Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Battlefield Tourism

(601 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Battlefield Tourism This term covers visits both to former war locations and landscapes and to military cemeteries of the First World War. The majority of “battlefield tourists” during the 1920s and 1930s were relatives of the fallen. Every French citizen, for example, received a free railway pass every year to visit the military cemeteries. The English travel bureau Thomas Cook specialized in accompanying British visitors to the cemeteries and memorials in Belgium and France, which had begun to be constructed soon a…

Spain

(827 words)

Author(s): Albes, Jens
Spain This one-time world power had sunk to the level of a second-rate power after the 17th century. During the World War, however, it grew to become the most important neutral state of Europe. Favorably situated geo-strategically – two continents plus two oceans meeting at the Straits of Gibraltar – Spain constituted a veritable island of neutrality, surrounded by the warring states of France with Morocco, England with Gibraltar, and after March 1916 Portugal as well. That caused this land on the Iberian Peninsula to unexpectedly become the object of international interest. Despite co…

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…

Spee, Imperial Count Maximilian von

(390 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Spee, Imperial Count Maximilian von ( June 22, 1861, Copenhagen – December 8, 1914, off the Falkland Islands), German admiral. Spee entered the Imperial German Navy in 1878 and became a rear admiral in 1910. Placed in command of the German East Asia Squadron in 1912, he was promoted to vice admiral in 1913. At the beginning of the war his squadron was operating in the vicinity of the island of Ponape, the largest of the Eastern Carolines. Following the Japanese declaration of war against Germany, Spee decided to head for Chile across the Pacific Ocean with the armored cruisers Scharnhorst and Gn…

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…

Poland

(2,056 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Poland At the beginning of the First World War, Poland existed only in the form of three territorial fragments: the largest and central portion belonged to the Russian Empire (Congress Poland/Russian Poland), the western and northwestern portion (Posen, West Prussia) to Prussia, and thus to the German Reich, and the southern (Galicia and Lodomeria) to Austria-Hungary. As the Central Powers and Russia bordered one another on Polish territory, the war in the East was predominantly fought there. Thr…

Schools, State-Building, and National Conflict in German-Occupied Poland, 1915–1918

(10,678 words)

Author(s): Kauffman, Jesse
Kauffman, Jesse - Schools, State-Building, and National Conflict in German-Occupied Poland, 1915–1918 Keywords: conflicting | Germans | Poland | state-sanctioned schools | Verwaltungschef ISFWWS-Keywords: Poland | Children and War | Society | Germany | Russian Front Abstract: According to this chapter, directly overseen by the Government-General's highest-ranking civilian, Administrative Chief (Verwaltungschef) Wolfgang von Kries, the Germans' actions in field were intended to serve three frequently conflicting purp…

South Tyrol

(754 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
South Tyrol The part of the Tyrol situated south of the Brenner. Between August 1914 and May 1915, South Tyrol was disputed territory between the Italians and Italy’s Triple Alliance partners Austria-Hungary and the German Reich. At issue initially was Trentino (according to the census of 1910: 393,111 inhabitants, of whom 366,844 were speakers of Italian and Ladin, 13,893 German-speakers, 2,666 speakers of other languages, and 9,708 foreigners, the greater portion of them North Italians), then th…

Mata Hari

(314 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Mata Hari (August 7, 1876, Leeuwarden – October 15, 1917, Vincennes [executed]; real name Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, born Zelle), Dutch dancer and spy. This daughter of a hat-maker made her living as a dancer, occasional prostitute, and double agent. Mata Hari remains one of the best-known figures in the history of 20th-century espionage. After a failed marriage to a Dutch colonial officer (1895–1902) she moved to Paris. Between 1905 and 1913 she was the talk of several European cities with he…

Sports

(883 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Sports When the World War broke out, the Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) between Turner (German workers’ sports movement) gymnasts and other athletes crumbled in the face of the possible awarding of the 1916 Olympic Games to Berlin. The Turner movement was critical of the ‘international Olympiad,’ rejecting its games as “English attempts to break records,” and not for Germans. Once it became clear that the war would last awhile, the idea grew of replacing the Olympiad with “German war games” as their “national Olympic games.” Accordingly in 1917, the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für die …

