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Haase, Hugo

(360 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Haase, Hugo (September 29, 1863, Allenstein – November 7, 1919, Berlin [murdered]), German politician. One of the two chairmen of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD; Social Democratic Party of Germany) from 1911 onward, Haase opposed the Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) policy that had been adopted by the majority of his party. He nonetheless bowed to party discipline. Speaking before the Reichstag on August 4, 1914, he read out the declaration in which the SPD approved the war credits – against his own conviction. Until…

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’…

Epidemics

(1,367 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang U.
Epidemics None of the classic war plagues struck with their former severity during the First World War. With the exception of the great influenza epidemic of the final year of the war, the series of significant epidemic diseases that arose occurred in the form of concentrated outbreaks of infectious diseases in the various theaters of war, limited in terms of place and time. The following absolute figures convey at least an impression of the rates of infection in the German field armies and occup…

War Psychology

(806 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
War Psychology Contemporary publications used this term to label the various outpourings of journalists, authors, theologians, intellectuals – and among them, psychologists – regarding the war. What they held in common was their interest in people’s mental processes on both the front and the home front. Military psychology, itself sometimes labeled as war psychology, is a separate field. For its part during the war, military psychology was mainly concerned with aptitude tests. War psychology, on t…

Thomas, Albert

(400 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Thomas, Albert ( June 16, 1878, Champigny-sur-Marne – May 7, 1932, Paris), French politician (minister of armament). Thomas, who came from a petty bourgeois background, joined the socialist movement after completing his studies at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He worked in the editorial offices of Humanité, and served as a delegate to the Party Unity Day of 1910. Since 1905 Thomas had also been included in the top leadership of the French Socialist Party, Section Française de l’International Ouvrière (SFIO), advocating for a reform course. After the outbreak of the war Th…

Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer

(631 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer (November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace – January 24, 1965, London), British politician. Churchill’s political development in the years leading up to World War I was significantly shaped by the events of the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911, in the wake of which he was named first lord of the Admiralty. Churchill held several ministerial posts after switching from the Conservatives to the Liberal Party in 1904: from 1905 to 1908 he served as under-secretary of state for …

Troeltsch, Ernst

(500 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Troeltsch, Ernst (February 17, 1865, Haunstetten near Augsburg – February 1, 1923, Berlin), German theologian, philosopher of culture and historian. In the first two years of the war, Troeltsch, with the authority of a German professor of theology, used his great influence to define public debate about the World War as a “culture war,” providing it with memorable slogans. As early as August 2, 1914, he gave a notable speech to the city and University of Heidelberg announcing his commitment to the …

Löns, Hermann

(418 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Thomas F.
Löns, Hermann (August 29, 1866, Culm – September 26, 1914, Loivre near Reims [killed in action]), German writer and journalist. Löns’s importance to the literary and cultural history of the First World War lies mostly in the many attempts by others, after his death, to use and appropriate his work published before the war. While it is known that Löns enlisted as a volunteer as early as August 24, 1914, interpretations of the motives behind his action range from: patriotic enthusiasm for the war; c…

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…

Peace Initiatives

(1,049 words)

Author(s): Hoff, Henning
Peace Initiatives In the course of the World War there were repeated attempts to end hostile activities. However, right until the end the war aims of the two sides were irreconcilable so that the chances for the success of peace initiatives remained small. The first serious attempts to bring the European belligerents to the negotiating table were made by American President Woodrow Wilson, who in the spring of 1915 sent his trusted “Colonel” Edward M. House to London, Berlin and Paris to hold exploratory talks. The trip foundered on the G…

Railways

(539 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Railways A means of mass transportation of persons and goods, developed in the 19th century, and adapted for military purposes in the second half of the century. The first extensive and operationally effective implementation of plans for the transportation of major bodies of troops by rail occurred in the wars of 1866 and 1870/1871. From that point on, all general staffs included the railways in their operational plans, and created specialized military units for the construction, safeguarding, an…

Zweig, Arnold

(588 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Thomas F.
Zweig, Arnold (November 10, 1887, Glogau – November 26, 1968, East Berlin), German writer. The son of a Jewish saddle maker, Zweig studied German literature, art history, and modern languages, with a view to becoming a teacher, but then decided to live from his writing. After being drafted in 1915, he took part in the battles in Belgium and Serbia, and at Verdun, as an Armierungssoldat (non-combatant equipment service soldier). In 1917 Zweig became a clerk at the headquarters of the army press office at Ober-Ost Headquarters in Kovno, Lithuania. Contact with Eastern European Jew…

What Peace Meant to Japan: The Changeover at Paris in 1919

(9,719 words)

Author(s): Nakatani, Tadashi
Nakatani, Tadashi - What Peace Meant to Japan: The Changeover at Paris in 1919 ISFWWS-Keywords: Peacemaking and Continued Conflict | Asia | Legacy | The United States of America | Politics 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_010 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Nakatani, Tadashi

Czechoslovakia

(939 words)

Author(s): Hadler, Frank
Czechoslovakia One of the successor states to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was assembled from the Bohemian Crown lands located in the Austrian part of the Empire, namely Bohemia, Moravia, and Austrian Silesia, as well as the former Hungarian territories of Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine (Ruthenia). The state was founded on October 28, 1918, with the official title of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. In Czechoslovakia as of 1921, a total of 13,613,172 people inhabited an area of 140,484 km2. Under law the 8.7 million Czechs and Slovaks, representing 66% of the total…

Rathenau, Walther

(882 words)

