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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 the battles o…

Saint-Mihiel Salient

(390 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Saint-Mihiel Salient …

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…

Giolitti, Giovanni

(430 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Giolitti, Giovanni (October 27, 1842, Mondovì [Piedmont] – July 17, 1928, Cavour [Turin]), Italian politician who served as prime minister. One of the most influential Italian politicians of the prewar period, the liberal Giolitti practiced Realpolitik with a bureaucratic approach. He served as prime minister for five separate terms: 1892–1893, 1903–1905, 1906–1909, 1911–1914, and then 1920–1921. Indeed, the years from the turn of the century to 1914 are known in Italy as the “Giolitti Era.” During this period Giolitti ushered in…

Goltz, Baron Colmar von der

(454 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Goltz, Baron Colmar von der (August 12, 1843, Bielkenfeld near Labiau [modern Polessk in the Kaliningrad Oblast] – April 19, 1916, Baghdad), Prussian and Ottoman field marshal. After graduating from cadet school, Goltz joined the Fifth East Prussian Infantry Regiment as a lieutenant in 1861. Following active service in the wars of 1866 and 1870–1871, his subsequent career was characterized by extended teaching assignments both at the War School in Potsdam and at the Prussian Military Academy in Berli…

Alberich, Operation

(374 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Alberich, Operation Code name for the planned German rearward movement to the Hindenburg Line in February and March of 1917. Preparations for the withdrawal from the salient between Arras and Soissons had begun in the autumn of 1916 with the aim of disrupting Allied plans for an offensive in the spring of 1917 and shortening the German front line. Prior to the actual retreat, during the so-called Alberich period (February 9–March 15), the scheme called for the systematic devastation of the withdra…

Military Historiography, Official German

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Military Historiography, Official German Immediately after the end of the war, nearly all the states that had participated in the war began elaborating an official military historiography. These early efforts to produce standard official publications were not only a consequence of historical interest or of the wish to honor the achievements of one’s respective army, but should also be viewed in the light of the international debate on war guilt, which began with the Treaty of Versailles. Hence, the …

Army Corps Districts

(411 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Army Corps Districts When they mobilized, the twenty-five active army corps each left a deputy commanding general behind on the home front. Upon the outbreak of war, the senior deputy commanding general was assigned as the military commandant with full power in his territory (military district), answerable exclusively to the Kaiser. The powers and assigned duties of the deputy commanding general grew considerably in the course of the war. For example, the deputy commanding generals of the XIIIth Ro…

War Chronicles

(301 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
War Chronicles The war chronicles were the expression of a changed public awareness of journalism. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871 had already led to a serious boom of popular military literature. Military topics gained a wider appeal in the German Reich due the growing agitation of the colonial unions, navy leagues, and defense associations since the turn of the century. The first war chronicles were printed at the beginning of the World War, usually by book publishers (Beck, Franck, Insel) …

Frederick Augustus III, King of Saxony

(334 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Frederick Augustus III, King of Saxony (May 25, 1865, Dresden – February 18, 1932, Sibyllenort, district of Oels). After studying in Strasbourg and Leipzig and completing his princely military training, Frederick attained the rank of lieutenant general in 1898. In 1902 the crown prince was named commanding general of XIIth (Saxon) Army Corps. Following the death of his father George he was crowned King of Saxony on October 15, 1904. A major general in 1909, he became a Prussian field marshal in 1912. …

Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In re…

Hutier, Oskar von

(357 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Hutier, Oskar von (August 27, 1857, Erfurt – December 5, 1934, Berlin), German general. Hutier was educated in a cadet school. He joined the Infantry Regiment No. 88 as a lieutenant in 1875. After a successful career in headquarters and field units, Hutier was appointed major-general in 1910 and chief quartermaster of the Great General Staff one year later. In 1912, having risen to the rank of lieutenant-general he assumed command of the 1st Guards Division, with which he went to war in 1914. As pa…

Committee of Inquiry of the German Parliament

(787 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Committee of Inquiry of the German Parliament On August 21, 1919, the newly formed 15th Committee of the German Constitutional Assembly met as a fact-finding parliamentary committee to consider the central political and military issues stemming from the World War. The legal basis for the committee was Article 34 of the Weimar Constitution. Under Article 34, officeholders and officials were obligated to work together with a fact-finding commission. Furthermore, the committee would have the right to secure expert tes…

Nicolai, Walter

(321 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Nicolai, Walter (August 1, 1873, Braunschweig [Brunswick] – May 4, 1947, Moscow), German officer and leader of the Military Intelligence Service of the German Supreme Army Command. Nicolai joined the 2nd Hessian Infantry Regiment, No. 82 in 1893; in 1907, he was promoted to captain. As a major in 1912, he was entrusted with the directorship of Department IIIb, the Military Intelligence Bureau of the General Staff. In early August 1914, he was named chief of the section. The work of Department IIIb…

Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria

(316 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria (March 18, 1869, Munich – August 2, 1955, Schloss Leutstetten, Bavaria), Crown Prince of Bavaria, German Field Marshal. In 1886 he entered the Bavarian infantry regiment as a lieutenant. He then studied in Munich and Berlin, under Count Hertling and Hans Delbrück among others. His further military training took place according to the aristocratic norms. In 1899 he was made colonel and in 1906, general of infantry and commander of the Ist Bavarian Army Corps. In 1913…

Montenegro

(459 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Montenegro The smallest of the Balkan states, Montenegro was strategically defined by its borders with Austria-Hungary and Serbia. To the south the kingdom bordered Albania, from which it had won territory populated by Albanians during the Second Balkan War. Since the Montenegrin populace itself was ethnically mainly Serbian, during the July Crisis of 1914 their support for their Serbian neighbors arose. The land had been ruled since 1860 by Nikola Petrović I, who had crowned himself king in 1910…
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