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French, Sir John

(383 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
French, Sir John (September 28, 1852, Ripple Vale, Kent – May 21, 1925, Deal), British field marshal and British Army Commander in Chief on the Western Front 1914/1915. French’s early career included the usual colonial postings in Egypt and India. He first gained a reputation as a courageous and energetic officer as commander of a cavalry division in the Boer War (1899–1902). The war led to further key posts, not least owing to the fact that French mixed easily with politicians, especially liberal …

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…

Foch, Ferdinand

(633 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Foch, Ferdinand (October 2, 1851, Tarbes – March 20, 1929, Paris) French field marshal. In the course of the large-scale German offensive in March of 1918 the Allies realized that the lack of a central military command on the Western Front might result in a defeat. Up to that point, British generals (with some exceptions) had categorically refused to serve under French command. Now, however, General Foch was given the task of coordinating the operations of the French and British armies; later he r…

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…

Armed Forces (Dominions)

(3,147 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Armed Forces (Dominions) The settler colonies of the British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa) had already acquired the status of dominions prior to 1914, as part of a constitutional development towards full independence. Self-determination in domestic matters had already been granted to Canada in 1867, to Australia in 1901, to New Zealand in 1907, and to South Africa in 1910. The British declaration of war on Germany in 1914 was binding for all dominions, since London still…

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…

German East Africa

(848 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
German East Africa Situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, between Portuguese Mozambique to the south, British East Africa to the north, and the Belgian Congo to the west, German East Africa comprised the modern states of Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. Declared a territory of the German Reich in 1885, with 7.5 million inhabitants the country was the most populous German colony, and at 995,000 km2 also the largest. Some 5,300 Europeans lived in the colony in 1914. The British government decided to capture German East Africa as early as August 1914. As with t…

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…

Volunteers

(916 words)

Author(s): Ziemann, Benjamin
Volunteers In the strict sense volunteers were men who enlisted in the wake of mobilization without having been liable for military duty or without having been previously called up as draftees. In Germany these could include men who were either too young or too old to be drafted (under 18 or over 45), but also those men who were of an age to be drafted but had not yet received a draft notice. Volunteers were also all those who voluntarily enlisted in the further course of the war. After the beginning of the war, reports of an enormously high number of volunteers (between one and tw…

Soldiers’ Newspapers

(1,076 words)

Author(s): Nelson, Robert L.
Soldiers’ Newspapers Collective term for publications that were produced in the immediate vicinity of the front (front and trench newspapers) or in the rear areas by the official military authorities (army and corps newspapers). The editorial staffs of the soldiers’ newspapers consisted mostly of officers, but also of lower-ranking soldiers. Many soldiers’ newspapers printed official war bulletins and “eyewitness accounts” of recent events that had been written down by the war participants themsel…

Reaching Out to the Past: Memory in Contemporary British First World War Narratives

(9,338 words)

Author(s): Renard, Virginie
Renard, Virginie - Reaching Out to the Past: Memory in Contemporary British First World War Narratives Keywords: British fiction | collective memory | contemporary First World War narratives | Great War writers | Julian Barnes | official memory | Pat Barker ISFWWS-Keywords: Britain | Literature | Great Britain | Legacy | Western Front | Soldiers and Combat | Culture | Society Abstract: The First World War currently enjoys considerable literary status in Britain. The past decade has seen a flourishing of novels that powerfully re-imagine the Grea…

The Great War and Modern Scholarship: Academic Responses to War in Paris and London

(11,490 words)

Author(s): Fordham, Elizabeth
Fordham, Elizabeth - The Great War and Modern Scholarship: Academic Responses to War in Paris and London Keywords: Intellectuals and the War | Politics | Britain | France | Austria-Hungary | Culture | Legacy | The Balkans and Eastern Europe | The United States of America ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.012 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Fordham, Elizabeth

Palestine Front

(637 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Palestine Front After the failure of the two Turkish/German expeditions against the Suez Canal (in January/February 1915 with 18,000 men and 5,000 camels, and in July/August 1916 with 16,000 men, including Austro-Hungarian contingents, and, again, 5,000 camels), by the beginning of 1917 the Ottoman Empire had been forced to evacuate the Sinai Peninsula. The Turks chose the Gaza – Tel el Sheria – Beersheba line, a front of 50 km, for their defense of Palestine. The mixed units on the ground were co…

Railroads and the Operational Level of War in the German 1918 Offensives

(11,046 words)

Author(s): Zabecki, David T.
Zabecki, David T. - Railroads and the Operational Level of War in the German 1918 Offensives Keywords: 1918 | Amiens | German | offensives | operational art | railroads ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Military organisation of combat | Western Front | Science | Technology | Medicine | Pre-war period | Experience of combat | Britain Abstract: This paper evaluates the German approach to the operational art by analyzing the Ludendorff Offensives of 1918, and specifically the influence of railroads on the outcome of the entire campaign. The purpose…

German War Plans against Denmark 1916–1918

(6,394 words)

Author(s): Paulin, C.
Paulin, C. - German War Plans against Denmark 1916–1918 Keywords: bureaucratic quarrels | Denmark | German war plans ISFWWS-Keywords: Germany | Scandinavia | The Military and Naval War | Politics | Naval Warfare | Britain | International Relations during the War Abstract: This chapter firstly uncovers wie es eigentlich gewesen regarding the planning and the German-Danish foreign policy relations. Secondly, it explores why the plans did not materialize. Historical analysis often runs the risk of getting deterministic because it i…

Flamethrower

(468 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Flamethrower Weapon designed for tactical attacks against military targets by means of a stream of fire. Flammable oil is sprayed from a pressurized container through a tube and automatically ignited upon leaving the tube. The development of flamethrowers began in Germany shortly before the First World War. The Germans produced heavy-duty stationary flamethrowers with a capacity to hold 100 liters of fuel oil, which had a range of about 50 m, and small, portable units with a fuel reservoir of 10 …

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…

Delcassé, Théophile

(468 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Delcassé, Théophile (March 1, 1852, Pamiers [Ariège] – February 22, 1923, Nice), French politician (foreign minister). Delcassé was a journalist who entered politics as a disciple of Léon Gambetta. He remained deputy for his home department of Ariège from 1889 until 1919. His uninterrupted seven years’ service as foreign minister, from 1898 to 1905, was the most important period of his political career. Although his stance was for a long time anti-British rather than anti-German, it was during his…

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…
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