Author(s): Sabrow, Martin
Rathenau, Walther (September 29, 1867, Berlin – June 24, 1922, Berlin [assassinated]), German industrialist and politician. He was the son of Emil Rathenau, later the founder of AEG. Under the Empire he followed a career as an industrial employer which took him to the board of AEG (1899) as proprietor of the Berlin Handels-Gesellschaft (1902), and then to the supervisory board of AEG, of which in 1912 he became chairman. By 1914 Rathenau was one of the most influential German and European major in…

Sailors’ Revolt (Kiel Mutiny)

(1,108 words)

Author(s): Epkenhans, Michael
Sailors’ Revolt (Kiel Mutiny) Beginning in late October 1918, the Sailors’ Revolt ushered in the end of Imperial Germany. Within only just a few days the mutiny spread from Kiel to the entire German Reich. Mutinous sailors, soldiers stationed in the homeland, and industrial workers joined forces to overthrow the antiquated old order. The High Seas Fleet had already been shaken by commotions in the summer of 1917. These had been caused by monotonous on-board duties as well as by poor and unequal foods rations. Another cause of unrest was the latent…

Monuments

(2,302 words)

Author(s): Behrenbeck, Sabine
Monuments War memorials do not function solely as monuments to the war-dead, but also to “affirm the identity of the survivors” (Reinhart Koselleck). They construct the past in order to cope with the present. War-memorials thus say more about their architects than about the fallen, and the wars they are supposed to commemorate. In the age of mercenary armies, there were no monuments commemorating the common soldier; this honor was reserved for officers and commanders. In Prussia at the beginning of the 19th century, with the introduction of genera…

Eichhorn, Hermann von

(315 words)

Author(s): Kleine Vennekate, Erik
Eichhorn, Hermann von (February 13, 1848, Breslau [current Wrocław] – July 30, 1918, Kiev), German field marshal. Eichhorn attended military academy after participating in the wars of 1866 and 1870/1871, and joined the general staff in 1883. In 1904 he became commanding general of the XVIIIth Army Corps in Frankfurt am Main, and in 1912 moved to Saarbrücken as inspector-general of the Seventh Army inspectorate; here in 1913 he was promoted to colonel general ( Generaloberst). Eichhorn was to take over command of the Fifth Army in Metz in the event of mobilization, but,…

Wilhelm, German Crown Prince

(367 words)

Author(s): Schranz, Daniel
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince (May 6, 1882, Potsdam – July 20, 1951, Hechingen), crown prince of the German Reich and of Prussia. Wilhelm was born in 1882 as the first son of the later Kaiser Wilhelm II. He began his military career at the age of 14, interrupting it for a time to study political science in Bonn. In fall 1911 he was named commander of the First Life Guards Hussars Regiment in Danzig (Gdańsk). Though hardly qualified, he assumed command of the Fifth Army when war broke out in August 19…

East Prussia

(793 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
East Prussia In a single year of the war, 1914–1915, Russian troops overran two-thirds of East Prussia, the most eastern province of the German Reich. It would remain the only meaningful occupation of German territory. In August the Reich’s eastern border had remained only weakly defended in keeping with German operational plans so that the troops could first conduct a decisive attack in the West against France. Yet the Russian army mobilized more quickly than the German plans had envisioned. The …

Stinnes, Hugo

(421 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Stinnes, Hugo (February 12, 1870, Mülheim an der Ruhr – April 10, 1924, Berlin), German industrial magnate. Stinnes was of the most influential industrialists of the Wilhelminian Empire and the Weimar Republic. The heir to a Ruhr family enterprise engaged in coal mining, trading, and shipping, the entrepreneur founded the Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corporation in Essen in 1898, serving as chairman of the board after 1902, as well as the

Lansing Note

(488 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Lansing Note A diplomatic note conveyed to the leadership of the German Reich on November 5, 1918, by the United States, France, and Britain. Known in Germany by the name of then American Secretary of State Robert Lansing. The Allies declared in this note that they accepted American President Wilson’s 14-point program as a common basis for peace negotiations. This declaration followed several weeks of exchanges of notes between Germany and the United States concerning conditions for the cease-fire and the peace. The leadership of the German Reich turned to Wilson on October 3, 1918, requesting a cease-fire and the initiation of peace talks, and declaring its acceptance of the Fourteen Points. The American administ…

Fascism in Italy

(2,936 words)

Author(s): Gibelli, Antonio
Fascism in Italy There is now broad agreement among historians as to the extremely close connection between Italy’s participation in the Great War and the rise of Fascism. The significance of this realization extends far beyond Italy’s own national historiography, as, with Fascism, there arose for the first time a political movement that was to leave a profound and lasting impression on the history of all Europe. The brevity of the interval between the Fascist assumption of power in Italy (Mussolini’s first gove…

Weygand, Maxime

(527 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Weygand, Maxime ( January 21, 1867, Brussels – January 28, 1965, Paris), French general. Weygand’s military career began when he joined the 4th Regiment of Dragoons at Chambéry in 1888. After 1900 he was stationed in Lunéville, where he proved to be one of the most capable officers. In 1902 Weygand became a training officer at the Military School of Saumur. By 1912 he had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, and as an officer of very promising talent he joined the inner circle of commander in …

Scheler, Max Ferdinand

(332 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Scheler, Max Ferdinand (August 22, 1874, Munich – May 19, 1928, Frankfurt am Main), German philosopher, a pupil of Rudolf Eucken. After losing his unsalaried post at the University of Munich, Scheler lived in Göttingen and Berlin as a private scholar and freelance author. His book The Genius of War and the German War (1915) made him one of the protagonists of the “Ideas of 1914.” At the same time, as a convert to Catholicism, he undertook lecture tours on behalf of the Foreign Office in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austr…

