Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Macedonia

(926 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Macedonia With the outbreak of the First World War, the multinational region of Macedonia became a battlefield of the Great Powers. Germany’s strategic goal of advancing eastwards and maintaining an open route to Turkey led to the establishment of the Balkan Front. For the various peoples living in the Balkans, this simultaneously represented a continuation of the struggle for Macedonia. This struggle resulted from a number of factors: the emergence of nationalisms in the 19th century, the founding of national states, and the all too be…

Deployment Plans

(1,557 words)

Author(s): Bourne, John
Deployment Plans Deployment plans were plans for readying the mobilized units of a land army. To what degree the warring states of World War I actually sought after this conflict is one of the most intensively researched, and most sharply contended subjects of 20th century historiography. It is agreed, however, that most powers had worked out detailed mobilization and attack plans in case of war. These, they also realized to a greater or lesser degree when war broke out in August 1914. The war plans of the German Reich are customarily referred to as the Schlieffen Plan, even …

Dardanelles

(1,004 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Dardanelles Straits between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire had envisioned joining the war on the side of the Central Powers. The arrival of two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, at Constantinople on August 10, 1914, reinforced this decision. For Turkey joining the war meant territorial gains at Russia’s expense; in the Caucasus, at British expense; as well as in Egypt. On October 27, the Turkish fleet put to sea against the Russian Black Sea base, thereby triggering war with the Entente. Mean…

Antisemitism

(880 words)

Author(s): Sieg, Ulrich
Antisemitism The First World War constituted a sharp turning point in the history of Antisemitism. It brought the radicalization of anti-Jewish stereotypes and gave rise to ideologies demanding the exclusion of Jews from what was perceived to be a völkisch (i.e. racially homogenous) German nation. The Burgfrieden (literally Fortress Truce: an agreement among political parties not to criticize the government or the war effort) declared by the Kaiser on August 4, 1914, was soon revealed to be no more than a “fair-weather” concept. In the very…

Greece

(1,698 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Greece While the real tragedy of the World War played out on Europe’s theaters of war, Greece remained neutral until 1917. This neutrality was above all benevolent toward the Central Powers – at least, as far as the head of state, King Constantine, was concerned. Since the monarch admired his brother-in-law Kaiser Wilhelm II as the personification of the German martial spirit, he refused to march off to war against the Central Powers. Thereupon, Greek Premier Eleftherios Venizelos advocated stron…

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…

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 …

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 …

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…

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 the actual South Tyrol (242,702 inhabitants, of whom 215,345 were German-speakers, 22,516 speakers of Italian and Ladin, the rest speakers of other languages and foreigners), Trieste (approx. 2/3 Italian, 1/3 Slovene), and territories on the Isonzo and in Istria where the Italian-speaking population was in the minority. Italy had already wanted to annex Trentino during the Third Italian War of Independence (fought in parallel with the Austro-Prussian or “German” War) of 1866 and the revolutionary army of Garibaldi had occupied i…

Kemal Pasha, Mustafa

(630 words)

Author(s): Hebestreit, Oliver
Kemal Pasha, Mustafa (March 12, 1881, Salonica [Thessalonika] – November 10, 1938, Istanbul; from 1934 Atatürk), Ottoman general and Turkish politician (state president). After completing training at the Military Academy ( Harbiye Harp Okulu) in 1902, Kemal Pasha was active as a young officer in the resistance against the regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. In 1905 he founded a secret military society that later amalgamated with the self-styled patriotic movement of the Young Turks under Enver Pasha. In 1908/1909, he took part in the most successful uprising of the Young Turks. He fought against Italian forces in North Africa and the Balkans in 1912.…

The Great War and Modern Scholarship: Academic Responses to War in Paris and London

(11,490 words)

Author(s): Fordham, Elizabeth
Fordham, Elizabeth - The Great War and Modern Scholarship: Academic Responses to War in Paris and London Keywords: Intellectuals and the War | Politics | …

Two-Front War

(612 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Two-Front War The specific strategic situation of the Central Powers, surrounded by the “Iron Ring” (W. Groener) of the opposing coalition. This was mostly seen as a grave strategic disadvantage, and was instrumental in the emergence before 1914 of the hazardous Schlieffen Plan: the attempt to forestall a two-front war, and so avoid the dissipation of Germany’s strength. German policy during the Crisis of July 1914 has frequently been interpreted as having been motivated by the necessity to meet the threat of a two-front war, or “encirclement,” while it was still possible to do so, against the particular background of a constant build-up of arms by Russia. However, Field Marshal von Moltke, chief of the general staff from 1857 to 1888, had already regarded a two-front war, fought in the final analysis with defensive tactics, as ine…

Hoyos, Alexander, Count

(277 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Hoyos, Alexander, Count (May 13, 1876, Fiume – October 20, 1937, Schwertberg), Austro-Hungarian politician. Hoyos entered the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1900, and served on many missions overseas. In April 1912 he became chief assistant to the foreign minister Leopold Count Berchtold. After the assassination of heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, the question arose of soundi…

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, a…

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 pa…

Supreme Army Command (OHL)

(996 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Supreme Army Command (OHL) When Germany mobilized for the war, the chief of the Prussian Army General Staff was named chief of the General Staff of the entire Armed Forces. According to law, of course, the Kaiser was commander in chief of the military. However, the chief of the General Staff actually led military operations. The department established for this purpose was the Supreme Army Command, which was placed under the control of the Supreme Headquarters. Early in the war the Supreme Army Command consisted of the Central Section, responsible for the business affairs and personnel matters of the General Staff; an Operations Section, responsible for battle plans and operational leadership; and the Intelligence Section, responsible for the reconnaissance of both enemy and neutral forces. Added after 1917 were the Foreign Military Studies Section and the Military-Political Section as well as the Quartermaster General, under whose command came the provisioning of the entire military, and soon the administration of the occ…

“Having Seen Enough”: Eleanor Franklin Egan and the Journalism of Great War Displacement

(8,259 words)

Author(s): Hudson, David
Hudson, David - “Having Seen Enough”: Eleanor Franklin Egan and the Journalism of Great War Displacement Keywords: American journalist | Eleanor Franklin Egan | Great War | journalism ISFWWS-Keywords: The United States of America | Legacy | …

Škoda 30.5-cm Siege Howitzer

(528 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Škoda 30.5-cm Siege Howitzer 30.5-cm M 11 mortar of the Austro-Hungarian army, a weapon specifically designed to destroy the most modern fortress complexes. At the beginning of the war, the Austro-Hungarian army possessed 24 howitzers of this type, designed and manufactured by the Škoda company. The gun could be dismantled into three parts, and was transported by a motorized tractor, which gave this “marvelous gun” (in the words of the Austrian…
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