Zetkin, Clara

(470 words)

Author(s): Rouette, Susanne
Zetkin, Clara ( July 5, 1857, Wiederau [Saxony] – June 20, 1933, Arkhangelskoye, Russia), German politician and feminist. Zetkin was an active leading representative of both the international workers’ movement and the socialist women’s movement in Germany, and their leading theorist. She had led the editorial offices of the socialist women’s newspaper Die Gleichheit (Equality) since 1892. Zetkin belonged to the left, antimilitary wing of the Social-Democratic Party (SPD). Right up to August 1914, she agitated against rearmament and war. Unlike the…

Indian and African Soldiers in British, French and German Propaganda during the First World War

(6,325 words)

Author(s): Jarboe, Andrew
Jarboe, Andrew - Indian and African Soldiers in British, French and German Propaganda during the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: Soldiers and Combat | Home fronts | The French and British Empires | Germany | Western Front | Africa | India | Politics | Culture | Visual Arts | Legacy World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_010 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Jarboe, Andrew

Protestantism

(641 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Protestantism In the years before the outbreak of war, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism made repeated efforts to establish closer international relations with other churches. The World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches, financially supported by the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, with Friedrich Siegmund Schultze as its German contact, had called its founding assembly in Constance for the 3rd and 4th August of 1914. However, as the war began all the churches qui…

September Program (Septemberprogramm)

(581 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
September Program ( Septemberprogramm) A four-page document issued by the Reich Chancellery in its final version on September 9, 1914, with the innocuous title of Vorläufige Richtlinien über unsere Politik bei Friedensschluß (Provisional Political Guidelines for when Peace is Concluded). The September Program bears the signature of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. It counts as the first, comprehensive war-objectives program of the German Reich leadership in the World War. It resulted from weeks of consultations by the Reich…

Khaki Elections

(217 words)

Author(s): Letho, Mandy
Khaki Elections The general election for the British House of Commons in December 1918 secured a working majority in Parliament for the Liberal prime minister David Lloyd George and his coalition government, made up of Conservatives (led by Andrew Bonar Law) and Liberals. The coalition governed until 1922. This parliamentary election acquired its name from the brown color of the uniforms of the many soldiers, at this time yet to be demobilized, among the voters. The term continues in general use in Britain for elections held during, or immediately after a war. Politically, the Khaki El…

Conscription

(596 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Conscription A state’s compulsory enlistment of its citizens for military service. Conscription in the modern sense arose during the French Revolution. The new state, founded on the will of the people, demanded military service from its citizens. This enabled the state to expand its armed forces enormously, and to intensify its military activities accordingly. European monarchies too had to resort to this means of raising an army, if they wished to assert themselves militarily against France. Once Napoleon…

Students

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Weber, Thomas
Students Students were clearly overrepresented among the soldiers of the First World War. The mention of exclusively or predominantly student-recruited military units in wartime and postwar literature, however, belongs to the realm of fiction. Its origins must be sought in the frequently politically motivated idealizations that were characteristic of journalistic publications and commemorative events. The most famous German example is the myth that “student regiments” singing the German national …

South Africa

(1,166 words)

Author(s): Nasson, Bill
South Africa The Union of South Africa came into being on May 31, 1910, with the coming into force of the South Africa Act, a common constitution for the British Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Natal, and Transvaal. Ruled by white settlers, the Union was granted the status of a self-governing dominion within Britain’s African Empire. South Africa was thus constitutionally bound to adhere to British foreign policy, including the event of a war. Although the question of the country’s joining the Fir…

Armed Forces (Great Britain)

(4,680 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Armed Forces (Great Britain) The First World War was a highly unpleasant experience for the British. The perception of this war in public opinion was once summed up by the historian A.J.P. Taylor in the disparaging words “brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.” This negative view was primarily the consequence of the losses of human life, as the number of casualties among the soldiers was without precedent in the history of Great Britain. The majority of these los…
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