Demobilization

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Bessel, Richard
Demobilization The task of bringing a society out of a state of war into one of peace is incomparably more difficult than that of releasing soldiers from war service. The term “demobilization” is used for both processes. When the Armistice came into force on November 11, 1918, some six million German soldiers stood under arms. The German economy was almost entirely geared to the requirements of the war; demobilization now had to be implemented in the middle of a political revolution that had shaken a defeated Germany.…

Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von

(648 words)

Author(s): Canis, Konrad
Bülow, Bernhard Heinrich Martin von…

Wilson, Woodrow

(808 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
Wilson, Woodrow (August 1856, Staunton – February 3, 1924, Washington DC), President of the United States. Nothing in Wilson’s career prepared him for leading the United States into an international political conflict. Born the son of a Presbyterian minister in Virginia, Wilson internalized the Protestant Ethic early. He felt called to commit himself to politics. Wilson was a professor of Political Science at Princeton University when nominated to become the university’s president in 1902. This sm…

Bosnian Crisis

(445 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Bosnian Crisis International crisis following the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary (1908). At the Congress of Berlin (under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin, 1878) the Dual Monarchy was granted the right to occupy and administer both provinces. In formal terms they remained within the Ottoman union of states, but de facto they became absorbed into the Austro-Hungarian sphere of control. Neither of the two multi-ethnic states was able to achieve a successful integration of the ethnically diverse population. Fully aware of its…

Christmas Memorandum of 1915

(490 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Christmas Memorandum of 1915 Supposedly, a situation report Falkenhayn gave in a memorandum conveyed to the Kaiser some time around Christmas. The document in question comes down to us only through Falkenhayn’s own memoirs, Die Oberste Heeresleitung 1914–1916 in ihren wichtigsten Entschließungen (The Supreme Army Command 1914–1916 in Its Most Critical Decisions, 1920). For this reason its authenticity is doubtful. The Christmas Memorandum, concerning strategic plans for 1916, includes several fundamental declarations: Britain was the primary enemy. Britain…

Hertling, Georg Graf von

(480 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Hertling, Georg Graf von (August 31, 1843, Darmstadt – January 4, 1919, Ruhpolding), German politician (Reich chancellor). Born into an old-established Hessian Catholic civil service family, Hertling originally wanted to become a priest, but in 1867 he gained his doctorate in philosophy at Bonn. In 1875 he was elected to the Reichstag for the Center Party. As a member of the Reichstag until 1890, and again from 1896 to 1912, he was a committed advocate of the political implementation of the tenets o…

“Stab-in-the-Back” Legend (Dolchstosslegende)

(930 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
“Stab-in-the-Back” Legend ( Dolchstosslegende) The claim that Germany’s military defeat in 1918 was not, or not primarily, to be ascribed to the failure of the military leadership, or the exhaustion of the soldiers, but to failure or betrayal on the part of particular persons or groups on the home front. There were a number of quite different variants of the legend. Thus, for example, the inadequacy of supply in the battles for Verdun in 1916 was already referred to in military circles as a Dolchstoss. As early as July 1917, General von Seeckt gave voice to the typical accusati…

Clemenceau, Georges Benjamin

(982 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Clemenceau, Georges Benjamin (September 28, 1841, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, département Vendée – November 24, 1929, Paris), French politician (prime minister). If French contemporary history remembers two exceptional personalities with particular fondness, it is Charles de Gaulle and Clemenceau, nicknamed “le tigre” partly on account of his facial features. Also known as “Père-la-Victoire,” Father (of ) Victory, Clemenceau still enjoys an enormous popularity in France today thanks to the feat he accomp…

Trade Unions

(1,014 words)

Author(s): Mai, Günther
Trade Unions In the German Empire in 1914 there were trade unions with social democratic (also called “free”), Christian Catholic, and liberal tendencies, divided according to occupations, and having respectively 2.53, 0.35 and 0.11 million members. These numbers sank rapidly in mid-August 1914 because wage strikes were forbidden, many workers were called up for military service, and unemployment dropped. By 1916 the number of members in the free trade unions had fallen to under a million, and tho…

Triple Alliance (Dreibund)

(421 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Triple Alliance ( Dreibund) Alliance of May 20, 1882, between the German Reich, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. On the basis of the treaty’s content, the Triple Alliance may be seen as having been essentially a defensive alliance against France. The existence of this secret alliance became known in the spring of 1883, but the terms of the treaty were not fully published until after the First World War. The Triple Alliance was renegotiated in 1886/1887, 1892, 1902, and 1911/1912, and the text of the trea…

Food Supplies

(2,616 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Food Supplies The supply of food to the civilian population, as well as to the fighting forces, is one of the most important elements in the waging of any war. This applies especially to the First World War, in which food supplies to millions of people had to be assured in the face of mutual blockades that severely compromised trade routes. A deterioration in food supplies was experienced in all belligerent nations and occupied territories during the course of the war, causing governments repeatedly to revise and modify their supply strategies. All sides …

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich

(600 words)

Author(s): Brand, Bettina
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (Real name V.I. Ulyanov; April 22, 1870, Simbirsk [from 1924 Ulyanovsk] – January 21, 1924, Gorki [near Moscow]), Russian revolutionary and politician. Lenin was born into an upper class family. A critical youthful influence was the conviction and execution in 1887 of his older brother Alexander, who had taken part in an assassination attempt against the Tsar. Lenin qualified to practice as a lawyer after studying law at the University of Kazan. In 1893 he moved to Saint Pete…

