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Mortar

(587 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Mortar A mortar (German Minenwerfer or “mine thrower”) describes a short-range, indirect fire weapon. The shell that was fired was usually a thin-walled, particularly powerful explosive shell. Germany had developed this type of artillery shortly before the war as special ordnance for the pioneer branch of the army, to be used in siege warfare. They were to be deployed against obstacles and smaller, more resilient targets which could not be engaged effectively from the far-off emplacements of the sie…

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…

Rationing

(634 words)

Author(s): Berghoff, Hartmut
Rationing The systematic registration and distribution of goods in short supply, in order to meet priority needs. The aim of rationing is to achieve distribution which is as fair as possible, and adequate to the war economy. All belligerent nations, and even the neutral countries, realized that the destruction of established structures of the international division of labor, together with enemy blockades and the enormous needs of the defense economy, created shortages of raw materials and foodstu…

Disability

(1,876 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang U.
Disability In 1934, the Medical Report of the German Army estimated the number of German soldiers who had died of wounds, accident, suicide, or disease between August 2, 1914, and July 31, 1918, at 1,202,042. This number, which rose considerably in the period between the cessation of military casualty reports in July 1918 and the end of the war, must be viewed alongside the 702,778 dismissed from the armed forces in the same period as being unfit for service (503,713 with medical support, 199,065 without…

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…

Paris Peace Conferences

(739 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Paris Peace Conferences In Paris between January 18 and June 28, 1919, peace conferences were held by the victorious powers of the First World War in order to make final decisions on a host of questions, and then to write them as regulations to which the signatories would be contractually obligated. Additionally the victorious powers would conclude so-called minority treaties with the allies of the German Empire after the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The Paris Peace Conferences were held in se…

Headquarters

(1,417 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Headquarters Command centers for the supreme military, sometimes also political, leadership set up in the field for the duration of the war. Composition, location, and function of such a headquarters depended on the constitutional position of the supreme military command of each belligerent and the demands of modern mass and coalition warfare. – By far the most comprehensive headquarters at the outbreak of the war was the German “Great Headquarters.” Aside from the German Emperor as the nominal c…

Japan

(2,146 words)

Author(s): Schwentker, Wolfgang
Japan Japan rose to become a Great Power in East Asia during the two centuries preceding 1914. Although the Japanese Empire had become the object of Western imperialism during the late 19th century, they had resisted all attempts at colonization. After victories in both the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Japan itself stepped into the imperialist arena in East Asia as the new colonial power. As Japan expanded its empire upon the Asian continent before 1914,…

‘It All Goes Wrong!’: German, French, and British Approaches to Mastering the Western Front

(13,762 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis
Showalter, Dennis - ‘It All Goes Wrong!’: German, French, and British Approaches to Mastering the Western Front Keywords: Western Front | Military organisation of combat | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Experience of combat | French Army and its combattants | Britain | Germany | The French and British Empires | Politics | Canada ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.003 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Showalter, Dennis

Haig, Sir Douglas

(689 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Haig, Sir Douglas (June 19, 1861, Edinburgh – January 29, 1928, London; from 1917 the First Earl Haig), British field marshal (commander in chief on the Western Front, 1915–1918). In the course of a brilliant prewar career, spent mainly in staff posts, Haig made himself a reputation as one of the most capable officers in the British Army. He was promoted to major general at the early age of 44. One of his most important posts was as head of the training department at the ministry of war between 190…

Null-Acht-Fünfzehn (Maxim Machine Gun)

(269 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Null-Acht-Fünfzehn (Maxim Machine Gun) The designation for the new Maxim machine gun, the Model 8, implemented by the German Army beginning in 1915. On this redesigned Maxim gun, the heavy carriage of older models was replaced by a bipod. It was lighter, and equipped for the first time with a shoulder stock as well as a pistol grip. Great quantities of the Model 8 were produced under very strict fabrication tolerances that resulted in exceptional durability, even when subjected to extreme mechanical stresses. It therefore comes as no surprise that in German soldiers’ slang, Null-Acht-Fün…

Reparations

(2,115 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Martin H.
Reparations Since the First World War the normal term for war compensation, by which a state is obliged to remedy damage illicitly caused by it on the sovereign territory of an enemy. In contrast to the traditional practice whereby financial obligations were imposed by the victors in a war in the form of tribute, the concept of reparations introduced the new idea that a state must pay for the damage it has caused another state by an illegal act. The first use in a treaty of the concept réparation des dommages (compensation for damages), drawn from French civil law, was in the cease-f…

