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Beneš, Edvard

(414 words)

Author(s): Hadler, Frank
Beneš, Edvard (May 28, 1884, Kožlany, Bohemia – September 3, 1948, Sezimovo Ústí, South Bohemian Region), Czechoslovak politician. Beneš was his country’s first minister of foreign affairs (1918–1935). In 1921–1922 he simultaneously held the office of prime minister before succeeding Tomáš Masaryk as president (1935–1938). From 1940 he headed the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London and finally became president of Czechoslovakia following the renewal of the country in the wake of World War I…

Zimmerwald Movement

(467 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Zimmerwald Movement An alliance of antiwar Socialists from the belligerent states, named after the town where it first met (September 5–8, 1915, at Zimmerwald near Bern). The aim of the movement, which came to symbolize socialist pacifism, was to revive international cooperation, which had been disrupted by the First World War. The first conference was initiated by the Swiss social democrat Robert Grimm, and those attending included Lenin and Zinoviev for the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, and Adolph Hoffmann …

Hague Land Warfare Convention

(285 words)

Author(s): Renz, Irina
Hague Land Warfare Convention By Hague Land Warfare Convention one means the text of the Hague article concerning The Laws and Customs of War on Land. This article was the fourth of thirteen articles signed on October 18, 1907, along with the final declarations, at the conclusion of the Second International Peace Conference at The Hague. Forty-four nations had taken part in the conference, convened at the suggestion of Tsar Nicholas II. Article IV was ratified by most warring states of the First World War. In December 1911 the text of Article IV on The Laws and Customs of War on Land was includ…

Armenians

(1,863 words)

Author(s): Gust, Wolfgang
Armenians At the beginning of the First World War, Armenians populated a relatively clearly defined area that comprised the southern Caucasus, western Persia, and parts of the Ottoman Empire. However, in the Ottoman Empire Armenians constituted the majority of inhabitants in a handful of cities, such as Muş and Van. When the first Turkic peoples arrived in Asia Minor, the Armenians already had a thousand-year-long history in the region. In the ensuing period, many Armenians migrated westward and …

Finland

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Wegner, Bernd
Finland This small country (1910: 2.94 million inhabitants) located at the northeastern periphery of Europe entered the First World War as an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire, and emerged from it an independent republic and parliamentary democracy. The process was not foreseeable, and by no means straightforward. Apart from the final months of the civil war, the sea change in the country’s status was primarily the result of external events – October Revolution, Peace of Brest-Lito…

Gerlach, Hellmut von

(485 words)

Author(s): Holl, Karl
Gerlach, Hellmut von (February 2, 1866, Mönchmotzelnitz [near Wohlau, Silesia] – August 1, 1935, Paris), German journalist, jurist, and politician. As a member of the German Reichstag from 1903 to 1907 (in informal affiliation with the Freisinnige Vereinigung [Free-minded Union]), and since the turn of the century a collaborator and later editor in chief of the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Gerlach went from being a follower of Adolf Stöcker to an advocate of a social-liberal and democratically oriented power state – a transformation that took place …

Interparty Committee of the Reichstag

(518 words)

Author(s): Mai, Gunther
Interparty Committee of the Reichstag A coalition committee formed by the political fractions of the Reichstag’s majority and uniting the German Central Party, the Progressive People’s Party, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and temporally also the National Liberal Party. The Interparty Committee of the Reichstag became an informal yet politically influential power factor that was acknowledged as such by the government. It was constituted on July 6, 1917, in the midst of the controve…

Constantine I, King of Greece

(389 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Constantine I, King of Greece (August 2, 1868, Athens – February 11, 1923, Palermo). The first-born son of George I and of Russian Grand-Duchess Olga, Constantine married Princess Sophia of Prussia in 1889 and thereby became a brother-in-law of Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom he personally admired along with his authoritarian rule. As the commander in chief of the Greek army, he had subsequently been partly responsible for a serious defeat during the Greco-Turkish War of 1896/1897. Suspected of nepotism, Con…

The Ukraine

(688 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechthild
The Ukraine Borderland at the edge of the steppes, north of the Black Sea and east of the Carpathian Mountains. Until the 17th century the Western Ukraine (Galicia) had belonged to the Polish crown; after 1772 it belonged to Austria. The Eastern Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire. The commencement of the war in 1914 made the Ukrainian Question into an international issue. However, it also placed the Ukraine between war fronts. On August 1, 1914, the All-Party Supreme Ukrainian Council pledged …