Central Office for Public Information

(370 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
Central Office for Public Information A public opinion bureau conceived in March 1918 under the aegis of the Foreign Office, to be officially free from military oversight. Initially established in October 1918 as the Zentrale für Heimatdienst (Central Office for Homeland Service) under State Secretary Erzberger, it was renamed the Reichszentrale für Heimatdienst in November 1919. The establishment of the Central Office indicates the growing opposition among the German Supreme Army Command, the Kaiser, and the civilian Reich leadership. Politician…

Hugenberg, Alfred

(627 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Hugenberg, Alfred (June 19, 1865, Hannover – March 12, 1951, Kükenbruch [now part of Extertal, Kreis Lippe]), a leading figure in German commerce and industry, and politician. After studying law and economics from 1894 to 1899 Hugenberg worked for the Prussian Settlement Commission in Posen, where he distinguished himself as a rigorous champion of the Germanization policy. In 1890 he was one of the founding members of the extreme right-wing Pan-German League ( Alldeutscher Verband), for whom he subsequently remained active, if frequently behind the scenes. In 1909 Hugenberg becam…

Sub-Saharan Africa

(719 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Sub-Saharan Africa Africa without the Arab North, and without the settler colonies in the South. Sub-Saharan Africa was both a theater of war and a source for the recruitment of soldiers and laborers during the First World War. The main areas fought over were the German colonies of Togo, Cameroon, and German East Africa, as their capture would enable the wireless stations located there to be destroyed, and their harbors neutralized as bases for the German Navy. When British and French forces occup…

Oncken, Hermann

(271 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Oncken, Hermann (November 16, 1869, Oldenburg – December 28, 1945, Göttingen), German historian. A lecturer in history at Heidelberg University before the war, in the years before 1914 Oncken was also well known to the public as an advocate of the foreign- and domestic-policy directions taken by Bethmann Hollweg’s government. This manifested itself in his publications promoting German-English conciliatory efforts. It also explains why Oncken was so extremely disappointed over the British declarati…

Leopold, Prince of Bavaria

(337 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Leopold, Prince of Bavaria (February 9, 1846, Munich – September 28, 1930, Munich), German and Bavarian field marshal. Leopold, the second son of the future prince regent Luitpold, joined the Bavarian Army in 1861 and took part in the 1866 and 1870–1871 campaigns. A lieutenant colonel in 1871, he was appointed commanding general of the Ist Bavarian Army Corps in 1887. From 1891 to 1913, Leopold served as inspector general of the Fourth Army District. During this period he attained the ranks of colon…

German Patriotic Associations

(931 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
German Patriotic Associations Designation for the nationalist clubs of the German Empire. Beneath the banners of imperialism and nationalism, numerous nationalist organizations arose in Germany after the 1880s. These associations mostly occupied themselves with foreign policy issues. There was for example the Verband für das Deutschtum im Ausland (‘Association for German Culture Abroad’), founded in 1881; the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (‘German Colonial Society’), founded in 1887; as well as the greatest national association of the German Empire, the Deutsche Flottenv…

Lawrence, Thomas Edward

(391 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Lawrence, Thomas Edward (August 15, 1888, Tremadoc, Wales – May 19, 1935, Moreton, Dorset), British officer, archaeologist, author and adventurer (“Lawrence of Arabia”). Lawrence had participated in excavations in Syria and Anatolia before the war, when he took up a post with the Arab Bureau in Cairo. Because he had since 1916 been in contact with the Emir of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, the British government gave Lawrence the task of organizing the Arab Revolt against the Turks. He received support in…

Military Chaplaincy

(856 words)

Author(s): Haidl, Roland
Military Chaplaincy (German Militärseelsorge), collective pastoral care for soldiers and other members of the armed forces. During the World War, both Christian confessions as well as the Jewish communities organized their own military chaplaincies on the basis of the two Prussian military church regulations of 1902 ( preussische militärkirchliche Dienstordnungen). In doing so, the German military chaplaincy underwent the greatest expansion of its entire history. The military chaplaincy was a state organization that was subordinated to the war…

Second International

(537 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Second International International federation of national Socialist parties; founded in 1889 in succession to the First International (1864–1876), collapsed during the First World War. The attitude of the Second International to war was constantly debated at its congresses before the First World War. Although a resolution passed at the Stuttgart Congress in 1907 had called on the sections in the various countries to take countermeasures if war threatened, it had left the choice of means to the aff…

Spain

(827 words)

Author(s): Albes, Jens
Spain This one-time world power had sunk to the level of a second-rate power after the 17th century. During the World War, however, it grew to become the most important neutral state of Europe. Favorably situated geo-strategically – two continents plus two oceans meeting at the Straits of Gibraltar – Spain constituted a veritable island of neutrality, surrounded by the warring states of France with Morocco, England with Gibraltar, and after March 1916 Portugal as well. That caused this land on the Iberian Peninsula to unexpectedly become the object of international interest. Despite co…

War Credits

(773 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
War Credits War credits were one of the crucial means of financing the war. They were raised in various forms, by various methods, and in various amounts, by all belligerent nations at home and sometimes abroad. War credits were necessary because some elements of normal state receipts fell drastically upon the outbreak of war, while the financial burden abruptly multiplied. War credits were raised at home in the form of short- or long-term government bonds, or by increasing the amount of paper cur…

Wilhelm II, German Kaiser

(1,402 words)

