Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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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…

Krobatin, Baron Alexander von

(475 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Krobatin, Baron Alexander von (September 12, 1849, Olmütz [modern Olomouc, Czech Republic] – December 27, 1933, Vienna), Austrian general and minister of war. As an artillery staff officer with a university education in chemical engineering, Krobatin was predestined from an early stage for a higher calling. Appointed to the Imperial War Ministry in 1896 as an expert in artillery technology, he was a section chief at the Ministry in 1904. In addition to weapons and munitions, his responsibilities now…

Manifesto of the 93

(963 words)

Author(s): vom Bruch, Rüdiger
Manifesto of the 93 Published on October 4, 1914, an appeal addressed “to the civilized world” ( An die Kulturwelt! Ein Aufruf ) and endorsed by 93 German men of letters, scientists, scholars and artists, rejected as “untrue” allegations made by the Entente against the German “militarism” and atrocities verifiably committed by the German Army in neutral Belgium. The Manifesto followed numerous other, similar declarations made especially by well-known cultural figures on both sides in the “war of the minds” ( Krieg der Geister, the title of a 1915 collection of international es…

Armed Forces (Dominions)

(3,147 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Armed Forces (Dominions) The settler colonies of the British Empire (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa) had already acquired the status of dominions prior to 1914, as part of a constitutional development towards full independence. Self-determination in domestic matters had already been granted to Canada in 1867, to Australia in 1901, to New Zealand in 1907, and to South Africa in 1910. The British declaration of war on Germany in 1914 was binding for all dominions, since London still…

Fighting on Two Fronts: Japan’s Involvement in the Siberian Intervention and the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918

(8,776 words)

Author(s): Otsubo, Sumiko
Otsubo, Sumiko - Fighting on Two Fronts: Japan’s Involvement in the Siberian Intervention and the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 ISFWWS-Keywords: Asia | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Russian Front | Soldiers and Combat | Russia 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_023 © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Otsubo, Sumiko

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 …

“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.

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

Nicolai, Georg Friedrich

(446 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Nicolai, Georg Friedrich (February 6, 1874, Berlin – October 8, 1964, Santiago de Chile; Georg Lewinstein until 1897), German physician. Nicolai studied medicine, specializing in electrocardiology. Before the war, he was already a respected physician in his private practice, and as the assistant medical director of Charité Hospital. As a war volunteer, in 1914 he became the medical superintendent of the military infirmary at Tempelhof. Nonetheless, from the beginning he spoke out very sharply against the war. He and other intellectuals signed Aufruf an die Europäer (Appeal to th…

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. …

Trench Art

(650 words)

Author(s): Korff, Gottfried
Trench Art The generally accepted cultural-historical term for what, during the First World War and afterwards, was called in Germany Schützengrabenkunst or Kriegsvolkskunst, in France l’art des tranchées or l’artisanat des tranchées, and in Britain also soldiers’ art. Most objects categorized as trench art were produced in military hospitals or prisoner of war camps, using materials found at the front. Examples include flower vases from shell cases, letter openers from shell splinters, small sculptures fashioned in the chalk of the…

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…

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…

Ideas of 1914

(1,265 words)

Author(s): Verhey, Jeffrey
Ideas of 1914 The concept “Ideas of 1914” alludes to two different, yet related phenomena. The first meaning refers to all discursive reflections that were formulated and published by intellectuals in 1914, to all attempts to interpret the significance of the war. The second has to do with a particular category of “ideas” which the contemporaries subsumed under the notion “Ideas of 1914.” At the beginning of the war, the vast majority of German intellectuals were united in their almost unconditional support of the German war effort, which they attempted to …

Trenches

(1,284 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Bernd
Trenches Part of the infantry field fortifications. Before the First World War trenches existed only as a provisional, temporary fortification used to defend areas of land. Trenches developed after the early hardening of the fronts into a socially dominant symbol of military technology in the war. Especially on the Western Front, trenches, and the way of fighting that derived from them, marked the character of the war from October/November 1914 to 1918. After the strategic defeat on the Marne, and the building of the first trenches, between mid-September and early N…

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…
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