Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Uniforms

(1,390 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Jürgen
Uniforms At the beginning of the war, the armies of most warring states were outfitted with a special field uniform, camouflaged to blend into the terrain, in addition to their colorful parade uniforms. Such a camouflage uniform was necessary because of modern weapons technology including smokeless powder. This was already well known from the Boer Wars and the Russo-Japanese War. Still, camouflage uniforms dated back to the colonial wars of the 19th century. Based on experience in India, Great Br…

The Women’s Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919 and Voce Nuova (“New Voice”): Corporatism, Nationalism and the Struggle for Political Rights

(8,310 words)

Author(s): Schiavon, Emma
Schiavon, Emma - The Women’s Suffrage Campaign in Italy in 1919 and Voce Nuova (“New Voice”): Corporatism, Nationalism and the Struggle for Political Rights Keywords: feminism | interventionism | Italian women movement | Milanese feminists | nationalism | Voce Nuova | World War I ISFWWS-Keywords: Italy | Society | Politics | Legacy | Masculinity | Gender | Culture Abstract: This chapter focuses on the Italian women's movement after World War I with particular reference to the experience of the Milanese feminists, who were the leading group in…

Military Losses (Casualties)

(1,331 words)

Author(s): Overmans, Rüdiger
Military Losses (Casualties) There is little agreement in the literature as to the casualties sustained by the states that took part in the First World War. Figures vary between about 6 and about 13 million. A principle reason for the different estimates lies in the fact that definitions of the term “casualties” differ greatly. In the narrow military terminology of the time and in the specialized military literature, “casualties” frequently included all those soldiers who were no longer available t…

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Isonzo

(796 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
Isonzo River located in the Karst region of Slovenia near the front in the Alps where, between 1915 and 1917, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops opposed one another. Directly after Italy had joined the war in May 1915, their Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna had wanted to undertake a penetration of the Austrian heartland across the Isonzo. However, the Imperial Austrian Army troops held their defensive positions. The war, which devolved into independent actions in the High Alps, was cemented here at …

Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary)

(3,011 words)

Author(s): Rauchensteiner, Manfried
Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary) The organization of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces during the First World War originated in the Compromise of 1867. Under this agreement the Habsburg Monarchy sported the outward appearance of a dual monarchy, yet internally there was minimal uniformity, and the merest balance of interests. The major weakness of the Compromise between the Kingdom of Hungary and the remainder of the Double Monarchy was the fact that the Slavs within Austria-Hungary, who had mainly s…

Pan-German League

(886 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Pan-German League Radical nationalistic organization in Germany. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband, ADV) was founded in Berlin in April 1891 and (until 1894) operated under the name Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband (“General German Association”). It was formed as a non-party organization on the initiative of a small circle of activists that included representatives from the community of “ethnic Germans” living outside of the German Empire ( Volksdeutsche), several colonial propagandists with ties to Carl Peters, and Alfred Hugenberg, who was still a yo…

Artillery

(3,394 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Artillery Next to infantry and cavalry, artillery was the third combat arm of the land forces in 1914. Its task was to support other branches of the service, in particular the infantry. Since modern warfare was thought of as a war of movement, artillery doctrine, equipment and training were designed for mobile combat. It had to be able to follow the infantry in the field. This requirement restricted the weight and thus the caliber and ballistic capability of the guns. The primary weapons of the a…

Submarine Warfare

(2,604 words)

Author(s): Rohwer, Jürgen
Submarine Warfare Grossadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz, secretary of state for the German Imperial Navy Bureau, was mainly interested in the battle fleet and initially had little regard for submarines. So the construction of U1 did not begin until 1904/1905, and, by the beginning of the First World War, only 28 submarines were in service in the German Navy. Of these, only the final ten were equipped with operationally safe diesel engines for running on the surface. Tirpitz’ intention at the beginning of the war was to use submarines for reconnaissance against the British Gra…

War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

War Damage

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
War Damage Damages and costs incurred during the war through the destruction of military equipment and weaponry, but also as a consequence of property damage in the regions directly affected by the war. War damage thus refers to the material costs of the war in the narrow sense. The calculation of war costs in the wider sense as well as of material losses in the narrow sense is so fraught with difficulties that all figures can only be seen as rough approximations. This already became evident during a first general assessment carried out for t…