Author(s): C.G. Röhl, John
Wilhelm II, German Kaiser ( January 27, 1859, Berlin – June 4, 1941, Doorn, Netherlands), German Kaiser and King of Prussia. Kaiser Wilhelm was characterized by Germany’s enemies during the First World War as an aggressive warmonger, the personification of the German lust for conquest. Not only among the Allied populace, showered as it was with bloodthirsty caricatures and poisonous propaganda, but also in well-informed government circles (not least in the White House), the war was seen simply as “t…

Poland

(2,056 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Poland At the beginning of the First World War, Poland existed only in the form of three territorial fragments: the largest and central portion belonged to the Russian Empire (Congress Poland/Russian Poland), the western and northwestern portion (Posen, West Prussia) to Prussia, and thus to the German Reich, and the southern (Galicia and Lodomeria) to Austria-Hungary. As the Central Powers and Russia bordered one another on Polish territory, the war in the East was predominantly fought there. Thr…

South Tyrol

(754 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
South Tyrol The part of the Tyrol situated south of the Brenner. Between August 1914 and May 1915, South Tyrol was disputed territory between the Italians and Italy’s Triple Alliance partners Austria-Hungary and the German Reich. At issue initially was Trentino (according to the census of 1910: 393,111 inhabitants, of whom 366,844 were speakers of Italian and Ladin, 13,893 German-speakers, 2,666 speakers of other languages, and 9,708 foreigners, the greater portion of them North Italians), then th…

Ferdinand I, King of Romania

(366 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Ferdinand I, King of Romania (August 24, 1865, Sigmaringen – July 20, 1927, Sinaia), king of Romania from 1914. Ferdinand, from the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, became heir to the Romanian throne upon his adoption by the childless King Carol I. Until the death of his adoptive father in October 1914, Ferdinand pursued a military career that culminated in leading Romania’s army in the Balkans War of 1913. He gained little in political status by his assumption of the throne, as, especially in fore…

Sports

(883 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Sports When the World War broke out, the Burgfrieden (Fortress Truce) between Turner (German workers’ sports movement) gymnasts and other athletes crumbled in the face of the possible awarding of the 1916 Olympic Games to Berlin. The Turner movement was critical of the ‘international Olympiad,’ rejecting its games as “English attempts to break records,” and not for Germans. Once it became clear that the war would last awhile, the idea grew of replacing the Olympiad with “German war games” as their “national Olympic games.” Accordingly in 1917, the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für die …

Botha, Louis

(310 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Botha, Louis (September 27, 1862, Greytown, Natal – August 27, 1919, Rusthof, Pretoria), South African general and politician. Botha was perhaps the most gifted member of the Boer military and one of the leading politicians of South Africa. He demonstrated his superior tactical skills as a general in the Boer War (1899–1902). Serving as prime minister of the Transvaal from 1907, Botha worked towards reconciling the Boers and the British. From 1910 he headed the government of the newly established …

Protestantism

(641 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf
Protestantism In the years before the outbreak of war, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism made repeated efforts to establish closer international relations with other churches. The World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches, financially supported by the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, with Friedrich Siegmund Schultze as its German contact, had called its founding assembly in Constance for the 3rd and 4th August of 1914. However, as the war began all the churches qui…

September Program (Septemberprogramm)

(581 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
September Program ( Septemberprogramm) A four-page document issued by the Reich Chancellery in its final version on September 9, 1914, with the innocuous title of Vorläufige Richtlinien über unsere Politik bei Friedensschluß (Provisional Political Guidelines for when Peace is Concluded). The September Program bears the signature of Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. It counts as the first, comprehensive war-objectives program of the German Reich leadership in the World War. It resulted from weeks of consultations by the Reich…

Scheidemann, Philipp

(314 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Scheidemann, Philipp ( July 26, 1865, Kassel – November 29, 1939, Copenhagen), German politician. From 1911 he was a member of the governing body of the SPD, and from 1913 one of the three chairmen of the SPD parliamentary party. During World War I, he was one of the best known Social Democrats in German public life. A brilliant speaker, he defended the Burgfrieden policy, but at the same time worked for a settlement with forces in the party opposed to war. In countless interventions he called for “peace by rapprochement” without reparations or annexations.…

Armed Forces (Great Britain)

(4,680 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Armed Forces (Great Britain) The First World War was a highly unpleasant experience for the British. The perception of this war in public opinion was once summed up by the historian A.J.P. Taylor in the disparaging words “brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.” This negative view was primarily the consequence of the losses of human life, as the number of casualties among the soldiers was without precedent in the history of Great Britain. The majority of these los…

Hirschfeld, Magnus

(333 words)

Author(s): Hirschfeld, Gerhard
Hirschfeld, Magnus (May 14, 1868, Kolberg [Kołobrzeg, Poland] – May 14, 1935, Nice), German doctor and sexual researcher. Hirschfeld is regarded as the pioneer of sexual research in Germany. One of his achievements was to outline a biological theory of homosexuality and he was a committed advocate of equal social rights for homosexuals. In 1897 he co-founded the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee) for the decriminalization of homosexuality and served as its first chairman until 1929. In 1907 he was an expert witness …

Sembat, Marcel

(398 words)

Author(s): Mollenhauer, Daniel
Sembat, Marcel (October 19, 1862, Bonnières-sur-Seine – September 5, 1922, Chamonix Mont Blanc), French politician. A lawyer and journalist, Sembat belonged along with Jean Jaurès and Alexandre Millerand to a group of bourgeois intellectuals who significantly influenced the French form of socialism. After early work in the left-republican and socialist press, in 1893 Sembat was elected for the first time to a seat in the National Assembly representing Paris’s Grandes-Carrières working-class district, an office which he was to …