Film, The First World War in

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Chambers II, John W. | Rother, Rainer
Film, The First World War in ISFWWS-Keywords: Australia | Britain | Canada | Culture | France | Germany | Italy | Russia | The United States of America First published in: Brill's Encyclopedia of the First World War, Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Irina Renz, Markus Pöhlmann and James S. Corum, Leiden (2012) Documentaries and feature films, 1914–1943 (a selection) 1914–1918 England Expects (G.L. Tucker, Great Britain, 1914) The German Spy Peril (W. Barker, Great Britain, 1914) The Great European War (G. Pearson & G.B. Samuelson, Great Britain, 1914) It’s a Long Way to Tipperary…

Hussein bin Ali

(373 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Hussein bin Ali (1853, Constantinople – June 4, 1931, Amman), king of the Hejaz. As the “Guardian of the Holy Places of Islam” and as the presumed contender for the title of Caliph, Hussein was held captive in Constantinople from 1891 to 1908 as a state prisoner of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. After the latter’s downfall, the Young Turks appointed Hussein Emir of Mecca in 1908. However, the Arab efforts to gain independence – which were also fuelled by fears that the Hejaz Railway might threaten Hussein’…

Jellicoe, John R.

(609 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Jellicoe, John R. (December 5, 1859, Southampton – November, 20, 1935, London; Viscount of Scapa from 1918; Earl Jellicoe from 1915), British admiral. Jellicoe joined the Royal Navy in 1872 and took part in the Russo-Turkish War in 1877 as well as in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. As director of naval ordnance, he had been responsible for equipping HMS Dreadnought with heavy gunnery in 1905. Appointed rear admiral in 1907, Jellicoe was made Third Sea Lord in the following year and supervised the construction of 90 battleships, including eig…

A War Unimagined: Food and the Rank and File Soldier of the First World War

(10,797 words)

Author(s): Duffett, Rachel
Duffett, Rachel - A War Unimagined: Food and the Rank and File Soldier of the First World War Keywords: army rations | emotion | file soldiers | First World War | food | rankers' writing ISFWWS-Keywords: Western Front | Soldiers and Combat | Britain | Published memoirs and biographies | Military organisation of combat | Economy Abstract: The literary legacy of the First World War has tended to ignore the mass of writing produced by its rank and file soldiers, whose perceptions, lack of writing skills and limited reflexivity did not, in …

Jagow, Gottlieb von

(361 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Jagow, Gottlieb von (June 22, 1863, Berlin – January 11, 1935, Potsdam), German diplomat. Jagow was from a noble Brandenburg family. He studied law and served in the Prussian administration, until, in 1895, he succeeded in entering upon a diplomatic career under the protection of the later Reich Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow. He worked in various overseas legations and his career reached an initial high point with his appointment as ambassador to Rome on 28 March 1909. There, he achieved a diplomat…

Canada

(1,457 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, Martin
Canada Canada was ill prepared for war in August 1914. The affluent were enjoying the August 1–3 civic holiday at their country houses. The less affluent were suffering from the effects of the worst economic depression since the early 1890s. Only the energetic but unpredictable Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes was enthused by the prospect of war. His only concern was that the British might miss the opportunity. Under his command, some 55,000 militiamen and 44,000 cadets were trained in 1913. These men would comprise the bulk of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). At first re…

Britain in the Balkans: The Response of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Units

(8,315 words)

Author(s): Liddington, Jill
Liddington, Jill - Britain in the Balkans: The Response of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Units Keywords: Balkans | Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) | Serbia ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Women and War | Medicine | The Balkans and Eastern Europe | Russia | The United States of America | Legacy | Politics Abstract: This chapter assesses the significance of the contribution of one selected Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) relief initiative during aftermath of war, that of the American Unit. It has been selected because of its close rel…

War Food Office

(392 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Food Office The central authority under the Imperial Chancellor in the German Reich for managing supplies of food and animal feed in order to keep the population fed. The office was created, by an announcement dated May 22, 1916, to correct the previously divided and confused administration in the light of the dramatically worsening supply problem. To this end the War Food Office, as an organ of the Reich (against the opposition of the federal states and the Prussian Agriculture Minister), was …
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