion in 1914
The Axis population in 1938 was 258.9 million. The Population of the Central Powers was 156.1 Million in 1914
The Axis powers dominated a large swathe of Western & Central Europe along with most of South-East Asia during the initial phase (1939-1942) of World War 2 The Central Powers held the initiative for most of World War 1 but made no significant gains either. Their successes were reversed upon the entry of the United States in 1918
The Axis powers would go on to be defeated by the Allies. Italy would be the first to surrender on September 8, 1943, 

Germany surrendered on May 7th, 1945.

After dropping atomic bombs on the twin cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Imperial Japan formally surrendered to the Allies on September 2nd, 1945

The following are the dates on which each Central Powers nation signed the armistice:

  • Bulgaria – 29th September,
  • Ottoman Empire – 30th October, 
  • Austria-Hungary – 4th November, 
  • German Empire – 11th November, 

You can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

Axis and Central Powers are covered extensively under the World History segment of the IAS Exam. Aspirants can refer to the following links to learn more about this segment.

Difference Between Axis and Central Powers – Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Axis and Central Powers


Which nations were part of the Central Powers?

The Allies described the wartime military alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire as the ‘Central Powers’.

Which countries were part of the Axis powers?

The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. These three countries recognized German domination over most of continental Europe, Italian domination over the Mediterranean Sea; and Japanese domination over East Asia and the Pacific.

Aspirants can become familiar with the general pattern of the IAS exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page. For more preparation materials, they can refer to the links given in the table below:

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