Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Students

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Weber, Thomas
Students Students were clearly overrepresented among the soldiers of the First World War. The mention of exclusively or predominantly student-recruited military units in wartime and postwar literature, however, belongs to the realm of fiction. Its origins must be sought in the frequently politically motivated idealizations that were characteristic of journalistic publications and commemorative events. The most famous German example is the myth that “student regiments” singing the German national …

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 …

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…

New Light on the East African Theater of the Great War: A Review Essay of English-Language Sources

(7,917 words)

Author(s): Vandervort, Bruce
Vandervort, Bruce - New Light on the East African Theater of the Great War: A Review Essay of English-Language Sources Keywords: East Africa | Military organisation of combat | Published memoirs and biographies | Literature | Africa | The French and British Empires | Germany | Legacy | India | Portugal | Belgium Abstract: The marine officers interest in the exploits of Colonel Lettow-Vorbeck reflects an earlier period, now superseded, at least as far as academic military history is concerned, in the historiography of the East Africa…

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…

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…

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…

Western Front

(3,485 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John M.
Western Front The most important battlefield of the First World War in Western and Central Europe was the Western Front. The largest and bloodiest battles took place in the north of France and in Belgium, where most German, French, British, Belgian, American, and Portuguese soldiers lost their lives. The front was Western from the German perspective, an indication of the German army’s crucial importance for the progress of the war. It began with the German invasion of Belgium and France in August 1914. The frontier battles fulfilled the expectat…

Versailles, Treaty of

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Versailles, Treaty of The Versailles Treaty was negotiated and signed by the victors and the defeated Germany in the Parisian suburb of Versailles in May/June 1919. On May 7 at the Trianon Palace, the victorious powers, represented by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, and Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, the prime ministers of Great Britain, France, and Italy, together with representatives of Germany’s other opponents in the war, presented a draft…

Music Theater

(1,707 words)

Author(s): Hebestreit, Oliver
Music Theater There were only a very few voices calling for the cessation of public music-making after the outbreak of the First World War. So music continued to be performed for the duration of the conflict. However, musical institutions and music makers did not remain untouched by the effects of the war, which included the drafting of artists, financial restrictions, the changed character of concert programs and repertoires, and state censorship. In all belligerent states musicians were drafted or went to the front as volunteers. But conscription also affected te…

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…

Battle of the Frontiers

(647 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Battle of the Frontiers Collective term for a series of engagements that were fought in Belgium and France in the course of the German invasion between August 20 and 24, 1914. The German operational plan had envisioned a strong right wing enveloping the bulk of the French, British, and Belgian forces in northern France. Following the successful coup de main against Liège this right wing consisting of the First, Second, and Third Armies advanced through Belgium toward the French border. The Fourth and Fifth Armies moved through Luxembourg and the Ardenne…

Troop Strength

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Troop Strength The initial numbers of soldiers mobilized for immediate wartime service. The peacetime strength of the individual armies before 1914 provided the foundation for troop strength in the war. A cadre of commanders for reserve units and an attachment of reservists for these troop units were included in their mobilization plans. This would make it possible to raise units to wartime strength once the mobilization was begun. The troop strengths planned in the event of war, and the troop str…

German East Africa

(848 words)

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

Wartime Coalitions

(2,117 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Wartime Coalitions Before the World War, the European system of states had become strongly polarized. On the one side stood the Central Powers, namely the Dual Alliance of German Reich and Austria-Hungary that had been formed in 1879 as well as the (independently concluded) Triple Alliance of German Reich, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; however, the latter country declared itself neutral at the beginning of the war. On the other side stood the Entente Powers, among which France and Russia had been bound by a military alliance since 1893/1894, while France and Great Bri…

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 …

Delbrück, Hans

(333 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
Delbrück, Hans (November 11, 1848, Bergen [Rügen] – July 14, 1929, Berlin), German historian and political commentator. Delbrück had become known before 1914 as an advocate both of Germany’s world role, and of internal and socio-political reform. Politically, the historian was identified with the Free Conservative Party. Appointed to Berlin University as successor to Heinrich von Treitschke in 1896, he achieved particular distinction with his four-volume History of Warfare in the Context of Political History 1900–1920 ( Geschichte der Kriegskunst im Rahmen der politische…

Introduction. Small States in a Big World

(11,403 words)

Author(s): Amersfoort, H. | Klinkert, W.
Amersfoort, Herman; Klinkert, Wim - Introduction. Small States in a Big World Keywords: European | military strategy | political strategy | powerpolitical controversies | small states ISFWWS-Keywords: Neutral States | International Relations during the War | Legacy | Belgium | Politics Abstract: One of the primary responsibilities of any state is the development of a political-military strategy which meets the circumstances in which that state finds itself, the manner in which the state perceives its own position in its …

General Government/Occupation Government

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
General Government/Occupation Government In World War I, a general government was a conquered territory under the supreme command of a governor general. This territory would have its own administrative unit attached, and was divided into the front, and the administrative zones. The governor general possessed the highest legislative, judicial, and executive power in the general government, and the troops stationed in the area were also placed under his command. He had the task of organizing public l…

Cinematic Representations of the Enemy in Belgian Silent Fiction Films

(6,787 words)

Author(s): Engelen, Leen
Engelen, Leen - Cinematic Representations of the Enemy in Belgian Silent Fiction Films Keywords: Fictional | Belgium | Germany | Culture | Society | Legacy | Politics | Violence against civilians ‛Warfare and Belligerence’ Pierre Purseigle, Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2005 e-ISBN: 9789047407362 DOI: 10.1163/9789047407362.015 © 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Engelen, Leen
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