Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Wilhelm, German Crown Prince

(367 words)

Author(s): Schranz, Daniel
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince (May 6, 1882, Potsdam – July 20, 1951, Hechingen), crown prince of the German Reich and of Prussia. Wilhelm was born in 1882 as the first son of the later Kaiser Wilhelm II. He began his military career at the age of 14, interrupting it for a time to study political science in Bonn. In fall 1911 he was named commander of the First Life Guards Hussars Regiment in Danzig (Gdańsk). Though hardly qualified, he assumed command of the Fifth Army when war broke out in August 19…

East Prussia

(793 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
East Prussia In a single year of the war, 1914–1915, Russian troops overran two-thirds of East Prussia, the most eastern province of the German Reich. It would remain the only meaningful occupation of German territory. In August the Reich’s eastern border had remained only weakly defended in keeping with German operational plans so that the troops could first conduct a decisive attack in the West against France. Yet the Russian army mobilized more quickly than the German plans had envisioned. The …

Stinnes, Hugo

(421 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Stinnes, Hugo (February 12, 1870, Mülheim an der Ruhr – April 10, 1924, Berlin), German industrial magnate. Stinnes was of the most influential industrialists of the Wilhelminian Empire and the Weimar Republic. The heir to a Ruhr family enterprise engaged in coal mining, trading, and shipping, the entrepreneur founded the Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corporation in Essen in 1898, serving as chairman of the board after 1902, as well as the Deutsch-Luxemburgische Bergwerks- und Hütten-AG (German-Luxembourg Mining Inc.) in 1901. Stinnes advocated vociferously for the extens…

Lansing Note

(488 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Lansing Note A diplomatic note conveyed to the leadership of the German Reich on November 5, 1918, by the United States, France, and Britain. Known in Germany by the name of then American Secretary of State Robert Lansing. The Allies declared in this note that they accepted American President Wilson’s 14-point program as a common basis for peace negotiations. This declaration followed several weeks of exchanges of notes between Germany and the United States concerning conditions for the cease-fire and the peace. The leadership of th…

Fascism in Italy

(2,936 words)

Author(s): Gibelli, Antonio
Fascism in Italy There is now broad agreement among historians as to the extremely close connection between Italy’s participation in the Great War and the rise of Fascism. The significance of this realization extends far beyond Italy’s own national historiography, as, with Fascism, there arose for the first time a political movement that was to leave a profound and lasting impression on the history of all Europe. The brevity of the interval between the Fascist assumption of power in Italy (Mussolin…

Demobilization

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Bessel, Richard
Demobilization The task of bringing a society out of a state of war into one of peace is incomparably more difficult than that of releasing soldiers from war service. The term “demobilization” is used for both processes. When the Armistice came into force on November 11, 1918, some six million German soldiers stood under arms. The German economy was almost entirely geared to the requirements of the war; demobilization now had to be implemented in the middle of a political revolution that had shaken a defeated Germany. The German Army returns to Germany after the Ar…

Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von

(648 words)

Author(s): Canis, Konrad
Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von (May 3, 1849, Klein Flottbek, now part of Hamburg – October 28, 1929, Rome), German politician (chancellor). Prince (from 1905) von Bülow, whose father was a high-ranking diplomat and whose mother came from a Hamburg bourgeois family, entered the diplomatic service at the age of 25 after completing his law studies. Rising quickly through the ranks, he became secretary of state for foreign affairs in 1897. In that capacity he directed the foreign policy of the Germa…

Iron Nail Memorials

(671 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Iron Nail Memorials The creation of Iron Nail Memorials was initiated in Vienna on March 6, 1915, with the Eisern Wehrmann (‘Iron-clad Soldier’). Beginning in mid-1916 and then tapering off until the war’s end, individuals in Germany and Austria-Hungary also began making these crude, symbolic figures studded with nails, sometimes with metal shields as well. Others were occasionally made at the fronts, such as the Adler der Champagne (‘Eagle of Champagne’). Shield-studded iron nail memorials were also undertaken by schools after 1916 as part of a charitable init…

Wilson, Woodrow

(808 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Wilson, Woodrow (August 1856, Staunton – February 3, 1924, Washington DC), President of the United States. Nothing in Wilson’s career prepared him for leading the United States into an international political conflict. Born the son of a Presbyterian minister in Virginia, Wilson internalized the Protestant Ethic early. He felt called to commit himself to politics. Wilson was a professor of Political Science at Princeton University when nominated to become the university’s president in 1902. This sm…

Reims

(401 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Reims Northern French city located in the Département of the Marne. Even before the war, Reims had been an important memorial site. Its cathedral, a French Gothic gem begun in the 13th century, was the coronation site of kings, including the crowning of Charles VII in the presence of Joan of Arc in 1429. During September 4–12, 1914, the German Second Army occupied the city without its being destroyed. When the Germans withdrew from Reims, they took several citizens hostage, for here as elsewhere, the Germans feared the imagined attacks of Francs Tireurs (snipers). The front line stabiliz…

