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Combat Engineers

(819 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Combat Engineers A branch of the army providing technical assistance to the armed forces in combat. European armies had been equipped with combat engineer units – often called “Pioneers” – since the mid-19th century. Their primary mission was the construction of entrenchments, roads, and bridges. Like the other branches of the army, the combat engineers of the German Reich were trained for mobile warfare. The goal was to create a modern, technological, battle support force to provide direct reinforcement in combat. Following the lessons of…

War Poetry

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Poetry Prophecies of a coming war had been a theme in German poetry since the beginning of the century. Expressionist poets conjured up the war in apocalyptic images that alternated between the fear of its violence and a yearning for its purifying and regenerative power. Feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction over a long and “foul” peace gave rise to fantasies of war in the sense of a longed-for renewal, often expressed through theological formulations such as J…

War Interpretations

(2,359 words)

Author(s): Hüppauf, Bernd
War Interpretations During the first days of the World War people already began to suspect that this was not an ordinary conflict that might be seen as a continuation of 19th-century European wars. This perception of the war called for an interpretation, which the writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and scholars of all warring nations were only too willing to provide. The prominent public persons (though seldom women) of all major powers and of their former colonies …

Railroad Workers and World War I: Labor Hygiene and the Policies of Japanese National Railways

(8,593 words)

Author(s): Lim, Chaisung
Lim, Chaisung - Railroad Workers and World War I: Labor Hygiene and the Policies of Japanese National Railways ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Economy | Society | Home fronts The Decade of the Great War Tosh Minohara , Tze-ki Hon and Evan Dawley , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004274273 DOI: 10.1163/9789004274273_021 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Lim, Chaisung

Barbarians

(892 words)

Author(s): Horne, John
Barbarians In all warring societies, the topic of the Barbarians played a central role. In this war, it seemed to hinge upon nothing less than the survival, and the critical importance of humankind. Thus, there developed a script that depicted the war as a conflict between one’s own, idealized nation and a demonized enemy. “Civilization” was thereby commonly juxtaposed against “Barbarity.” This dualism was a powerful concept for two reasons. First, the nation-states of the 19th century were defined through a cultural construct that defined one’s own natio…

Weber, Max

(849 words)

Author(s): Tiefel, Marcus A.
Weber, Max (April 21, 1864, Erfurt – June 14, 1920, Munich), German political economist and sociologist. Important milestones in Weber’s academic formation included his law dissertation in 1889 and habilitation in 1892, and then posts as professor extraordinarius of commercial law in Berlin in 1893, and professor ordinarius of political economics at Freiburg im Breisgau (1894–97) and at Heidelberg (1897–1903). The years after 1898 saw frequent interruptions due to ill health. He ceased teaching activities in 1900, and resumed them only in 19…

“The Spirit of Woman-Power”: Representation of Women in World War I Posters

(14,021 words)

Author(s): Prelinger, Elizabeth | Hacker, Barton C.
Prelinger, Elizabeth; Hacker, Barton C. - “The Spirit of Woman-Power”: Representation of Women in World War I Posters Keywords: Visual Arts | Gender | Home fronts | Politics | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Economy | Society | Women and War | Masculinity | Children and War A Companion to Women’s Military History Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining , (2012) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2012 e-ISBN: 9789004206823 DOI: 10.1163/9789004206823_016 © 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Prelinger, Elizabeth and Hacker, Barton C.

German and French Regiments on the Western Front, 1914–1918

(18,055 words)

Author(s): Meteling, Wencke
Meteling, Wencke - German and French Regiments on the Western Front, 1914–1918 Keywords: First World War | French armies | German army | Western Front ISFWWS-Keywords: Western Front | French Army and its combattants | Germany | Military organisation of combat | Experience of combat | Published memoirs and biographies | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Society | Legacy Abstract: This chapter talks about how the fundamental changes in the German and French armies developed at regimental level during the First World War. It explores a central …

Nerves

(695 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Nerves The mental history of the Wilhelminian epoch is marked by the phenomenon of “nervousness.” The over-exertion of mind and body, the worries and fears, the sexual excesses and aberrations, the rapid pace, the noise; the over-indulgence in coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and morphine; as well as the “violent shocks to the body, for example from rail accidents” – those were causes that, taken with the suspected inheritability of “nervousness,” were ascribed to the “cultural progress” of the 19th cen…

