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Berchtold, Leopold Count

(508 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Berchtold, Leopold Count (April 18, 1863, Vienna – November 21, 1942, Pereznye Castle near Ödenburg, modern Sopron, Hungary), Austro-Hungarian politician. Berchtold joined the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1893 and served as the Dual Monarchy’s ambassador in Saint Petersburg from 1906 until 1911. In February of 1912 he took office as Foreign Minister, and in the autumn the First Balkan War presented him with a sudden, massive threat to Austria-Hungary’s position of power in the region. Ber…

Bug Offensive

(785 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Bug Offensive On June 22, 1915, the Austro-Hungarian Second Army recaptured Lemberg (Lviv), the capital of Galicia, which had been held by the Russians since September of the previous year. For the Central Powers, this event marked the high point of an important series of successes that had begun in May with the breakthrough at Gorlice-Tarnów. The reduction of the salient in Russian Poland seemed within reach, and there appeared to be a realistic chance of encircling the strong Russian forces in t…

Luxemburg, Rosa

(402 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Luxemburg, Rosa (March 5, 1870, Zamość [Vistula Land, Russia; now Poland] – January 15, 1919, Berlin [assassinated]), German politician and journalist. Luxemburg originally came from Poland. She studied classical economics and gained her doctorate in Zurich. After becoming a German citizen in 1898, she joined the German Social Democratic Party and lectured at the Party’s central school. As a leading member of the Social Democratic left, after the outbreak of the First World War she vehemently oppo…

War Bonds

(647 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Bonds A form of government borrowing for the financing of war expenditures. War bonds were issued by the belligerent states during the World War, thus allowing for the mobilization of significant parts of the social wealth. Both their attractive conditions – interest rates frequently better than in peacetime – as well as a massive propaganda drive, ensured that the first war bonds were able to raise a considerable amount of capital. The bondholders typically reflected a broad spectrum of the p…

Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich

(229 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Gerhard
Guchkov, Alexander Ivanovich (October 13/26, 1862, Moscow – February 14, 1936, Paris), Russian industrialist and politician. Guchkov came from a family of Moscow entrepreneurs. In November 1905, in the course of the first Russian Revolution, he was the founder and leader of the Union of the 17th October. In 1906 he became a member of the Imperial Council, in 1907 a member of the Imperial Duma, and its president in 1910–1911. From the end of 1906 Guchkov was the publisher of the Golos Moskvy ( Voice of Moscow) newspaper and from 1915 he was chairman of the Central War Industry Comm…

Petar I Karadjordjević, King of Serbia

(387 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Petar I Karadjordjević, King of Serbia ( July 11, 1844, Belgrade – August 16, 1921, Belgrade), Serbian king (from 1903), from 1918 king of the newly emerged Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. A grandson of Karadjordje Petrović, the legendary leader of the Serbian risings of 1804 to 1813, Petar spent the period of his civilian and military education in Switzerland and France after the fall of his father Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević in 1858. Despite Russian support and links to opponents of…

Troop Strength

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Troop Strength The initial numbers of soldiers mobilized for immediate wartime service. The peacetime strength of the individual armies before 1914 provided the foundation for troop strength in the war. A cadre of commanders for reserve units and an attachment of reservists for these troop units were included in their mobilization plans. This would make it possible to raise units to wartime strength once the mobilization was begun. The troop strengths planned in the event of war, and the troop str…

Freikorps (Free Corps)

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Ziemann, Benjamin
Freikorps (Free Corps) Generally, the term Freikorps (literally free corps) denotes military formations manned by volunteers. More specifically it refers to those units which were formed in Germany between 1918 and 1921 with the aim of conducting counter-revolutionary operations and to protect Germany’s eastern border against Poland and Bolshevik Russia ( Grenzschutz Ost). When the German Army marched home in November 1918 it literally fell apart as it reached the homeland, with units simply disbanding themselves and going home. At the same time, …

Armed Forces (United States)

(3,756 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Armed Forces (United States) During the First World War the armed forces of the United States were crafted by national politics. The Russian Provisional Government of 1917 had promised resolutely to continue the war in the East. On the Western Front, the Germans were unequivocally on the defensive. In no way was America itself directly threatened. Nevertheless, the pattern developed in the World War would guide the United States in 20th century warfare. Politics would determine the strategy, the org…

