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Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar

(412 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Boroevíc von Bojna, Baron Svetozar (December 13, 1856, Umetić, Croatia – May 23, 1920, Klagenfurt), Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Upon graduation from cadet school, Boroevíc joined the army and in 1878 participated in the occupation of Bosnia. During 1881–1883 he attended the War School in Vienna, after which he served in various staff appointments. Having earlier been raised to the Hungarian nobility, Boroevíc was promoted to general of the infantry in 1908 and received command of the VIth Army Corps at Kaschau (modern Košice) in 1912. The outbreak of the First World War saw …

Supreme Army Command (OHL)

(996 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Supreme Army Command (OHL) When Germany mobilized for the war, the chief of the Prussian Army General Staff was named chief of the General Staff of the entire Armed Forces. According to law, of course, the Kaiser was commander in chief of the military. However, the chief of the General Staff actually led military operations. The department established for this purpose was the Supreme Army Command, which was placed under the control of the Supreme Headquarters. Early in the war the Supreme Army Comma…

India

(1,806 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
India In August 1914, the Indian subcontinent was the most important pillar of the British Empire. After the start of the First World War India’s importance to the war effort was apparent in the considerable numbers of Indian soldiers employed on the Allied fronts in Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the end of 1918, some 1.5 million Indians had been mobilized for the war. Of these, almost 900,000 belonged to fighting units. More than 60,000 Indian soldiers died in the war and about the same number suffered wounds. It was originally envisaged that only restricted use should be made of I…

Naval Blockade

(1,483 words)

Author(s): Neitzel, Sönke
Naval Blockade During the World War, the Allied naval blockade brought German foreign trade practically to a standstill, especially after 1916. It contributed significantly to the serious subsistence problems in Germany. On the eve of the World War Germany was one of the most important economic powers in the world. Obviously, accomplish…

Kitchener, Horatio Herbert

(622 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Kitchener, Horatio Herbert (June 24, 1850, Crot…

Sazonov, Sergei Dmitrievich

(338 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechtild
Sazonov, Sergei Dmitrievich (August 10, 1860, Ryazan territory – December 25, 1927, Nice), Russian politician and diplomat. In the diplomatic service since 1883, Sazonov became deputy foreign minister in 1909. After being appointed foreign minister in 1910 he sought to improve relations with France, and especially with Britain, in order to secure the support of the British fleet in the event of war. In this, Sazonov pursued a pol…

Gallwitz, Max von

(481 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Gallwitz, Max von (May 2, 1852, Breslau [modern Wrocław] – April 18, 1937, Naples), German general. The son of a sergeant, Gallwitz served as a volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War. He later made his career in the General Staff and in the Prussian War Ministry. He was appointed divisional commander in 1905, inspector of the field artillery in 1911, and raised to the nobility in 1913. Gallwitz was commander of the Guard Reserve Corps when the war broke out; one of his first tasks was the capture of the fortress of Namur. As early as August 1914, the corps was t…

National Socialism

(2,472 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
National Socialism The first industrialized mass war had considerable effects on political and social relationships, and on the mentality of people. Italian Fascism and German National Socialism owe their particular characteristics and their legitimization to the First World War, described by Eric J. Hobsbawm as a “machine for brutalizing the world.” By his own testimony, Hitler himself was a “son of the war.” In repeated references to the war in Mein Kampf and in numerous statements and documented conversations ( Hitler’s Table Talks), Hitler returned time and again to his p…

Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia

(545 words)

Author(s): Lindemann, Mechthild
Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia (May 18, 1868, Tsarskoye Selo [Puschkin] – July 16, 1918, Yekaterinburg [murdered]), Tsar of Russia from 1894–1917. Nicholas saw his lifelong, God-given mission to be the preservation of his autocratic power so as to pass it on, undiminished, to his successor. He was strengthened in this point …

Bulgaria

(1,164 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Bulgaria In the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 Bulgaria had not been able to fulfill its hopes of creating an “ethnographic” Bulgaria that would include Macedonia, parts of Thrace and the Dobrudja. In the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest it was moreover forced to concede to its neighbors practically all the territory it had captured in the First Balkan War of 1912. The outbreak of the First World War seemed to offer a new opportunity for the military realization of a “Greater Bulgaria,” a dream pursued since t…

Mobile Warfare

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Mobile Warfare A form of warfare which seeks to bring about a military decision through the tactical movement of forces for the purpose of achieving advantageous territorial concentrations without having to rely on fortified positions at all times. At the beginning of the war in 1914 the military doctrines and operational plans of all belligerent powers were based on mobile warfare. In the first instance these offensive operations were motivated by the strategic and economic objective of ensuring …