Balfour Declaration

(486 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Balfour Declaration Statement by the British government made in a letter from the Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour to Lord Lionel Rothschild on November 2, 1917, expressing support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Manchester-based British Palestine Committee had campaigned for the Declaration. The most prominent advocate was Chaim Weizmann, an advisor to the British government, who enjoyed good contacts with Lord Balfour and the (then) Chancello…

China

(2,662 words)

Author(s): Mühlhahn, Klaus
China The largest state by population and area in eastern Asia; a republic from 1911 to 1949. Although China was scarcely involved militarily in the First World War, the war nevertheless represented an important turning point for the country. The consequences of the war fundamentally changed both China’s status in international politics and its internal political and social circumstances. China’s involvement in the First World War was a long-term result of the expansion of European imperialism. Increased rivalry between the Great Powers, in their strugg…

League of Nations

(487 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
League of Nations (German: Völkerbund, French: Société des Nations). The measures instituted by the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 proved insufficient to prevent war. Therefore, during the World War, the peace movements of several nations considered founding a new institution. After 1917–1918 government representatives in Great Britain, France, the United States, and also the German Reich increasingly considered the possibilities. For American President Woodrow Wilson, the creation of a League…

Generalship and Mass Surrender during the Italian Defeat at Caporetto

(9,337 words)

Author(s): Wilcox, Vanda
Wilcox, Vanda - Generalship and Mass Surrender during the Italian Defeat at Caporetto Keywords: Caporetto | Italian Defeat | mass surrender ISFWWS-Keywords: Italian-Austrian Front | Italy | Military organisation of combat | Austria-Hungary | Germany | Experience of combat Abstract: The Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 has been the subject of fierce historiographical debate. An examination of the conduct of the opening stage of the battle offers some answers as to the nature and causes of mass surrender at Ca…

Moroccan Crises, First and Second

(692 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin | Allain, Jean-Claude
Moroccan Crises, First and Second Two situations of international tension (1905, 1911) that were provoked by the rivalry between the German Reich and France over influence in Morocco. France’s interest in Morocco resulted from the latter’s proximity to Algeria. The aim was to extend French rule to the entire Maghreb. By concluding bilateral agreements with Italy (1902), England (Entente Cordiale), and Spain (1904), as well as by weakening Moroccan rule in the areas bordering on Algeria, France strove to establish itself as the dominant political power in the region. The German Reich…

War Cemeteries

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
War Cemeteries The design of war graves and war cemeteries was first regulated during the First World War. Yet paradoxically at the same time as the enormous mass deaths, the status of individual war deaths became enhanced. Each of the fallen was now, as far as possible, to be given an individual grave, that, similarly to civilian tombs, would receive the body and perpetuate the name. In the 19th century it was normal for only officers to be interred in individual graves, while other ranks were bu…

Military Courts

(861 words)

Author(s): Jahr, Christoph
Military Courts This special law jurisdiction is limited to military personnel. It provides for a host of criminal offense categories that are not included in civilian criminal law. It is noteworthy that, as in civilian jurisprudence, criminal law is handled separately from procedural law. A comprehensive modernization of the military legal system was undertaken in numerous countries in the closing years of the 19th century. During the World War, the following regulations applied in the specified warring states: in Germany, the Militärstrafgesetzbuch of 1872; in France, the Code d…

Chantilly Conference

(554 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Chantilly Conference The second Interallied Conference in 1915, held in the French headquarters north of Paris. Ever since the beginning of the war, the Allies had fought without really attempting to coordinate their operations. This approach benefited the interests of the Central Powers, whose geographical position allowed them to reinforce their troops in precisely those sectors where it was needed. During the first two years of the war the general situation seemed rather favorable for the Central Powers, even though they were unable to achieve a decisive victory. The Allies were…

Albania

(1,185 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Albania Compared to other ethnic groups in the Balkan region the Albanians were relatively late to develop national aspirations of their own. Religious divisions within the population, the lack of a unified social stratum that would support a “modern” national movement, and the traditional, deeply fractured structure of Albanian society with its regional and clan affiliations delayed the creation of a politically organized movement of national rebirth ( Rilindja), which only emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century. When the peace negotiations after the R…
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