Deportations

(1,069 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Deportations Forcible expulsions were practised for various reasons, and by all sides, during the First World War. Initially, they were a means of securing zones of conflict and occupation. During the German invasion in the West alone, at least 10,000 French citizens were deported to Germany and interned in barracks that stood vacant. The number of Belgians deported in 1914 is unknown, but may have amounted to several thousands. These first deportations, which included women and children, were in…

Encirclement Concept

(477 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Encirclement Concept The concept of encirclement was coined, or rather applied to the situation in international relations, by Reich Chancellor Bülow in a speech in the Reichstag on November 14, 1906. Reacting to the entente that had just been concluded between England and France, Bülow warned that the German Reich was being encircled “like the beast in the forest.” It is probable that no political conception received such wide currency in prewar Germany as that of encirclement. The mantra circulated not only among nationalists, but also in that portion…

Christmas Memorandum of 1915

(490 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Christmas Memorandum of 1915 Supposedly, a situation report Falkenhayn gave in a memorandum conveyed to the Kaiser some time around Christmas. The document in question comes down to us only through Falkenhayn’s own memoirs, Die Oberste Heeresleitung 1914–1916 in ihren wichtigsten Entschließungen (The Supreme Army Command 1914–1916 in Its Most Critical Decisions, 1920). For this reason its authenticity is doubtful. The Christmas Memorandum, concerning strategic plans for 1916, includes several fundamental declarations: Britain was the primary enemy. Britain…

Nibelung Loyalty

(270 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Nibelung Loyalty (German Nibelungentreue) A name given to the particular loyalty that characterized the alliance between the German Reich and Austria-Hungary. The term Nibelung Loyalty was coined by Reich Chancellor Bülow during a speech before the Reichstag (Imperial Diet) on March 29, 1909. He thereby illustrated the quasi indissoluble loyalty that united the Central Powers in political and military affairs. The statement was made in reference to the tense political situation following the Bosnian Annexation Crisis, during which…

Forging The Industrial Home Front: Iron-Nail Memorials in the Ruhr

(92 words)

Author(s): Goebel, Stefan
Goebel, Stefan - Forging The Industrial Home Front: Iron-Nail Memorials in the Ruhr Keywords: Home fronts | Germany | Visual Arts | Economy | Society | Culture ‛Uncovered Fields’ Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2004 e-ISBN: 9789047402596 DOI: 10.1163/9789047402596.010 © 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Goebel, Stefan

Hejaz Railway

(565 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Hejaz Railway Railway line between Damascus and Medina. In 1900 Sultan Abdul Hamid II commissioned the construction of a railway to link Damascus with Mecca. The railway was to help provide access to the remote Arab provinces, forge closer ties between Constantinople and the holy sites, and ease the pilgrimage of the Hajjis (pilgrims). In addition, it allowed for the rapid transport of troops to deal with renegade Bedouin tribes in Arabia. The German engineer Heinrich August Meissner was hired to …

Ideas of 1914

(1,265 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
Ideas of 1914 The concept “Ideas of 1914” alludes to two different, yet related phenomena. The first meaning refers to all discursive reflections that were formulated and published by intellectuals in 1914, to all attempts to interpret the significance of the war. The second has to do with a particular category of “ideas” which the contemporaries subsumed under the notion “Ideas of 1914.” At the beginning of the war, the vast majority of German intellectuals were united in their almost unconditional support of the German war effort, which they attempted to …

“Stab-in-the-Back” Legend (Dolchstosslegende)

(930 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
“Stab-in-the-Back” Legend ( Dolchstosslegende) The claim that Germany’s military defeat in 1918 was not, or not primarily, to be ascribed to the failure of the military leadership, or the exhaustion of the soldiers, but to failure or betrayal on the part of particular persons or groups on the home front. There were a number of quite different variants of the legend. Thus, for example, the inadequacy of supply in the battles for Verdun in 1916 was already referred to in military circles as a Dolchstoss. As early as July 1917, General von Seeckt gave voice to the typical accusati…

Brücken, Beethoven und Baumkuchen: German and Austro-Hungarian Prisoners of War and the Japanese Home Front

(8,584 words)

Author(s): Murphy, Mahon
Murphy, Mahon - Brücken, Beethoven und Baumkuchen: German and Austro-Hungarian Prisoners of War and the Japanese Home Front ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Germany | Prisoners of War | Published memoirs and biographies | Home fronts | Politics Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_007 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Murphy, Mahon

Clemenceau, Georges Benjamin

(982 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Clemenceau, Georges Benjamin (September 28, 1841, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, département Vendée – November 24, 1929, Paris), French politician (prime minister). If French contemporary history remembers two exceptional personalities with particular fondness, it is Charles de Gaulle and Clemenceau, nicknamed “le tigre” partly on account of his facial features. Also known as “Père-la-Victoire,” Father (of ) Victory, Clemenceau still enjoys an enormous popularity in France today thanks to the feat he accomp…
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