Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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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…

Yanushkevich, Nicolai Nikolaevich

(191 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Yanushkevich, Nicolai Nikolaevich (May 13, 1868 – October 18, 1918, Tiflis [Tbilisi]), Russian general. Yanushkevich graduated from Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy in 1888, and from the (Imperial Russian) General Staff Academy in 1896. In 1913–1914 he was the commander of the Imperial Nicholas Military Academy. After 1914 he was a general of infantry. Between March and July 1914, Yanushkevich was chief of the general staff. Then, after the outbreak of the First World War, he became chief of staff …

Trade Unions

(1,014 words)

Author(s): Mai, Günther
Trade Unions In the German Empire in 1914 there were trade unions with social democratic (also called “free”), Christian Catholic, and liberal tendencies, divided according to occupations, and having respectively 2.53, 0.35 and 0.11 million members. These numbers sank rapidly in mid-August 1914 because wage strikes were forbidden, many workers were called up for military service, and unemployment dropped. By 1916 the number of members in the free trade unions had fallen to under a million, and tho…

Triple Alliance (Dreibund)

(421 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Triple Alliance ( Dreibund) Alliance of May 20, 1882, between the German Reich, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. On the basis of the treaty’s content, the Triple Alliance may be seen as having been essentially a defensive alliance against France. The existence of this secret alliance became known in the spring of 1883, but the terms of the treaty were not fully published until after the First World War. The Triple Alliance was renegotiated in 1886/1887, 1892, 1902, and 1911/1912, and the text of the trea…

Sisters and Comrades Women’s Movements and the “Austrian Revolution”: Gender in Insurrection, the (Räte) Movement, Parties and Parliament

(9,176 words)

Author(s): Hauch, Gabriella
Hauch, Gabriella - Sisters and Comrades Women’s Movements and the “Austrian Revolution”: Gender in Insurrection, the ( Räte) Movement, Parties and Parliament Keywords: Austrian Revolution | First World War | political equality | Räte organisations | women ISFWWS-Keywords: Austria-Hungary | Politics | Society | Economy | Legacy | Russia | Women and War Abstract: Margarete Susman's critique of First World War politics seems to imply that only "new" ideas and agents can change the political field for the better. Taking this as a starting p…

Food Supplies

(2,616 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Food Supplies The supply of food to the civilian population, as well as to the fighting forces, is one of the most important elements in the waging of any war. This applies especially to the First World War, in which food supplies to millions of people had to be assured in the face of mutual blockades that severely compromised trade routes. A deterioration in food supplies was experienced in all belligerent nations and occupied territories during the course of the war, causing governments repeatedly to revise and modify their supply strategies. All sides …

Two-Front War

(612 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Two-Front War The specific strategic situation of the Central Powers, surrounded by the “Iron Ring” (W. Groener) of the opposing coalition. This was mostly seen as a grave strategic disadvantage, and was instrumental in the emergence before 1914 of the hazardous Schlieffen Plan: the attempt to forestall a two-front war, and so avoid the dissipation of Germany’s strength. German policy during the Crisis of July 1914 has frequently been interpreted as having been motivated by the necessity to meet the threat of a two-front war, or “encirclement,” while i…

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich

(600 words)

Author(s): Brand, Bettina
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (Real name V.I. Ulyanov; April 22, 1870, Simbirsk [from 1924 Ulyanovsk] – January 21, 1924, Gorki [near Moscow]), Russian revolutionary and politician. Lenin was born into an upper class family. A critical youthful influence was the conviction and execution in 1887 of his older brother Alexander, who had taken part in an assassination attempt against the Tsar. Lenin qualified to practice as a lawyer after studying law at the University of Kazan. In 1893 he moved to Saint Pete…

Infantry Weaponry/Weapons

(3,025 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Infantry Weaponry/Weapons Weapons technology during the First World War was geared mainly to the ground war, drawn from traditional types of infantry and artillery weapons. At the beginning of the war, cavalry was still relatively important, though they no longer had a decisive function in battle. For equipment early in the war, troops relied upon firearms such as rifles, carbines, machine guns and pistols; cutting and thrusting blades including bayonets, sabers, and lances; and explosive devices …

Ivanov, Nikolai Iudovich

(204 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Ivanov, Nikolai Iudovich (July 22, 1851–February 27, 1919, Kiev [murdered]), Russian general. Ivanov graduated from the Mikhailovksy Artillery School in 1869. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 he commanded the IIIrd Siberian Corps; between 1906 and 1908 he served as governor-general of the Kronstadt military fortress. In that capacity he put down the 1906 rebellion by sailors of the Kronstadt naval base. Promoted to adjutant general in 1907 and general of the artillery in 1908, Ivanov headed t…

