The First Army was formed in 1914 as part of Austro-Hungarian mobilization following its declaration of war on Serbia and Russia. The First Army was put under the command of General Viktor Dankl von Krasnik. It was composed of the First, Fifth, and Tenth Corps, originating from Kraków, Presburg, and Przemyśl, respectively. The First Army earned the first Austro-Hungarian victory of World War I during its first campaign by defeating the Russian Fourth Army at the Battle of Krasnik in northern Galicia in late August 1914. General Puhallo replaced von Krasnik in May 1915 following the latter's transfer to the Italian Front. The First Army continued fighting on the Eastern Front, taking part in Austria-Hungary's difficult campaigns in Poland and Ukraine. In 1916 General Arthur Arz von Straussenburg became the new commander of the First Army.
The last commander of the First Army, General Franz Freiherr Rohr von Denta, replaced von Straussenberg in 1917. However, Austro-Hungarian casualties were extremely high on the Eastern Front, and the casualty-struck First Army had to be disbanded in 1917.