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German Fatherland Party(Deutsche Vaterlandspartei – DVLP)

(518 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
German Fatherland Party( Deutsche Vaterlandspartei – DVLP) An annexationist collective movement of nationalist-conservative circles in Germany. The DVLP was officially founded on September 2, 1917, (“Sedan Day”) in Königsberg. Honorary president was Duke Johann Albrecht von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, first chairman Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. The party’s guiding and driving spirit was the former Generallandschaftsdirektor (president of a regional land-owners’ council) Wolfgang Kapp, who, in reaction to the Reichstag peace resolution of July 19, 1…

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…

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…

Union of Democratic Control

(305 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Union of Democratic Control British association of radical-liberal and socialist politicians and intellectuals who spoke out against imperialistic politics and annexationist war aims while advocating a democratically controlled foreign policy. The U.D.C. was founded on September 5, 1914, as a manifestation of open protest against British politics during the July Crisis by James Ramsay MacDonald, Norman Angell, Arthur Ponsonby, and Edmund Dene Morel. Other co-founders included, among others, Bertrand…

War Experience

(654 words)

Author(s): Hettling, Manfred
War Experience Experience as such had been discovered around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Authors such as Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel popularized the concept, which expressed a longing for wholeness and a need for totality. Within the process of experiencing, distinctions such as those between reflection and sensory perception or thought and action were believed to disappear. Simmel gave this notion a more emphatic note by comparing experience with adventure. Experience thus stoo…

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…

Mutinies in the French Army 1917

(980 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Mutinies in the French Army 1917 On April 16, 1917, General Nivelle, who had replaced General Joffre as commander in chief of the French Army in December 1916, launched the great offensive on the Chemin des Dames (Nivelle Offensive). Many in the army (and in the country at large) believed that this offensive would decide the war. The disappointment was thus great when it became clear, only a few hours after the beginning of the offensive, that this assault in very difficult terrain and under terrible …

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…

Sarrail, Maurice

(322 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Sarrail, Maurice (April 6, 1856, Carcassonne – March 23, 1929, Paris), French general. All his life Sarrail was a politically engaged soldier, close to the republican left. He was involved in the “republicanization of the army” after the Dreyfus affair. During the years after 1905, Sarrail was initially commandant of the Saint-Maixent military academy and from 1907 until 1911, head of the infantry department at the Ministry of War. At the beginning of the First World War he was given command of th…

Total War

(813 words)

Author(s): Förster, Stig
Total War This expression first appeared in the French press in 1917 as la guerre totale, meant to stir the French to their ultimate war effort. “Total war” and related expressions played a major role in international discussions concerning military policy in the 1920s and 1930s. The Italian General Giulio Douhet and German General Erich Ludendorff in particular promoted total war as the warfare of the future. In the Second World War the call for total war became a thoroughly universal phenomenon. Joseph Goebb…

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…

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…

German War Graves Commission

(615 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
German War Graves Commission Founded in 1919 this commission, entitled the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK), was the most important private organization of the interwar period concerned with the creation and maintenance of German war graves. After 1923 the Zentralnachweiseamt für Kriegerverluste und Kriegergräber (‘Central Office for War Victims and War Graves,’ or ZAK) in Berlin was officially charged by the Interior Ministry with the many tasks involved in the care of war graves, and of fallen soldiers’ next-of-kin, as 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…

Compiègne

(335 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Compiègne French town and railway junction on the River Oise, some 60 km northeast of Paris; in 1917 it became the seat of the French Headquarters (GQG) and later the site of the 1918 Armistice. On November 11, 1918, at around 5:20 am, the Armistice between the Entente represented by chief negotiator Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and the German Empire was signed in a wooded area near Compiègne. The act itself took place in a railway carriage parked in a siding that belonged to a disused railway gun emp…

Michaelis, Georg

(639 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Michaelis, Georg (September 8, 1857, Haynau [Silesia] – July 24, 1936, Bad Saarow [district Fürstenwalde]), German politician (chancellor of the Reich and Prussian prime minister). As a doctor of law, the young Michaelis rapidly ascended the steps of the Prussian administrative bureaucracy. Having officiated as deputy district administrator in the Lower Silesian city of Liegnitz (current Legnica) from 1902 to 1909, he was then appointed undersecretary of state in the Prussian Treasury Department. Following the outbreak of the war, he became chairman of the board of d…

Liebknecht, Karl

(460 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Liebknecht, Karl (August 13, 1871, Leipzig – January 15, 1919, Berlin [assassinated]), German politician. The son of Wilhelm Liebknecht, founder of the German Social Democratic Party ( Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands – SPD), Karl Liebknecht was a lawyer and a member of the SPD group in the Prussian lower house of Parliament, as well as later in the Reichstag. He also made a name as a writer of sociological and subversive literature. In 1907 Liebknecht was sentenced to 18 months in prison for antimilitary propaganda.…

National Women’s Service

(977 words)

Author(s): Süchting-Hänger, Andrea
National Women’s Service Organization of the German women’s movement. During the war, the National Women’s Service (NWS) regulated the various social welfare activities both by and for women which were important for the political and economic promotion of the war effort on the home front. On August 1, 1914, the Prussian Ministry of the Interior established the Bund deutscher Frauenvereine (Union of German Women’s Organizations). In case of war, these organizations had already drawn up a provisional plan in July, outlining the responsibilities of the NWS …

Soldiers’ Packages (Liebesgaben)

(469 words)

Author(s): Latzel, Klaus
Soldiers’ Packages ( Liebesgaben) In the specific German context, gifts to soldiers from the home front, including homemade woolens and underwear, confectionery, handmade articles, and tobacco products, conveyed by the million to the front by the German Army Postal Services during the First World War. At the same time, the term Liebesgaben embraced the involvement of the German female population in particular in a comprehensive system of wartime welfare, “voluntary loving action,” creating an “army of love” behind the “army of weapons.” Organize…
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