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Dreadnought

(456 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Dreadnought British capital ship, and the name used for an entire type of modern battleships. By what has been termed the “Dreadnought leap” – superiority in firepower, protection, and speed – the Royal Navy rendered obsolete all large battleships built before that time. This qualitative advance in British naval technology was the consequence of military necessity. After the sea-battle of Tsushima on May 27/28, 1905, in which the Japanese fleet destroyed three Russian warships from a distance of …

Wartime Coalitions

(2,117 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Wartime Coalitions Before the World War, the European system of states had become strongly polarized. On the one side stood the Central Powers, namely the Dual Alliance of German Reich and Austria-Hungary that had been formed in 1879 as well as the (independently concluded) Triple Alliance of German Reich, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; however, the latter country declared itself neutral at the beginning of the war. On the other side stood the Entente Powers, among which France and Russia had been bound by a military alliance since 1893/1894, while France and Great Bri…

Bloch, Ivan Stanislavovich

(468 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Bloch, Ivan Stanislavovich (August 24, 1836, Radom – January 6, 1902, Warsaw), Polish economist. Born into a poor family, the Warsaw-based banker applied himself to financing the construction of the Russian railway network between the Baltic and the Black Sea. He became very wealthy as a result and published several volumes on the general aspects of this activity. As a Jewish convert to Calvinism Bloch was an outspoken supporter of the Jewish community in the Tsarist Empire and wrote a number of bo…

Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von

(1,692 words)

Author(s): Chickering, Roger
Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und von (October 2, 1847, Posen – August 2, 1934, Neudeck [West Prussia]), German field marshal (chief of the field army). Hindenburg’s military career began with his entry into the military academy at Wahlstatt in Silesia at the age of 12. He was a product of the army of King Wilhelm I of Prussia and his socialization and intellectual development took place within the narrow confines of that institution. Hindenburg’s political loyalties were unconditionally linked t…

The Camp Newspaper Nedelja as a Reflection of the Experience of Russian Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary

(11,832 words)

Author(s): Steppan, Christian
Steppan, Christian - The Camp Newspaper Nedelja as a Reflection of the Experience of Russian Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary ISFWWS-Keywords: Russia | Prisoners of War | Austria-Hungary | Politics | Literature Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_009 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Steppan, Christian

War between Allies: Polish and Ukrainian Intellectuals 1914–1923

(8,422 words)

Author(s): Górny, Maciej
Górny, Maciej - War between Allies: Polish and Ukrainian Intellectuals 1914–1923 ISFWWS-Keywords: Russian Front | Politics | Russia | Poland | Intellectuals and the War | Literature | Legacy Other Fronts, Other Wars? Joachim Bürgschwentner, Matthias Egger and Gunda Barth-Scalmani , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004279513 DOI: 10.1163/9789004279513_020 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Górny, Maciej

War Guilt

(797 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
War Guilt The question of responsibility for the First World War was actually the subject of controversial discussion even before the outbreak of war, during the July Crisis of 1914, and was even answered propagandistically, to justify positions taken. Proclamations at the outset of the war, such as the “balcony speech” of Kaiser Wilhelm II on August 4 (“It is not the desire for conquest that drives us . . .”) or Poincaré’s “ Union sacrée” address on the same date (“In the war now breaking out, France has right on her side.”) always emphasize the defensive character of…

Assault Battalions

(304 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Assault Battalions Army formations that were raised specifically to be used in trench warfare and as training units. Beginning in 1916, the Germans deployed assault battalions primarily on the Western Front. France, Russia, and Austria-Hungary also fielded assault troops from 1917. The first German unit of this type, “Assault Battalion Rohr,” was organized in 1915 and initially comprised two pioneer companies. Its success led to the creation of 16 more assault battalions of this type, with infantry and pioneers p…

Danilov, Yuri Nikiforovich

(350 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Danilov, Yuri Nikiforovich (August 25, 1866 – November 3, 1937), Russian general and military historian. Graduated from the School of Artillery at Mikhailovskoe in 1886, and from the General Staff academy in 1892. From 1908 to 1909 he was quartermaster-general, then senior quartermaster-general. From 1914 he was a general of infantry. Danilov took the leading role in drafting the Russian army’s plan of attack in case of war, entitled “Plan 19.” The plan envisaged a concentration of Russian forces f…

Inflation

(1,440 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Inflation An increase in the money supply and a rise of the monetary demand that is not matched by a corresponding amount of goods. Until long after the end of the war, people were accustomed to speak of “rising prices” instead of inflation or devaluation. In current research, the “age of inflation” denotes the period extending from the war to the beginning of the currency stabilization in November 1923. It also alludes to the economic, political, social, and cultural changes that resulted from the currency devaluation as well as to the ways of coming to terms with inflation. The causes of w…