Sexuality

(1,427 words)

Author(s): Sauerteig, Lutz
Sexuality The crisis-related effects of the World War also had consequences for the sexual life of human beings. The separation of (married and non-married) couples became a mass phenomenon of hitherto unknown extent. Extramarital sexuality and prostitution reached new dimensions. Even though the frequency with which soldiers sought extramarital contacts during the war cannot be assessed with precision, a number of indications suggest that soldiers no longer felt bound to middle-class sexual morals as a result of their direct experiencing of war and death. The debate over issue…

Caritas Association

(522 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Caritas Association In 1897 the various charitable services of the Catholic Church were gathered in the newly formed Caritas Association for Catholic Germany (since 1921: German Caritas Association). The principal purpose of the association was peacetime welfare work founded on Christian principles. During World War I the Caritas Association cared primarily for German prisoners of war and returning former prisoners. In cooperation with the Prussian War Ministry steps were taken to ensure that in the transit camps for returning prisoners…

Heroes’ Groves

(499 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Heroes’ Groves On December 8, 1914, an article by the head of the German Royal Horticultural College’s Department for Plant Production, Berliner Willy Lange, appeared in the entertainment section of the Täglichen Rundschau. In his article, “Oaks for Heroes and Lindens for Peace,” Lange proposed that every German community should establish heroes groves, planting there, in orderly rows, one oak tree for every fallen soldier from the community: “For each, who lost his life for Germany’s freedom; for the ideal of Germanness, with…

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…

San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di

(368 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di (December 10, 1852, Catania – October 16, 1914, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). San Giuliano’s political career began in the ranks of the liberal right wing, at a time when many political figures of national standing, among them Francesco Crispi, were emerging from Sicily. A member of the Italian parliament from 1882, he became undersecretary of state in 1892, and in 1898 served as a minister in the reactionary government of General Pell…

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 …

Christmas Truce (1914)

(555 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Christmas Truce (1914) Also known as the “Wartime Christmas,” this title recalls a time of widespread fraternization on all fronts, especially between German and British soldiers on the Western Front, the so-called “Christmas Truce.” When the fronts solidified in late fall 1914, all hopes were dashed for that victorious campaign, initially promised by governments and armed forces, which was to have brought the troops “home for Christmas.” Now the soldiers would have to manage Christmas Eve in the trenches. “Love tokens” were sen…

Alpine Warfare

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Alpine Warfare When the Italian declaration of war was delivered on May 23, 1915, it plunged Austria-Hungary into a desperate situation. While this move by Italy did not come unexpected, almost all the forces of the Danube Monarchy were tied up on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans, where the Central Powers had in that year taken the initiative. Only weak, improvised forces were available to secure the 600-km long border with Italy, among them almost 30,000 militia reserves (Standschützen). By t…

Benson, William Shepherd

(331 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Benson, William Shepherd (September 25, 1855, Bibb County GA – May 20, 1932, Washington DC), American admiral. Benson graduated from the Naval Academy 1877 and in 1888–1889 sailed around the world on the warship Dolphin. From 1890 to 1893 and 1896 to 1898 he taught at the Naval Academy, from 1910 to 1913 he commanded the battle ship Utah, and from 1913 to 1915 he was in command of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. On May 10, 1915, he was called to Washington as the new Chief of Naval Operations. In early 1917 Benson conducted a reorganization of the fle…

Armed Forces (Italy)

(3,527 words)

Author(s): Massignani, Alessandro
Armed Forces (Italy) The defense of the Italian Kingdom proclaimed on February 18, 1861, was the duty of the Royal Army and the Royal Navy. The King was nominally the supreme commander of the military in peacetime, but the chiefs of the General Staff and the Admiralty functioned as the de facto Supreme Command in time of war. Italy’s new national army evolved from the Piedmontese Army that had fought in the Wars of Independence. Though gradually restructured into the Royal Italian Army, it maintained its traditional character, especially the imprint of…

Lavisse, Ernest

(370 words)

Author(s): Wüstemeyer, Manfred
Lavisse, Ernest (December 17, 1842, Le Nouvion-en-Thiérache [Département Aisne] – August 18, 1922, Paris), French historian. A “rationalist republican” since 1870/1871, and advocate of national educational renewal, Lavisse became a professor at the Sorbonne in 1888. His meteoric career took him to the Académie Française in 1892, and in 1904 he was appointed director of the École Normale Supérieure. He published various historical works, and, with his articles on the teaching of history in the elem…
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