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…

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 …

Reconnaissance

(522 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Wolfgang
Reconnaissance Military procedure by which information is gathered about the enemy situation as well as terrain and weather conditions; it is a vital prerequisite for the decision-making processes on all levels of command. In addition to peace-time intelligence gathering, war-time reconnaissance operations were broken down according to the type of theater or battlefield into long-range, short-range and battlefield, or combat, reconnaissance. While the purpose of long-range reconnaissance was to c…

Film (1914–1918)

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Film (1914–1918) The triumphal progress of film began with the first cinema shows in Paris and Berlin in 1895. In Berlin alone, in 1914 there were already more than 200 cinemas, with a total capacity of 120,000. And the audience constantly grew in number: according to contemporary estimates, between 1 million and 1.5 million people visited the cinema each day in Germany before the First World War. Many attended regularly, with a third of the total seeing a performance every week. Most of the regul…

Finland

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Wegner, Bernd
Finland This small country (1910: 2.94 million inhabitants) located at the northeastern periphery of Europe entered the First World War as an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire, and emerged from it an independent republic and parliamentary democracy. The process was not foreseeable, and by no means straightforward. Apart from the final months of the civil war, the sea change in the country’s status was primarily the result of external events – October Revolution, Peace of Brest-Lito…

Painlevé, Paul

(466 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Painlevé, Paul (December 5, 1863, Paris – October 29, 1933, Paris), French politician (minister for war, prime minister). Painlevé was not only a politically prominent personality, twice a prime minister and later the minister for war, but also a renowned mathematician. A professor of mathematics in Lille since 1887, Painlevé first came to the attention of the public when in 1890, he received the Grand Prix des Sciences Mathématiques (‘Grand Prize in Mathematical Sciences’) of the Académie Française. His primary research area was related to friction energy. He w…

Sexuality

(1,427 words)

Author(s): Sauerteig, Lutz
Sexuality The crisis-related effects of the World War also had consequences for the sexual life of human beings. The separation of (married and non-married) couples became a mass phenomenon of hitherto unknown extent. Extramarital sexuality and prostitution reached new dimensions. Even though the frequency with which soldiers sought extramarital contacts during the war cannot be assessed with precision, a number of indications suggest that soldiers no longer felt bound to middle-class sexual morals as a result of their direct experiencing of war and death. The debate over issue…

Communications Technology

(1,973 words)

Author(s): Kaufmann, Stefan
Communications Technology The purpose of communications technology is to convey information over distance. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905 was to foreshadow developments during the First World War in communications technology, as in many other areas. In his conduct of the Battle of Mukden, the Japanese Marshal Oyama acquired the reputation of being the first modern commander in his use of communications technology as he directed his units from 20 km behind the front line with the aid of telephone lines installed across the entire battlefield, up to the most forward positions. …

Armed Forces (United States)

(3,756 words)

Author(s): Showalter, Dennis E.
Armed Forces (United States) During the First World War the armed forces of the United States were crafted by national politics. The Russian Provisional Government of 1917 had promised resolutely to continue the war in the East. On the Western Front, the Germans were unequivocally on the defensive. In no way was America itself directly threatened. Nevertheless, the pattern developed in the World War would guide the United States in 20th century warfare. Politics would determine the strategy, the org…

Zimmermann Telegram

(358 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Zimmermann Telegram On January 16, 1917, after the German government’s decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare (from February 1, 1917), Arthur Zimmermann, secretary of state at the German foreign ministry, sent a coded telegram to the German ambassador in Washington, Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff, to be forwarded to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram instructed Eckardt to propose to the Mexican government an alliance against the United States. In re…

Fuller, John Frederick Charles

(373 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Fuller, John Frederick Charles (September 1, 1878, Chichester – February 10, 1966, Falmouth), British general. Fuller was full of ideas and energy, but he was always controversial and inclined to contradiction. The army bored him, causing him to take comfort in books – primarily on military history – and he also developed an intense preoccupation with Eastern mysticism and the occult. Only gradually did he begin to take his profession seriously. After a failed attempt, he finally gained admittance t…
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