Komarów

(674 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Komarów A town in Russian Poland. The war on the Austrian-Russian Front began with a Russian offensive. Four Russian armies were to advance concentrically on Galicia. Facing them were initially three, then four, Austro-Hungarian armies. The Austrians would, at every opportunity, go on the tactical offense as the basis of their defensive strategy. The Austro-Hungarian First and Fourth Armies (Dankl and Auffenberg) met the Russian Fourth (Evert) and Fifth (Plehve) in late summer 1914 east of Kraków (Cracow). The opposing armies were of roughly equal…

Infantry

(964 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Infantry A branch of the armed forces; infantry is the term for foot soldiers. The infantry served as the main branch of the armed forces in the World War. Despite the increased firepower of the infantry, the concept of war held by the European armies originated in the dogma of the superiority of the offensive over the defensive. Tight formations of battle-hardened riflemen swarming over open terrain was the basis for the attack methods of the German infantry Once the infantry had attained fire s…

Leopold, Prince of Bavaria

(337 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Leopold, Prince of Bavaria (February 9, 1846, Munich – September 28, 1930, Munich), German and Bavarian field marshal. Leopold, the second son of the future prince regent Luitpold, joined the Bavarian Army in 1861 and took part in the 1866 and 1870–1871 campaigns. A lieutenant colonel in 1871, he was appointed commanding general of the Ist Bavarian Army Corps in 1887. From 1891 to 1913, Leopold served as inspector general of the Fourth Army District. During this period he attained the ranks of colon…

Paderewski, Ignacy Jan

(258 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (November 18, 1860, Kuryłówka [Podolien, the Ukraine] – June 29, 1941, New York), Polish musician and politician. The pianist, internationally celebrated for his interpretation of Chopin, had been living in the United States since 1913, where he used his artistic fame to promote the restoration of an independent Polish state. Through his friendship with Edward Mandell House and Robert Lansing, Paderewski was able to influence President Wilson’s stance on the Poland question. As a member of the Komitet Narodowy Polski (KNP, the Polish National Committee …

Field Grey

(251 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
Field Grey Color of the German field uniform. Field grey was gradually introduced from 1907 in all regiments of the army of the German Reich, beginning with the infantry and artillery. The cavalry and officers followed between 1908 and 1910. Rifle units wore grey-green. The decision was in reaction to experiences in the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War, where colored uniforms had always offered a good target to enemies equipped with modern weapons. Functional aspects now superseded consideratio…

Second International

(537 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Second International International federation of national Socialist parties; founded in 1889 in succession to the First International (1864–1876), collapsed during the First World War. The attitude of the Second International to war was constantly debated at its congresses before the First World War. Although a resolution passed at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907 had called on the sections in the various countries to take countermeasures if war threatened, it had left the choice of means to the aff…

Viviani, René

(302 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Viviani, René (August 11, 1863, Sidi-bel-Abbès, Algeria – September 7, 1925, Le Plessis-Robinson [Département Hauts-de-Seine]), French politician who became prime minister. A lawyer and journalist of Italian heritage, Viviani began his political career as an “independent socialist.” He was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1893. Viviani was a confirmed reformist. He distanced himself from the socialist parties because they had refused to work together with the “bourgeois” governments sin…

War Credits

(773 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Credits War credits were one of the crucial means of financing the war. They were raised in various forms, by various methods, and in various amounts, by all belligerent nations at home and sometimes abroad. War credits were necessary because some elements of normal state receipts fell drastically upon the outbreak of war, while the financial burden abruptly multiplied. War credits were raised at home in the form of short- or long-term government bonds, or by increasing the amount of paper cur…

Bavarian Soviet Republic

(891 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Bavarian Soviet Republic A soviet republic is a state in which all executive, legislate, and jurisdictional power is in the hands of elected spokesmen for workers and soldiers, excluding parliament. For a short time in early 1919 there existed in Germany Soviet republics in Cuxhaven, Mannheim, Braunschweig, Bremen, and Munich. Of these, the ones which lasted longest were those in Bremen (25 days) and Munich (24 days). In the first months after the revolution, Bremen was a stronghold of the Spartakus movement. Together with t…

Wilhelm II, German Kaiser

(1,402 words)

Author(s): C.G. Röhl, John
Wilhelm II, German Kaiser ( January 27, 1859, Berlin – June 4, 1941, Doorn, Netherlands), German Kaiser and King of Prussia. Kaiser Wilhelm was characterized by Germany’s enemies during the First World War as an aggressive warmonger, the personification of the German lust for conquest. Not only among the Allied populace, showered as it was with bloodthirsty caricatures and poisonous propaganda, but also in well-informed government circles (not least in the White House), the war was seen simply as “t…
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