Ferdinand I, Tsar of Bulgaria

(451 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Ferdinand I, Tsar of Bulgaria (February 26, 1861, Vienna – September 10, 1948, Coburg) Ferdinand, from the house of Sachsen-Coburg-Koháry, was elected Prince of Bulgaria against the bitter resistance of Russia, and to the discontent of Bismarck, in 1887. He became the tsar in the context of a national and constitutional crisis triggered by the abdication of Prince Alexander of Battenberg that was compelled by Russia in 1886. However, his influence, both internally and externally, was initially slight…

Piłsudski, Józef Klemens

(325 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Piłsudski, Józef Klemens (December 5, 1867, Zułowo [now Zalavas, near Vilnius] – May 12, 1935, Warsaw), Polish politician and marshal. Co-founder of the Polish Socialist Party in 1892, Piłsudski was a determined opponent of Russia. He pursued the goal of a Polish federal republic on the model of the old Polish-Lithuanian Union, reaching far to the east and including non-Polish nationalities. This national revolutionary activist organized paramilitary groups from 1908 on and sent his forces over the…

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…

Lviv/Lemberg

(890 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Lviv/Lemberg Capital of the Austro-Hungarian Crown Land of Galicia. In late summer 1914 the territory around Lemberg (Lviv) in eastern Galicia became the focus of battles between Russian and Austro-Hungarian troops. While the Russian plan was for an offensive that would achieve the double encirclement of the Austro-Hungarian forces in eastern Galicia, the chief of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff, Conrad von Hötzendorf, envisaged as his first major offensive operation an advance to the north be…

Carpathians

(916 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Carpathians A mountain range between Hungary and Galicia, the site of several battles from January to April 1915. The Austro-Hungarian general staff was quite aware of the Carpathians’ strategic importance. The Austro-Hungarian troops in Galicia, which were enclosed on all sides, were left with little possibility of evading attack due to the mountain range, while the enemy was at all cost to be prevented from overcoming it. Large parts of the Carpathians also placed mountain-trained or specially …

Mobilization

(664 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Mobilization The conversion of a nation’s military forces to a state of war, callled specifically “military mobilization,” and the adaptation of its government and industry to the demands of the war, known as “military mobilization.” Military mobilization for the World War had been planned in detail during peacetime. The preplanned procedures were intended to outfit military units with personnel, uniforms and equipment so as to bring them swiftly up to war strength. When the war began, frontier p…

Romania

(1,553 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Romania Having come into being in 1859 in the union of the two Danube principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, Romania endeavored to remain aloof from the great diplomatic crises and military upheavals that gripped the Balkans from the end of the 19th century. The country accordingly did not participate in the Balkan League comprising Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, which declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1912. However, when Bulgaria’s success in the Balkan War of 1912 appeared to …

Looted Art

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Kott, Christina
Looted Art Originally a term for cultural assets taken away by the enemy in times of war, the looting of art today denotes an illegal act under international law that is perpetrated by belligerent powers and involves the theft of artistic and cultural items in the course of military operations or during occupation. The protection of cultural property had since the end of the 19th century, if not earlier, been one of the fundamental tenets of international law: in particular Article 56 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) banned “[a]ll seizure of, …

Fortresses

(737 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Fortresses Sites provided with permanent, artificial reinforcement, so as to protect them from capture by the methods of field warfare. For this reason, the battle for fortresses was always given a particular designation as “fortress warfare,” to distinguish it from “field warfare,” or war as waged by mobile field forces. The technical design of fortresses closely paralleled developments in artillery, which made tremendous advances during the 19th century (introduction of guns made from drawn steel, long-range howitzers, armor-piercing shells).…

Polish Activism Abroad

(509 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Polish Activism Abroad The term here refers to the activities in particular of the Polish National Democrats under Roman Dmowski and cooperating Polish politicians in the West, who achieved a political breakthrough following the proclamation for an independent Polish state by the Provisional Government of Russia on March 30, 1917, and the ensuing declaration by the French President Raymond Poincaré on June 4, 1917, announcing the formation of Polish army units in France. Thanks to the initiative of…

Intelligence Services

(574 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Intelligence Services Also called the secret service, these government organizations were employed to collect and interpret intelligence information of military, political, economic, and scientific importance about other states. Intelligence services were also assigned sabotage missions and diversion operations, as well as the safeguarding of their own state secrets against enemy espionage. During the age of nationalism between 1860 and 1914, most states established intelligence services. The Worl…
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