Cult of the Dead

(642 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Cult of the Dead Funeral ceremonies are an essential part of the grieving process for the dead. The obsequies of the 1920s and 1930s are to be understood as a way for the collective consciousness to understand the reality of death, and to deal with its constant reminders. Especially in the years right after the war, the war dead were remembered at national commemorations by their former comrades-in-arms, their families, their hometowns, their fellow worshippers, their workmates, and even by the stat…

War Exhibitions

(775 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Susanne
War Exhibitions In a number of warring countries, public exhibitions of war objects were already organized during the war for the purpose of informing the civilian population about the military aspects of the war, but also with the intention of influencing public opinion in a propagandistic manner. The first war exhibitions placed captured enemy cannons on display in order to demonstrate the superiority of the respective country’s own army. In Berlin, captured artillery pieces lined the Siegesallee (Avenue of Victory); others stood in the inner courtyard of the Zeughaus (a former a…

Social Democracy

(1,232 words)

Author(s): Mühlhausen, Walter
Social Democracy A political movement in the German Imperial Reich seeking social and political emancipation of the workers. In the First World War, it suffered its greatest crisis, culminating in 1917 in a permanent split. On the eve of the war, with about a million members, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the largest party in Germany, and with 110 members the strongest group in Parliament, but it split on the question of the “fortress truce” ( Burgfrieden) policy. Although shortly before the outbreak of war the party leadership called its membership to demo…

Forced Labor

(1,842 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Forced Labor It is entirely possible to see the development of state-organized forced labor in Germany between 1914 and 1918 as a kind of “trial run” for the Second World War (Ulrich Herbert). It is necessary first of all to distinguish between legitimate military forms of forced labor (in accordance with the laws of war as they stood at the time, for prisoners of war) and forced labor for civilians. The latter affected many civilians forced to work in Germany, and transported to Germany in breach of international law for that purpose. The use of the labor of captured ordinary soldiers…

North Africa

(2,498 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
North Africa Geographical area stretching from the Atlantic coast of present-day Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. The territories in question experienced various phases of political and military subjugation by the European colonial powers before the outbreak of the First World War. The North African territories were subject to differing external and internal political arrangements, and were then administered under direct and indirect forms of rule. France claimed formal sovereignty in Al…

War Enthusiasm

(799 words)

Author(s): Ullrich, Volker
War Enthusiasm In August 1914, the Germans went to war in a wave of general enthusiasm – or so it was claimed until recently in schoolbooks and in a number of representative works written by German historians. This stereotyped conception has, in the meantime, been increasingly challenged and corrected in a number of crucial points. Accordingly, it can now stated with certainty that an “August Experience” in the sense of an enthusiastic, nationwide approval of the war that would have mobilized all social classes did not take place. …

Arab Revolt

(808 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
Arab Revolt Bedouin uprising against Turkish suzerainty. In July of 1915 the Emir of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, began negotiations with the British High Commissioner in Egypt regarding the Arab desire for independence and British support for a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. For Great Britain this presented an opportunity to increase its influence in the Middle East considerably. While making promises to Hussein, the British simultaneously divided the Middle East into a French and a British sph…

Famine

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Famine The long duration of the war, reciprocal blockades of food imports, and the exploitation of regions occupied by the Central Powers all caused occasional dramatic occurrences of famine in the World War. In the German Reich and Austria especially, the food situation during the second half of the war was appalling. In Germany, the lack of planning to maintain the food supply in case of war was partly the blame for the quantitative and qualitative decline in the diet of a majority of the German civilian population. The weekly flour ration fell…

Curzon Line

(287 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Curzon Line Demarcation line between Poland and Soviet Russia that was proposed by the British government on July 11, 1920, during the Interallied Conference at Spa, with the aim of establishing a cease-fire in the Polish-Soviet War. Named after the then British Foreign Secretary Lord (George) Curzon, it was based on the recommendation of the Commission for Polish Affairs that had been endorsed by the Entente Powers in Paris on December 8, 1919. The line was suggested as a possible eastern border …

Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

Propaganda and Mobilizations in Greece during the First World War

(8,578 words)

Author(s): Lemonidou, Elli
Lemonidou, Elli - Propaganda and Mobilizations in Greece during the First World War ISFWWS-Keywords: Greece | Politics | Balkans | International Relations during the War | Bulgaria | Germany | Pre-war period | Legacy | Peacemaking and Continued Conflict World War I and Propaganda Troy R.E. Paddock , (2014) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2014 e-ISBN: 9789004264571 DOI: 10.1163/9789004264571_014 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Lemonidou, Elli

Uniforms

(1,390 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Jürgen
Uniforms At the beginning of the war, the armies of most warring states were outfitted with a special field uniform, camouflaged to blend into the terrain, in addition to their colorful parade uniforms. Such a camouflage uniform was necessary because of modern weapons technology including smokeless powder. This was already well known from the Boer Wars and the Russo-Japanese War. Still, camouflage uniforms dated back to the colonial wars of the 19th century. Based on experience in India, Great Br…

Eastern Front

(1,205 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Eastern Front The topography of the Eastern Front differed markedly from that of the Western Front. For one thing, it was twice as long as the Western Front, stretching in an irregular line from the southeast corner of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea – including the Bulgarian Front and all the way to the Aegean Sea. Although the terrain was mainly gently rolling, or else flat and forested, the Carpathian Mountains along the Polish and Hungarian borders could pose a significant obstacle for militar…