Rumors

(703 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Rumors In all societies involved in the World War, social culture was influenced by “informal communication” media. In addition to military letters, trench newspapers, and unofficial leaflets and pamphlets, a large number of rumors supplied the lack of social information once censorship had caused the public media to lose credibility. In many places these rumors contained could a mixture of propaganda, popular cultural mythology, visions driven by panic fear, and (though very rarely) genuine information. An initial surge in war rumors can be observed in connection with…

Stöger-Steiner von Steinstätten, Rudolf Freiherr

(230 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Stöger-Steiner von Steinstätten, Rudolf Freiherr (April 26, 1861, Pernegg [Styria] – May 12, 1921, Graz), Austrian general and politician, minister of war. Stöger-Steiner followed a career in the general staff, where he reached the rank of major-general fairly early (1910). After the outbreak of war he continued his rapid rise, thanks not least to notable successes as divisional commander on the Russian front (Galicia) in 1914/15, and his dogged persistence as commander of the XVth Corps with which h…

Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von

(740 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count Ulrich von (May 29, 1869, Schleswig – September, 8, 1928, Berlin), German diplomat. The first foreign minister of the Weimar Republic was descended from the ancient nobility of Holstein. After obtaining his doctorate in law Brockdorff-Rantzau chose to pursue a diplomatic career which took him from Brussels via Saint Petersburg to Vienna, where in 1901 he became embassy secretary, and the influential German ambassador Count Carl von Wedel was his mentor. It was also thanks t…

Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy

(482 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy (November 11, 1869, Naples – December 28, 1947, Alexandria, Egypt), Italian king. As heir apparent Prince Victor Emmanuel pursued the usual, meteoric career in the Italian Army. In 1896 he married Princess Helena, daughter to the Prince of Montenegro, whereupon he acquired an especial interest in Balkan politics. The diminutive Prince Victor Emmanuel was reputed to be great in intelligence, reserved and skeptical. He ascended to the Italian throne in 1900 upon the mu…

Armed Forces (Russia)

(2,272 words)

Author(s): Brand, Bettina | Dahlmann, Dittmar
Armed Forces (Russia) One year before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905, the standing Russian army comprised approximately 41,000 officers, 10,000 military service personnel (including army dentists), and approximately 1 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks. There was provision for about 2 million reservists. Some 3 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks could thus be mobilized in the event of war. The guard regiments had a particular role and status in the Russian Imperial Army until the end of the First World War.…

Prisoners of War

(3,043 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Prisoners of War Persons with the status of combatants who fell into enemy hands during the war. Only rough estimates of the total number of prisoners of war can be given for the World War. It is assumed that some 6.6 to 8 million soldiers were taken captive, which represents at least 10% of the approximately 60 million soldiers who were mobilized during the war. By late 1918, according to statistics from the interwar period, 328,000 soldiers had been captured by the British, 350,000 by the French,…

Auffenberg von Komarów, Baron Moritz

(292 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Auffenberg von Komarów, Baron Moritz (May 22, 1852, Troppau, modern Opava in the Czech Republic – May 18, 1928, Vienna), Austro-Hungarian minister of war and army general. Auffenberg graduated from the Theresian Military Academy and chose to pursue a career with the General Staff. Commanding a brigade in Győr and later a division in Zagreb, he experienced the conflict-laden internal structure of the Habsburg Monarchy. As a corps commander in Sarajevo from 1909 to 1911 he distinguished himself with hi…

Falkenhayn, Erich von

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Falkenhayn, Erich von (September 11, 1861, Burg Belchau [Kreis Graudenz] – April 8, 1922, Schloss Lindstedt [near Potsdam]), German general and chief of the General Staff. Falkenhayn came from a West-Prussian “Junker” family with a strong military tradition. He entered the cadet corps at the early age of ten. He had a successful career as a young officer, and attended military academy. His life took an unusual turn when, in 1896, he took leave from the army and, for professional and financial reaso…

War Atrocities

(955 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
War Atrocities War atrocities may either be in direct violation of international law or contravene the generally accepted conventions of war, or else be conform to international law but nevertheless condemnable. The basic premise lies in the particular atrocity of the type of warfare or in the choice of victims. When defenseless people deliberately become the target of acts of war (civilians, shipwrecked persons, captured or wounded soldiers), the afflicted side perceives such acts as war atrociti…

Poincaré, Raymond

(994 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Poincaré, Raymond (August 20, 1860, Bar-le-Duc [Département Meuse] – October 15, 1934, Paris), French politician, state president. Poincaré came from a prosperous French provincial bourgeois family. Despite a political career that took place predominantly in Paris, his home town of Bar-le-Duc (capital of the Meuse Department) remained for him a haven of social and political retreat. Poincaré became one of the defining personalities of moderate republicanism in France. A lawyer by profession, he wa…
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