August Experience

(1,226 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
August Experience Augusterlebnis (August Experience) was the contemporary German term for the patriotic enthusiasm among the German population at the outbreak of the war. The well-known images from the last weeks of July and from August of 1914 depict masses of people in the streets. The contemporary captions under the pictures suggest that these people were unanimously filled with “war enthusiasm.” The pictures are impressive but they do not tell the whole truth. In reality there was no near-ecst…

Red Cross

(1,371 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Red Cross The red cross on a white ground signifies neutrality in war, and thus protection. The Ottoman Empire introduced the alternative symbol of the red crescent on a white ground during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878, and also used it during the First World War. The red crescent continues to be used by Muslim states in place of the red cross, in order to avoid using the Christian symbol. The associations that had assumed the voluntary, and most importantly unpaid, task of caring for the wounded in war, as well as preparing for that activity in peacetime, w…

Cavalry

(738 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Cavalry The combat arm of the land forces that fought primarily on horseback. The increased firepower of the infantry had since the middle of the 19th century forced the cavalry into playing a diminished supporting role in military campaigns. Paradoxically, the size of the cavalry forces maintained by the European Powers rose continually throughout the period. At the beginning of the 20th century, nearly all states uniformly modified the tactics and weapons of their mounted troops, creating a largely standar…

Emergency Money (Notgeld)

(483 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
Emergency Money ( Notgeld) Money put temporarily into circulation, to replace either in whole or in part, the coinage that before its issue represented the currency, and that for a time could function as currency. Notgeld was mostly issued by other authorities than those issuing regular currency. During the war, a severe shortage of means of payment led to the issue of Notgeld in various states. The main reasons for this were the hoarding of coins and banknotes, the collapse of the system of payment, and the widening circulation of currencies of belligeren…

Polivanov, Alexei Andreyevich

(212 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Polivanov, Alexei Andreyevich (March 16, 1855, [unknown] – September 25, 1920, Riga), Russian general (minister of war). Polivanov was a graduate of the Nikolaevsky Engineering Academy (1880) and the General Staff Academy (1888). Between 1899 and 1904 he was active on the General Staff, where he was editor in chief of the journal Voenny Sbornik (War Digest). Chief of the Army Headquarters Staff in 1905/1906, and deputy war minister between 1906 and 1912, Polivanov was close to the bourgeois parties in the Imperial Duma during these years. This even…

Baltic States

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Baltic States The countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are collectively known as the Baltic States. In 1914 they were part of the Russian Empire. In power-political terms, the Baltic States were repeatedly exposed to the expansionist pressure put on them by their larger neighbors: Germany, Russia, Poland, and Scandinavia. At the beginning of the First World War, the Latvian delegate to the Duma J. Goldmanis delivered a declaration of loyalty to the Russian government. Even though opposition movements existed, especially movements of the …

Climax in the Baltic: The German Maritime Offensive in the Gulf of Riga in October 1917

(6,634 words)

Author(s): Grove, Eric
Grove, Eric - Climax in the Baltic: The German Maritime Offensive in the Gulf of Riga in October 1917 Keywords: German Maritime | Gulf of Riga | Russia ISFWWS-Keywords: Russian Front | Naval Warfare | Germany | Russia | Military organisation of combat Abstract: On 17 October 1917, only three weeks before the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on 7 November, an engagement occurred in the Gulf of Riga between the German dreadnought battleships Konig and Kronprinz and three Russian capital ships of the previous generation, the pre-dreadnought battleships Slava and Grazhdanin and the ar…

Prittwitz und Gaffron, Maximilian von

(293 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Prittwitz und Gaffron, Maximilian von (November 27, 1848, Bernstadt – March 29, 1917, Berlin), German general. Prittwitz came from an old military family, and in peacetime had a rapid and brilliant career. Yet even before the war, doubts were expressed about the military capacity of the “thick soldier” (his nickname). He was criticized for his rough manners and his excessive nervousness. Therefore as commander of the XIVth Infantry Corps in Metz, capable chiefs of staff were chosen to support him. Wh…

Alekseyev, Mikhail Vasiliyevich

(302 words)

Author(s): Dahlmann, Dittmar
Alekseyev, Mikhail Vasiliyevich (November 15, 1857, Tver Province – October 9, 1918, Yekaterinodar, modern Krasnodar), Russian general. Born into a military family, Alekseyev graduated from the Moscow Infantry School in 1876 and in 1890 completed his training at the General Staff Academy. He served with the General Staff while also teaching military history at the Staff Academy from 1898 to 1904. From October 1904 and throughout 1905 he held the post of quartermaster general with the Third Manchurian Army, after…
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