Brändström, Elsa

(445 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Brändström, Elsa (March 26, 1888, Saint Petersburg – March 4, 1948, Cambridge MA), Swedish philanthropist and nurse. The daughter of the Swedish ambassador in Saint Petersburg, Brändström continued to be known throughout Europe long after her death; in Germany she enjoyed nearly saintly status as the “Angel of Siberia.” This veneration was bestowed on her for the courage and commitment she had shown in caring for German and Austrian prisoners of war in Russia, and above all for her personal humanitarian work in Russian camps between 1915 and 1920. Living in Saint Petersburg at the o…

Military Losses (Casualties)

(1,331 words)

Author(s): Overmans, Rüdiger
Military Losses (Casualties) There is little agreement in the literature as to the casualties sustained by the states that took part in the First World War. Figures vary between about 6 and about 13 million. A principle reason for the different estimates lies in the fact that definitions of the term “casualties” differ greatly. In the narrow military terminology of the time and in the specialized military literature, “casualties” frequently included all those soldiers who were no longer available t…

Entente

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jaques
Entente Also referred to as the Triple Entente, this was one of the great alliances that had formed in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Although these alliances are ascribed a certain responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, they were far less stable and less systematically structured than was later claimed. The system of alliances created by Reich Chancellor Bismarck after the war of 1870/1871 had as its goal the isolation of France in Europe, and to that end the maintenance of good relations with…

Vermin

(445 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang U.
Vermin Animal pests and parasites that either attack human beings directly or contribute to the spread of infectious diseases as pathogenic agents, or else spoil or damage food supplies and implements in trenches and sleeping quarters. Bedbugs, lice, fleas, mice, rats, cockroaches, mealworms, and larder beetles in particular were regarded as vermin in this sense. In the European war theaters, bedbugs were not carriers of diseases, but still proved a nuisance as blood-feeding insects whose bites caused unpleasant wheals and itching…

Isonzo

(796 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
Isonzo River located in the Karst region of Slovenia near the front in the Alps where, between 1915 and 1917, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops opposed one another. Directly after Italy had joined the war in May 1915, their Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna had wanted to undertake a penetration of the Austrian heartland across the Isonzo. However, the Imperial Austrian Army troops held their defensive positions. The war, which devolved into independent actions in the High Alps, was cemented here at …

Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary)

(3,011 words)

Author(s): Rauchensteiner, Manfried
Armed Forces (Austria-Hungary) The organization of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces during the First World War originated in the Compromise of 1867. Under this agreement the Habsburg Monarchy sported the outward appearance of a dual monarchy, yet internally there was minimal uniformity, and the merest balance of interests. The major weakness of the Compromise between the Kingdom of Hungary and the remainder of the Double Monarchy was the fact that the Slavs within Austria-Hungary, who had mainly s…

Russian Revolution

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Russian Revolution Neither the Russian army, nor their economy, nor their political system was equal to the demands of the World War, contributing to the end of the Russian Tsarist Empire. Another major reason was the rapid loss of trust, at all levels of society, which the regime had endured during the war years. As the situation at the military front continued to worsen, an even deeper conflict developed between Tsar Nicholas II and the State Duma. The subsistence crisis engendered by the wartim…

Drina

(966 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Drina Border river between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The battle of the Drina (August 12–21, 1914) was, for Austria-Hungary, the most unfortunate conceivable prelude to the war against Serbia. The prime cause was the incomplete deployment of the Austro-Hungarian forces. The forces ranged against Serbia comprised not only the Fourth and Fifth Armies, but also the Second Army, which had been earmarked for use against the Russians in the event of the opening of a second front in Galicia. However…

Fisher, John Arbuthnot

(493 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Fisher, John Arbuthnot (January 25, 1841, Ramboda [Ceylon] – July 10, 1920, London; from 1908 Baron Fisher of Kilberstone), British admiral. Fisher joined the Royal Navy in 1854, and, after a variety of seagoing posts, began a 14-year period of service on land in 1882. In 1899 he represented England at the First Hague Peace Conference. He was subsequently entrusted with the command of the Mediterranean Fleet. As Second Sea Lord (1901), Fisher undertook an intensive remodeling of the personnel struc…

Narew Offensive

(882 words)

Author(s): Stone, Norman
Narew Offensive In mid-June of 1915, the Russian High Command (Stavka) reviewed the depressing military situation at a conference in Cholm (Chełm). The conference was called in the aftermath of the defeat in Galicia and the Russian Army was now half a million men understrength. In the north, in Courland, the German Army Group Lauenstein (later: Army of the Neman) was now in a favorable position that enabled it to level threats both at Riga, Russia’s most important Baltic port and one of Russia’s m…

Netherlands

(1,981 words)

Author(s): Blom, J.C.H.
Netherlands On the eve of the World War, the Netherlands held the same neutral stand regarding international relations as it had for the preceding three-quarters of a century. The Netherlands thus stood apart from the international alliances. This decision rested as much upon the safeguarding of Netherlands’s economic and military-political interests, as it did upon considerations of civil rights and ethics. The deciding question, however, was whether the Great Powers would respect Netherlands’s …

Caillaux, Joseph

(565 words)

Author(s): Allain, Jean-Claude
Caillaux, Joseph (March 30, 1863, Le Mans – November 22, 1944, Mamers, département Sarthe), French politician. The eldest son of a former minister of the Conservative Republic, originally destined for the École Polytechnique, began his professional career as inspector of finances, a career he followed until 1898 when he was elected to serve as deputy for Marmers. Here Caillaux continued to be re-elected on a regular basis with an absolute majority until 1914. Without ever having held a position on…

Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of

(1,047 words)

