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Military Cabinet

(247 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Cabinet The bureau that handled personnel matters for the Prussian army. Created in 1883 out of the former Prussian Adjutant General’s Office, the Military Cabinet reported directly to the Kaiser. The Military Cabinet represented the last, official bastion of Prussian military absolutism. In addition to personnel matters, the War Cabinet administered honor courts and the conferring of medals and decorations. Additionally, the chief of the Military Cabinet served as the military advisor to…

Marwitz, Georg von der

(292 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Marwitz, Georg von der ( July 3, 1856, Klein Nossin [Kreis Stolp] – October 28, 1929, Wundichow [Kreis Stolp]), German general. Marwitz joined the 2nd Garde-Ulan Regiment in 1875. He began his career in the Guards Cavalry and later served in the General Staff. He was appointed major in 1894, colonel in 1904, major-general in 1908, lieutenant general as well as commander of the 2nd Division in 1911, and inspector general of the cavalry in 1913. Entrusted with the task of reconnoitering and deceiving …

Battisti, Cesare

(467 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battisti, Cesare (February 4, 1875, Trento – July 12, 1916, Trento), Italian politician and officer. The son of Italian-speaking parents, Battisti grew up in Trento, which belonged to Austria at the time. Between 1893 and 1897 Battisti studied in Graz, Florence, Turin, and Vienna. He became a supporter of irredentism, a movement calling for the separation of all Italian-speaking territories from the Habsburg Empire and their annexation by Italy. Upon earning his degree in geography Battisti began …

Hindenburg Line

(426 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hindenburg Line The name in British and French literature for the German defensive line on the Western Front in 1917/18, known in German as Siegfried-Stellung. After the close of the costly battles of 1916, the OHL (German Supreme Army Command) and the Army Group Kronprinz Rupprecht had decided to pull the front back to the Arras – Saint-Quentin – Vailly line. Their reasons had been strategic and operational: building on successes on the Eastern Front and in the unrestricted submarine war, the war in the West was to be waged defensively in…

Declarations of War

(276 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Declarations of War 1914 July 28 Austria-Hungary on Serbia August 1 Germany on Russia August 2 German invasion of Luxembourg1 August 3 Germany on France August 4 German invasion of Belgium* August 4 Great Britain enters the war* August 6 Serbia on Germany August 6 Austria-Hungary on Russia August 7 Montenegro on Austria-Hungary August 11 France on Austria-Hungary August 12 Great Britain on Austria-Hungary August 12 Montenegro on Germany August 23 Japan on Germany August 23 Austria-Hungary on Japan August 28 Austria-Hungary on Belgium October 15 Montenegro on Bulgaria October 29 the …

Arz von Straussenburg, Baron Artur

(338 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Arz von Straussenburg, Baron Artur (June 16, 1857, Hermannstadt, modern Sibiu in Transylvania – July 1, 1935, Budapest), Austro-Hungarian army general and chief of the General Staff. A member of the Transylvanian Saxon ethnic community, Arz joined the 23rd Feldjäger (Rifle) Battalion in 1877 for one year of voluntary military service. After attending the Kriegsschule (General Staff College) from 1885 to 1887, he was assigned to the General Staff and advanced his career mainly by serving with field units. Within months of attaining th…

Tunnel Warfare

(587 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Tunnel Warfare Warfare by means of planting subterranean destructive charges. Following the onset of positional warfare, the belligerents soon turned to tunneling and mining along the stationary front lines, especially on the Western Front and in the Alps. A distinction must be made between offensive and defensive mining: offensive mining was conducted for the purpose of destroying key positions or entire sections of the enemy’s trenches immediately before a planned infantry attack. This was accom…

Chemin des Dames

(350 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Chemin des Dames A prominent ridge running north of the River Aisne between Vailly and Craonne (département Aisne) with a paved promenade dating from the 18th century. German troops held the Chemin des Dames since the start of trench warfare and had taken up defensive positions along the steep slopes and in the numerous caves underlying the ridge. It was not until the Nivelle Offensive was launched in 1917 that the Chemin des Dames became a military focal point. From the middle of April the French Sixth Army commanded by …

Einem, Karl von

(339 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Einem, Karl von (January 1, 1853, Herzberg [Harz] – April 7, 1934, Mülheim an der Ruhr), German colonel general. Educated in the cadet corps, in 1870 Einem joined the 14th regiment of Uhlans, with whom he took part in the war against France. Never having attended military academy, Einem was ordered to the general staff while still a first lieutenant. In 1898 he was transferred as a colonel to the Prussian ministry of war (where he was director of the general war department from 1900). Lieutenant Ge…

War Office

(452 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
War Office The War Office was established by a cabinet order of November 1, 1916, to administer the Hindenburg Program initiated by the Operations Branch of the General Staff. The War Office was to centralize war economy measures and serve as the enforcement authority for the Auxiliary Service Bill. Officially placed beneath the Prussian War Ministry, it was a peculiar mix of military war-economy staff and civilian government boards. Lieutenant General Wilhelm Groener was named the War Office’s fi…

Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger)

(578 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Moltke, Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von (the Younger) (May 25, 1848, Gersdorff [Mecklenburg] – June 18, 1916, Berlin), German general; chief of the Army General Staff and nephew of Field Marshal von Moltke. In 1869 Moltke joined Fusilier Regiment the Queen’s No. 86 (Schleswig-Holstein), taking part in the Franco-Prussian War as a lieutenant. In 1872 he succeeded in transferring to the 1st Foot Guards Regiment. Moltke’s later military career was shaped by his closeness to his famous uncle – Moltke was his a…

Supreme Army Command (OHL)

(996 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Supreme Army Command (OHL) When Germany mobilized for the war, the chief of the Prussian Army General Staff was named chief of the General Staff of the entire Armed Forces. According to law, of course, the Kaiser was commander in chief of the military. However, the chief of the General Staff actually led military operations. The department established for this purpose was the Supreme Army Command, which was placed under the control of the Supreme Headquarters. Early in the war the Supreme Army Comma…

Krafft von Dellmensingen, Konrad

(320 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Krafft von Dellmensingen, Konrad (November 24, 1862, Laufen [Upper Bavaria] – February 22, 1953, Seeshaupt), Bavarian general. Krafft joined the Bavarian Army in 1881 as an officer candidate (field artillery) and attended the War Academy from 1891 to 1894. From 1908 to 1911, he served as division chief in the Munich War Ministry with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Promoted to the rank of major-general and appointed chief of the General Staff in 1912, Krafft became chief of staff of the Sixth Army (…

Army Corps District

(482 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Army Corps District Official German military command. Each of the 25 active army corps of the German Reich was placed under the command of an army corps districts. As a rule a commanding general of infantry, cavalry, or artillery was placed in charge of an army corps district. German army corps districts controlled the largest combined-arms units of the peacetime army, and the generals in charge of them had the right to report directly to the Kaiser. After the 1914 German mobilization, the army cor…

Mobile Warfare

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Mobile Warfare A form of warfare which seeks to bring about a military decision through the tactical movement of forces for the purpose of achieving advantageous territorial concentrations without having to rely on fortified positions at all times. At the beginning of the war in 1914 the military doctrines and operational plans of all belligerent powers were based on mobile warfare. In the first instance these offensive operations were motivated by the strategic and economic objective of ensuring …

Saint-Mihiel Salient

(390 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Saint-Mihiel Salient Located southeast of Verdun, this salient was the theater of the first independent World War offensive of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), September 12–15, 1918. Created at the very beginning of positional warfare in 1914, the Saint-Mihiel Salient extended from Combres to St. Mihiel, then from there to Pont-à-Mousson. It interrupted the French communication lines running from the south toward Verdun and posed the constant threat of a flanking attack on the fortresses. …

Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von

(289 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hausen, Max Klemens Lothar Freiherr von (December 17, 1846, Dresden – March 19, 1922, Dresden), Saxon general. After cadet school, von Hausen joined the Saxon Army’s Third Jägerbataillon (Rifle Battalion) in Dresden in 1863. He took part in wars in Bohemia in 1866 and in France in 1870/1871, and was promoted captain in 1871. He was first appointed to the imperial general staff four years later. A major in 1881, in 1893 he was promoted to major general. Between 1895 and 1897 he was back on the general staff as deputy chief ( Oberquartiermeister). Between 1900 and 1902, he served as comma…

Switzerland

(960 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Switzerland Switzerland experienced the First World War as a small state in an exposed, central geographical position. The Swiss government responded to the tense European situation by proclaiming general mobilization on August 1, 1914, and three days later the neutrality of the Swiss Confederation. The traditional pillars of the state’s self-conception and territorial defenses alike were perpetual neutrality and the readiness to defend that neutrality militarily by means of a militia army. Corps…

Race to the Sea

(479 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Race to the Sea Popular metaphor for the military operations on the northern flank of the Western Front between September 15 and late October 1914, in the course of which both sides hoped to outflank the opponent, and which eventually came to an end with the onset of positional warfare in November of 1914. Following the German withdrawal to the Marne, the new chief of the Supreme Army Command (Oberste Heeresleitung, OHL), General Erich von Falkenhayn, planned to renew the offensive on the German rig…

Hentsch, Richard

(567 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hentsch, Richard (December 18, 1869, Cologne – February 13, 1918, Bucharest), German officer. After a private education in Berlin, Hentsch joined the 103rd Infantry Regiment (4th Saxon) in Bautzen in 1888. In 1899 he was posted to the Imperial General Staff, initially for two years, and then transferred there in 1902. He was promoted lieutenant colonel on April 20, 1914, and at the outbreak of war took up the post of head of the intelligence department to the chief of the General Staff of Field Fo…
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