Author(s): Kochanek, Hildegard
Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is the peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Soviet Russia. After the October Revolution, the fact that the Bolsheviks had included a call for an immediate end to the war in their October Manifesto introduced the prospect of concluding a separate peace with the Central Powers. Already on November 8, 1917, one day after the fall of the Provisional Government, the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets rejected Lenin’s Decree on Peace, his proposal for an immediate “peace witho…

Graves, Robert (von Ranke)

(414 words)

Author(s): Winter, Jay
Graves, Robert (von Ranke) (July 26, 1895, Wimbledon [now part of London] – December 7, 1985, Deyá [Majorca]), British writer and literary scholar. Graves’ prewar work is customarily assigned to the so-called Georgian school, a group of poets that cultivated a Late Romantic style. Both he and his friend the writer Siegfried Sassoon, who, like him, served as an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, were profoundly influenced by the war. Graves was wounded in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, his many …

War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

Smuts, Jan Christiaan

(365 words)

Author(s): Zimmerer, Jürgen
Smuts, Jan Christiaan (May 24, 1870, Bovenplaats [Cape Province] – September 11, 1950, Irene [near Pretoria]), South African general and politician. Born the son of a Boer farmer, Smuts became one of the most important politicians of South Africa. Between 1899 and 1902 he served as a Boer general in the Boer War against Great Britain. In 1907 he entered the cabinet of Louis Botha in the Transvaal and also worked under him in the government of the South African Union, founded in 1910. On the outbrea…

War Damage

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
War Damage Damages and costs incurred during the war through the destruction of military equipment and weaponry, but also as a consequence of property damage in the regions directly affected by the war. War damage thus refers to the material costs of the war in the narrow sense. The calculation of war costs in the wider sense as well as of material losses in the narrow sense is so fraught with difficulties that all figures can only be seen as rough approximations. This already became evident during a first general assessment carried out for t…

Balfour Declaration

(486 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Balfour Declaration Statement by the British government made in a letter from the Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour to Lord Lionel Rothschild on November 2, 1917, expressing support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Manchester-based British Palestine Committee had campaigned for the Declaration. The most prominent advocate was Chaim Weizmann, an advisor to the British government, who enjoyed good contacts with Lord Balfour and the (then) Chancello…

China

(2,662 words)

Author(s): Mühlhahn, Klaus
China The largest state by population and area in eastern Asia; a republic from 1911 to 1949. Although China was scarcely involved militarily in the First World War, the war nevertheless represented an important turning point for the country. The consequences of the war fundamentally changed both China’s status in international politics and its internal political and social circumstances. China’s involvement in the First World War was a long-term result of the expansion of European imperialism. Increased rivalry between the Great Powers, in their strugg…

Mercier, Désiré Joseph

(324 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
Mercier, Désiré Joseph (November 21, 1851, Eigenbrakel [Braine-l’Alleud near Brussels] – January 23, 1926, Brussels), Belgian cardinal. Ordained as a priest in 1874, Mercier was a highly successful teacher of philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Louvain from 1882. In 1906 he became archbishop of the largest Belgian diocese of Mechelen, and was made a cardinal in 1907. With the outbreak of war in 1914, after the occupation of the country and the flight of King Albert I and the Belgi…

Balkan Wars

(957 words)

Author(s): Kröger, Martin
Balkan Wars Two wars in the Balkans region (1912–1913) that caused the Ottoman Empire to lose most of its European territories. During this period of conflict there were differences between the Great Powers concerning the consequences of the Balkan Wars. Against the backdrop of the Italo-Turkish war (1911–1912), the ethnically diverse and unstable Southeastern European States led by Serbia attempted to secure for themselves a share of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. A direct consequence of the Turkish weakness wa…

League of Nations

(487 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
League of Nations (German: Völkerbund, French: Société des Nations). The measures instituted by the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 proved insufficient to prevent war. Therefore, during the World War, the peace movements of several nations considered founding a new institution. After 1917–1918 government representatives in Great Britain, France, the United States, and also the German Reich increasingly considered the possibilities. For American President Woodrow Wilson, the creation of a League…

January Strikes

(1,075 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
January Strikes Between January 28 and February 2, 1918, there arose in Berlin and other industrial and economic centers (Kiel, Hamburg, and the Rhine-Westphalia industrial area) mass protests and strike actions, in which between 200,000 and 500,000 workers took part. In contrast with the 1917 strikes, which may be understood primarily as social protest, the January Strikes had to a great extent a direct political motive. In light of the Soviet government’s offer of peace, and the brutally extreme claims for annexation of the German S…

Scorched Earth Tactics

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Geyer, Michael
Scorched Earth Tactics Systematically laying waste to enemy territory as a battle tactic, rendering the area militarily useless for a time, sometimes lastingly. Scorched earth as a combat strategy was described by Carl von Clausewitz in his work Vom Kriege, as follows: First, all that the country has to offer will be taken for the benefit of the retreating army, and mostly consumed. Nothing will remain but wasted villages and towns; fields emptied of their crops and then trampled; wells run dry; and contaminated brooks. Thus right from …

Occupation (East)

(1,730 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
Occupation (East) In 1915, the German Reich and Austria-Hungary conquered enormous areas of Eastern Europe, and subjected them to an occupation regime. Among the areas in question were Russian Poland and Lithuania, and parts of the Baltic provinces (now Estonia and Latvia), Belarus (White Russia), the Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. These conquests were joined by Romania in 1916. As there was no detailed prewar planning for such an event, the occupation was initially characterized by improvisation and ad hoc policies with various different plans being proposed for the future…
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